Daily Archives: 12.03.2014

The Upper House: A True Oasis of Hong Kong



The Upper House: A True Oasis of Hong Kong

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The Upper House, the best rated restaurant in the entire world, is the glory of central Hong Kong Island. Located at the top of the Pacific place which is the main shopping mall of the city, this hotel is indeed best in ambience as well as in food and accommodation. The hotel is owned by the millionaire- Chagas Panjim. It will take only 40 minutes to drive from the Hong Kong International Airport and is very near to Star Street. The facilities provided by the hotel are by far the best. A modern fitness centre, yoga classes for free and even massage services are the additional services offered by the hotel. Free Wi-Fi can also be accessed from every corner of the hotel. The entire hotel was designed by Andre Fu with a modern but sober Chinese look. The delicious dining restaurant on the 49th floor is the major attraction of this hotel. Guests are allowed to enjoy their favourite beverages of Cafe Gray Bar in their respective rooms also.

Comfortable Rooms and its Additional Features:

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The opulent rooms of this hotel are made up of luxe limestone and soothing bamboo. These special rooms start from the thirty-eighth floor of the hotel. In total there are 23 suites and 117 rooms available in this hotel. The spectacular view of the harbour from the rooms; window seats which are cushioned; and the loungers of upper suites which are L-shaped are heavenly facilities. The bathrooms of each room are big enough and even their size is comparable to that of a room. Rain showers and giant-size tubs with a large mirror are also provided in the bathrooms. Each and every room has the facility of walk-in wardrobes. Lounge, gardens and gyms are the additional facilities but each room is equipped with its own free Wi-Fi/broadband connection, dual temperature fridge, some drinks and wines, yoga mat, flat-screen satellite TV, espresso machine, free snacks and Ren toiletries. An extra bed can be added for extra charges if required. Weekends come with complimentary yoga classes in morning for elders and even youngsters.

Restaurant and Bar:

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Cafe Grey Deluxe of the Upper House is no doubt the most famous restaurant of Hong Kong. The restaurant offers every sort of food that can be found in every corner of Hong Kong. Even famous dishes of other countries are also welcomed in this restaurant. The killer views of the harbour from the restaurant are like icing on a cake. Gray Kunz is the master-chef of all the tasty classic cuisine available. In starters the heirloom tomato salad is most popular. Apart from that the saffron scented Pasta Fiore and the tarragon-infused Crab Bisque are the favourite ones among people.

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Now coming to the 14 meter long hotel bar, which is made up of marble of powder blue colour and curved banquettes, the bar enhances the shine of the Cafe Gray Deluxe. The mastermind behind all the cocktails available is the mixologist Sam Jeveons. Relax and enjoy with your drinks and snacks at the marvellous Skylounge which is under the aerial bridge. This is the most chilled out spot for people.

Staff, Orders and Room Service:

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All the guests will be interacting with the best staff ever during their stay at the Upper House hotel. The hotel organisation is very much particular about its staff.  Each and every men of their staff is well mannered, well behaved and speaks fluently. Their dress code is fixed. The staff members are allowed to wear only International Urban liners and blazers with shiny shoes.  The ambience of the Hotel is also at its best now. Apart from the beautiful architecture, all the tables are covered proper table mats with jaw-dropping vistas. The tables near their open kitchens are the ones that get booked first as they offer pole-positions and stunning views. Orders of breakfast, lunch and dinner can be made during particular hours only; so one should be alert about them. Room services are available for 24 hours. You can be served with juices, coffee, teas, beer and even wines at any time you want.

Other Things:

The facilities provided for small kids are limited but are enough. A local babysitter can be arranged for the kids if their parents want. The sofa-beds and cots for children are free of cost and kids are welcome in every part of the hotel. But there is no additional pool available especially for kids. The entire environment of the hotel is very much eco-friendly. Although all the appliances are electronic and are remote controlled but all these appliances are specially designed to consume low power and save electricity. People can privately hire hybrid cars. The food is organic and is locally grown. The hotel is very much advanced also as all the printed directories of the hotel are replaced with iPod touches which is very much dizzy and cool. Plus the check-out procedure of the guests is paperless. The guests staying at this hotel gets none less than a king’s treatment. Tremendous work has been done in the architecture and facilities as well as in its maintenance also. To experience the heights of luxury of this upscale hotel, stay at this hotel only whenever plan to visit Hong Kong.

The bareness redefined : The Nambia Desert



The bareness redefined : The Nambia Desert

We have all heard about the different deserts of the world. Here, in India is our very famous Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert. Then we have the Sahara Desert covering most part of Northern African land, Gobi Desert in China, Atacama Desert in Chile, amongst many others. Apart from these there are many small desert lands in many countries of the world. One such desert is the desert of Namibia.

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The word Namib derives its name from a local tribe ‘Nama’ which means a vast place. It extends for more than 2000 kilometres along the Atlantic coast South Africa, Namibia and Angola. It is widely believed that the Namib may be the oldest desert on the world having endured dry and arid conditions for around 80 million years. The desert has varied physiography consisting of sand near the coast and gravel plains and mountain hillocks towards the interior. The sand dunes which occur in this region are the second largest in the world, the first being the sand dunes of China, reaching a height of 300 metres tall and 32 kilometres wide. Temperature in the desert is fluctuating since it is very hot by day and cool and pleasant by night. In the daytime, the temperature hovers around 50 o C while night time could be freezing cold. However along the coast the temperature swings between 9 o C in the night to around 20 o C in the daytime. Ironically though, there are several rivers and occasional streams which flow through the Namib. These rivers have their origins in the interior mountains of Namibia and cut through the desert after summer rain storms. Most of the rivers do not end in the ocean as the water in them gets evaporated by the hot blazing sun. This desert is important as a mining location due to the deposits of tungsten, salt and diamonds found here. The Namib desert receives less than 10 mm of rainfall annually which leaves the land barren and dry. However the winds which come in from the Atlantic Ocean collide with hot air entering from the east, leading to foggy conditions over the desert region. This fog belt that envelopes the desert is the only source of moisture for both plants as well as animals. Sometimes this fog proves to be a deterrent for ships and other maritime activities like fishing.

