Monday, December 29, 2008

Hi, I'm a frequent-flier addict


It's that time of year again for the 'mileage run.' The goal is 3,807 miles, and the destination doesn't matter. For this flier, it's about the upgrades, the bonuses and the rush. I have flown from Charlotte to Amsterdam and stayed just long enough to visit a coffee shop and see some Van Goghs before flying back across the Atlantic.

I have flown from Los Angeles to New York and wandered 5th Avenue and Central Park for an afternoon, admiring storefront holiday decorations, before returning to Kennedy for the flight home. I have flown from San Diego to Las Vegas and stayed 20 hours -- no hotel necessary -- before heading back to the airport yet again. Yes, it's time for the "mileage run." These mad dashes across the wintry skies at 35,000 feet are specifically designed to earn precious miles before the year-end deadline that can boost you from an ordinary coach passenger to, in the case of Delta Air Lines' program, vaunted Medallion status, where free upgrades and other benefits await.
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info on Medallion status

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunset at Sam

After covering all the areas in Jaisalmer we moved out to outskirts of Jaisalmer. Sam village is on the edge of the Desert National Park. One of the most popular excursions is to the sand dunes on the edge of the park, 42 km from Jaisalmer along a very good sealed road.

It is best to be here at sunrise or sunset, and many camel safaris spend a night at the dunes. Just before the sunset jeep carrying loads of day-trippers arrive from Jaisalmer to be chased across the sands by tenacious camel owners. Despite of the tourist hype, it is still quite a magical place, and it is possible to frame pictures of solitary camels against lonely dunes. The desert dung beetles are fascinating to watch.


From Jaisalmer we traveled to Jodhpur, blue city.

Distance: Jaisalmer ---> Jodhpur 285 kms

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Jaisalmer, Golden City and more

After completing the tour of the Havelis we moved ahead to see other attractions that this city has to offer. The city has lot beautiful lake and cenotaphs that are a must watch.

Tazia Tower

The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace). Rising in its five-tiered splendor, with each story graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia and gifted to their royal patron. Tazia’s are ornately decorated bamboo, paper and tinsel replicas of a bier carried in procession during Mohurram.

Gadisar Lake

Gadisar is a man made reservoir in Jaisalmer built in the 1700s. This tank outside the city walls, once held the town's water supply, and, befitting its importance in providing precious water t
o the inhabitants of this arid city, is surrounded by small temples and shrines. A wide variety of waterfowl flock here in winter.

The tank was built by Maharaja Gadsi Singh, taking the advantage of a natural declivity that already retained some water.

The main gate that leads to the lake was unknowingly built by prostitutes, and so, noble people never pass under it, but rather use a rather humble step path to the right, under the tree.

Royal Cenotaphs

These monuments are located on Ramgarh Road 6kms from Jaisalmer. These cenotaphs also known as chattris and were constructed by the various Bhatti rulers. One cenotaph has been erected for each ruler. The oldest among them is the cenotaphs of Maharawal Jait Singh who reigned from 1470-1506. This tradition was discontinued when in 1947, one of the prince died of a mysterious disease. This was taken as a bad omen and thus this tradition came to its end.

We next move ahead to desert area to explore Sam Sand Dunes .



P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

For more sky shots join us @ Sky Watch

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mokpo korean old town best tourist attractions

Mokpo (Mokpo-si) ( 木浦市) is a major port city in South Jeolla Province , South Korea ,surrounded by hills facing the sea on the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula with a population of about 260,000. From Mokpo there are ferries to Tadohae Haesang National Park, Chin-do, Hong-do and Shinan island . The cheapest ferries to Chejo island also depart from Mokpo and the is now a ferry to Shanghai . Mokpo is the hometown of President Kim Dae-jung, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001

Mokpo best tourist attractions and things to see in Mokpo including Park, Museum, Festival, Hall, and so many things here :

