Negative Impact And Importance of Technology

Importance of Technology

Understanding the importance of technology is a must for young as well as senior citizens. With technology being such a massive part of our lives, we need to know more.

The man has worked hard to improve technology consistently, to do various tasks, fast and effectively. Many nations have succeeded in building great infrastructure and achieve stupendous progress due to developing advanced technology before the other nations. Today, every nation strives to get the latest technology for the benefit of its citizens. Technological progress is vital in the fields of business, education, as well as health care.

Technology

In Education

Technological advancement has helped to introduce many positive changes in the educational sector. New methods of learning and teaching have made the process simple and more interesting. Computer technology in schools and colleges has helped explain subjects properly and in detail and this has reflected in the overall performance of the students. The Internet technology has been a revolution in the educational sector as it is an ocean of information. Students can search for the concepts which they learn in the books on the Internet and find out more information on the same. This will increase the depth of their knowledge. Distance learning programs have become possible only because of the Internet. Students who cannot attend colleges due to financial reasons or due to traveling problems can sit at home and study using the online learning methods. Many examinations these days are conducted online which has helped bring in more transparency in the scoring system and complete the tests quickly. The slide shows meant especially for students are a great way of learning things. Use of technology in physical education cannot be sidelined.

In Business

Advanced technology developed by some of the best scientists and researchers in the world have totally changed the way businesses function. Machines have helped product manufacturing companies to produce quality products at low-cost and in huge quantities. This has increased their total turnover and the profit margins. Due to the growing demand, these companies are hiring employees on a large-scale thus reducing the number of unemployed people substantially. The various software packages available and developed by software giants have made the day-to-day working of firms belonging to all sectors, very easy and professional. Technology has also helped cut losses and meet the security demands of business houses. Development in the communication and telecoms sector has helped business houses stay connected at any given time, thus increasing their efficiency to a great extent. Maintaining the important records of things related to the business has become easy due to the accounting software available in the market.

In Health Care

Use of technology in healthcare sector has helped us develop many ways of diagnosing dangerous diseases. The vaccinations, drugs, and medicines developed with the great amount of research have helped to save the life of millions of people across the globe. This has increased the survival rate in all parts of the world. The building of hi-tech hospitals, clinics, and health care centers equipped with all modern amenities has also improved the business scope of companies operating in the healthcare field. The invention of devices and technologies for the diagnosis of various diseases and disorders has helped many patients to get the best possible treatment at the right time, thus saving many lives. Technological advancement in the field of medicine has helped patients from backward nations get good health care facilities. Positive effects of technology on society are clear from the progress made in the last few decades.

Technology

In Defense

Peace and stability are essential for the progress of any nation. To keep up this peace, a nation should be very powerful on the defense front. It should have the ability to protect its land from foreign invasions. This is possible only due to improvement in technology of weapons, missiles, fighter planes, choppers, and nuclear power. Making the defense system hi-tech is possible only by replacing the weapons working on the old technology with the new ones. History suggests that nations having advanced defense equipment emerge victorious in wars, and hence, it has become imperative for all countries to increase their naval, military, and air force strength. However, the use of this technology should be done for self-defense purpose and not for the destruction of life.

Being aware of the importance of technology is imperative because technology helps us in all walks of life. We cannot imagine our life without technologically advanced things such as phones, computers, cars, machines, etc. So, we conclude that it is our responsibility to continue to the development of technology for the benefit of the entire society.

Negative Impact of Technology

‘Technology and threats have a lot in common.’ The negative impact of technology on society has left no stone unturned in proving this statement right. Let’s get acquainted with more in the following write-up…

It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~ Albert Einstein

When I was a kid, we had a social life, and it was called ‘outside’. And look at today’s kids – Facebook, PlayStations, iPhones, Blackberries, and not to forget, television sets with 300 channels. My grandmother used to say, one day when technology would hover, humans would stop thinking before acting. This statement makes much of a sense, and why not? Technology has sidelined ‘patience’ from our lives. Every second that passes by is making us all the more dependent on technology. Some may call it a bliss, but some differ. They may agree to the fact that technology has eased up life, but they also believe that it has cast differences between us and our close ones. Think of it, with the help of Internet technology, we no longer meet our loved ones in person, who may be living in the same town as we are. Instead, we call, chat, or e-mail them.

 

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What’s more, we become anxious when the coffee machine takes a millisecond more in dispensing the coffee. We become fretful when a song takes a minute extra to get downloaded. Impatient as we’ve become, we humans might have eradicated this thing called ‘waste of time’, but many of us are still unaware of the stupefying negative consequences of technology’s ubiquity in our life. Agriculture, business, media, etc. are some fields where technology has proved its mettle, but at the same time, the dreadfully negative consequences that it has led us to are worth a concern. So, why always talk about the positive impacts of technology on our society? It’s time to get real and face the negatives too. The following bunch of words is an attempt towards understanding it all.

Negative

Impact on Communication

Hi-tech gadgets, fast pace, computer games, microwaved food, and not to ignore, instant communication – this is what technology has bestowed upon us. However, have we paid attention to our lifestyles? Do you know you have your wife and kids waiting for you to come back from the office after a long day, and spend time with you? But what do you do? The moment you step into the house, you switch on your laptop and start checking emails, Facebook, and other latest updates. And if that’s over, you have the television waiting earnestly for you to switch it on. When do you talk to your family? This is how we define ‘relaxation’ today. The ultimate bliss! You might be friends with a thousand people on a social-networking site, but ask yourself, how many of them actually have a face-to-face interaction with you?

I do agree that technology and Internet access have rendered ease to communication methods, and it allows us to stay connected 24×7. However, till when? It’s ironic that even though we have lunch with our family, we’re busy browsing our Blackberry! And of course, that means that we’re a close-knit family, doesn’t it?

Impact on Education

Funny as it may sound, Google is God for students. Many of you might have stumbled upon this page hunting on what to write an essay on ‘Negative Impact of Technology on Education and Society’. Well, there you have it all, a full-fledged essay. Yes, I do agree that there isn’t a source of information better than the Internet, and perhaps, can never be. However, don’t you think it has made students extremely lethargic? Consider college assignments. Today, in most of the schools and colleges, students are supposed to submit college assignments online. As a result, students spend a good hour searching for the best stuff on this platform that has virtually every information in this world. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+S… assignment done.

Importance

The negative impact of technology on students is known universally. Kids today know more than anyone about the latest gadgets, gizmos, etc. Well, even I would like to confess that I know more about the latest cell phones than my dad does! Kids know how to operate them, play games in it, and get used to them. Gone are those days when leisure time was about creative recreational activities. Video games, PlayStations, iPhones, and Androids are the new thing! And then we blame ourselves for not being creative enough.

I totally support the fact that information technology has made our life unbelievably easy. Yes, it has. However, every revolution has its adversities associated. We cannot savor technology optimally if we close our eyes to the negatives, and they are extremely difficult to express here in a single write-up. Nevertheless, I would just like to conclude by saying that, an accomplishment is savored only when there are no strings of pain or stress attached to it. We might have the latest technology serving us big time, but unknowingly, we might be missing out on those teeny-weeny moments of happiness that life bestows on us. Correct me if you must.

Base Tendriling Business Travel Expenses

As business travel NetWork Posting  expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

travel

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

 

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travel

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savoie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

Expenses

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels, and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

travel business

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchase annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

As airfare averages, 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that do not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented, negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Shaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of the agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Kent stresses, “Airlines should approach corporations with long-term strategic relationships rather than just discounts. We would like to see ourselves committed to a corporation rather than just involved.”

As business travel expenses nose upward, companies are realizing that better cost-management techniques can make a difference.

US. corporate travel expenses rocketed to more than $143 billion in 1994, according to American Express’ most recent survey on business travel management. Private-sector employers spend an estimated $2,484 per employee on travel and entertainment, a 17 percent increase over the past four years.

Corporate T&E costs, now the third-largest controllable expense behind sales and data-processing costs, are under new scrutiny. Corporations are realizing that even a savings of 1 percent or 2 percent can translate into millions of dollars added to their bottom line.

Savings of that order are sure to get management’s attention, which is a requirement for this type of project. Involvement begins with understanding and evaluating the components of T&E management in order to control and monitor it more effectively.

Hands-on management includes assigning responsibility for travel management, implementing a quality-measurement system for travel services used, and writing and distributing a formal travel policy. Only 64 percent of U.S. corporations have travel policies.

Even with senior management’s support, the road to savings is rocky-only one in three companies has successfully instituted an internal program that will help cut travel expenses, and the myriad aspects of travel are so overwhelming, most companies don’t know where to start. “The industry of travel is based on information,” says Steven R. Schoen, founder and CEO of The Global Group Inc. “Until such time as a passenger actually sets foot on the plane, they’ve [only] been purchasing information.”

If that’s the case, information technology seems a viable place to hammer out those elusive, but highly sought-after, savings. “Technological innovations in the business travel industry are allowing firms to realize the potential of automation to control and reduce indirect [travel] costs,” says Roger H. Ballou, president of the Travel Services Group USA of American Express. “In addition, many companies are embarking on quality programs that include sophisticated process improvement and reengineering efforts designed to substantially improve T&E management processes and reduce indirect costs.”

As companies look to technology to make potential savings a reality, they can get very creative about the methods they employ.

travel business

The Great Leveler

Centralized reservation systems were long the exclusive domain of travel agents and other industry professionals. But all that changed in November 1992 when a Department of Transportation ruling allowed the general public access to systems such as Apollo and SABRE. Travel-management software, such as TripPower and TravelNet, immediately sprang up, providing corporations insight into where their T&E dollars are being spent.

The software tracks spending trends by interfacing with the corporation’s database and providing access to centralized reservation systems that provide immediate reservation information to airlines, hotels and car rental agencies. These programs also allow users to generate computerized travel reports on cost savings with details on where discounts were obtained, hotel and car usage and patterns of travel between cities. Actual data gives corporations added leverage when negotiating discounts with travel suppliers.

“When you own the information, you don’t have to go back to square one every time you decide to change agencies,” says Mary Savoie Stephens, travel manager for biotech giant Chiron Corp.

Sybase Inc., a client/server software leader with an annual T&E budget of more than $15 million, agrees. “Software gives us unprecedented visibility into how employees are spending their travel dollars and better leverage to negotiate with travel service suppliers,” says Robert Lerner, director of credit and corporate travel services for Sybase Inc. “We have better access to data, faster, in a real-time environment, which is expected to bring us big savings in T&E. Now we have control over our travel information and no longer have to depend exclusively on the agencies and airlines.”

The cost for this privilege depends on the volume of business. One-time purchases of travel-management software can run from under $100 to more than $125,000. Some software providers will accommodate smaller users by selling software piecemeal for $5 to $12 per booked trip, still a significant savings from the $50 industry norm per transaction.

No More Tickets

Paperless travel is catching on faster than the paperless office ever did as both service providers and consumers work together to reduce ticket prices for business travelers. Perhaps the most cutting-edge of the advances is “ticketless” travel, which almost all major airlines are testing.

In the meantime, travel providers and agencies are experimenting with new technologies to enable travelers to book travel services via the Internet, e-mail and unattended ticketing kiosks. Best Western International, Hyatt Hotels and several other major hotel chains market on the Internet. These services reduce the need for paper and offer better service and such peripheral benefits as increased efficiency, improved tracking of travel expenses and trends, and cost reduction.

Dennis Egolf, CFO of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., realized that the medical center’s decentralized location, a quarter-mile from the hospital, made efficiency difficult. “We were losing production time and things got lost,” he says. “Every memo had to be hand-carried for approval, and we required seven different copies of each travel order.” As a result, Egolf tried an off-the-shelf, paper-reduction software package designed for the federal government.

The software allows the hospital to manage travel on-line, from tracking per-diem allowances and calculating expenses to generating cash advance forms and authorizing reimbursement vouchers. The software also lets the hospital keep a running account of its travel expenses and its remaining travel budget.

“Today, for all practical purposes, the system is paperless,” says Egolf. The software has helped the hospital reduce document processing time by 93 percent. “The original goal focused on managing employee travel without paper,” he says. “We have achieved that goal, in part due to the efforts of the staff and in part due to the accuracy of the software.”

With only a $6,000 investment, the hospital saved $70 each employee trip and saved almost half of its $200,000 T&E budget through the paper-reduction program.

Out There

Consolidation of corporate travel arrangements by fewer agencies has been a growing trend since 1982. Nearly three out of four companies now make travel plans for their business locations through a single agency as opposed to 51 percent in 1988. Two major benefits of agency consolidation are the facilitation of accounting and T&E budgeting, as well as leverage in negotiating future travel discounts.