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The desert of Namibia is hope to many species of plants and animals, some of which are exclusively found here and have adapted themselves very well to the climate of the region. The plants found here comprise of the black-backed jackal, spotted hyena, brown hyena, mountain zebras, desert elephats, baboons, fox and leopards. The Gemsboks is a species of antelope found exclusively in the desert of Namib. Also known as Oryxes, these antelopes can raise their body temperatures to 40 o C during the hottest time of the summer months. While the black-backed jackal are often seen on the coast of beaches scouting for marine prey, the brown hyena is seen in the interiors of the desert looking out for smaller items of food. Found in the Namib are different types of reptiles too like the lizards, geckos, sand snakes, side-winding adder, scorpions, spiders, beetles and fishmoths.  Coming to birds, you can find here the Herero chat, lark, robin, cinnamon-breasted warbler, lesser honeyguide, pearl-spotted owlet, rockrunner, black-headed canary and the hornbill.

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Although now the desert is mostly inhabited and inaccessible, there is evidence of humans living in the Namib right from the early stone age era. Even to this day, we can see the most documented evidence of mankind’s existence in this region in the many rock painting, tools and pottery that have been discovered through the centuries. Brandberg and Twyfelfontein are two places here which are home to the most famous of these rock paintings. A well-known tribe called ‘Topnaar’ have been long term residents of the Namib. Today, there are many scattered villages found along a river by name Kuiseb, which flows through the desert region.

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Some of the tourist attractions of Namib are the Naukluft Mountain, Sossusvlei and Sandwich Harbour. The former is a part of the Central Namib desert and also includes the Namib Naukluft National Park, the largest park in Namibia and the 3rd largest on the African continent.  This park is a sanctuary for the mountain zebras. One attraction which should not be missed while you are in the Namib Desert is the Sossusvlei which is home to one of the most dominant and widespread desert sand dunes of the world. The sand dunes here are shaped like a crescent of the moon and along the coast are also found clusters of sand dunes.

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It is said that Sossusvlei has orange sand dunes surrounding white salt panes which gives rise to a spectacular scene, of fascinating landscape. While the Sandwich Harbour is a port along the Atlantic Coast, it is located within the boundaries of the Namib Naukluft Park. Unlike the name, the Sandwich Harbour is neither a harbour nor a port but a backwater lagoon.

The desert of Namibia is a world its own, and still lies unexplored by tourists. Now you know where to head for a vacation!

The Grandeur of USA : Regal state of Washington



The Grandeur of USA : Regal state of Washington

Countries capitals and their history! This is one part of social science I enjoyed as a kid! Stuff like Sri Lanka being  renamed because the old name ‘Ceylon’ was so catchy and fancy always made me wonder. Among the most fascinating countries, one is the United States of America (USA). It is a powerful country, politically, democratically, economically, technically, etc. The capital of USA is Washington DC. I always wondered what is this DC?

DC stands for District of Columbia. The capital is on the Potomac River along the country’s East Coast and as per the US Constitution, it is under the sole governance of the Congress. That is why it does not belong to any state as such. The city comprises of already-existing towns of Georgetown and Alexandria and also some land borrowed from the states of Maryland and Virginia. It was founded to serve as a new national capital in the year 1791 and is named after the then President, George Washington.

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As per the Census conducted in the year, 2013, the population count came to around 6,46,449 which made it the 24th most crowded and populous place in America. However during the workweek, there are workers and commuters coming into this district from Maryland Virginia suburbs. This floating mass of population takes the count to more than one million.

The Constitutional branches of the federal government like the President, Congress and the Supreme Court, are all located in Washington DC. Further this place also houses the headquarters of many profit and non-profit organisations, national and international organizations and professional associations belonging to different sectors and fields. It also has 176 foreign embassies in addition to museums and many national monuments.

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Washington has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four different seasons namely spring, fall, winter and summer. Although the winter is chilly and cool with an average snowfall of 39 cm, spring and fall continue to be warm. Summer months are mostly hot and humid with the average temperature hovering somewhere around 26 o C. Thunderstorms are frequent due to the combination of heat and humidity. Sometimes they progress into tornadoes and wreak havoc with life and property. Blizzards too is a natural phenomenon affecting this region once every three-four years on an average. Also Hurricanes occur in the start of fall and late summer months.

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Things to do while in DC include visiting the many national monuments and other places of historical significance which include White House, The National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and National World War II Memorial. The latter memorial was erected in honour of the 16 million people who served in the US armed forces. 4 lakh Americans laid down their lives in the war. The Memorial is a tribute to the spirit, courage and determination of the American people.

There is also the Vietnam War memorial which honours the people who served in the armed forces of USA and fought in the Vietnam war. During the memoral day celebration the monuments are decorated with flowers in the color of the American flag, war vetrens come to the memorial and bask in the glory of their valour.

