Tag - Travel

Maximizing a Trip to Trendy Johannesburg

    Courtesy of flickr.com/thomas_sly

Courtesy of flickr.com/thomas_sly

The large South African city of Johannesburg is a bustling metropolis and an African economic juggernaut. Known in the local language as Joburg, the city embraces an eclectic mix of African, European, and Asian cultures.

Its rich history, together with its progressive outlook, makes it a hip destination for tourists from around the world. There are numerous attractions Johannesburg is known for, but these hip attractions are the city’s staple and will definitely maximize your trip.

Market on Main

Nestled at 245 Main Street, it is the number one ranked food and design market. A must see location if you are visiting or either you’re from Johannesburg, it offers a wide range of interesting items that you can find in other parts of the world.  Something you can bargain for while letting you have a taste of other cultures. In Market on Main, you can also find sumptuous, inexpensive and healthy ethnic food. The outside area is also quite refreshing with all the awesome bars and cozy coffee shops. Market on Main is definitely a place where you can best spend your Sunday mornings.

Gold Reef City

Another place where you can experience extreme fun is South Africa’s premiere theme park, the Gold Reef City. This place offers different kinds of attractions that cater to all ages. Adults enjoy their trip to the mine tour which gives them the experience of how gold-mining feels like. This is one of the highlights that this theme park offers along with the thrill rides and the famous 4D cinema that are both enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Visitors would surely love to indulge with various selections of restaurants, while others can spend their day watching the featured show at the Theatre. Gold Reef City is indeed full of awesome memorabilia of South Africa.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum is situated in Northern Parkway. Constructed with a budget of approximately 80 million South Africa Rands and is recognized as the pre-eminent museum when it opened in 2001. The museum exhibits South Africa’s 20th century rise and fall during the Apartheid Era. The architectural design is impressive along with their excellent exhibit that explains all about the Apartheid movement. Extraordinary stories unfold right before your very eyes. Paying a visit to this place is a good way to know and experience South African history.

Lion Park

If you want to have a perfect outdoor activity for the weekend, consider visiting The Lion Park. It is an amazing park that is considered home to some herbivores and carnivores. You will truly enjoy your interaction with the animals as you get the amazing chance to get up close- and-personal with them. The park is divided into two areas. Herbivores like giraffe, zebra and other grass-eating animals were separated from the prides of lions, cheetahs, along with some wild dogs and hyenas which are located at the carnivore’s area. This is a great chance for visitors to pet these wild animals and at the same time feed them. The whole family can surely enjoy this trip.

Origins Centre

Anyone, whose interest is the story of humankind and its origins in Africa, should consider having a day of visit in the Origins Center. To provide visitors with Africa’s rich and complicated heritage is their main goal in building the museum. The range of audience that the museum caters are from school kids as well as the ones whose interest is all about Africa’s celebration of history. You can enjoy the wonderful exhibition because of its well done presentation that is both fun and educational.

Author Bio:

Geraldine Mills is a Luxury safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists looking for a South African safari experience. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on Twitter @geraldinewalks.


Essential Camping Gears You Can’t Live Without

    Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Exploring the outdoors is a favorite activity for everyone yearning to be close to Mother Nature. When planning for the camp out, it is important to make a checklist of the essential tools that we have to bring. These are the very basic and most essential gears that should be on top of our list:

First Aid Kit

Safety should always be your primary concern in camping. Secure yourself and family from potential harm brought by accidental wounds by keeping a first aid kit all the time. A first aid kit is essential for immediate treatment of wounds and injuries. It is necessary that wounds are given immediate attention and treated properly to avoid infection. It is much better to anticipate accidents while camping so you can prepare well for it.  As a camper, there’s a great possibility of occasional scrapes, scratches and cuts while enjoying your camping adventure. Be prepared by filling your first aid  kit with gauze and bandages of different sizes, pain medicine, sterile wipes, antiseptic ointments and creams, anti-diarrhea medicines and even scissors and body thermometer.

Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool

A Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool is a must have item for every camper, hiker and mountaineer. This tool serves multiple purpose that are all useful to the activities performed by outdoorsmen. The Swiss Army knife has a sharp blade which is very useful in cutting ropes, tree branches, etc. It also contain various tools such as can openers, screwdrivers, mini scissors, bottle opener, etc. These tools are stowed through a pivot mechanism and are kept inside the knife’s  handle. The compact design of this Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool makes it easy for campers to bring it anytime and anywhere without hassle. The Swiss Army Knife originated from Switzerland where top-notch Swiss knives can be found. It is always smarter to buy trusted brands of Swiss knife even though they’re a bit pricier than the other ones available in the market because quality is always assured.