A major technological advance that allows this consolidation trend to flourish is the introduction of satellite ticket printers (STPs). Using STPs enables a travel agency to consolidate all operations to one home office, and still send all necessary tickets to various locations instantly via various wire services. As the term implies, the machinery prints out airline tickets on-site immediately, eliminating delivery charges.

For London Fog, STPs are a blessing. London Fog’s annual T&E budget of more than $15 million is split equally between its two locations in Eldersburg, Md., and New York City. Each location purchases the same number of tickets, so equal access to ticketing from their agency is a must. With an STP in their two locations, the company services both offices with one agency in Baltimore. Each office has access to immediate tickets and still manages to save by not having to pay courier and express mail charges that can range up to $15 for each of the more than 500 tickets each purchase annually.

Conde Nast Publications’ annual T&E budget of more than $20 million is allocated among its locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Since 1994, travel arrangements have been handled by a centralized agency, Advanced Travel Management in New York City, by installing an STP in each of these five locations. In addition to increased efficiency due to consolidation, Conde Nast now has the ability to change travel plans at a moment’s notice and have new tickets in hand instantly.

The real benefit is that the machines are owned and maintained by the travel agency., so there is no cost to the company. Due to the major expense involved, however, STPs remain an option only for major ticket purchasers. “STPs are a viable option in this process for any location that purchases more than $500,000 per year in tickets,” says Shoen.

Business

As airfare averages 43 percent of any company’s T&E expenses, savings obtainable through the various uses of technology have become dramatic. For example, the ability of corporations to collect and analyze their own travel trends has led to the creation of net-fare purchasing-negotiating a price between a corporation and an airline to purchase tickets that do not include the added expenses of commissions, overrides, transaction fees, agency transaction fees and other discounts.

Although most major U.S. carriers publicly proclaim that they don’t negotiate corporate discounts below published market fares, the American Express survey on business travel management found that 38 percent of U.S. companies had access to, or already had implemented negotiated airline discounts. The availability and mechanics of these arrangements vary widely by carrier.

What’s the Price?

Fred Shaffer, transportation manager for Hewlett-Packard and a strong advocate of the net-pricing system, has pioneered the concept of fee-based pricing with travel-management companies under contract with H-P. He states that H-P, which spends more than $528 million per year on T&E, plans to have all air travel based on net-fare pricing. “At the present time, we have several net fares at various stages of agreement,” he says. “These fares are negotiated with the airlines at the corporate level, then trickle down to each of our seven geographical regions.”

Frank Kent, Western regional manager for United Airlines, concurs: “United Airlines participates in corporate volume discounting, such as bulk ticket purchases, but not with net pricing. I have yet to see one net-fare agreement that makes sense to us. We’re not opposed to it, but we just don’t understand it right now.”

Official Tibet Travel Guide in Summer And Winter for Beginners

1. How’s the climate in On Dav Tibet? Is it hot in summer? Is it very cold in winter?

Tibet is a high plateau, and it belongs to typical downy special climate. Climates are quite different in different areas of Tibet. The eastern Tibet which is at a lower elevation is warmer than western Tibet. In some mountain areas, there are four seasons at the same time in different altitude. The weather in a day varies greatly, too. The night is cold while the day is warm. It spans 12-15 degrees centigrade in a single day.

The climate in southeastern Tibet including Nyingchi and Chamdo is balmy with an average temperature of eight degrees centigrade; while in western Tibet (Shigatse and Nagqu) is quite cold with an average temperature below zero degrees.

travel tibet

However, in the central area of Tibet, the climate of Lhasa and Tsedang is more favorable for traveling. Travelers can visit these two areas all year around, not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter.

 

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2. How is the road condition in the rainy season in Tibet? Need I take any rainproof with me?

The rainy season in Tibet is mainly from June to August and it does have a very bad impact on the roads. However, there are many track maintenance workers and the local army would also give help to restore the roads. Generally speaking, it only takes a few hours to make the roads feasible again. As for the rainproof, you are suggested to take the raincoat, rain-proof trousers and shoes if you want to trek, climb the mountain or ride a bike. If you have group tours organized by some travel agencies, usually you don’t need to take rainproof with you, because Tibet often rains at night and the weather is quite good in the daytime. Besides, the tourist bus is always along with you.

3. What is the best time to travel to Tibet?

Generally speaking, early April is the beginning of travel season, which lasts to mid-June when a large number of Chinese travelers rush to Tibet for the summer holiday. Late June to the end of National Holiday is the peak travel season when some important festivals held in Tibet, like Shoton Festival, Gyantse Dawa Festival and Nagqu horse riding Festival. After mid-October, Tibet turns to winter and as the visitors reduce greatly, more than half of hotels are closed for the poor reservation.

As for the best time to travel, it depends on your travel requirement.

1. If you want an extremely cheap price, go to Tibet in winter, from December to next March. All the things are quite cheap; even the tourist sites offer 30-50% discount on entrance fee. Hotels are cheap, too. You can enjoy 5-star hotels with less than 100USD including breakfast. Compared with traveling in August, the cost of a winter tour is only 50%-60% of a summer tour. Because of the poor amount of visitors, the Potala Palace allows you to spend even a whole day in it. Besides, the monks are not busy and have spare time to chat with you.

summer vacation

2. If you like trekking, do it in May or September when the monsoon will never bother you and the weather is balmy and pleasant.

3. If you love Mt.Everest and want to see the clear face of it, try to avoid the rainfall season and foggy weather.

4. If you love to visit the grassland in north Tibet, do the tour in July when the flowers bloom in vast grassland and groups of yak and sheep, Tibetan nomad tents spread all over the grassland.

5. Those who want to drive to Tibet through Sichuan-Tibet highway should avoid the rainy season. There will be mudslides, cave-ins, and mine on certain sections of the road, blocking the passage of vehicles.

About high altitude sickness

1. What is high altitude sickness? What’s the symptom of high altitude sickness?

High altitude sickness may occur at high altitudes (over 2700m) due to the decreasing availability of oxygen. It usually occurs following a rapid ascent and can usually be prevented by ascending slowly. Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions. Common symptoms of high altitude sickness include shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance.

2. How to avoid or relieve high altitude sickness?

Keep a good mood, don’t be too excited or be too worried about high altitude sickness. Before visiting Tibet, get as healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically.

Take care of yourself and avoid catching a cold before going to Tibet, and not to take shower at the first two days after you are in Lhasa to avoid being cold, or you will easily suffer from altitude sickness under weak physical condition.

Do not drink any alcohol on the first two days when you are in Tibet. Drink plenty of water and eat light, high-carbohydrate meals for more energy.

Do not run, jump or do some taxing jobs at the first two days. Being peaceful and having a good rest are important.

Once you have the symptoms of altitude sickness, take some medicine (it is said that it’s helpful to have some butter tea if you can adapt to the flavor of it) and don’t go higher. Medication and oxygen also help to prevent altitude sickness. Mild altitude sickness symptoms can be treated with proper medication. If medication and oxygen do not relieve the symptoms, go to a hospital or evacuate immediately to a safe altitude!

Oxygen can help you relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness, but do not use it too often in Lhasa while your symptoms of altitude sickness are not serious. If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you should go to the nearest hospital available in the area.

In addition to the normal medications for traveling it is advisable to bring high altitude medication. Seek suggestions from your doctor.

Tell your tour guide quickly if you don’t feel well and follow the guide’s advice.

3. What should I do if I have high altitude sickness after arriving in Tibet?

There are hospitals in many large cities in Tibet. You may adapt to mild high altitude sickness by yourself slowly and you may go to a hospital if it is serious. After you have already had high altitude sickness, you should rest well, do not move too much, keep eating, drink some water with black sugar or take some medicine. If the high altitude sickness is pretty severe, you should go to a hospital, or descend to some lower places, or leave Lhasa immediately. High altitude sickness shall disappear after you descend to the certain altitude and it has no sequel symptoms.

Travel

4. Is high altitude sickness more serious if going to Tibet by plane than by train?

Exactly, but both means have their advantages and disadvantages. You are more likely to have high altitude sickness because you don’t have enough time to adapt to the plateau environment gradually if you go by plane. The altitude change is directly from several hundred meters to more than 3000 meters. While, if you go to Tibet by train, you can adapt your body to the high plateau environment slowly and gradually. Then, you may relieve or avoid high altitude sickness.

5. People with what kind of diseases can not go to Tibet? Do I need physical practice before traveling to Tibet?

People with the following diseases can not travel to Tibet:

People with all kinds of organic heart diseases, severe arrhythmia or resting heart rate over the 100per minute, high blood pressure II or above, all kinds of blood diseases and cranial vascular diseases.

People with chronic respiratory system diseases, medium degree of obstructive pulmonary diseases or above, such as bronchus expansion, emphysema and so on.

People with diabetes mellitus which is not controlled properly, hysteria, Epilepsia, and schizophrenia.

People with the bad cold, upper respiratory tract infections, and body temperature above 38F or below 38F while the whole body and the respiratory system have obvious symptoms, are not recommended to travel to Tibet until they’re OK.

People who were diagnosed to have high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, high-altitude hypertension with obvious increase of blood pressure, high altitude heart diseases and high altitude polycythemia.

High-risk pregnant women.

If you are not sure about your body condition, you may have a physical examination. But you are not supposed to do more exercise before going to Tibet, for exercising will give more burdens to your heart and you’ll need more oxygen, which may easily cause high altitude sickness.

6. Why can not people with cold go to Tibet? What should I do if I catch a cold in Tibet?

Your immune system shall be weak if you catch a cold and you may suffer high altitude sickness easily because of it. Besides, a severe cold may easily turn to some more serious high altitude diseases, especially pulmonary edema, which is very dangerous. So you are not supposed to travel to Tibet before you get rid of a cold.

While, if you catch a cold in Tibet, things might not be so serious, because your body has already, to some extent, adapt to the plateau environment and you can go to a doctor and take some medicine

Permits & certificates

1. Are there any limitations or restrictions imposed on foreigners to travel to Tibet? How about overseas Chinese, Taiwan Compatriots and Hong Kong and Macao compatriots? How to handle it and how long does it take?

There are some special requirements for foreign travelers to Tibet. Firstly, foreign tourists to Tibet must be organized by travel agencies, with confirmed routes. Secondly, a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau is indispensable. The Tibet Travel Permit must be obtained before they head to Tibet. What’s more, foreigners are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet by their own, even with the travel permit. They must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide. Tibet travel permit is also required from overseas Chinese and Taiwan Compatriots, while Hong Kong and Macao compatriots can travel to Tibet like another Chinese citizen with valid Home Return Permit. Foreigners, overseas Chinese and Taiwan compatriots can apply for Tibet travel permit from Tibet tourism bureau or certain qualified travel agencies with the valid passport (copies), visa (copies) and job certificate. Usually, it can be obtained in one week and 2 to 3 days if you are in urgent need.

2. What is Tibet Entry Permit? How to get a Tibet Entry Permit and what documents are required to get it?

Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) Permit or Tibet Visa, is the basic document for foreign travelers to enter into Tibet. No foreign visitor can visit Tibet without holding the Tibet Entry Permit in their hands. Foreign tourists are required to show both their Chinese Visa and Tibet Entry Permit when they change for the boarding passes of flying to Tibet or board trains to Tibet.

Tibet Entry Permit is officially issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, for the purpose of restricting the numbers of foreign visitors. With this permit, foreigner tourists can travel in Lhasa region including Lhasa city, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden, Tsurphu, Namtso, Drigung Til, and Rating.

Tibet Entry Permit is not available for independent travelers. Foreign travelers have to travel in the tour group and ask the legitimate travel agency to apply Tibet tour for you.

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Documents required:

You can get Tibet entry permit (TTB permit) by sending certain qualified travel agency the first page of your valid passport and a copy of your Chinese visa by fax or by email, and state clearly your occupations (Foreign journalists and diplomats are not allowed to go to Tibet as a tourist). If you are Taiwan Compatriots, send us the copies of your MTP-Mainland Travel Permits or called Taiwan Compatriot Entry Permit/travel document (commonly known as “Tai Bao Zheng”), and tell us your occupations.

If you are the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau SAR, China Re-entry Permit for Hong Kong & Macau Compatriots is enough to travel in Tibet. You are not required to apply for the Tibet Permit.

Pay attention: If you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required.