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DC also plays host to a number of museums. To name a few, they are the National Museum of Natural History,  National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of African Art,  the National Museum of American History; the National Museum of the American Indian, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The art galleries include the Smithsonian American Art Museum ( Night at the museum 2 movie ), the National Portrait Gallery and Renwick Gallery. They also have the National zoo, which is a hit with the children. You will also find many libraries and the Library of Congress with a collection of over 147 million books, journals, magazines, manuscripts and other materials is the largest library complex in the world. If you like exploring on foot, then you could also opt for the rent-a-bicycle system which is offered by many local shops. There are also bike tours where all the tourists have their own bicycles and are led by the tour guide, also perched on a bike himself. Or you may rent one to see the grandeur of the States.

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The huge monuments and the old time architecture puts a different view on the glammed up view of the States. The Serenity of the city shadowed by trees and the rich cherry blossoms seasons gives a sense of peace and quiet the cities like New York and Vegas lack. The place which runs the mighty nation is an ode to its grand history.

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Tourism is the second largest industry of Washington and there are people visiting from all the different nooks and corners of the world. In 2012 alone an approximately 19 million visitors contributed $4.8 billion to the economy of the region. As this place has embassies of different nations situated here and also offices of many international organizations like World Bank and IMF, we have diplomats visiting DC too, and embassies account for almost 10,000 of the number of people employed.

For the history aficionados and the architect enthusiasts this is highly recommended place.    If you have a day to spare, take a tour down the history lane.  Memorial day is recommended day for this is when you can catch the parade while munching down a delicious hotdog.

Budapest – The Pearl of Danube



Budapest – The Pearl of Danube

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A glorious city built on the Banks of Danube; Budapest is the cultural assimilator of Western and Eastern Europe. A city which is youthful, exuberant, vibrant and full heritage and classical European culture is the largest city of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the European Union. The city is cultural, political and economical heart of not only Hungary but also Central Europe. The city has a population of about 1.74 million people and the whole Budapest Commuter Area holds some 3.3 million people. The city’s past is well preserved in the many architectural splendors of the eras gone by and is today seen as one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Besides all the history and modern day extravaganza that Budapest offers one of the main attractions for so many tourists to this wonderful city are its thermal baths and massage centers. Budapest is made of two cities, that is, Buda – on the West bank of Danube and Pest – on the East bank of Danube, together they form one of the most livable, friendliest and youthful cities of Europe.

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The city’s history dates back to the times of the Roman Empire, the first settlements at the bank of Danube were formed by the Celts. By the 1st century A.D the Romans had occupied the settlement and established their own settlement called Aquincum which later became the main city of Lower Pannonia. In the early decades of 9th century A.D the Pannonia was made part of the Bulgarian country, by the end of the same century Hungarians occupied the territory and a century later declared the Kingdom of Hungary with Budapest as its capital. Under the short rule of Bulgarian, Budapest came into being as two military frontiers with Buda Fortress on the west bank and Pest Fortress on the east. Budapest played a very major role during the period of renaissance as a center for arts, culture and literature. The city had at that time the largest and greatest collection of historical chronicles as well philosophical and scientific work at the library Bibliotheca Corviniana.

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In 1848, Budapest became the joint capital of two monarchies of Austro-Hungarians and the Habsburgs this marked a period of greater development of the city, a year later the famous Chain Bridge was opened linking the two banks of Danube. Ultimately in 1873 Buda, Pest and Obuda (Ancient Buda) was merged together to form the metropolitan city of Budapest. The city saw unprecedented development of the city lading to the development of the famous metro line which made Budapest only the second city in the world to have such transportation system. During this time Jews were a big part of the city’s demography which led to it being named the ‘Mecca of Jews’. The city incurred heavy losses during both the World Wars. The years after the war saw massive redevelopment as well as restorations of some of the architectural heritage of the city which was partially destroyed by the erstwhile Soviet Regime.

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Budapest is slowly capturing the imagination of the traveler, its beautifully energy, architecture, world heritage sites, its vibrant culture and music scene is attracting people from all over the world with more than two million people visiting the city every year. The Buda part of the city on the west bank is the more ancient part of the city with many of the historical treasures of the city such as the Castle Hill which homes most of its architectural heritage including the Royal Palace, the Fisherman’s Bastion, National Gallery, Matthias Church, Lions’ Courtyard and Hunyadi Garden. The Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chain Bridge and the Banks of Danube (A World Heritage Site) are lovely way to spend your noon and evenings in the city walking along the banks and on the bridge. You can also enjoy a boat ride on the Danube during sunset and also visit the famous Shoes on Danube which is a memorial on the banks of the river in tribute to the Jews killed there.

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The Pest part of the city is more modern in its atmosphere, culture and lifestyle with city’s financial and business center lying in this bank of the Danube. The nightlife of Pest is very nice with ample discotheques, cafes, and hotels lying in the downtown area. The famous building such as the Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Synagogue are located in the Pest area. Budapest is also the Music Capital of Europe and therefore make sure you visit some opera house in the city to get a taste of Classical music. When you are all tired of roaming around the city exploring its beauty you can rest in the many famous thermal baths and spas in the city some of which have been operational since the 16th century, these thermal baths centers as the one above are great places to enjoy yourslef and relax. Getting around and finding accommodation in the city is very easy you will find local transportation adequate for your travels. With a modest budget you will be able to enjoy a good standard of accommodation and food in the city due to low prices.