Water Containers

Water is the most important item for survival. No person could live without water and so, outdoorsmen should never forget to bring it. In addition, the strenous activities in camping would definitely require your body to take plenty of water.  Even though there will be available water in streams, lakes and rivers near the camping site, you cannot always trust them because of the possibility that bacteria are living there or the water is already contaminated. Bring large but easy-to-carry water containers where you can keep large volumes of water that will surely keep your body hydrated.

Waterproof Knapsack

An ordinary type of bag wouldn’t do much in camping outdoors.You need to have a waterproof knapsack to easily carry your things and protect them from being soaked into the water especially when the rains starts to fall. Keep your clothes, gadgets, foods, etc. on a safe and secured waterproof knapsack. Buy one from a trusted brand known for providing high quality waterproof knapsack that does not compromise quality and usefulness for price.


In camping, you will need fire just as much as you will need water. You’ll need fire in cooking your food, for clear vision and warmth during the night. However, starting a fire outdoors could be troublesome without using a flint. Unlike matches which easily become useless once soaked with water and lighters which are not safe to use, flint is much safer and easier to use in creating fire.  You can easily start a fire with a flint by scraping it to a rough surface. A flint is composed of ferrocerium metal which is very safe and reliable in creating spark for fire.


Geraldine Mills is an African safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists interested in traveling to the southern African Region. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on twitter @geraldinewalks.

Edmonton: Canada’s Festival City

    Festivals Folk Music Festival

Festivals Folk Music Festival

How many festivals do you need to host before you can claim to be your country’s “festival city?” Ten? 20? More? Whatever the official number is, Edmonton has hit it and then some as “Canada’s Festival City.” The official list numbers in the 30s, the actual list pushes 70. During most of the year, you can pick any month and find at least three festivals. During the summer months, you can pick pretty much any day and find something going on.

Being a festival city is about more than just numbers. There has to be a feel about your town that it’s a place where everybody’s welcome. There has to be a certain sense of fun that permeates the place. Edmonton has all of that as well. One thing that impressed us when we were able to attend some festivals during our visit was that there was a place for everybody at the festivals. Young and old, singles and families, everybody seems to find a way to hang out together. To hear more about how much we enjoyed it, listen to the Edmonton Episode of the Travel Brigade Radio Show.

A full list of the official festivals is available by clicking here. Since there are so many, here are a few of the highlights.

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival – January:

Think of something that’s fun to do in the snow, and you can find it on Alberta Ave. Ice and snow carving, skating, curling, street hockey and even “Deep Freezer Races” – a large freezer set on skis that people sit in and race down a hill on.

Global Visions Film Festival – early March:

Canada’s longest running documentary film festival celebrated its 30th birthday in 2012. The four-day festival operates with an overall theme that we are all interdependent citizens of a global village.

International Children’s Festival – late May, early June:

Originally launched in the downtown area over 30 years ago, this gathering focusing on children’s theatre is now held in the small, historic community of St. Albert. Performers from across the globe come to perform on five indoor and outdoor stages over five days.

Servus Heritage Festival – early August:

This festival takes over an entire city park as every national, ethnic or cultural group that has found a home in Edmonton puts up a pavilion highlighting its history, arts, clothing and, best of fall, food! There are an astonishing 62 pavilions representing 85 different cultures, including those from Africa, Asia and South America.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival – mid August:

This would qualify as one of the top music festivals based on its lineup alone as top performers take to multiple stages over the course of four days of concerts. What really puts it over the top as a music experience is that the main stage sits at the bottom of a grass hill. Audience members bring blankets and sit on the hill in the pleasant summer evening air and get a view not only of the stage, but across the river and onto the downtown skyline of the city.

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival – late August:

This celebration of “Fringe” has been going strong for 30 years, brings half a million people to Edmonton, and has helped turn the Old Strathcona neighborhood into a fun and thriving arts district. The 10-day street festival highlighted by theatre people experimenting with entertainment has become the model for fringe festivals around the globe.

Edmonton International Film Festival – late September, early October:

Now in it’s 26th year, the EIFF has been a place where directors such as John Waters, Werner Herzog and Norman Jewison have premiered new work. Entries from all over the world are on the roster.