3. What is Alien’s Travel Permit?

Except for Tibet Entry Permit, an Alien’s Travel Permit is required if you are planning to travel to places officially closed to foreigners in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery, Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Alien’s Travel Permit is not needed for places in Lhasa region, towns of Shigatse and Tsetang, or nonstop travel on Friendship Highway.

Aliens’ Travel Permit is required to visit ‘unopened’ areas. Which is issued by the police (Public Security Bureau, “PSB”)? Usually, you can apply for it once you arrive at Lhasa. For tour groups, our guide will ask you for the passport and TTB permit and submit it to the Foreign Affairs Section of PSB for the Travel Permit. It normally takes several hours and the cost is 50 CNY/person. If you are an individual traveler, you need to join local tours to ‘unopen’ areas, and the local travel agencies will arrange the PSB for you as well. Pay attention, there is no travel agency can provide ‘PSB permit-only’ service.

Notice: If you want to do a Tibet overland tour from Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai or Xinjiang province to Tibet, you must get the PSB permit before your tour starts.

4. Which parts of Tibet are listed as the closed areas?

At present, you have to apply for a Travel Permit if you are planning to visit the following places: BasumTsedang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Trundruk Monastery, YumbulakhangShigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk MonasteryGyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum StupaNgari Region: Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, Tsaparang, Years, etc. Nyingchi RegBased-to, Pomi, Raw-to, etc.Chamdo Region: Chamdo, Riwoche, Tengchen, etc.

5. Are there any other certificates and permits may be required in Tibet?

Except for Tibet Entry Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit, there are Military Permit, Foreign-affairs permit and other permits which may be required when traveling in Tibet.

The sensitive border is as such as Mt Kailash and eastern Tibet also requires a military permit and a foreign-affairs permit. For Tholing and Tsaparang in western Tibet, you will also need a permit from the local Cultural Antiquities Department. All these will be arranged by our travel agency one month before you enter Tibet. The Military Permit is issued by troop while the Foreign affairs permit is issued by Foreign affairs office in Lhasa. It normally takes 10-15 working days to get them all.

 

 

 

 

What to Pack for Travelling to Japan

This is what I consider to be essential Our Planetary  items for any traveler/backpacker. These are items which I have used in my past travels, and have served me well.

Backpack

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The first most obvious thing for any traveler to decide on is whether to use a backpack or a suitcase. During my first solo travel experience to Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan, I travelled with a backpack. For under 50 I bought a Eurohike 55 litre backpack with a rain cover, which came in handy during the monsoon season! The pack was top-opening, and didn’t really offer much by way of security. I therefore bought a special backpack transit case which I put my backpack into and made it secure from theft, but also made it secure from airport conveyor belts. I had heard that the conveyors in airports sometimes broke clips from backpacks if they were not properly secured, and that some airlines didn’t even want to have backpacks on their airplanes because they were a safety threat. I actually lost the backpack case during the course of my travels, and had to resort to wrapping my backpack in black bin bags and tape in order to prevent the clips from catching airport conveyors. The backpack was comfortable, with some very nice cushioned padding. However, I realized as my trip went on that the pack was a little too large. I had read on many different websites that the smaller and lighter your pack, the more comfortable your trip will be. This is so true. It is not just about how light the pack is for you to carry, but also practical reasons like travelling on packed trains and subways with a giant wardrobe on your back. The backpack was incredibly annoying whilst travelling on busy subways, as I didn’t know if, and how badly, I was bumping into people – but I am sure that I definitely was! However, it was great to have my hands free when I needed to pay for tickets and also carry bags and water bottles.

 

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Suitcase

On my second trip to Japan, I decided to ditch the backpack and travel with a medium sized suitcase. I was travelling for 3 weeks, and had planned to move around the country quite a bit. I was worried about the condition of the suitcase’s wheels by the end of the trip, but altogether I preferred the comfort of a nice suitcase. The suitcase takes up the use of your arms, but it does relieve your back. I found time and again that my backpack was becoming too heavy and cumbersome for longer walks; a suitcase, meanwhile, makes walking a pleasure. Trying to find your hotel in the humid and busy conditions of Bangkok with your gigantic backpack is not a pleasant experience. Though, going up stairs is a pain with a suitcase, but with a backpack it is a breeze. This may be important to you as it is best to travel around a Japanese city (and many other Asian cities) via the subway system, and sometimes they have enormous staircases leading to the platforms. The final clincher is that a suitcase makes you look more businesslike and professional; a backpack makes you easily identifiable as a traveler or tourist, and makes you stand out far more. If I entered a nice hotel with my backpack, I wouldn’t be given the same service as if I travelled with a suitcase. I believe that backpackers have a bit of a bad name in some countries, as backpackers tend to be younger people who are more prone to loutish behavior due to letting of some steam after finishing university.

Daypack

You don’t want to take your suitcase or backpack with you on your daily walks or excursions, so you need a nice convenient daypack. I actually took a shoulder bag, as it looked more stylish than a small backpack. But be warned, a shoulder bag can give you some irritating neck and shoulder pains if you over pack it with large water bottles or souvenirs. In this instance, a nice mini backpack is better as it transfers the weight evenly on your back and shoulders.

Travel Insurance

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I always take out travel insurance as you never know what could happen during your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Medical help abroad could cost you thousands if you do not have the correct insurance, so always read the insurance policy properly. When I search for insurance I always turn to comparison sites, such as moneysupermarket.com. This way you can compare all the different companies offering insurance and their relative policies.

Skype

Skype is a free service which allows you to call anyone in the world (who also has a Skype account) for free. The service is completely free when using the Skype-to-Skype service, and the prices are competitive if you want to call mobile phones or landlines. You can use Skype on your iPod Touch, an actual Skype phone or on your laptop. If you are taking a laptop abroad, you can even use your webcam to make video calls, but if you are not taking a laptop, I found that many internet cafes in Asia had Skype already installed on their computers. Skype also allows you to send instant messages, play games and even transfer files. All in all, Skype is a great device which you should be make use of whilst travelling.

First Aid Box

I like to take a mini first aid box when I travel. The boxes come in some very nice convenient sizes with everything you could need for your trip. Items can include: plasters, antiseptic cream, insect repellent, and various tablets for common travel sicknesses.

Clothing

I will not speak at great lengths on clothing, as I believe this is a personal choice and dependent on different people’s needs. However, I will say that you should always pack light, and think about whether you will ACTUALLY need an item of clothing. Sometimes, I have fallen into the trap of packing far too much clothing ‘just in case’. Whilst travelling in Asia you can always pick up cheap clothing, so there is no need to over pack. The minimum I would take for a month travelling is: 3-4 t-shirts, 2 shirts, trousers, two shorts, swimming shorts, 2 pairs of socks, trainers/sneakers (I would buy some that look formal but are as comfortable as trainers).

Travel Washing Line

I take a small washing line on my trips in case there is not enough places to dry my clothes. If you are packing light, you can just wash your clothes more often, and you will sometimes need a washing line for extra space.

Travel Sink Plug

I used this occasionally when I stayed in hostels. In some budget accommodation you will not have a sink plug, which makes shaving difficult. The travel plug is therefore recommended if you are considering staying in budget accommodation. Also, even some higher grade hotels have faulty plugs in their bathrooms, so it is generally a good item to take.

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Toiletries

As a dandy backpacker I have a vast array of toiletries. My toiletry bag consists of: shavers, moisturizers, sun cream, nail clippers, eyebrow tweezers, aftershaves (which I tend to buy from airport duty free), lip balm, deodorant and more!

Rain Mac

If you are travelling anywhere that has a monsoon season then a rain mac is a great idea. Monsoon rain is awesome, and can just take you by surprise and leave you drenched. A little rain mac can be scrunched up into a very small size and can easily be carried in your daypack.

Swiss Army Knife

I sometimes take this on my travels as it has various useful devices: a bottle opener, scissors, toothpick, tweezers, screwdriver heads and numerous knives of varying shape and sizes.

Travel Towels

I recommend taking a large travel towel. These can be folded into an incredibly small size and take very little space in your luggage. They also dry quicker than ordinary towels.

Camera

I really don’t know much about cameras but I definitely know that you will need one on your journey. It’s a way of recording experiences that are not possible in any other way. I just bought an 8 megapixel camera in Bangkok – it has served me well.

Batteries

You will need these for your camera, so make sure you take enough spares from your own country, which tend to be cheaper than whilst abroad.

Mobile Phone

A mobile phone is now a necessary gadget in all parts of life, and is very important during your travels. It is a great device to keep in touch with other travelers, but is also a safety device if you become lost or in danger. Remember to take you charger though, or it will become useless after a few days.

Backup Sim Card

Just in case you lose the first Sim card you can just take another Sim, which are usually free.

Backup Debit/Credit Card

I would take a backup card just in case I lost my main card. If I lost my main card I could just cancel it and then transfer the money from my main account into my backup account via internet banking.

Pens and Paper

You will occasionally need to write things down, such as directions or contacts, and a pen and paper would be very helpful. I would always travel with a mini pen and small notepad in my daypack so that it was easy to get to. You can always use your mobile phone or iPod Touch for this as well.

Travel Adaptors

Travel adaptors are necessary if you want to charge your iPod or mobile phone. Once you know where you are going, you can find out what converter plug you will need. It will save you having to search around in your destination country. Some plugs are all-rounders and cover everywhere.

iPod Touch

My iPod Touch has been irreplaceable during my travels. Not only is it great for watching movies, listening to music and playing games whilst waiting for your flight or on long train journeys, it also has practical uses. By downloading free applications via its Wi-Fi capabilities you can turn your iPod Touch into a hotel or hostel finder, a currency exchange service, a travel guide and much more. I also bought a special, and inexpensive, earphone and microphone set for my Touch, which allowed me to use Skype wherever I had free Wi-Fi. Actually you can find free Wi-Fi everywhere in Southeast Asia: McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls, hotels and even airports. However, I surprisingly found that Wi-Fi access is not so easily found in Korea or Japan, and tends not to be free if it is offered.

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iPad

I don’t actually own one of these but they just seem to be a large iPod Touch. All the convenience of the iPod Touch being a nice pocket device which is easy to take everywhere is lost on this device. But maybe I am missing something about it.

Travel Guides

I love to read travel guides and always take them on my trips. My favorite guides have always been DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. I regularly use DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Thailand, Japan and Rome to name a few. I found them incredibly helpful, but most importantly I loved the focus on culture and historical sites. The guides are wonderfully illustrated, easy to navigate, and the pictures and captions are beautifully presented. In addition, the historical sections are informative, well illustrated and a joy to read. I would also recommend Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, which I have also used in the past.

Money Belt

I originally bought one in order to hide my valuables, but then just used it to hold my bus/train tickets or small change so that it was easily at hand and I didn’t have to rummage though bags or my pockets. The money belt can be used as just a regular bum bag (fanny pack if you’re American) without valuable items and just left on display rather than inside your clothing. I just used it as an extra convenient pocket.

Top Escorted Ireland Travel Tours -Road Trip Journey From Dublin to Galway

Irish Heritage Tour, an Page Design Hub  incredible ten-day road trip journey in Ireland packed full of culture and history where you can meet the locals and your Irish Heritage face to face beginning in Dublin and winding your way through counties Tipperary, Cork, Kerry, Galway, Clare and Limerick on this beautiful Emerald Isle. Travel by car or join an escorted Ireland tour where you can expect to be awestruck by the sheer beauty and remarkable history of this beautiful country on an unbelievable road trip journey featuring the most celebrated sights in Ireland. See Dublin, Kilkenny Castle, Cork, Cobh, Blarney Castle, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Glenlo Abbey, Adare, Kylemore Abbey, Galway, and Connemara a look into Ireland’s ancient past.

Day by Day Overview of a Ten Day Ireland Road Trip Tour from Dublin to Killarney to Galway to Dublin

Touring Ireland should seamlessly combine contemporary and traditional features, giving you the opportunity to experience Irish city life one day and marvel at the unspoiled beauty of the Irish countryside the next. You could do this road trip by car but you may miss enjoying the scenic beauty and important historic places while behind the wheel, not know what you are seeing without the knowledge of a professional Irish tour guide, and loads of fun with family or making new friends one has on escorted Ireland tours.

Ireland group tour members and individuals can expect to be awestruck by the sheer beauty and incredible history of this beautiful country on this unbelievable road trip journey featuring the best of an Irish Heritage and Culture tour, which will take you to the most celebrated Irish attractions. You will even have the opportunity to be transported back in time to “old world Ireland”, a place where the locals still sing century-old songs and continue to speak Gaelic to this very day. “That one single statement makes many a heart long for the sounds and songs of dear Ireland”.