1. Yudal San park
A short climb gives a commanding view of the city with many pavalions . There are many scultures to be see here, If you wander off the main trails you can find old carving on the hilside . The building in front of the park is historical site #289, which used to be the Japanese consulate . There is a statue there of Yi-Sun-shin, who gazes at Nojok-bong hill. According to legend Yi-Sun-shin covered the hill with straw bags to imitate bags of rice to fool the invading Japanese army that he had more troops than there really were .
2. Yudal beach
3. Daebandong
4. Mokposisa
5. National Maritime Museum
Here you can see the remains of the yuan Dynasty junk ( which is quite large ) and the relics found with it, along with other items from Korean naval history
Take 111 Bus in front of Mokpo MBC, Hadang Geumho apartment, 25 minutes by taxi
6. Mokpo Natural History Museum
7. Mokpo Folklore Museum
8. Yongsan Dam and farming Museum
9. Regional Cultural Center Hyangto Munhwagwan
10. Namnong Memorial Hall
11. Mokpo Cultural Festival
Held every September or October since 1959, and it shows lives and spirits of Namdo people. During the festival, there are various kinds of events such as Play Festival, Music Festival, Jazz Concert

Yudal San Park
Yudal San Park in Mokpo


Mokpo Old Town
Mokpo Old Town view


Mokpo City View
Mokpo City


Mokpo Downtown
Downtown in Mokpo


Watch Mokpo Mugunghwa Hampyeong Station Start Up video here

Hefei gateway to the Huangshan Mountain best Bars and clubs

Hefei (合肥) is a prefecture-level city and the capital of Anhui province, China. Located in central Anhui. Hefei is a city with a history of more than 2000 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and financial center of Anhui Province. Hefei is the Hometown of Lord Bao and Northern Gateway to the Huangshan Mountain

There are a lot of tourist attraction places in Hefei, such as Leisure Ford (a public park sitting on the ancient site of the Battle of Hefei), Temple of Lord Bao, Hui Garden, and the Anhui LaoMingGuang stadium. The surrounding areas of Hefei abound with tourist resources. There are many tourist attractions known nation-wide within a radius of 300 kilometers of Hefei such as the Huangshan Mountain, Mt. Jiuhua, the Taiping Lake, Mt. Tianzhu, Mt. Tiantangzhai, the ancient town of Shouxian, the Imperial Mausoleum of the Ming Dynasty, Mt. Langya, etc. With mature regional tourist routes, Hefei is an ideal transfer station for tourists from north China who head for tourist attractions in East China.

Hefei nightlife is not really exposed in internet. But we still can enjoy the nightlife attractions like theater, bars, teahouses, clubs, disco, KTV in Hefei.

Hefei best Theater, Bars, Teahouses, Disco, KTV, Nightclub are listed here :

Hefei Theater :

1. Changjiang Theater, Add: #10 Jiushiqiao Rd, Tel: 2654520
2. Lu Opera Theater, Add: #537 Meiling Avenue, Tel: 2651853
3. Huachong Theater, Add: #589 East Changjiang Rd, Tel: 4483032
4. Changhuai Cinema, Add: #1109 East Changjiang Rd, Tel: 4293254
5. Guangming Cinema, Add: #445 Jinzhai Rd, Tel: 2823792
6. Huangmei Opera Theater, Add: #136 Tongcheng Rd, Tel: 2676856-801

Hefei Bars / Teahouses / Clubs :

1. MAX_CLUB,
Add: #203 Tongcheng Rd, Tel: 3550773

2. SOS Bar,
Add: #59 Ningguo Rd, Tel: 2902222

3. Baby Face
Add: Technology Plaza, #4 Garden Street, Tel: 2647198

4. Baidu Bar
Add: Wantong Plaza, #394 Meiling Avenue, Tel: 2199289

5. New World Café
Add: Central Garden #116 Yanhe Rd, Tel: 5525288

6. Dingding Holiday Café
Add: #1 Haozhou Rd, Tel: 5619333

7. Evergreen Tree Café
Add: #94 Lujiang Rd, Tel: 2619499

8. Langong Teahouse
Add: #1 South Ring Rd, Tel: 2827179 2828231

9. Dahongpao Teahouse
Add: #360 Meiling Avenue, Tel: 4653666

10. Yidouchicha Teahouse
Add: #133 Tongcheng Rd, Tel: 2628677

Hefei Nightlife
Hefei in nightlife view
Hefei City
Hefei city the capital of Anhui province

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New U.S. entry requirement

The United States will launch a new immigration system starting Jan. 12 to try to prevent terrorists entering the country. This will require foreign short-stay visitors from 34 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, including Japan, to apply for travel authorization at a Web site in advance of boarding a plane or vessel headed for the U.S.

