The spring equinox, scheduled for tomorrow, March 20 2012, marks new beginnings in the northern hemisphere. Many cultures around the world have honoured the equinoxes since the dawn of time. Rebirth was important to the Mayan people, celebrated at the Chichen-itza pyramid in the Yucatan, Mexico by sacrifcing animals to the gods.
If we could all learn 11 languages fluently, well, UN translators would be out of work and maybe there would be fewer wars. But seriously, one guy – 21-year-old Alex Rawlings – really can speak English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian. And he picked these up so he could communicate with people around him and make new friends. Simple! Most of think that speaking even a few words of language is beyond us but we all have experience of how just ordering a beer in the local parlance while on holiday does wonders for your relationship with the locals. Just a few more words and you can get an insight into the lives of those people and their culture, something you can’t get from a book or a tour guide. Check out this video on the BBC and take inspiration from his straightforward motivations and methods.
Travel is about meeting new people, discovering new places and new parts of yourself and seeing the wonders of the world, while contributing positively to the people you meet and the places you are lucky enough to experience. Travel isn’t about …
A Japanese restaurant owner ignored the global recession and shelled out a staggering 56.49 million yen (£476,082/$736,500) on a 269-kilogramme (592-pound) tuna fish in the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.
At those prices, a single slice of the highly regarded blue-fin tuna could cost 5000 yen (£42/$65) but the sushi restaurant owner said it will be priced at a more reasonable 418 yen (£3.50/$5.40), despite western countries calling for a ban on fishing of the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.
Dressed in bubblegum-pink Thai fisherman pants, bright t-shirts that had seen better days, wearing flip flops (or often bare-footed), and a patchwork shoulder bag meant I was somehow never upgraded while on my round-the-world trip; quelle surprise! But here are a few tips on how to get bumped up to 1st class for free.
The Best Travel Writing 2011 is the eighth volume in the annual Travelers’ Tales series, launched in 2004 to celebrate the world’s best travel writing.
The points of view and perspectives are global, and themes encompass high adventure, spiritual growth, romance, hilarity and misadventure, service to humanity, and encounters with exotic cuisine.
In the Best Travel Writing 2011 you are with the writers as they:
Rome is a wonder of the world. Literally! Every corner you turn there is an architectural wonder, a gastronomic wonder, a religious wonder, a wonder of ancient Rome, or a view to wonder at (romantically or otherwise). However, if you are only visiting for a short break be sure to not try and cram in too much. If you do, things will pass by in the blurr, you’ll wear yourself out, and you will not appreciate one my favourite things to do in Rome – wandering the cobbled streets of the Centro Storico or Trastevere areas drinking coffee (or prosecco), snacking on arancini, and stumbling across yet another enchanting church.
Things are not always as theys eem when you’re travelling. That dodgy-looking road-side cafe actually serves up the tastiest food. A bargain is often not and whan you work it out later you’ve been ripped off. Or that short cut ends up taking you all day. But some things have a more sinister side to them and deserve more of your attention, and visiting an orphanages in Cambodia definitely does. For more info see this blog: www.jeanloncle-photographe.com/?p=1066
Want to know who, what, where, your fellow travallers rated as the best this year? Check out the Wanderlust travel awards where you can personally judge, through an online questionnaire, your travels of the past year. There are categories for everything, from country to tour company, and the results are announced at the Destinations Travel Show in February in London.
A new study has found that the most commonly used method of boarding passenger planes is actually one of the least efficient.
The tests compared the popular ‘boarding from the rear’ practice or ‘block boarding’ used by the majority of airlines, with other approaches including the Wilma Method and Steffen Method.
To read more see: http://uk.travel.yahoo.com/p-promo-3361535
Looking for a quirky twist in the middle of the English countryside? Well, East meets West right here in the middle of Cotswolds Life with the Japanese family-run English tea rooms, The Olde Bakery Tea Shoppe, named Les Routiers Café of the Year 2005, Wales & The Marches.