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Escorted Ireland Tours vs. Ireland Road Trip by Car

Anyone including families and Ireland Tour Groups can sit back, relax, and enjoy the Emerald Isle in comfort if they choose an escorted or guided Ireland tour as they travel by luxury touring coaches with an expert driver and guide who will meet them upon arrival at Dublin Airport. You could also do this road trip by car but then you would miss half the enjoyment of the trip because you are behind the wheel driving on the “wrong side of the road” instead of enjoying your trip. In addition, you would miss all the unique knowledge your local guide has to offer on an escorted Ireland tour. Either way, there are more advantages traveling on escorted Ireland tours versus by car.

 

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The inclusions listed in this day-by-day adventure are based on what one would encounter as part of a group tour. You could mold this tour into whatever you like, stop wherever or however long you want if doing this road trip by car, an advantage. However, having done both in the past the escorted Ireland group tour allows you to sit back, enjoy the trip, with no worries about overnights or driving.

Seeing the Sights in Dublin

Day one begins with your arrival in Dublin, an experienced driver and tour guide will meet you unless you are doing this on you own and then you will need to get a rental car at the Dublin airport. Throughout the rest of this road trip, we will assume you opted for an escorted Ireland group tour which will start with an afternoon city tour of the fair city of Dublin.

Among the many sights to see is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College and the ancient Book of Kells, a masterpiece of Calligraphy art featuring interlacing Celtic knots, patterns, human figures, mythical creatures, animals and text in vibrant colors and illuminated for your viewing pleasure. The Book of Kells is considered one of Ireland’s most important national treasures. No one knows exactly how long it took the Celtic Monks some 1200 years ago to create this masterpiece featuring the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin depending on what you read it was created between the 6th and 9th century so some three years in the creation and well worth the visit.

See Christchurch Cathedral and the Shrine of St. Valentine, after whom the February 14th holiday is named. See the Georgian Squares featuring Palladian Architecture used during the reign of the four King George’s era. Leinster House (now the seat of Parliament), Phoenix Park which is the largest enclosed park in Europe, O’Connell Bridge, and The Four Courts along the River Liffey before heading to your hotel in Dublin for an evening meal and good nights rest. Overnight at The Westbury Hotel 5 star hotel located on Dublin’s trendy Grafton Street, just one of many hotels in the area that is used for Ireland group tours.

Ireland

Travel from the fair city of Dublin to Kilkenny & Cork

Day two leaving Dublin this morning travel via the 6th-century monastic settlement at Glendalough which was founded by St. Kevin. See the many churches, round towers, and cathedral in this Valley of the Two Lakes. Onwards to the medieval city of Kilkenny to see the wonderful Kilkenny Castle, once a medieval fortress built in the 13th century and later transformed into a renaissance dwelling by Thomas, the Earl of Ormond in the late 1500’s, who lavishly furnished his castle with priceless treasures. Then onto St. Canices Cathedral. Those who are able can climb to the top of the tower attached to the Cathedral to get the best view of this colorful city. Travel onwards through counties Tipperary and Cork to Ireland’s second largest city. Overnight stay at the Imperial Hotel, modern 4* spa hotel near Finbarre Cathedral and the Opera House in the center of Cork, or other hotels in the area if you are traveling by car.

A Day of Touring to see St. Finbarre’s and Cobh

The morning of the third-day members of the Irish Heritage Group Tour will visit St Finbarre’s Cathedral, a site that has been a place of worship since the 7th century. During the Siege of Cork in 1689, the Cathedral came under fire from Elizabeth Fort. When the steeple was demolished in 1865, a 24-pound cannonball was discovered which is now on display. Local legend says that if the Angel on the pinnacle of the sanctuary roof ever falls, the world will end.

The afternoon will be spent in Cobh, renamed Queenstown in 1849, a transatlantic port and the departure point for 2.5 million Irish people who embarked on coffin ships, steam ships, and ocean liners to immigrate to America between 1848 and 1950. Less fortunately, Cobh was also the embarkation point for men, women and children deported to the penal colonies On 11th April 1912 Cobh were the final port of call for the RMS Titanic. Of the 123 passengers boarded in Cobh, only 44 survived. Return to Cork for an overnight stay at the Imperial Hotel.

Blarney Castle Kiss the World Famous Blarney Stone than to Killarney

Day four and it is time to put your lip gloss or chap stick on as today this escorted Ireland tour you travel to Blarney and visits Blarney Castle, home of the legendary Blarney Stone. According to legend, anyone who kisses the stone receives the “Gift of the Gab”. No mean feat gripping the iron rails you lean far back and put you head down into the abyss until you are able to kiss the stone! Continue on to Killarney with its quaint and colorful streets for some leisure time. A vibrant town set in beautiful countryside, Killarney is renowned for its frequent festivals, horse races, songfests, and lake regattas. Overnight in Killarney at the Europe Hotel & Resort. Enjoy the serenity of Lough Lein and the majesty of McGillycuddy Reeks Mountain at this luxury 5* lake resort hotel, winner of the Irish Hospitality Award.

Tour World Famous Ring Of Kerry and the Black Mountains

Start day five as a day of wonderment at the breathtaking scenery of the Ring of Kerry, known by many as the most beautiful in all of Ireland. The Irish Heritage Group Tour will travel through quaint villages and towns in the middle of the black mountains. Delightful towns of Waterville, Killorglin, Sneem, Cahiriciveen and Molls Gap. After a wondrous photo-snapping day, you are back in time to take an afternoon stroll through the streets of Killarney at leisure. Tonight perhaps ventures to a local pub and hear some traditional Irish music by the locals. Overnight at in Killarney at The Europe Hotel & Resort, rooms have private balconies with views of the golf course or lakes.

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Touring the Spectacular Dingle Peninsula Today

Day six you head for the Dingle Peninsula, among the most stunning and beautiful scenic locations on earth by a photographer from the National Geographic. Drama, history and great beauty abound from the combination of mountain, coastline and ancient settlements. During the Irish Heritage Group Tour you will see stunning views all the way to the Blasket Islands. The excellent seafood, traditional music, and pubs of this famous peninsula are irresistible and the locals still speak in the Gaelic Language. Overnight in your Hotel in Killarney, the Europe Hotel & Resort Luxury 5* lakeside hotel.

Charming Village of Adare, Cliffs of Moher, Glenlo Abbey in Galway

You are in for a treat on day seven on this Irish Heritage Group Tour driving to Adare, one of Ireland’s most charming villages. Visit the Farmers’ Market, the heritage, and equestrian centres. In the afternoon you will see the spectacular and dramatic Cliffs of Moher with views of the Aran Islands. It’s then time to visit the Burren with its stark beauty, undulating grey slopes and unique flora and fauna, before arriving in Galway, the “City of the Tribes”. With its winding, medieval streets, the River Corrib and its bridges, cafes and pubs in abundance and the street performers, Galway is the perfect place to relax. Overnight in Galway at the stylish, 5 star Glenlo Abbey Hotel, a stately 18th Century Manor House with breathtaking views of the Lough and the mountains and its own private estate including golf course.

Castles, Abbeys and Kingdoms – Kylemore Abbey and then on to see the Gaelic Kingdom of Connemara

Start day eight after full Irish breakfast and an escorted tour of Kylemore Abbey, the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys, with its walled garden and Gothic Church set on Lake Kylemore. The Abbey is home to the convent of the Benedictine Nuns of Ypres. Today on your escorted Ireland tour you’ll see the rugged landscape of Connemara with its wild and desolate beauty, the ancient Gaelic Kingdom where it is even today still possible to “touch” the Irish Past and hear the ancient Gaelic spoken. An overnight to be remembered in Galway at Glenlo Abbey Hotel, your own castle on the shores of the lake.

From Galway cross the River Shannon to Dublin

As the end of our tour nears on day nine you venture on full day touring on the way back to Dublin. En route visit the Ancient Christian Monastic Settlement at Clonmacnoise, dating back 1500 years. Situated on the banks of the River Shannon this settlement was founded in 548AD by St. Ciaran and this once great medieval city is one of Ireland’s Great Holy Places, renowned as a Centre of Piety and Learning.

This afternoon free time in Dublin to enjoy its parks, shops, cafes and of course the numerous pubs with their live Irish music. Overnight in Dublin at The Westbury Hotel, a luxurious 5-star hotel in the centre of the cultural quarter with its restaurants, pubs and theatres, set between Trinity College and Stephen’s Green Park and Grafton Street.

Dublin

Time to Say Goodbye to this Beautiful Country of Ireland

The last day and all tour members are escorted to the Dublin airport to start their journey home. On the way you and the many new friends you have made on the Irish Heritage Group Tour will be able to reflect on the amazing time you have had together before you finally bid farewell to the Emerald Isle.

Group Travel Tip

It is imperative to engage a reputable tour operator to help organize Ireland group travel vacations for family, friends, travel clubs, or Irish Heritage club members. Group organizers sometimes travel at reduced cost or even complimentary so plan in advance and get fifteen or more people to form a group and then work with the very best tour operators based in Ireland to handle your tour of Ireland group travel arrangements efficiently.

Laos Adventure Travel – And What an Adventure! Know From Internet

We couldn’t find Laos Page Design Pro  Adventure! All this way from Canada and the van drivers could not find the Thai – Lao border! After a few u-turns, a bit of paperwork, a 5-minute boat ride, we were in Laos Adventure.

Lao is about people, truly delightful people who let us see into their homes and their lives. It’s about villagers learning the lost arts of weaving and animal farming. It’s about the mysterious Plain of Jars – what are those things anyway? It’s about MAG and their tireless work ensuring kids internet  are wary of zombies that fit into the palm of your hand but are meant maim and kill. It’s about 4000 islands in the south and chasing elusive dolphins into Cambodia. It’s about the daily dawn ritual of monks walking through their communities.

A highlight of Northern Laos Adventure on this Explore tour for me was a walk on day 3. It was described as a 3.5-hour walk but what they did not say was that we would leave at 9 and get back at 6 because we stopped a lot! They have set up a small area here as an ecotourism project: they are taking people into some small villages internet in this biodiverse area. In the meantime they are teaching villagers how to weave so they have a product to sell the tourists being brought in and also how to farm with animals rather than the traditional slash and burn.

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I shot about 4 rolls of film in one day so that tells you how much I enjoyed the day. We were all sunburnt and hot so internet stopped at the internet café for chocolate cake on the way back to the hotel! Always a good idea to eat dessert first – life can be uncertain!

 

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A day or so later, we took a boat from Nong Khiaw on a trip down the Nam Ou river which joins the Mekong just internet above Luang Prabang. The 5 – 6 passenger boats are long narrow skiffs with the motor at the back but the driver at the front.

The river is quite narrow so it was very easy to see what the people were doing along the way. You could smile and laugh with them and of course wave! Some people were even planning internet for gold if you can believe it! Others were washing all manner internet of things aside from themselves. We saw really little boys – age 4 even – paddling around in canoes all alone, parents nowhere to be seen. We saw some very primitive small “hydro” stations where the river ran a bit faster over the rocks. Just enough speed to generate a bit of power for their homes. Quite incredible. We saw people coming to the sandy outcrops mid-river to fill sacks full of sand to use for construction in their home area.

It must be a very steep uphill battle for the government and NGO’s in the area to teach people to look long term internet when there is such an immediate need for water closer to home than the nearest well and a little electricity.

Luang Prabang is the nicest little town. At one of the main temples, they have made many mosaics of local life on the sides of two of the stupas. The mosaics are made from glass and of course internet  shine in the sun. The scenes that are created on these walls are just amazing and so colorful. Life in Lao – people falling into a well, others praying internet, kids feeding a dog, fields of corn, monks strolling, elephants herds walking.

I have never seen anything like it before and it was great. It is a very lazy town and very hot here (even the main shopping is done at the night market). At dusk, most of the group internet climbed to the top of the hill in the center of town for a 360-degree vista of the area including the Mekong.

At about 5:30 the next morning we went back to that same temple to see the people offer monks their food internet for the day. In Buddhism, people gain merit by giving to the monks. Many tourists now go out to see the procession and as the Explore leader explained, it is almost more for the tourists now than for Buddha. Interestingly some street kids had set up a spot for themselves with plastic bags and bamboo bowls laid out so the monks would then scoop some food out of their bowl and put it into the kids’ bowls. Circle of life. It was quite a long procession – about 12 monks altogether and as the tourists scrambled about trying internet to get photos of all this giving of food, we must have looked quite the sight.