You need to apply if you are an eligible citizen or national of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program. Countries include Japan, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Seven countries were added in November: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. The list of participating states can be found on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site at www.dhs.gov

How do you apply? Access the ESTA Web site run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
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Havelis of Jaisalmer

After going around the fort we set our eyes in other monuments of the city. The city is not only famous for the Golden Fort, but also the haveli's that are built by wealthy merchants of that time, Some of the prominent havelis are:

Patwon-ki-Haveli

This haveli was built between 1800 and 1860, by five Jain brothers who made their fortunes by trading jewelery and fine brocades.

Nathmalji-ki-Haveli

This late 19th century haveli was also used as a prime minister's house and has a superb exterior.

The designers exhibited unwavering tenacity and dexterity in executing the massive haveli.

That is my family
This is one of the favorite spot to click snaps.

Next we moved ahead to see other attractions of the city.



P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

For more visit Thursday Challenge

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Puff Adder Facts


Latin Name: Bitis arietans

Length: Up to 1 m.

Lifespan: Average 13 years.

Distribution: Found throughout Africa except for desert regions and mountaintops.

Food: Rats, mice, other small mammals, birds, frogs, toads and other snakes.

Reproduction:
Puff Adders are viviparous (give birth to live young), giving birth to 16 – 40 young, which are born in the late summer. The young are highly venomous upon hatching and are capable of inflicting a serious bite.
The Puff Adder holds the record for giving birth to the most amount young by any snake, 156!

Venom:
Their venom is Cytotoxic and highly dangerous. Once the venom enters the body, the body sends plasma (white blood cells) to the site of the bite to try and dilute the venom. With the venom being so potent, excess amounts of plasma sent cause the body tissues to swell up to the degree where the veins are compressed tightly up against the skin, resulting in loss of blood circulation. The area that swells up will often turns to a blackish-blue color with there being a lack of blood.
If not treated promptly, often amputations may necessary after about 4 hours.

Notes:
The Puff Adder is responsible for most of the serious snakebite incidents in Africa as it is the most common widespread venomous snake on the continent and often does not move when approached resulting in many people being bitten.
It is a rather sluggish moving snake but can strike very rapidly. From a coiled position too striking and then returning back to a coiled position takes just 0,24 of a second!
When approached they will often hiss and puff, hence the name “Puff Adder”.

Monday, December 15, 2008

LA Times; Travel Section - special offers & deals

Special Offers & Deals from our preferred advertisers.
This is a good section to visit periodically to get the latest offers. - Bill
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New Years events in Las Vegas


On New Year's Eve, the Las Vegas Strip will once again be transformed into a giant block party. About 300,000 people are expected. Revelers, however, will need to be strategically positioned to see the aerial display. Instead of being shot from the rooftops of various resorts the fireworks will be launched from atop parking garages.

"These fireworks are going to be 300 feet closer to people on the Strip," says Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. The downside is that only people in certain locations on or near Las Vegas Boulevard will have a good view. Information on those sites will be available online (www.ap2009.com) beginning Tuesday. Beyond the fireworks, here's a sampling of ways to ring in 2009.
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Who’s to blame when there’s an unwanted charge for extra frequent flier miles?


I recently traveled round trip from LAX to Washington, D.C., on United. United told me I could print my boarding pass and pay the baggage fee online. I did that, but as I was making my selection, I had to opt out of several costly offers. When I returned from Washington, I asked the hotel concierge to print the boarding pass and pay the baggage fee. When I got home, I noticed that one of the pages the concierge printed was an acceptance of a $137 charge for United’s Award Accelerator, which increases the value of flier miles. I called United’s customer service reps, but they refused to cancel the charge. Can I get my $137 back?

Answer: Yes, but not because there are clear-cut good guys and bad guys here. As is often the case when airlines were involved, I thought at first this was merely a question of customer service, which I continue to insist is a misnomer when airlines are involved. But the more I talked with Smith, United and Tim Winship, travel editor at large for SmarterTravel.com, the less clear it became. Smith erred by not telling the concierge to be careful. She had successfully evaded the charge when she printed out her own boarding pass on the first leg of her trip. The concierge erred by accidentally obligating her to buy the extra miles.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jaisalmer, the Golden City

Next day we left Bikaner in the early morning and reached our next destination Jaisalmer in the evening. We stayed 2 nights in this place as there are lot of places to be seen.