Edmonton Comedy Festival – mid October:

Two dozen top stand-up comedians from across North America come to Alberta to do shows on a six different stages. The 2012 lineup includes Jay Mohr. Whatever the season, whatever your interest, you’ll find that Edmonton has a festival that’s right up your alley.

Cruising Out of Southern California Ports

Disney Cruise Ships

Disney Cruise Ships

Cruising makes for a great vacation, and what makes it even better is finding a great port city to sail in and out of that offers fun things to do before and after the cruise. Southern California offers three ports to choose from for cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Cruise lines are also coming up with new ideas to draw vacationers to the West Coast such as Coastal California tours that focus on the ports of California with some even including wine tasting tours. For example, in the fall of 2012, Disney Cruise Line (800-951-3532) will be doing new California Coastal cruises featuring Pixar characters. To hear more about these ports, listen to our radio show by [clicking here]. Cruising out of Southern California ports gives you many options. Here are highlights for each of the three ports.

Long Beach:

The Port of Long Beach is a port for Carnival Cruise Lines and the area has made an amazing transformation over the past 10 years. (800-452-7829) Shopping and entertainment areas such as The Pike at Long Beach and Shoreline Village offer lots of great dining, shopping and activities, and are easy to get to from the cruise terminal.

Port of Los Angeles:

This port located in San Pedro (310-SEA-PORT) is incredibly busy in terms of container shipping, but also is an important embarkation point for cruises. The Port of L.A. is undergoing numerous long-term changes to its waterfront, with two new attractions, the U.S.S. Iowa ( 877-4-IOWA-61) and a craft market called “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles” (310-732-1270) giving cruisers two new things to check out before embarking or after getting back from a trip.

San Diego:

The beautiful city of San Diego is full of great things to do, and its hard to think of a city where the port () is so near to so much to do. It’s easy to spend a day going to the Gaslamp Quarter for shopping, dining or a Padres game, or visit the many other attractions near the port, and still make it on your boat before San Diego port embarking, or make your flight home after a trip.

Southern California offers three different port cities that all have their own distinct character, and each one has attractions that make it a great place to start or end a cruise.

Renting a House in Newport Beach, California, Makes a Perfect Family Vacation

Newport General

Newport General

One thing that makes Newport Beach, California unique as a beach destination is that families, including extended families, or groups of friends, can rent a house together right on the beach.

While some beach cities have hotels or stores along the beachfront, or just parking lots, Newport has homes running all along the beachfront, and also on the bay front on the other side of the peninsula. Many of them are available for rent, and many families make a tradition of renting a beach house together for a week or more every summer. Craig Batley, owner of Burr-White Realty, (2901 Newport Blvd., 855-675-4630) notes Newport has a long history of having vacation homes and says, “We’ve been renting vacation homes to families for decades.” To hear our interview with Craig, and get more info about Newport Beach, click here.

Here are some things to keep in mind when renting.

Rental areas of Balboa Peninsula: Different sections of the city are noted for drawing different types of rental crowds. The area above the Newport Pier, also known as “West Newport” is known for being more lively and is close to a number of bars and clubs. Singles or younger people who want to be where the “action” is, will like this area. The area between the Newport and Balboa piers, below the Balboa Pier, and on the Bay Side, are quieter areas, and generally a better rental option for families with children.

Newport Beach Side vs. Balboa Bay Side: Being in a beachfront home with a porch that sits right up against the boardwalk can be fun for people watching as joggers, bikers, walkers and everyone else parades by. They’re a great place for hanging out and you just have to take a few steps to be on the sand. However, these are also the most expensive rentals. As you move off the beach, prices drop, and the best deals can sometimes be found over on the bay side of the peninsula. It’s more laid-back and quieter, and since the Balboa Peninsula is only a few blocks wide, you’re never more than a five-minute walk from the beach.

Great rental deals: Weekly rentals on the Balboa Peninsula generally start at just below $2,000 and go up from there. When you hear a price, remember a couple of things if you’re comparing numbers against the cost of staying in a hotel. First, divide the price by six or seven, since that’s the number of nights you’ll have it. Second, keep in mind that if you’ve got a large or extended family, you’d have to rent at least two or three or more hotel rooms. Third, remember that you’ll have a full kitchen and can therefore save money by eating out less. Whatever you’re looking for, Batley points out, “There’s a price point for everybody. All families can really afford here.”