Travel time

The basis of the ceremony is very human and I like that part of it. I had seen a similar ceremony earlier in the trip and I could not help but compare. As we waited outside our family-run guest house, 3 monks came along the road. The lady next door was waiting for them: she was sitting on a mat. They circled around her, she bowed her head, they said a few words – prayers perhaps, she passed them the rice, she bowed her head again, and the monks continued on by.

So which is Laos Adventure? Both most certainly. The enchantment of the place is that it still retains the one-on-one element: you can feel the people here and feel their humanity. But if you think about life from their perspective, they are keen to have faring come, stay in their guesthouses, buy their wares, see their sights, use their internet cafes. Laotians are ready for all these things. But given the historical events of the last 50 years, the one true thing they have is their religion. So it becomes a struggle to satisfy all sides of life.

I asked what the monks do all day. They chant/pray just twice a day and the boy monks go to school. They are taught in a school just for monks but in small village areas, they are in village school with all the kids. No one is allowed to touch them or play with them, though. I thought this sounded quite lonely. You may know that everyone is supposed to become a monk for awhile in their life. Tough decision. As a parent internet, if you give your child to the monk-hood, the child will be schooled and fed for free and the family gains merit for the next life. Sounds pretty good – but as you grow older, there is no one to look after you so a bit of a downside as well.

During the Vietnam war, there were some air bases in Thailand. If the weather was bad and “they” could not drop their bombs on the Vietnamese target, “they” dropped them off in Laos Adventure on the way back to the airfield. “They” were too worried to land with bombs on board so “they” dropped them off indiscriminately in Laos Adventure internet. The estimate is 90 million special cluster bombs. A cluster bomb is a shell casing with about 670 mini zombies inside. Each mini zombie fits in the palm of your hand. Inside the mini zombie, there are about 300 ball bearings. On impact, the ball bearings scatter to a range of about 30 meters. The bombs are armed somehow by the number of rotations they do in the air before impact. Some bombs did not explode when they landed because they had not rotated enough. And that is the situation Lao deals with today. Estimates here are that there are up to 30 million bombs still active. They landed anywhere and everywhere – in trees, on houses, in crowded people places – and so now they are trying to find these and set them off safely.

Laos Adventure

A British group called Mines Advisory Group (MAG) are the people doing this important work and doing a great job. Lao people need to be educated as these babies can tread on or picked up by curious kids etc at any time. The bombers may have been under the ground internet for awhile and then a heavy rain will uncover them. Curious kids might have been playing in that area for months and suddenly a zombie goes off.

It is a tough decision to decide where to do the bomb location work. According to the director, they call a meeting of all the local mayors and have a discussion. We were told that the area most in need of safe agricultural land gets slated for mine clearance first. So far about 90% of the land cleared has been agricultural. As usual not enough people have been trained to do the work and more money/donations to buy newer, faster equipment would help a lot. So far in 10 years, with 12 teams of experts, after 2 months of training each, they have cleared 200,000 bombs with only 2 of their employees getting hurt.

We had the opportunity to go to a bomb site. I can tell you we were very careful to walk in someone else’s footsteps and listen to instructions! Then we watched as they detonated 2 bombs internet  in someone’s field. From there, we went to the SOS orphanage in town and sang “Hokey Pokey” with the kids. And a wonderful Indian curry for dinner!

It was finally time to head to the south of Lao so, for only the third time in the whole tour, we had a 12 hour day on the road. Our tour leader paced the day just right and we got into Pakse about 7 pm, in time for dinner at the hotel’s roof-top restaurant! A delightful way to end the day.

Another boat was our mode of transport stopping off first at Wat Phu. Built in the 5th century – even before Angkor Wat – as a Hindu Temple. It was converted to a Buddhist Temple in the 14th century. I learned that a “Makara” is a cross between an elephant, a fish, and a crocodile. It is always shown in profile and usually on the lintel of a Hindu Temple. The doorway under this “Makara” marks the passage from the material world to the spiritual world.

Back in the boats again to meander through the 4000 islands: destination Muong Khong. 2 wonderful nights in one of the best hotels on the tour were spent overlooking the river. It’s a lazy place internet with the days passing in scorching heat and desultory mosquitoes. A cool drink, a walk to the temple, a cool drink, time at the internet café, a cool drink, a nap, a cool drink, dinner: you get the idea!

Our Explore tour leader had been working internet in Lao for about 5 months. She would take pictures of the people she met in the villages, get them printed on her days’ off in Bangkok, and then hand out the pictures the next time she passed through. What a treat this was for the villagers as in one of two instances, someone had died, and she was able to provide a picture of the person for their loved one to treasure. In another village, early in the season, she had asked the chief what the village needed, was there something we could buy or bring to them as a way of saying “thanks” for showing us their way of life?

Laos Adventure

Turns out the villagers use slash-and-burn agriculture so they needed some new knives. She told us this story before we arrived as she did with every group. All of us then had the chance to buy a knife which she then presented to the chief. He was great as he had a book with columns etc. and had a check mark for everyone who had received one already and the people who still needed one. So we felt good by helping the village down the road by buying their knives, we gave them to this village as a way of saying thank you, the chief was able to show his people he was looking after them, and the villagers got new knives. Win Win Win Win!

It comes down to sharing. For the Lao, it’s instinctual, never a second thought to sharing what they have. When the Explore leader asked us to describe Lao in one word, I chose generously. It’s a generosity of spirit I saw in everyone we met that enabled me to share in their lives for just a minute. How fortunate, how privileged, I feel looking back and remembering our laughter.

A Unified General Journey Theory of Time Travel

Albert Einstein’s theory of Page Design Shop  general relativity suggests that time travel to the past is possible via rotating wormholes and/or black holes. The actual technical practicality of actually carrying out such journeys need not concern us since this essay is in the realm of the thought experiment. Now Stephen Hawking says time travel to the past is not possible because he proposes that there is such a thing as a yet undiscovered Chronology Protection Conjecture that prevents this and thus makes the world safe for historians. I’ve come up with a unified theory of time travel into the past that incorporates Einstein’s general theory of relativity; Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture, along with other assorted bits like parallel universes that are thrown into the mix.

Travel

Time travel is a staple in sci-fi stories, novels, films and TV series. And, time travel is possible – in theory. We all know about journeying to the future which we do at the rate of one second per second whether we like it or not. Apart from that, if one travels at close to light speeds relative to your place of origin then you can travel to the distant future (with respect to that place of origin) without aging an equivalent number of years (the twin paradox). Travel to the past is apparently allowed too, via the weird physics inherent in rotating worm holes and maybe Black Holes which is where Einstein’s general theory of relativity comes into play. The problem there is that relativity theory predicts worm holes, if they exist at all, will exist for nanoseconds and be very tiny to boot, and thus not very useful in the foreseeable future for the purposes of time travel. Because we don’t know exactly what the inside of a Black Hole is, and where it leads, if anywhere, current thinking suggests that jumping into Black Holes are a more useful means for committing suicide than for traveling to the past, but the jury is still out on that one.

Anyway, the fun bit about time travel is the various paradoxes that arise, the most famous one being the grandfather paradox. That is, what if you travel back in time and kill your grandfather before he sired your father (or mother). If you did that it means that you could never have been born, but if you were never born you couldn’t go back in time to kill your ancestor. This is the sort of stuff sci-fi authors (and philosophers) love – ditto physicists! My favorite time travel paradox however is the one where you get something for nothing. Say you have this edition of “Hamlet”, and you want Shakespeare to autograph it. So back you go in time to Shakespeare’s era. You knock on his door, but the housekeeper says he’s out for the day but if you leave the book he’ll autograph it and you can come by and collect it next morning. When Shakespeare comes home, he sees the book, reads it, and is so impressed he spends the night making a copy. You come back the next morning, collect your now autographed edition of “Hamlet”, and return to the present day with your now very valuable book. The question now becomes, where did the original “Hamlet” come from? You didn’t write it; but Shakespeare didn’t either as he plagiarized your copy which he then passed it off as his own work.

 

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Another favorite is you meeting yourself. Say you’re 50 and not all that well off. You get the brilliant idea to travel back in time and convince your younger self to invest in some stocks you know will pay off big time later on down the track. And so it comes to pass that your younger self so invests, and becomes filthy rich, only, in leading such a high life, dies of a heart attack at the age of 45! Or you always regretted not proposing to the love of your life when you were young, and thus go back and convince your younger self to muster up the courage and do so. He does, but as they fly off on their honeymoon, the plane crashes with no survivors. Sometimes you don’t know when you’re well off.

Or if you can travel back in time, then of course others can to. Naturally there’s going to be lots of people interested in particular events, maybe even at the time, seemingly trivial events (yet which turn out in the long run to have had major impact(s)). And so you might have any number of people going back to particular historical focal points, each with their own particular agenda (most of which will be mutually exclusive), and ultimately causing havoc. I mean if person one goes back and influences an event producing a new outcome, then person two might go back and has a go at that result and things get altered again, which will then prompt person three to go back and influence things more to his liking, etc. In other words, history would never be fixed, rather always be fluid. The world is not safe for historians. Since we believe that history (or the past) is fixed, then that what’s written on your history book page today will not alter overnight. Thus, you have probably concluded that time travel cannot happen, will not happen, and has not happened, however much you yourself might wish to go back in time yourself and change something. (Don’t we all really wish some past something, personal and trivial, or perhaps something of major significance could be changed and you’d be that instrument of change?)

Travel

Its paradoxes and situations such as the above that prompted Stephen Hawking to postulate that there is as yet an undiscovered law or principle of physics which prohibits time travel to the past – he calls it his ‘Chronology Projection Conjecture’. Since we have never seen, according to Hawking, to the best of our knowledge at least, any time travelers – tourists or historians – from our future, he’s probably right.

So, putting it all together here’s my theory of time travel: my unified theory of time travel, at least to the past.

Relativity theory has passed every experimental test thrown at it, so the theory isn’t in much doubt and one can have a high degree of confidence in what it predicts, even if that prediction is currently beyond any experimental test. Relativity theory allows for time travel into the past, but, IMHO, only to parallel universes (otherwise known as alternative or mirror or shadow universes) where no paradoxes can happen.

Why only parallel universes? The ways and means by which you can use relativity theory to time travel backward involve rotating Black Holes or wormholes. There are serious reasons behind the speculation that what’s on the other side of a Black Hole and/or wormhole is another universe. So, therefore it’s relativity’s time travel allowance, but probably to another universe. The Black Hole or wormhole ‘exit’ isn’t within our Universe.

Whatever you do in that parallel universe is predetermined. It’s fate. It’s destiny – all because of causality rules. Therefore, there are no unexpected ripple effects other than what was destined to happen. You were meant to be there and do what you do. Therefore, there will be no paradoxes arising.

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has proposed his Chronology Protection Conjecture that prohibits time travel to the past within your own universe because of the possible paradoxes that could arise. Why can’t you go back in time in your own universe? That would mean that at a specific time and place you both were not (originally) and were (as a result of going back) present. That’s a paradox. And if you were to travel back in time to a set of time and space coordinates you were actually originally at, then there would be two copies of you occupying the same space at the same time – also a paradox.

Travel time

But take the grandfather paradox. If you go back in time and kill your grandfather, but your grandfather in a parallel universe, then you don’t prevent your existence, just the eventual existence of yourself, your other self, in that parallel universe. In the case of Shakespeare and “Hamlet”, you gave your copy to a parallel universe Shakespeare. In your original (our) Universe, Shakespeare is still the legitimate author.

Once you time travel from your universe A to parallel universe B, you can’t return again to universe A because of Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture – paradoxes could arise. However, you could go from parallel universe B to parallel universe C, but, hence never return to either universe A or B – Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture again.

Perhaps some people you’ve seen or known or heard about might be time travelers from a parallel universe’s future. If they then time travel to another parallel universe, then that might account for some missing persons’ cases!

In short, we can time travel to other parallel universes but not to our own; entities from other parallel universes can visit our Universe. No paradoxes need to arise. Both Einstein (relativity) and Hawking (Chronology Protection Conjecture) are satisfied and happy campers.

Is that right? No, it’s wrong!

There’s still one very nasty loose end here. What’s to prevent those from a parallel universe meddling and altering our time stream? It’s not enough for them to have a Prime Directive against that – we all know Prime Directives are meant to be broken! So, it looks like Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture must apply to those visitors from parallel universes to our Universe as well. I mean what difference does it make to your existence whether you travel back in time within your own universe and kill your mother before you were conceived, or some serial killer escaping from a parallel universe to our Universe who kills your mother before you were conceived – even though in the latter case there’s no paradox, you still wouldn’t have been conceived of here in anyone’s philosophy!