There is interesting legend associated with Jaisalmer city. It is believed that, Lord Krishna, had once told Arjuna that a remote descendant of the Yadav Clan would build his kingdom atop the Trikuta Hi
ll. In 1156 A.D. Rawal Jaisal, a descendant of the Yadav Clan and a Bhatti Rajput, abandoned his fort at Lodurva and founded a new capital - Jaisalmer, perched on the Trikuta Hill.

It is also known as the Golden city of India as the yellow sand gives a yellowish-golden touch to the city & its surrounding area.

Golden Fort

Built in 1156 by the Bahtti Rajput ruler Jaisala, and reinforced by later rulers, the fort crowns the 80 m - high Trikuta Hill. This is one of the oldest living fort, where one quarter of the old city's population is still residing in it. The fort has 99 bastions around its circumference and is protected by three walls.

The fort looks especially magical when it is lit up at night.

The above snap is taken using film SLR Canon camera without the assistance of tripod. Out of the 4 shots, two of them were successful.

Apart from the massive fort the city has many more attractions which are not to be missed.


P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jeju Island best bars pubs casinos beach

Jeju Island (제주도) formerly Cheju Island, is an island off the southern coast of South Korea.Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. Scenic beaches, waterfalls, cliffs and caves lie in harmony, and the mild weather makes Jeju island an even more ideal tourist destination.

Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.

Jeju has so many nightlife attractions. Bars,Pubs, and casino can be found easily in the city especially located in the "old city" near city hall. This is where the young college kids and Jeju-do's English teachers hang out.

Nightlife in Jeju, South Korea is abound with many options namely Bars&pubs in Jeju, Casinos in Jeju and nightclubs in Jeju. One of the high points of nightlife in Jeju is the wide array of bars&pubs in Jeju. Most of the bars and pubs here are operated by the luxurious super deluxe hotels and resorts in Jeju.

In Seogwipo, the nightlife is centered around the luxury hotels and resorts. The Jungmun Tourist Complex has a bunch of upscale hotel lounges and karaoke bars. Also, many major hotels have casinos.
Jeju Island
Jeju Island has a beautiful beaches

Jeju City
Street in Jeju City

Watch Travel in Jeju Island Korea, Travel Hawaii in Korea (1박2일도 제주도의 아름다움에 놀라다) video here

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nandi Teertha Temple, Bangalore

Malleswaram, located in the north-west of Bangalore, derives its name from the famous Kaadu Malleshwara temple originally, a village named Mallapura.

Malleswaram is one of the areas in Bangalore where you can find many Hindu Temples. It has old Hindu constructed using the Dravidian architecture which were built during King Venkojirao Bhonsle of Thanjavur's (17th century B.C.) like the Kadu Malleshwara temple. Other famous temples in the area are Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Sri Krishna temple, Circle Maramma Temple, Kannika Parameshwari Temple.

The 17th cross, 2nd main road, Temple Street is adorned by various temples. One among them is Nandi Teertha Temple. Here one can see water fall onto an idol of Shiva through the mouth of Nandi. This was discovered in the year 1999, but it has stood for 7,000 years on that spot. Being buried over the years hasn't diminished its aura at all. The temple was completely buried and the land above it was a flat stretch. When the land was dug, they found buried underneath, this temple and it was in perfect condition, preserved by the thick layers of soil. This underground temple was enclosed within a stone cut courtyard supported by ancient stone pillars. At the far end of the courtyard, a Nandi was carved out of a black stone with eyes painted in gold. From its mouth a clear stream of water flowed directly on to a Shivalinga made out of the same black stone at a lower level. There were steps that led to a small pool in the center of the courtyard where the water flowed and collected. The pool's center had a 15 feet deep whirlpool.



Nobody knows where the water comes from and how it passes from the mouth of the Nandi idol on to the Shivalinga. Nobody knows how the whirlpool came into being, the source of water, the sculptor, even the time when it was built remains a mystery.

Andong Korea city of Hahoe Masks

Andong is a city in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, South Korea. It is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seoul. It is the largest city in the northern part of the province with a population of almost 185,000.

Andong is famous for its “Hahoe” masks and a picturesque folk village surrounded by a river, a mountain and a breathtaking pine tree forest. It also has a high concentration of people with the family name Ryu.