Owned and run by the Miyawaki family, and housed in a Grade II listed building, award winning cream tea, afternoon tea, cakes and pastries are served up in a traditional English setting in the beautiful town of Winchcombe.
Kendal Calling won best small festival of 2010 and in 2011 it was still small and perfectly formed. I much prefer small festivals, so that everything you do is not a mission … as is the case at somewhere like Glasto. Although the weather was scorchio on Friday and Saturday, being in the Lake District it inevitably became chilly with nightfall but it only took us 10 minutes to walk from the main arena to the tents to pick up the evening’s accessories. Besides the main stage, hosting diverse acts like Blondie, the Lancashire Hotpots and Chase & Status, there were tents catering for drum and base, urban jazz, comedy, house, kiddie activities, and my highlight – a northern soul dance class. Plus food from every corner of the globe had made it to Cumbria so at lunchtime I picked a spot in the sun overlooking the main stage, which I didn’t have to fight for, and enjoyed a plate of nasi goreng, or falafel, or a full Indian thali, which I barely had to queue for.
Will Smith’s party tune, Welcome to Miami, became my personal anthem for our big American road trip.
I sang it silently in my head in the queue for the aeroplane, hummed it as we picked up the Mustang and sang out very loud as we drove along en a 2000 mile route towards Miami. Will told us to: ‘Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach ‘till the break of dawn’. And we took his advice!
We’d been talking sometime about a road-trip across the States. The usual had come up: the north to south California coast road; east to west coast; and the infamous Route 66. Too predictable, too far, too obvious. If we were going to go to the States, we wanted to just make our own journey. And I wanted some nature, the great outdoors. Plus some of that musical Hispanic culture of Cuban dissidents and Latino immigrants. My partner requested roller coasters, shower facilities and the occasional cold beer.
Apparently I am a disgrace, terribly unpatriotic and should be drowned in the Mississippi….. for leaving my country on the day of the biggest and most important wedding in history. A debatbale point of view but one which many Americans were quick to share with me because, on 29 April 2011, I was in New Orleans for a wedding much closer to my heart; that of my friend Erin (we met on the terrace of a bed bug-ridden filthy hole-of-a-hotel in Taipei and consoled ourselves, for having trusted Lonely Planet’s recommendation, by drinking enough tall boys until we didn’t mind that you had to put your hand right inside the grimy cistern in order to flush the toilet). And I think Rosy’s Jazz Hall is a much better location for a wedding than Westminster Abbey anyway.
Did you know: 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children fleeing violence, persecution, starvation, slavery and sexual exploitation. What’s more, the poorest nations are hosting 80% of the world’s forcibly displaced population, while richer countries close their borders. So, on World Refugee Day 2011 I thought it apt to resurrect an article I wrote back in 2003, regarding the plight of women around the world (the tea-making refers to my own battle at the time, where the female teachers in the Japanese staff rooms were always expected to jump up and make tea).
Since 2007, Ch. Karnchang, one of Thailand’s largest construction companies, has been preparing plans to build a massive 1,260 MW dam on the Mekong River’s mainstream at the Kaeng Luang rapids, 30 kilometers from Xayabouri town. This dam would affect thousands of local people directly, and millions more indirectly due to its impact on the Mekong River and its interconnected ecosystems.
Well, why not explore your creative potential at the Travellers Tales inspiring weekend workshops with leading sector professionals in London next month. I attended the fantastic workshop weekend last February and found the advice and experiences shared invaluable. All levels of experience welcome.
* COMPASS POINTS TRAVEL WRITING WORKSHOP
With the travel editor of the Financial Times. May 7 & 8.
* VIEWFINDER TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
With the editor of Outdoor Photography magazine. May 21 & 22.
“They came with trucks and police and vans. We all had to leave in 20 minutes. I lost…everything. I wasn’t even there when the house was taken down”. Tomica, Belgrade
Since 2009, Roma communities in Belgrade, Serbia, have been living under the constant threat of forced eviction by the authorities. Some, like Tomica, have already lost their homes. This is a violation of their right to adequate housing.
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