OK, so relativity allows time travel back in time, but only to parallel universes. The Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture not only prevents time travel paradoxes in general, but it also prevents parallel universe time travelers meddling and altering our timeline; ditto we humans time traveling to someone else’s parallel universe. But how would the Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture actually accomplish this? My best guess is those parallel universes aren’t in phase – they aren’t polarized or synchronized in-phase like a laser beam, or the light that passes through your polarized sunglasses – otherwise, we’d have some rather hard evidence of them; certainly way more than we do now.

So, if we go to parallel universe B or those from parallel universe B visits us, we’ll, or they’d be respectively out of phase with respect to the universe they are now in. Translated, they, or we, could look, but not touch for all practical purposes. I say for all practical purposes as now and again what’s out of phase (high probability – the usual state of affairs) will sync into phase (that’s rare). But the in-phase times are so few and far between, and last for such a brief duration that it’s unlikely to result in any inadvertent or deliberate timeline alterations. That’s my rendering of the Hawking Chronology Protection Conjecture – he could well have other ways and means in mind.

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So another way of putting this is that time travelers would be spectral or ghostlike in their host universe, and maybe that’s where our traditions of ghosts and other things that go bump in the night come from! This is much like the parallel universe ghost or shadow photons that are conjectured to explain some highly mysterious aspects or phenomena contained within the famous quantum double slit* experiment. Now an obvious question is how do all the parallel universe ghost photons get into our physics labs where double slit experiments are carried out? I mean there are no local macro Black Hole or wormhole exits present – are there? Yes in fact there are! Not a macro wormhole, but a micro wormhole – actually wormholes. Theoretically, micro wormholes should exist all around you. It’s just that they are at quantum levels – incredible tiny; way subatomic in size. And they exist for just nanoseconds before collapsing. They are just part of the quantum foam** reality at super microscopic levels, a reality at the level where all things exhibit the quantum jitters or quantum fluctuations. Thus, every second of every day, everywhere, there are little quantum gateways – quantum sized wormholes connections between universes which quantum sized particles – like photons – can traverse! From the standpoint of the double slit experiment, it doesn’t matter whether the parallel universe’s ghost photons came from the past, future or present – just as long as they are, indeed, present!

Now you may think it would be easy to detect these ghostly photons. Just put a photon detector in a totally dark and sealed room. Well, not quite so easy. Some photons can pass through ‘solid’ matter. X-Ray photons anyone? Radio wave photons pass through the walls of your home. If you look at a bright light, you’ll still see light even if you close your eyes. So, your photon detector in your dark and sealed room could easily detect our local variety.

The ghostly bits aside, parallel universe time travelers (or even ordinary time travelers from within our Universe assuming Hawking is wrong)) might explain the sometimes uncanny, often incredible look-a-likes that we all seem to have. A long shot to be sure, but something interesting to ponder.

There’s still one more problem on the horizon. Just because a macro Black Hole or wormhole plunks you into a parallel universe (and of course you’ve got to be able to survive the trip itself which might be problematical), doesn’t mean you’re going to be with spitting distance of your ultimate destination(s) – say a parallel Earth(s). So, time travelers might also need more conventional transport – like Flying Saucers (okay, forget the saucers – like spaceships with fins and rocket motors). But then what’s really there to distinguish a visiting time traveler from a parallel universe from say a run-of-the-mill extraterrestrial from within our own Universe? Maybe you could just put out the welcome mat for both options!

One final thought. Could there be Clayton’s time travel? – Time travel without traveling in time? At the risk of making Einstein turn over in his grave; I’m going to propose a universal NOW across all universes. Now I know that NOW when it comes to observers, is a relative thing. An observer in Martian orbit sees Mars’ NOW somewhat before you on Planet Earth sees the same Mars’ NOW because the speed of light is finite. And relative motions and velocities complicate what is NOW. But, I propose (a thought experiment remember) to instantaneously freeze-frame the entire collection of universes’ NOW. Everyone and everything everywhere comes to an instant standstill. Right! We now have a universal NOW that we can study at our leisure (the freeze doesn’t apply to you and me – we’re outside the space-time continuum).

Let’s focus on that subset of all parallel universes – all parallel Earths and time travel between them. Now there’s no reason to assume that all parallel Earths are identical in all aspects. Indeed, some parallel universes may not even contain a parallel Earth! There maybe some parallel Earths identical or so close to identical to our Planet Earth as makes no odds – abodes you’d feel right at home in. Other Earths would differ in various ways, some minor, some major. Still, others might be really weird and alien, as in having evolved a dinosaur society, civilization, and technology. There was no parallel asteroid impact 65 million years ago; thus no human beings around the traps 65 million later.

Theory

Your subset of parallel Earths would show near infinite diversity in infinite combinations. I say ‘near’ because you can only stretch the term ‘Earth’ or ‘Earth-like’ so far and no farther before it’s not Earth or Earth-like. A 100% oceanic world is not Earth. If a parallel ‘Earth’ has Venus-like temperatures, it is not Earth-like. If it has a density approaching that of a neutron star, it is not Earth-like. If it has no life on it, even though in all other respects it is a near carbon copy of our Earth, it is not Earth-like.

Now it’s back to the NOW subset of parallel Earths and Earth-like abodes. There’s no reason to assume that evolutionary development; that evolutionary development rates would proceed in each and every case in an identical fashion. Some parallel Earths would still be in the dinosaur era (if they had dinosaurs of course). In some parallel Earths, cavemen and saber tooth tigers rule. In others, it’s Biblical times, or Medieval times or the era when Britannia ruled the waves. Others in our absolute NOW, on yet other parallel Earths, or parallel earthlings, might have just invented the wireless or landed on their Moon (if they have one). On some parallel Earths it may already be what to us will be the 23rd or 24th Century with interstellar warp drive capabilities at hand – and even way beyond that. So, you could seemingly travel to the past and future while actually remaining in our NOW. You’ve traveled in time without really traveling in time, or, time travel without the paradoxes – but maybe that spoils all the intellectual fun of contemplating time travel in the first place!

*The problem solved here is how can you get a classic wave interference pattern behind two slits you fire photons through; even when you fire the photons at say a rate of one per hour? Who you gonna call – ghost photons of course to the rescue.

**Quantum foam – the world may look pretty smooth from a distance, but as you keep magnifying the finer details, the micro world gets ever so slightly bumpier. Close in some more and things get rougher still, until at quantum level everything is a seething cauldron of tumultuous activity. It’s like the sea that looks perfectly smooth and tranquil from Earth orbit, but at rowboat level, you’re terrified as that 50 foot wave comes crashing down on you.

Important Travel and General Information For People Going To China

The People’s Republic of Page Design Web  China (PRC), known simply as “China,” is located in East Asia and prides itself in its ancient civilization. With its exotic locales, culture significance, and invaluable relics, as well as a center for business and commerce, China is not only a tourist’s paradise, but it is also an ideal hub for business to prosper. Here are a few tips on travelling to this faraway land.

Arrival and Departure

Arrival: The moment you arrive in China, you need to follow certain procedures, as you would do in any other country. Forms like Health Card, Entry Registration Card and Custom Luggage Declaration Form need to be filled out.

Information

• Health Check: This is the first check that you will require to pass through. The Quarantine Check requires you show your passport as well as the Health Card Form, which was filled out while on board. Those found to be suffering with diseases like leprosy, VD, cholera, infectious pulmonary tuberculosis, AIDS, or yellow fever will be either prohibited from entering the country, or they will have to go to the clinic at the airport for further checking. Those who have travelled from areas that are plagued need to declare an official certificate of inoculation of that particular disease. If you have symptoms of vomiting, fever or diarrhea, you will need to declare this information as well. If your visit in China is for a long period, a quarantine certificate given to you by a certified health department abroad needs to be submitted.

 

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• Border Entry: This is the second stage that you will need to pass through. You will need to show your passport, with a valid visa, as well as Entry Registration Card that was previously filled out. Visas are not issued at the border.

• Customs Check: The last stage involves the customs check. Once collecting your luggage, you will need to pass through either of the two channels: green (if there is nothing that needs to be declared) or red. Items like computers, video cameras, digital cameras, silver, gold, recorded or printed materials, for example, which you will need or that which you will not take with you when you leave the country, need to be included in the Customs Luggage Declaration Form. Once the form is filled out, you need to pass through the red channel. Here you may have to pay for duties. In some cases, items will need to be deposited at Customs, but you can take them out when you leave the country. The stamped form should be kept safely with you, as you will need to submit it to the Customs Officer on your departure from the country.

Departure: Upon your departure, show the items that you had declared on your arrival and as mentioned in the Customs Luggage Declaration Form. In the case of any missing item, a certificate issued by the relevant department needs to be submitted, or else you will need to pay import duty. The Departure Card will need to be filled out, followed by the security check.

There are a number of articles that you will be forbidden from importing into the country, namely:

• Arms and ammunition

• Counterfeit currency

• Forms of media like photographs, films, audio and video CDs, gramophone records, printed material, storage device for computers, for example.

• Poisons, marihuana, heroin, opium, morphine, as well as other drugs that cause hallucinations or that are addictive

• Plants and animals transmitting deadly diseases, as well as harmful organisms.

• Food items, medicines, and other items that are coming from plague-stricken locations, and which are harmful to domestic animals and humans.

The articles that are forbidden exports include all of the imports, as well as cultural relics which are of immense value, rare and endangered animals, and specimen plants and seeds.

Important Travel Documents To Take

• Your passport and valid visa prior to your entering the country; a single-entry visa is usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue. You will be allowed to stay for 30 days, at the most.

• If you have any medical record, you are recommended to take it, which also includes your doctor’s name and contact information, an emergency contact and your insurance company’s contact details.

Insurance

Travelers are recommended to buy travel insurance from a trustworthy insurance provider prior to their departure from their hometown.

Health Requirements

The following vaccinations are required to be taken 4 to 6 weeks prior to your travel:

• Hepatitis A & B or immune globulin (IG)

• Typhoid

• Rabies

Packing

Prior to your departure, make a check list of the important items that you should carry. Some of them include:

• Your passport and necessary visas

• International airline tickets

• Authorized medical certificates, medicines, first-aid kit, insect repellant

• Clothes and accessories, depending on your place and time of visit, as well as the occasion (formal wear is mandatory is some dining places)

• Wallet, credit cards, traveler’s checks

• Contact information of your travel agency (if you have made arrangements through one), friends and relatives back home, the hotel at which you will be staying.

Ensure that your check-in luggage is lightweight. For those traveling via first-class, a weight of 88 pounds (40 kg) per person is allowed. Those traveling in business class are allowed 66 pounds (30 kg) per person, while those holding economy tickets are allowed to carry up to 44 pounds (20 kg).

As far as hand luggage or “carry on” luggage is concerned, first-class ticket holders are allowed two pieces of luggage, while the business and economy ticket holders are allowed only one piece, the dimensions of which must not be more than 20 x 40 x 55 cm. The total weight must not exceed (11 pounds) 5 kg. If the luggage does not meet these requirements, it will be considered as check-in luggage.

Baggage

To ensure that your baggage is safe and secure, it is recommended that tags displaying your name and contact information be attached to and inside your baggage. Hardcover suitcases having built-in locks are ideal for travel.

When traveling by domestic flights, the same rules apply as discussed in the section on “Packing.”

Here’s a tip for those traveling in a group: The baggage allowance can be shared while checking-in. For instance, if two people are traveling economy class, one can carry 35 kg and the other 5 kg. This rule applies to those traveling in groups of three, four, five and more, as long as they are checking in at the same time.

Travel

You should know the items that you will be allowed to carry with you on your journey.

• Items that are not to be taken: materials that are poisonous, flammable, corrosive, radioactive, magnetized, explosive and polymerizable; guns, knives, ammunition and sharp objects.

• Items that should not be packed in your check-in baggage because the airline carrier does not take responsibility for them: all vital documents, currencies, valuables and other important items that are needed to be safeguarded by someone.

• Items that can be packed in your check-in baggage: scissors, knife and wine or alcohol.

• The baggage that you check in must be properly locked and able to withstand pressure. If it does not meet with the specifications of the carrier, they may refuse to take it on board.

• If baggage is lost, you will receive compensation to not exceed RMB 50 yuan for every kilogram. If the value of the baggage is less than that, then compensation will equal the actual cost of the loss.