Swimming With The Sharks: Pulau Payar



Swimming With The Sharks: Pulau Payar

 

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Amidst the emerald waters of the Strait of Malacca, lies the picturesque island of Pulau Payar.  The island of Pulau Payar is home to rich variety of marine life which has made their homes in the temperate waters surrounding this island.

This island is located a mere thirty five kilometres from the Malaysian island of Langkawi and is famous for its Marine Water Park.

Pulau Payar is a small island stretching two kilometres in length and having a width of only ¼ kilometres. The interiors of the island are covered in dense vegetation and remains inaccessible to tourists. The island is completely uninhabited.  A hiking trail has been built along the circumference of the island for those interested in exploring it.

The main attraction of this island and the reason why hoards of people visit this island everyday are the baby black fined sharks that swim in the shallow waters near the shore. Pulau Payar provides a once in a lifetime experience to get upclose to these magnificent beasts of the wilds in their natural habitat. Besides the sharks, Pulau Payar is home to a diverse range of marine species including several endangered ones. The beautiful corals around the island are another reason to visit it.

The island hosts a wide array of activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming. Water sports are strictly prohibited here as they may harm the precious aquatic life which has chosen to make the waters surrounding this island their home.

GETTING TO PULAU PAYAR: – There are several travel agencies operating packaged day tours,  to the island of Pulau Payar and back every day. The prices of these packages vary from 800 to 1000 Ringet per head. These packages include the ferry fair, the entry fee to the island, snorkelling gear, lunch and refreshments. Ferries leave the Kuah Jetty of Langkawi every morning and return by late afternoon. The boat ride from the Kuah jetty to the island is approximately an hour long.

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Once you disembark, you will think you have been transported to another world. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, standing there on the serene and secluded island surrounded only by Mother Nature, you are bound to forget all your troubles.  Initially you may feel scared to step into the shark infested waters, however gradually the fear fades away and you take your first step into the warm waters of the Strait of Malacca.   These baby sharks are harmless and swim oblivious to the people who share the waters with them.  Looking at this swift agile creatures dart though the water with confidant strokes will fill your mind with awe. The crystal clear waters provide a clear view of the activity going down below.  The blue ringed angel fish is another fish that can be spotted in the waters of this island. As soon as you step into the water, schools of fish start swarming around you as if asking for your attention. These friendly fish occasionally nibble as if asking you to play with them. Snorkelling here is an incredible experience which one should not miss. As you float near the surface of the water, you can see so many different species of fish swimming right underneath you, so close that you can reach out and touch them. For those who are slightly more adventurous, they can opt for scuba diving. Several diving operators take you for dives in the coral reefs near the island.

The best dive spots of the western peninsula are found in Pulau Payar because of its extensive variety of marine life and its coral reefs.Diving gear is provided by them. One of the most famous dive spots is the artificial reef south of Pulau Kaca.  Another unique experience with the Pulau Payar package provides is an opportunity to feed the fishes.  Smaller fish come and peck directly from your hand. It is not often that one gets a chance to feed a shark. The floating reef platform in Pulau Payar lets everyone enjoy the beauty of the marine life which this island provides without having to get wet. This is an excellent option for those people who are too scared to get into the water with the sharks or in general just do not wish to get wet. The floating platform has a tunnel like chamber which is located at the bottom of the platform which is nearly 10 feet below the sea. The platform also has a snack bar, a dining area and a sun deck for people to bask and enjoy the sun.

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Though Pulau Payar is a beautiful place, tourists must take extra care not to pollute this pristine heaven as if we do then the aquatic life of the island will suffer. In recent years, several corals have experienced coral bleaching due to increase in water temperature. Throwing of Plastics or any other sort of garbage into the water is a punishable offence and is strictly prohibited. We must do our best as responsible tourists to protect this beautiful place from any harm that may come to it as a result of our actions.

The Sun and Sand: Muscat



The Sun and Sand: Muscat

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 Lying amidst the undulating sand dunes and the blistering heat of the sun is the oasis that is Muscat. The port town of Muscat is situated at the tip of the gulf of Oman. It is where the dunes of the sand meet the waves of the sea. Muscat is a magical mix of the ancient and the modern fused together in a harmonious symphony. The capital city of Oman has managed to hold on to the essence of its past while progressing into the future which is evident from its buildings, streets, its bustling old bazaars, its rustic winding roads which co-exist with its futuristic malls and its towering skyscrapers.

Among its attractions, perhaps the most alluring is the Bawshar Sands. Hidden in the heart of the city, these golden peaked dunes attract tourists from all corners of the world. It is a perfect getaway for those dying to surf the dunes in their power packed SUV’s or take a spin on the sand waves on their sand bikes. Muscat is the land of the sand, surf and the sun. Only here the sand is not only restricted to the glorious beaches that dot its coastline but is also found in the magnificent, rolling sand dunes that sprawl across the country. The sand dune safari is another activity that one should definitely participate in when one is in Muscat. A Bedouin style camp has been set up on the Wahiba sands is a mere 25 kilometres from the city of Bidiyah. This safari gives tourists an excellent chance to enjoy life on the desert first hand.
The Qurum Beach and the Qantab beach are among a few of the stunning beaches that one can be assured to stumble upon in Muscat. The Qurum beach with its shallow waters during low tide, its wide array of sea shells is the perfect beach to enjoy a leisurely stroll while the Qantab offers a wilder, untamed beauty. All beaches in Oman provide tourists with a wide array of activities such as diving, snorkelling, jet skiing and kite surfing from which one can take their pick. Watching the sun set on this divine landscape is guaranteed to transport you to another world.
Muscat isn’t a land of only scenic beauty but it is also seeped deep in rich history. Located on one of the most flourishing trade routes of the past, and with one of the world’s largest natural harbours, the country of Oman flourished. However with the discovery of oil in the county, the county experienced an economic boom. The Islamic style of architecture is clearly evident in the buildings found there. It is home to several world heritage sites such as the Bahla fort, its ancient settlements and tombs, the Frankincense Route and its five Falajs. The Bhala fort is believed to be built in the pre-Islamic era. This Fort with its 13 km wall houses the Bhala oasis with its traditional souks and archaic mosques. Two places one must go to while visiting Muscat are the Al Jalali and the Al Mirani forts as these two forts give the people who visit, a better understanding about the unique history of Muscat.