Andong has so many beautiful sites and places to attract the visitors. Don't forget to visit such famous sites like this :

1. The Korea National Tourism Office has a small Tourist Information Center at the Andong train station. It is staffed by volunteers and the level of English proficiency tends to be low, but they have several good guides to the area in English and Japanese, as well as Korean. Stop by and pick up one of their area maps.
2. Andong Dam- Built in 1976, the multi-purpose dam provides hydro-electric power and recreational areas for the surrounding areas.
3. Andong Folk Museum- Built to preserve the cultural assets endangered by the creation of Andong Dam, the museum contains over 3,700 items representing the Confucian culture of the Andong region.
4. Andong Folk Village- The village contains the Andong Folk Museum, as well as many reconstructed and relocated traditional buildings, many of which also function as restaurants.
5. Andong Market- Andong actually has numerous markets, as it functions as the central trading area for the surrounding areas. The locally produced cloth is especially famous.
6. Chebiwan Seokbul (Amitaba Buddha)- A 12+ meter high stone Buddha, with the body and head carved separately from different pieces of granite.
7. Hahoe Folk Village- The 600+ year old village is truly a living museum as the inhabitants have maintained the traditional way of life through the generations.
8. Hahoe Mask Museum- The museum contains over 200 Korean masks and 100 foreign masks, concentrating on the Hahoe Pyolshingut T'alnori, the famous mixture of entertainment and shamanistic ritual for which the Hahoe area is famous.
9. Pongjong-sa Temple- Dating from 672, this beautiful temple contains many cultural properties, including Keungnakcheon, Korea's oldest wooden building.
10. Shinsae-dong 7-story Pagoda- Built during the Shilla Dynasty, this 17 meter high pagoda is Korea's tallest and oldest brick pagoda.
11. Tosanseowon (Confucian Academy)- Established in 1574, it was the center of Confucian studies in the surrounding region for over 400 years, and is designated Historical Site.
12. Yonggye-ri Ginko Tree- Over 37 meters in height and 16 meters in width, this is one of Korea's oldest and largest trees, and it is reputed to "moan" whenever Korea is about to suffer misfortune.


Hahoe village of Andong


The Andong International Mask Dance Festival


Watch Andong city, Hahoe Folk Village Mask Dance video here

Lanzhou China Opera and Dance Drama Theater City

Lanzhou (兰州) is a prefecture-level city and capital of Gansu province in northwestern China. It is located on the shores of the Yellow River and was a major stop on the Silk Road.

Lanzhou is one of the better places, outside of Beijing, to view traditional Chinese opera. The opera performed around the city includes the most famous Beijing Opera (Jing ju), Sha'anxi Opera (Qin ju), Henan Opera (Yu ju), and the local Gansu Opera (Long ju). The city is famed for its many teahouses, especially on Jiefang lu and Zhongshan nanlu, where local cadres and amateur retired workers will occasionally give performances of opera.

The Lanzhou Opera and Dance Drama Theater, founded in April 1970, was originally the Lanzhou Song and Dance Troupe.

Some of Lanzhou famous opera Theaters & Concerts are listed here :

The Grand Provincial Hall
Tel: 8822694/ 8823501
Description: The biggest musical or opera house in the city.
Hours: 10:00-22:00

Lanzhou Theater
Tel: 8464057
Description: Weekly cinema or opera are shown here.
Hours: 11:00-23:00

Bars & Clubs & Teahouses
Fulihua Disco Club
Add: West Minzhu Rd.
Tel: 8836638
Hours: 18:00-02:00

Lanshan Amusement City
Add: Ganl;an Rd.
Tel: 8465529
Hours: 12:00-00:00

Lanzhou yuanyang Dancing Hall
Add: Yongchang Rd.
Tel: 8488435
Hours: 18:00-23:00

Lianguang Nightclub
Add: Honggongmao Mansion
Tel: 8836735
Hours: 18:00-02:00

Others

Lanzhou Sports Stadium
Add: Gaolan Rd.
Tel: 8824811
Description: Lots of sports activities
Huanghe Cinema
Add: Gaolan Rd.
Tel: 8416317
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Feitian Cinema
Add: East Donggang Rd.
Tel: 8498749
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Lanzhou Opera
Lanzhou Opera and Dance Drama Theater
Lanzhou city
The Yellow River seen from the park of the White Pagoda.