• If the value of the checked-in baggage is more than RMB 50 yuan per kg, a passenger can declare the cost of his baggage, the value of which cannot exceed RMB 8,000 yuan. However, in the case of lost baggage, the amount that was declared prior to travel cannot be more than the current baggage.

Safety And Security

To have a hassle-free visit to China, here are a few tips for safe travel:

• Pre-travel: Prior to departure from your country, make sure that several copies of your passport, credit cards, airline tickets, traveler’s checks, itinerary as well as other travel documents are made, and that one copy of each item is left with a family member back home.

Ensure that your driver’s license, passport and other IDs are current and valid, and that photographs on them are up to date. These forms of identification should not expire before you return from your tour.

• Hotel safety: Once in your hotel room, be sure that the door and windows of your room are locked at all times. Answer the door only after verifying who it is. It is always better to carry bottled water, as the tap water available in hotel rooms is not drinkable.

• Money Matters:

1. Traveler’s Checks: The safest way to carry money for your trip is by traveler’s checks. Ensure that you take a note of the denominations, serial numbers, date and the agency that has issued them. The checks should not be signed until they are used.

2. Credit Cards: Carrying too many credit cards is unsafe. Besides taking only what is required, take the credit card company’s contact information in case the card gets lost or is stolen. A loss should always be reported at once.

3. Exchanging Money: Money should be exchanged in the hotel counter or Bank of China. Exchanging money in the black market is illegal and chances are that you may get cheated.

4. Small Cash: Always keep change on you as it will be useful when purchasing from street vendors. Check the change that you get back carefully.

• Travel And Transportation: When traveling from one city to another, it is safer to leave your driver’s license, passport and other IDs in the hotel room’s safety box or at the reception desk. If, however, you need to carry them with you, ensure that they are kept safely. When traveling by train, do not trust anyone who is not in uniform to keep your luggage safely. The railway stations in China are crowded, so always ensure that your luggage is with you. If you are traveling by taxi, it is better to have the hotel call for one. Ensure that contact information of the hotel, as well as the place that you wish to go to, is written in Chinese and in English. Once in the taxi, take a note of the driver’s name and registration number. This will ensure you get back your items, if you have left any in it.

• Dress: You do not want to attract the wrong kind of attention, so avoid dressing up. Expensive jewelry and watches should be left back home.

• Communication: Carrying a phrase book that translates English to Chinese is important as most Chinese people do not speak English, nor do they understand it. This will help getting around on your own easier. A guide book to know Chinese culture is also useful.

• Medical Care: Hotels usually provide a doctor in the case of minor illnesses. Carrying a first-aid kit for headaches and a cold is always advisable. Pharmacies, which are usually indicated by a Green Cross, are found in many stores. There are several Green Cross pharmacies open 24 hours. However, if the condition is serious, it is recommended that you go to a hospital. To call for an ambulance, you need to dial 120.

China

• Staying Fit: Sometimes conducted tours can become hectic and be the start of some illness, more so with the change of climatic conditions in China. So, to avoid falling ill, ensure that you get enough rest, wear clothes depending on the weather and drink plenty of bottled water. If your tour is during the summer, make sure to wear sunglasses and a hat, put on sunscreen lotion, frequently change your clothes, and drink even more water. The moment you feel an illness coming on, seek treatment.

• Photography: Taking pictures is allowed in most places. However, in some it is either prohibited (as in certain museums and archeological sites) or a fee is charged. It is always recommended you get permission before capturing images of the locals.

• Toilets: Public toilets are usually not very clean, so carrying a roll of toilet paper in your bag is a good idea. Public toilets charge an amount of RMB 5 for usage.

Golden Ring of Russia – Travel Guide

WHAT IS IT: The so-called Robottip  “Golden Ring of Russia” is a symbolical ring connecting historical towns and cities to the North-West of Moscow. They represent 1,000 years of rich Russian history written in stone and wood, from an 850-year old church in Rostov to a 19th-century log house in the Suzdal’s open air museum. Each of the “golden” towns once played an important role in the history of Russia and was connected in one way or another with famous historical figures such as Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and many others.

WHAT TO SEE: The cities and towns of the Golden Ring are listed here in alphabetical order:

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Aleksandrov (founded in 1530, population 68,000) – The town is situated 100 km from Moscow on the crossway of ancient roads from the largest historic centers of Russia – Vladimir and Suzdal, Rostov and Yaroslavl, Sergiev Posad and Pereyaslavl-Zalessky. In 1564- 1581 the town was the residence of Ivan the Terrible. The very first in Russia publishing house was established in Aleksandrov in 1576. One of the leading textile manufacturing centers in Russia in the 19th century.

Bogolubovo (founded in 990, population 4,000) – a tiny quiet town near the city of Vladimir. The town was named after the Russian prince Andrey Bogolubsky (God-loving) who built the first fortified settlement here in 1165. Tourists can see remains of the Andy Bogusky’s residence including some residential chambers of the 12th century and the beautiful Church of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Nerl (1165) which is considered to be one of the finest specimens of old Russian architecture.

Groove’s (founded in 1239, population 30,000) – The town was founded under Vladimir prince Andrey Bogolubsky. The town is picturesquely settled on the high bank of the Klyazma River. Played the role as a fortified forest until 1600-s. Reached its developmental pick in the 17-th century as a local center for blacksmithing, textile-making, and making of leather and also as an agricultural trade center for grains and flax.

Gus-Khrustalny (founded in 1756, population 80,000) – Over 200 years ago a merchant built here the first workshop of glass casting. Today the town is one of the district centers of Vladimir region, well-known in Russia and abroad as the national center of glassmaking. The name Gus-Crustal can be literally translated as Crystalline Goose. The old part of the town is a workmen’s settlement of 1900-s. with its own Church of St. Joachim of 1816.

Kholuy (founded 1650, population 1,000) – The village of Kholui did not begin producing lacquered miniatures until the 1930s, and though iconography had been an important trade in the region in previous centuries, Kholui was never bound to any particular artistic tradition. Rather, Kholui miniatures share some traits with both Palekh and Mstera art, yet maintain a distinctive lyrical quality of their own. Sometimes, as with Palekh miniatures, Kholui miniatures will include some fine gold and/or silver ornamentation within the painting, and Kholui artists can create fantastic border ornaments on par with those of Palekh.

 

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Kostroma (founded in 1213, population 300,000) – In the past Kostroma was known as “the flax capital of the north”; it supplied Europe with the world’s finest sail-cloth. The city has been also called as the “cradle of the Romanov dynasty”. Mikhail Romanov, the first of the Romanov dynasty, left the Ipatievsky Monastery for Moscow in 1613 to become tsar of Russia. During the Polish intervention in the turbulent years of the early seventeenth century, Kostroma was a significant stronghold for the resistance movement. Nowadays Kostroma is an important industrial center (textile, metal works), a capital city of the Kostroma province.

Master (founded in 1628, population 6,000) – the town takes its name from the little Osteria River, which flows through it merging with the Kliyazma. It is in Vladimir Region, but not far from the border with Ivanovo Region, south of Palekh and Kholui, in the breathtakingly beautiful countryside – the one that forms the backdrop to its paintings. Master was a respected center of icon production until the trade was banned after the Revolution of 1917. Since then its artists has been creating world-famous masterpieces in the form of lacquered miniatures.

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Murom (founded 862, population 145,000) – one of the oldest Russian cities stretched along the left bank of the Oka river. The town’s name originates from “neuroma”, one of the Finno-Ugric tribes lived here 15 centuries ago. Every Russian knows the name Ilya Muromets. He was a mythical epic hero defending people of Russia and later became a synonym of superior physical and spiritual power and integrity, dedicated to the protection of the Homeland. The town survived three Mongol invasions. In the 17th century, Murom became an important center of various crafts – building, painting, sewing.

Palekh (founded 1600, population 6,000) – the village is situated about 400km (250 miles) from Moscow in the Ivanovo region. In the 15th century, it was one of the first centers of icon drawing trade. After the 1917 communist coup, when the icon business went down, Palekh masters tried to decorate wooden toys, dishes, porcelain, and glass. These days the name of Palekh is nearly synonymous with the art of Russian lacquer.

Pereslavl-Zalesskiy (founded in 1152, population 45,000) – one of the oldest Russian towns, the birthplace of the famous Russian prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated an army of German knights in 1242. Zalessky means “behind the woods”. That is where, behind the dense forests, ancient Slavic tribes retreated seeking refuge from hostile nomads coming from the South-East.

Plus (founded in 1410, population 4,000) – this quiet little historical town is located on the bank of the mighty and beautiful Volga river. During the reign of Ivan, the Terrible Plus was one of the largest river fish suppliers to the kings’ court. In the 18-19th centuries, the town became known as a popular resort and was often called “Russian Switzerland” for the beauty of its scenery. Numerous Russian artists including the famous master of landscapes Levitan used to come here to work.

Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great, founded in 862, population 40,000) – another pearl of ancient Russian culture. In old Russia, only two towns were called Veliky (great). One was Novgorod, the famous trade center of the Russia’s north, the other Rostov. In the 12th century, Rostov grew to equal Kiev and Novgorod in size and importance. Modern Rostov is a sleepy old town with some magnificent buildings next to the shallow Nero lake.

Sergiev Posad (founded in 1345, population 115,000) – the spiritual center of Russia, residence of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, where the remains of the first national saint, Sergei Radonezh, rests. In the heart of Sergiev Posad is a well-preserved splendid architectural ensemble of over 50 historical buildings, as well as magnificent art collections including old Russian painting and the treasures in the vaults of the former Trinity Monastery.

Suzdal (founded in 1024, population 12,000) – this little quiet town is a real gem, one of the most beautiful in the Golden Ring collection of cities and towns. In the 11th century, Suzdal became the very first foremost of Christianity in the North-Eastern Russia and significantly affected the religious life in Russia until the end of 19 century. Here you can find over 100 church and secular buildings dating from the mid-12th to the mid-19th century crowded into an area of 9 square km.

Uglich (founded in 937, population 38,000) – the town was built on a major trade route. In its history, Uglich has survived destruction by the Mongols and lived through the devastation of fires and plagues. Uglich is famous for Russia’s darkest secret – the death of young Prince Dimitri, son of Ivan the Terrible who is often called Tsarevich (an heir to the throne) Dmitry. The center of the town also is a historical and architectural landmark. The streets are wide, with various churches standing side by side along the road.

Vladimir (founded in 1108, population 400,000) – one of the oldest Russian cities, was founded by the Russian Prince Vladimir Monomakh on the banks of the Kliazma river. The city really blossomed in the 12th century during the reign of Prince Andrey Bogolubsky, who strengthened its defenses, welcomed architects, icon-painters, jewelers from other countries, built new palaces and churches so magnificent that travelers compared them with the ones in the “mother of all Russian cities”- Kiev. Until the middle of 14th century, the city had been an administrative, cultural and religious center for North-Eastern Russia.

Yaroslavl (founded in 1010, population 600,000 ) – as the legend goes it was founded by the famous Russian prince Yaroslav the Wise as a fortified settlement on the Volga river. After a huge fire of 1658 that turned most of the city into ruins, Jaroslavl was rebuilt in stone and reached the peak of its architectural development with palaces and churches richly decorated with beautiful frescoes and ornaments thus earning the title “Florence of Russia”. Today it is a quiet metropolitan city, one of Russia’s largest regional centers, a capital of the Jaroslav province and one of the most beautiful cities of old Russia.

Yuriev-Polsky (founded in 1152, population 20,000) – was founded by the Prince Yury Dolgoruky (who also founded Moscow in 1147) and named after himself. The second word “Polsky” means “among the fields” as it is situated in the heart of fertile and flat Suzdal land. These beautiful landscapes inspired the great painters and writers such as Repin, Tyutchev, Odoevsky, Soloukhin. Local textile center since the 18th century.

HOW TO GET THERE: By plane to Moscow. From Moscow, you can travel the cities and towns of the Golden Ring either by a tour bus or by a river cruise ship. The last option limits the number of towns that you can visit as they have to be situated close to the Volga river. We recommend you to take a bus tour for 3 to 10 days depending on your stamina and level of interest in Russian history. A typical 3-4-day tour from Moscow covers up to 7 cities and towns of the Golden Ring. You travel during the day time in a comfortable bus with a well-trained English-speaking guide and spend nights at hotels with Western-class service (usually- 3 star). The Golden Ring tour can be perfectly combined with 2-3 day program in Moscow. Almost every major travel agency in Moscow sells Golden Ring tours and it is much cheaper to buy them on the spot in Russia than to purchase a tour included into a vacation package from Europe or overseas. Communication is not a problem, these days all personnel in respectable agencies in Russia speak English.