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The Royal Opera House in Muscat is one of its most visited locations. Famous not only for its grandeur of the building itself but also for the world class performances it hosts. If you are lucky to visit Muscat between the months of December to March, be sure to drop by the Cultural Theater Program held at the ancient Al Flyaj Castle. The traditional dances, the music and the atmosphere together forms a hedonic mixture for the mind.
A trip to Muscat would be incomplete without a taste of the delicious Omani cuisine. Omani food is a mix of several marinades meat and spices which together create a mouth-watering concoction that promises to tickle the taste buds. The Ruz Al Mudhroub, Maqdeed, Mulaqub, Asria and Mishank are a few of the delicacies that one should definitely try out on a trip to Oman. Shuwa is another Omani delicacy that is prepared only on the finest of occasions. It is a slow cooked meat where the meat is marinated in a wide array of spices such as red pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic and vinegar which is then wrapped in dry banana and palm leaves and then tossed into a smouldering hot oven of coal where it is cooked for 24 to 48 hours. For those who have a sweet tooth, Oman provides a wide array of desserts to choose from. Halwa, sako, kanafa and gamatte nido are among a few.
Muscat’s various souks, bazaars and shopping malls are an amazing place to shop to your heart’s content. High end shoppers interested in buying designer goods only should head to Muscat City centre. The Al Dhalam Souk , famous for its exquisite silver jewellery and its handmade ‘Khanjars’ (daggers) is the largest indoor market in Muscat. The Capital Commerce Centre is a shopping mall cum market that is an excellent place to buy trinkets, leather goods and Omani silver work.
The best time to visit this dessert oasis is between the months of October to March.

Kungsleden – The King’s Trail



Kungsleden – The King’s Trail

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If you’re looking for an adventurous hike trip with a great mix of nature and its beauty for one whole month or less than a month, then all you have to do is take up a hiking trip along The King’s Trail – Kungsleden. The trail is divided into four portions and each portion can be covered in a week thus giving you a month long adventurous hiking experience. The name itself suggests you the best hiking trail in the world both in the summer and skiing in the winter. Kunglsedan is a hiking trail situated in Sweden stretching over 440 kilometers (270 miles) from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the South. It covers the largest portion of Europe’s best wildernesses and scenic beauty. You can take a trip from any of the following locations and end your hike depending on your choice of wilderness and type of hiking and the distance: Abisko, Nikkaluokta, Saltoluokta, Kvikkjokk, Ammarnäs and Hemavan. Each strip of the trail offers a variety of nature’s striking and breath-taking view covered and surrounded by large mountains, beautiful lakes, sparkly streams and amazing u-shaped valleys and meadows.

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This trail was first established in the early 1900’s and is one of the well-equipped and safe trails. It has two routes: the summer trail and the winter trail. Summer trails are indicated by painted poles or stones while the winter trails are marked by poles with red cross and two crosses on a pole indicate a change in the direction. Both start in the same direction but both are indicated by different marks on the map. These trails have well marked ski-routes, wooden plank paths – walkways over swampy lands and rocky areas, foot-bridges and bridges across high water courses between the mountains and row-boats across large lakes and rivers with at least one row-boat on each shore to traverse during the summer. During winter these bridges are dissembled in order to prevent them from getting damaged due to heavy snowfall. It is better to take a trip during the season as it is quite safe, equipped and well-inspected.

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The best thing about Kugsledan is that, it consists of STF huts along the trail separated by a distance of 9-22 kilometers. These are well-equipped rest shelters and provide all the commodities required for a hiker and the provisions are available right there along with wood and other essentials, such that these hikers need not travel with heavy bags. They have shops that have tinned foods like pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, bread and cheese, soft drinks, including spirits, gas and alcohol for stoves and insects and mosquito repellents, trail maps etc. These huts also have emergency telephones for communication as mobile phones may not get the signal coverage in the mountainous areas. The only information to be kept in mind is that there are no huts installed along the trail between Kvikkjokk and Ammarnäs, which covers over a distance of 130 kilometers of the Kungsleden trail.

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Now moving on to the landscape and other details in each section of the Kungsleden, it has a wide range of landscapes from mountain, forests, valleys, lakes, plateaus etc. The trail between Abisko and Nikkaluokta is the most walkable and covered by the most attractive Swedish Alpines. On moving South towards Saltoluokta, it takes you to the wildest mountains separated by the large and smooth U-shaped valleys and lakes. The stretch Saltoluokta and Kvikkjokk forms the border area between the thick forests and high peaking mountains to mostly bare mountain areas. Moving to the south of Kvikkjokk, the extensive birch forest of Sweden spreads out and covers the entire area with its wild beauty slowly reaching the low mountain plateau. The last stretch between Ammarnäs and Hemavan forms high mountainous regions and easily walked valleys.