WHEN TO GO: The best season to travel to Russia is summer, from June to August, the warmest time of the year there. Rains are usual during summers, do not forget to pack your umbrella. Weather can be unpredictable cold, even in the European part of Russia, so take some warm clothing. You can check next week weather forecast for Moscow here.

Ring of Russia

TRAVEL TIPS: A passport and a Russian visa are required to travel in or transit through Russia. To learn more about how to obtain Russian visa please visit Russian Embassy website. Without a visa, travelers cannot register at hotels and may be required to leave the country immediately via the route by which they entered, at the cost of the traveler. Russian customs officers strictly follow document regulations so travelers are advised to have all papers in order. It is also recommended that additional copies of passport and visa be kept in a safe place in case of loss or theft. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash/dollar payment for health services at Western rates so supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage is very useful. Travelers should be certain that all immunizations are up-to-date, especially for diphtheria and typhoid. The quality of tap water varies from city to city but normally is quite poor. Only boiled or bottled water should be drunk throughout Russia. Crime against foreigners in Russia continues to be a problem, especially in major cities. Pickpocketing, assaults, and robberies occur. Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around nightclubs or bars, or on their way home. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Be aware that public washrooms are difficult to find, and usually you have to pay there. To use a public phone you will need a token or local card. International calls can not be made from street phones. Your mobile phone will work in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but seldom in regional cities. Taxi fee must be discussed with a driver before a journey.

In the major cities, you can rent a car if you do not mind fairly rugged road conditions, a few hassles finding petrol, getting lost now and then and paying high rent price. Public transport in Russia is quite good, cheap and easy to use though sometimes overcrowded. Restaurants seldom have a menu in English. Tipping is expected but not mandatory. Signs in English are common on the streets of Moscow and other big cities. In large cities, it is not hard to find a passerby who can answer your questions in Engish. Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50 Hz. The plug is the two-pin thin European standard.

Friendly Places to Travel With Grand Children

My yearning to travel Soul Crazy goes way back as far as I can remember. School field trips were one of my favorite things to do because our class visited places that were sometimes taken for granted especially if they were in our town or city. We’d visit museums and interesting places like the Houston Planetarium, the Intercontinental Airport, and Hermann Park Zoo field trips stick out in mind more than anything. Someday, I will venture back to Houston, Texas to revisit the places of my school days! My grandchildren would appreciate visiting some of these places as well.

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Now, many years later, as an adult and an avid traveler, before leaving for a trip, I search out every museum in the town or city of our upcoming trip destination before hand. We fill every day with tons of activities, some of which is free or inexpensive, educational and all the while, we’re making memories as a family.

The Internet is a luxury I never had back in the seventies. Had it been around back those days, there’s no telling where I’d be today! Maps are easily at our disposal and GPS’s makes traveling so much easier. Nowadays, before arriving at a destination, I know exactly what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it. Nothing bothers me more than to hear a bunch of teenagers whining about being bored and not having anything to do! Especially on my trip! So I plan every day ahead of time, and make sure that slack times are in the evenings where we gather around the pool and enjoy a good swim or if we’re camping out, we all gather around the fire where we can roast wieners or marshmallows, make smores and have family time and share our thoughts and pictures of the day.

We’re not the perfect family and no, we don’t always have a perfect vacation… but we make memories and have fun trying and that’s what makes it so good! Because we are not rich and have to vacation on a shoestring budget every year makes us appreciate the things we do and see and the places we go! It’s not all about theme parks, glitz and famous places – there’s something good even in the smallest museums. You just have to know ‘what’ and ‘where’ it is! It’s called research! If you travel with teens, nine times out of ten they carry cell phones. Keep them busy on Google looking for fun activities in the town you’re visiting. You’ll never know what you may find!

Let me tell you about our trip last year.

Day one, we started off here in the South, drove to Amarillo, where we spent the night in an affordable room that served breakfast. In the evening before retiring for the night, we ate sandwiches and chips, and swam for a while and ended the evening with a movie or two. The next day we spent the biggest part of our day driving on to Colorado Springs, Colorado where we spent the next few days having a blast before going on to the next destination on our itinerary.

Day three, while we were in Colorado Springs, our first visit was to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, Colorado.

 

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They have a wonderful display of dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs and fish of North America’s late Cretaceous period. In addition to vibrant graphics and life-restoration sculptures, visitors could venture around the museum reading the stories of each specimen. They also have a working fossil laboratory where important recently discovered paleontological specimens are being freed from their rock matrix and undergoing restoration, as well as a children’s area where they can brush off fossils in our dig box, there are books to read, a magnetic board for them to make their own imaginative dinosaur, and a rubbing station where they can take home their colorful drawings of dinosaurs. Everyone in the family will enjoy the Dinosaur Resource Center. If you have a few extra dollars to spend, there is a gift shop for souvenirs.

Later that evening we had dinner, swam at the pool at our motel and spent the remainder getting baths, and ready for bed so we could get a decent start the next day. Since we had such a large group with us, we got multiple rooms where everyone wouldn’t be too cramped and could enjoy a good nights sleep after the long drive the day before and the outing this day. Our motel wasn’t the best but it provided the essentials we needed at an affordable price, and it was clean and quiet. We were on a budget!

The next day, we packed a picnic lunch and headed off to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings located in Manitou Springs, Colorado, five miles west of Colorado Springs.

We toured the Anasazi Museum. Impressive dioramas depicted the daily life of the Pueblo Anasazi. At the museum, we saw exhibits of tools, pottery, weapons, and informative videos that offered a glimpse of the mysterious people who left a remarkable architectural legacy on mesa tops and in cliff walls like the one at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Scientists still are unsure why the Anasazi left their cliff dwelling homes hundreds of years ago, but when you tour the dwellings and museum you’ll also become intrigued with finding out more about their lives as my family has.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings was an all-time favorite. My grandchildren spent hours roaming through the cliff dwellings and climbing in and out the dwelling windows and outlets as the Anasazi children probably did hundreds of years ago. It was something we all found in common and most of the older grandkids are still in search of unanswered questions about the Anasazi of the Colorado Springs area that dwelt here many years ago.

Day five, we were on our way to Cripple Creek, Colorado for a one-night stay. We had a train ride the next day aboard the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Rail Road.

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Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge train was small in comparison to the ones that we’ve ridden in the past, but it was a huge blast with the kids as we took a scenic tour up the mountain. They took turns helping the conductor steer the train up the mountain. The younger children were excited beyond degree and talked about their experience driving the train for days to come. Though we had to drive quite awhile to get there it was worth it in the end.

Day six, we headed over to Sugar Bush Camp Ground located in Howard, Colorado just a few minutes from Salida where we’d spend the next three days camping out and touring the countryside. We drove over to Canon City to the Royal Gorge Bridge, the world’s highest suspension bridge that was built back in 1929.

You’ll find some surprising adventure awaiting you at the bridge – a miniature train, a theater and historical expo, a sky coaster, zip line, gondola and the bridge’s newest addition, children’s playland. Your admission ticket allows you peruse the entire park. It may seem a little scary but it is truly worth the visit. Personally, I am afraid of heights and walking the 2,200 feet across the Royal Gorge over 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River really wasn’t my cup of tea. I walked across in the middle with my eyes shut with grandkids on both sides leading me on! I frantically made my way across without looking through the cracks! The quiet and scenic views made the walk memorable but being the scare-cat that I am, I wasn’t ready for the return trip back across.

Day nine, we left the Salida area and ventured over to Leadville. We rode the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad later in the afternoon. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this scenic train trip lasted about two and a half hours. We traveled about 1,000 feet above the headwaters of the Arkansas River Valley. We chose the open car because the afternoon was cool and the kids enjoyed not being cooped up for the journey.

Day ten, we drove up to Lake City where we spent the next five days at TEXAN RESORT. We had a two-story three bedroom cabin large enough we could all spread out and stretch without bumping into each other at every turn. With all the comforts of home at our fingertips, we rested and enjoyed ourselves. While we were in Lake City, we had a picnic downtown at the park while the little ones played with the other kids. We grilled hamburgers in the evenings back at the cabin while the kids played horseshoes with some of the other guests at the resort. We were fortunate enough to meet up with some children who lived there year round who showed our clan some fun and adventure while we were there. The mornings were rather cool but sitting on the front porch wrapped in a cozy blanket and sipping hot coffee while the family slept on soothed my nerves. I wasn’t ready to go home. I’m not sure I’d really want to be in Lake City in the dead of winter but at this moment when all was well with me, it was a wonderful thought!

This is our fourth year staying at the TEXAN RESORT – they have cabins to fit your group size. Be sure and tell I recommended them when you call. If you like to fish, hunt, hike or just wan to get away for a few days, then The Texan Resort is the place to be.

While we were in Lake City, we took the kids to the park downtown, and we eased up the mountain to the Hard Tack Mine Tours & Museum. The tour into the mine shaft was cool and educational, to say the least, but the gift shop caught their eye immediately. I handed out rolls of quarters and let them spend a few dollars on rocks and magnets, etc.

Later in the week on Friday, we went to the Mountaineer Theatre downtown and saw Finding Dora.

Lake City is a relaxed, laid back little town. There are a few horseback outfitters in the area and backpacking, and rafting if you’re into that kind of thing.

Our trip didn’t end there, though.

On day sixteen, we left Lake City and decided to take a little longer getting home so we drove over South Fork, Colorado – camped out five days at River Bend Resort – the kids were utterly miserable because our cranky older neighbors kept yelling at them for playing in the water. Chevy Chase made a hit movie here back in the eighties and one would think it would be a family place. If you’ve got kids, this is not the place to be. It is filled with camper trailers and with that comes the older generation who don’t tolerate kids while they’re relaxing and fishing. We were comfortable and all that in our tents and with our air mattresses but the manager came down and threatened to make us leave if the kids kept throwing rocks in the water. So – next year, we won’t do that again.

Since there wasn’t a lot to do in South Fork, I drove the grandkids over to a little town called Mosca – we went to the Colorado Gators Reptile Park.

On Friday evening, we took the kids to the Star Drive-In theater an in Monte Vista about fifteen miles from South Fork. If you’re in the area and want a real old-fashioned drive-in experience, this is the place to be. There are two large screens and two different movies playing on the weekends.

We left South Fork and decided to stay several days in Blanding, Utah. We liked our motel, the Four Corners Inn – there was no pool but Lawrence, the general manager, made our stay comfortable and the breakfast every day were really good. Even though it didn’t have a pool, we were able to find a mini water park in town that was fairly reasonable and the kids loved it there. It stayed open from 1:00 in the afternoon until 7 p.m. We took a picnic lunch each day so that was really nice.

The kids enjoyed an outing at the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding.

We left Blanding and drove the few hundred miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The first three nights we were supposed to stay at Hotel Cascada but because of a transformer explosion that not only affected the electricity – it also blew out a water main – we were sent over to Home2 Suites. Everyone at the motel was evacuated and sent over to the other motel. Some new arrivals were upset because they had driven for hours with their families but things happen. It was not their fault that the transformer blew. Michelle, the manager of Hotel Cascada, was as nice and polite as any one person could be and she went out of her way to assist her customers.

We spent three nights there at Home2 Suites and let me tell you, they had the best beds I believe I have ever slept on. The breakfast was super good as well. The staff made sure we were comfortable. There were even a dishwasher and fully stocked kitchenette in each room. We had to buy our own food, though!

The last four nights we stayed at Hyatt Place Albuquerque/Uptown – the pool was awesome. The staff went out of their way to see to it we had a wonderful stay. Breakfast was not only good but everything was served fresh.

The kids had a blast out at Hinkle Family Fun Center located at the northwest corner of Tramway and Indian School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We rode the bumper boats, the go-karts, and spent endless hours inside playing the arcade games. This place is awesome and it’s not just for kids. They have this wheel similar to the one on the game show The Price is Right that is my favorite! I played it so much that I hit the 1000 jackpot every time! When it was time to go, it was a lot of fun redeeming the tickets for our gifts. Having over 7000 tickets, I split them with the grandkids and they picked out a lot of stuff to take home.

Places

We ventured out to the Albuquerque Zoo and Botanical Gardens one day; Cliff’s Amusement Park the next; we visited the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science located at 1801 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM. Phone: (505) 841-2800.

We walked around Old Town and ventured in the local shops. We ate at the HACIENDA DEL RIO RESTAURANT & CANTINA in Old Town section of Albuquerque.

We saved the best for last! Albuquerque NM is the place to be! Look out July 2017!