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The best time to visit and enjoy the hike trip here is between mid-June and the end of September for the summer trail and from mid February to the end of April for the winter trail. It should also be kept in mind that the weather could be dangerous during the early and late winter – snow. During the season all the huts would be open and the row boats will also be available for a safe trip. You can reach Abisko via direct trains from Göteborg, Stockholm or Narvik by bus from Kiruna or from Narvik. Some of the areas along the trail can be reached through road transport either by car or bus and public transport busses can be seen only during the summer. Regular flights are also available between Hemavan and Stockholm.

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The highlights and hotspots of the Kungleden are the Abisko, Kebnekaise, Sarek National Park, Kvikkjokk, Hemavan and Tärnaby. Abisko and Hemavan and Tärnaby both serve to be a hotspot in both summer and winter. In summer Abisko offers botanical multitude and mountain station or hostel for the hikers while Hemavan and Tärnaby offer great hiking experience and in winter both are great spots for back-country skiing. Kebnekaise is the highest mountain of 2,111 metres (6,926 ft) and provides an added attraction to the trails with its marvelous white peaks and has the Kebnekaise fjällstation – mountain lodge at its foot. The Sarek National Park has no bridges or trail tracks and is the best place for experienced hikers who look for a raw-nature adventure trip. People who wish to start their hike at the Sarek National Park usually visit Kvikkjokk first; a small mountain farm village that also has nice hostels for the hikers. Kungsleden offers safe and one of the best mountain adventures for every hiker in the world.

Omaha’s Friendly Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium



Omaha’s Friendly Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

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The best zoo of the world- Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is situated in Omaha, Nebraska. The exact location is 3701 South, 10th Street, Omaha. The zoo is owned and maintained by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums has it as its member. The world class zoo aims at education, conservation, recreation and research. The zoo is also known for its leadership in the research and conservation of animals. This best reviewed zoo also features some of the greatest exhibits. Some of them are the “Kingdoms of the Night” which is the largest nocturnal exhibit in the entire world; next is the largest indoor rainforest- “the Lied Jungle”; other is the “Desert Dome” which is the biggest indoor desert across the globe. North America has its biggest cat complex in the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium only. This is by far the most visited place in Omaha and even the most visited zoo in Nebraska as over 25 million people have visited this zoo in the last 40 years.

Discussing the Past:

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Originally, it was named as Riverview Park Zoo and was built in the year 1894. After four years of its establishment it only had 120 animals. In the year 1952, the Omaha Zoological Society took the initiative to improve the conditions of the zoo. Margaret Hitchcock Doorly, now its owner, gave 750,000 US dollar to the zoo in the year 1963. Later the zoo was renamed in the memory of her late husband- Henry Doorly. The Union Pacific got the authorisation of spreading the zoo over an area of 2.5 miles in the year 1968. On 22nd of July 1968, the Omaha Zoo Railroad was laid and two rides were established to navigate the whole zoo. From 2009 onwards, the zoo became the home of many butterflies, other insects and many animals also (including rhinos and elephants). Since 2011, the authorities are focussing on developing the area of once Rosenblatt Stadium to make it the new parking centre of the zoo.

Scott Kingdoms:

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On 1st of April 1995, the Walter and Suzanne Scott Kingdoms of the Seas Aquarium was opened within the area of the zoo. The whole project was of 16 million dollars. The entire aquarium acquires 1,200,000 US gal water and was spread over an area of 71,000 square feet. On 5th of April 2012, the aquarium was reopened with some amazing changes. The Scott Kingdom displays a lot of aquatic inhabitants which came from coral reefs, Amazon Rainforest and Polar Regions. A shark tunnel and tank is also developed which is 17 foot deep and is filled with sharks, coral reef fishes, stingrays and some beautiful sea turtles. The other tanks have an open-ocean schooling fish and a jellyfish. During summers, penguins (only little) can be seen near the entrance of the aquarium. Apart from these the other creatures that can be found in the aquarium are Putterfish, Lionfish, Tufted Puffin, Weedy sea dragon, Moray eel, etc.

The Amazing Lied Jungle:

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This is the main attraction of the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. It is the biggest indoor rainforest across the entire world. The total space of 1.5 acres is divided into regions: 61,000 square feet is of exhibit space which is planted, 35,000 square feet region is offered to the management area, 123,000 square feet is the floor space and the educational region covers an area of 11,000 square feet. As the name implies 90 different animal species can be seen in this jungle. Some of these species are endangered and some can be seen on a large scale. The names of some of them are:

  • Common Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri Sciureus)
  • Scarlet Macaw (Ara Macao)
  • Blue Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis)
  • Baird’s Tapir (Tapairus Bairdi)
  • Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta Caraya)
  • Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus Mindorensis)
  • Gibbon
  • Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis Liberiensis)

Desert Dome and Garden of the Senses:

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The popular Kingdoms of Night is included in the Desert Dome itself which is the largest indoor desert till date in the world. The geodesic dome of the Desert Dome is the biggest glazed geodesic dome ever made. The Desert Dome was spectacularly designed with features of different exotic deserts namely Namib Desert (South Africa), Sonoran Desert (Southwest United States) and Red Cener, Australia. Thus, with the geographical features of these deserts the place is worth visiting. Another supreme attraction of Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is the Garden of the Senses. The garden features many different birds, plants, huge sundial, fountains, etc. There are approximately 250 different species of plants available that includes herbs, roses, trellises, perennials and some butterfly friendly plants. Some common birds that can be seen there are Australian cockatoos, Macaws and the pretty South American Parrots.

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We can’t ignore the glorious Cat Complex, the Hubbard Orangutan Forest, the Hubbard Gorilla Valley, the Durham Family Bear Canyon, the Butterfly Conservatory, the Tree of Learning, the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, the insect zoo, the Chrysalis Hatching Room, the Simmons Aviary and the amazing Expedition Madagascar which was opened recently in the year 2010. The whole zoo is very big, so we can’t even count the number of exhibits it offers. To explore each and every part of the Zoo is impossible. So one have to take turns if want to see the whole zoo properly.

Wisconsin Loves its Cheese Curds



Wisconsin Loves its Cheese Curds

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Wisconsin is a U.S state located in the north central part of United States in the mid-west and green lake regions. Wisconsin is a state which produces about a quarter of America’s cheese and leading the nation in cheese production worldwide and stands second in terms of milk production after California. Thus due to its standing it is considered as “America’s Dairy-land” because of its leading producer of dairy products especially of cheese.

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Cheese curds basically is used in cuisine, or in cooking and are the solid parts of soured milk either eaten alone or used in various regional dishes. As soon as cheese curds are produced they are to be consumed in a minimal time of manufacturing and it has various variety to itself. It is highly acceptable to experiments and thus ends up in providing various flavors and types to itself. Normal cheese curds are made of plain milk and can be consumed with whatever possible. They are white in color which seems like small cut outs of milk. They are also terms as fresh cheese curds. They can be consumed as an appetizer, as snack or even as a finger food. They can be served alone or dressed with an additional flavor which end up being in the category of flavored cheese curds or with another food item such as a small smoked sausage or piece of cured pork, with the elements skewered together on a toothpick similar to satte.

variety of cheese curds

The various flavors in cheese curds include jalapeno, chili peppers, garlic, various herbs or spice blends such as Cajun seasoning with a mixture of garlic and dill herb on cheddar curds turning out to a very popular combination in Wisconsin.

deep fried cheese curds

Another type of cheese curd are the fried cheese curds which are deep fried and are often found at carnivals and fair. They are assorted even at local non chain fast food restaurants and bars as side dish. The deep fried cheese curds are covered with a batter which is similar to the batter used to make onion rings or are breaded and placed in a deep fryer and then they are served as a side dish with a hint of ranch on to it make it more delicious. In some places deep fried cheese curds are also recognized as cheeseballs.

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Cheese curds are considered to be the main ingredient in Poutine which is a dish consisting of French fries which would be topped with fresh cheese curds and then covered with the brown gravy and some extra additional ingredients whereas the sauce was purposefully added later in order to keep the fries warm for a longer duration. The dish originated in rural Quebec, Canada in the late 50’s. Numerous Quebecois communities claim to be the birthplace of poutine.

The online shopping of cheese curds is one of the highlights and has attached to itself variety of various online marts and websites which provides such services to the buyers. Moreover this facility is more famous and more productive in Wisconsin as it turns out to be faster and easier way to shop.

There are a variety of super marts and home marts which provide the citizens with a vast variety of different flavors and taste of delicious cheese curds and one of the is Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery which realized its significance in a very long time before the former Wisconsin Governor Anthony S. Earl proclaimed and announced the creamery as the “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin” in 1984.

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Almost 495 humble and proud dairy farm family owners live near Ellsworth, throughout Wisconsin and even into Minnesota. 100% All Natural Premium Cheddar Cheese Curds are the specialty product of this creamery and being proudly sold traders and retailers nationwide. Our farmer or even can be known as the producers are very particular about quality and it shows in every fresh batch of Cheese Curds they produce in their dairy. The famous squeaky cheese is available in five delicious flavors which includes original white cheddar cheese, Cajun, taco, garlic and ranch flavor cheese curds. They can be purchased fresh at the marts on-location stores in Ellsworth and Comstock, found in grocery stores across the United States or which can be purchased online and can be shipped direct to the customers.

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In June 2011, the Comstock Creamery in Wisconsin, joined the Ellsworth Cooperative family which is best known for Havarti and Muenster cheese as they also manufacture Artisan & Specialty Brands like Blaser’s, Antonella, Ellsworth Valley provides free cheese and Kammerude Gouda. In today’s period together they now offer over 100 assorted cheeses and different variety of cheese curds. They also offer variety of snack meats, crackers, souvenirs, unique kitchenware, wine, fudge, and gift items as well.

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Another cheese mart in Wisconsin is The Wisconsin Cheese Mart which has grown from a small cheese shop to leader in selling Wisconsin Cheese online. Delicious cheese and Wisconsin turns out to behave as natural partnership for lifelong terms. With the Dairy State’s healthy combination of fertile land and balanced climate, milk production tend to excel in here. And Wisconsin’s milk is not only impressive in terms of quantity, but also in quality factors. When the finest milk in the country is put into the hands of skilled and knowledgeable cheese makers, the end result is nothing less than exceptional cheese which is then sold out in the markets and end up incurring enormous profits and prove itself to be the best of all.

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The Wisconsin Cheese Mart has been part of this tradition since 1938 as this is the year when it formally came into existence. The Wisconsin Cheese Mart searches out the best cheeses which can be found throughout the state of Wisconsin and they even carry over 200 varieties of cheese in their display cases and sell by the quantity of pound in their stores. They even ship cheese to all 50 states in the country with the help of online selling techniques and strategies. They only use real Wisconsin Cheese in their gift baskets too including cheese curds.

 

 

The Taste Of Punjab



The Taste Of Punjab

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The word PUNJAB appeared for the the first time in the book

“Tarikh-e-sher-shah”. It describes the construction of a Fort by “Sher Khan of Punjab”.

Punjab the land of five rivers, is located at the northwest end of India. Punjabi culture is one of the oldest, richest and most vibrant cultures in world history. It is famous for its metal work, embroidery, wall paintings, jewelry, architecture, folk songs, dances and food. Punjabi food is world famous for its delicacies, flavors and aromas that you can hardly resist!!

North Indian cuisines are the most popular Cuisines offering a wide variety of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

What makes these cuisines so special, different and mouth watering which you really can’t resist?? Is it Marinades, Sauces or some seasonings?? No, It’s the magic of full bodied masalas (spices) cooked with liberal amount of pure ghee and always served with a liberal hand of butter or desi ghee. Milk and its products are an essential part of our everyday cookery. There are of course certain dishes which are part and parcel of Punjab and their very mention conjures up the rich flavor of the state.

A typical simple Punjabi meal consists of roti, sabzi served with a chunk of butter or desi ghee accompanied with a plate of onions, green chilies, lime and a glass of creamy lassi. When it comes to food, each region in Punjab has an entirely different preferences like- People of Amritsar are mainly fond of stuffed paranthas and milk products. There is a well said philosophy for Punjabis “The life for most of the Punjabis is to eat, drink and enjoy their life to the fullest.” Punjabi food is well known for some dishes which has been a part of their diet since ages. Some of the popular dishes are-

Sarson da saag, makki di Roti with butter milk – Sarson da saag with Makki di Roti served with the butter milk is the traditional dish of Punjab. It is the most popular in winter and is highly nutritious as it is made with mustard leaves (contains a lot of iron and protein). Makki di Roti is a flat, unleavened Indian bread made from corn flour. Like most Indian flat breads, this too is baked on a tava and is one of the important elements of the rural diet of Punjabi cuisine.

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Tandoori Chicken– Tandoori Chicken is a popular Indian dish consisting of chicken marinated in a mixture of yoghurt and spices traditionally cooked in high temperatures in a tandoor (clay oven) and also can be prepared on a traditional barbecue grill.

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Stuffed Parantha– Stuffed parantha or parantha is a routine breakfast. The stuffing can be potatoes or cheese or cauliflower etc. It is cooked in loads of ghee and served with curd or white butter.

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Rajma Masala with rice – Rajma is one of the favorite main course dishes of all Punjabi’s irrespective of age. It is made with kidney beans, boiled and cooked in tangy and spicy gravy. This is served with steaming hot boiled rice called chawal.

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Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani – It is a very popular non-vegetarian dish that is likeed by most of us. Popularly well-known as Murg Makhani. It is made with pieces of chicken cooked in tomato gravy. This dish is just lip-smacking, luscious and impossible to resist.

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Dal Makhni Bukhara– Dal Makhani, an amazing dish which is prepared with lentils and beans combined with fresh cream (malai), spiced and cooked to get a creamy texture that enhances the flavor of the dish.

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Hariyali Paneer Makhani– Hariyali paneer makhani is a paneer recipe with paneer cubes cooked in creamy green gravy. The gravy is prepared by mixing spinach and cream

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Punjabi Kadi Pakodi– it is a popular dish. Pakoras are made and cooked in tangy sour and spice yoghurt sauce thickened with besan flour.

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Punjabi Sweet Lassi– Lassi is the favorite drink of Punjabis. It is made from beaten curd and milk. It is thick and creamy often had with breakfast, lunch or even otherwise.

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Feeling hungry?? Well what you are waiting for get up and grab some Punjabi food and enjoy the delicious taste.  You can visit the most famous dhaba’s or restuarants in Punjab where you can enjoy the these delicious cuisines and make your taste buds happy –

 

Kesar da Dhaba

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It serves an exclusive mouthwatering cuisines with the Traditional Punjabi flavor. The thali is the most delicious preparations which consists of 2 plain Parantha, Dal Fry, Channa Plain, Raita and Salad. Famous for Dal Tadka from dishes corner and Firni from desserts.

It is located in Amritsar near Golden Temple

 

RANGLA PUNJAB

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It’s very easy to reach Haveli. The theme based restaurant is located at GT Road, Jalandhar-Phagwara Highway at Jalandhar.

Rangla Punjab is the true representation of an age-old Punjabi Village. Once you enter the place you will be transported back in time to experience the grandeur yet simplicity of by gone time.

The décor of the place has been set-up with detailing, highlighting every aspect needed to familiarize the guest with the true culture of the olden times. You will find various sculptures of Punjabis engaged in different acts viz. weaving, dancing, playing marbles, fetching water etc. In the centre foyer the well- water fetching mechanism is demonstrated with the help of a real bull & a mock-up well.

There are sections of the place dedicated to re-creating replicas of a subedaar’s house, a kitchen with brass vessels, jeweller’s store and a mock-up model of a village allowing the guests to get a real glimpse of that era.

Evenings at the place witness a Punjabi Mela set-up, electrified with live bhangra-gidda performances and street plays.

There are numerous activities viz. Puppetry, Magic show, Pottery, astrology, bioscope, camel-rides & horse-rides to keep the guests captivated.

HAVELI

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It serves an exclusive mouth watering cuisine at The Traditional Punjabi Veg. Restaurant. It is located inside Rangla Punjab and is very famous for the food.