Families traveling together: The whole feel of a family vacation in a beach house is very different from being in a hotel. For large or extended families, you would need to rent multiple hotel rooms, so there’s really not a big gathering place where people can hang out together. There’s also not a large kitchen where you can do family meals together. “It’s a family experience you can’t replicate in a hotel,” Batley says.

Newport Beach offers a wide variety of rental options near the beach, it’s just a matter of finding the best fit for you and your family.

You can also listen to Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on the weekly  Travel Brigade Radio Show at TravelBrigade.com. 



Hockey, Biking, Jetting the Rapids and Star Wars: A Guy’s Guide to Montreal

2010 12 Janvier- Shooting Musée (Brochure Marketing #1)

2010 12 Janvier- Shooting Musée (Brochure Marketing #1)

Montreal is a place where everybody can find something they like. Family activities, fun for kids, girlfriend getaways, free concerts for music fans – this city has it all, including things guys will like. Here’s a list of activities for guys to try while in Montreal.

Canadiens Hall of Fame and Bell Centre Tour – The first thing most men think of when they hear Montreal is the history-making hockey team. Since 1909, the Canadiens have been the premiere team in the NHL, winning 24 Stanley Cup titles along the way. That’s a lot of history, and it’s all packed into the Canadiens Hall of Fame (514-925-7777), which combines lots of old equipment, uniforms and other interesting things with 21st Century technology in the form of huge touch screens where fans can look up Montreal legends.

The Hall is connected to the Bell Centre where the Canadiens play their home games, and tours take you to the locker-room, press box and even right down to ice level. The Hall and Bell Centre are open year-round, so even if you go to Montreal in the off-season, there’s still time for hockey. To hear more about about the Canadiens Hockey Hall of Fame, click [here] to listen to our interview with the Hall of Fame and the Bell Centre.

Jet Boating the Lachine Rapids – Pack a towel and a change of clothes when you go on this tour with Saute Moutons (514-284-9607) because the boat drivers don’t hesitate to go right into the waves to create maximum drenching. They provide all sorts of clothing and equipment to protect you, but no matter how much you put on, you will get wet.

Bike Tours – Riding a bike is a great way to get out and explore a city, and having a tour guide along to explain where you are and where you’re going makes it even better. Montreal is an especially bike-friendly city, with lots of two-way bike lanes on the major streets. My Bicyclette (877-815-0150) provides tours and does rentals. Their tour takes you on a three-hour adventure through Montreal’s different neighborhoods, with stops along the way to tell about the history and get tastes of great food from local shops. Montreal also has a BIXI bike system. Bikes are stationed around the city, and you can walk up and use a credit card to rent one, take it to another BIXI station and drop it off. The cost is minimal as long as you only use the bikes for short trips.

Star Wars Identities – Every guy has some geek in him, and you can geek out at the “Star Wars Identities” exhibit, housed at the Montreal Science Center (877-496-4724) through Sept. 16, 2012. Visitors are asked a series of questions throughout the exhibit and at the end are given the identity of an intergalactic character. Most importantly, you get to find out if you ended up on the “dark side.” Montreal and Edmonton are the only two cities where this exhibit will run.

From hockey, to adventure in the water, to outdoor activities, Montreal has something for every guy.

You can also listen to Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on the weekly Travel Brigade Radio Show at TravelBrigade.com. 



Top 10 Activities in Quebec City

    Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac / Provided by Quebec City Tourism

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac / Provided by Quebec City Tourism

With over 400 years of history, Quebec City and its surrounding areas are loaded with things to see and do. We’ve tried to perform the impossible task of narrowing it down to a mere 10. To hear more about these and other activities, listen to our Travel Show on Quebec. Below, in no particular order, (because they’re all so fun) are our favorite top  10 activities.

The Old City

The combination of buildings and streets dating back centuries, a walled city and people speaking French (don’t worry, the locals are mostly bilingual and very nice about speaking English) gives you the feeling of being in Europe. Stop by the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (866-540-4460, 1, rue des Carrieres), an incredible hotel sitting high on a cliff above the St. Lawrence River that has become the symbol of the city. The boardwalk in front of the Chateau offers amazing views of the river below.

The Lower City

This crescent right below the cliff that holds the Old City, has plenty of history and beauty in its own right. A great way to learn the history of the area, and the city as a whole, is to explore it on a bike tour with Cyclo Services Bicycle Tours (877-692-4050, 289, rue Saint-Paul).

The St. Roch District

This area, pronounced “ Saint Rock,” has been revitalized over the past decade to become the city’s hip new neighborhood filled with restaurants, clubs and boutique shopping. Stop by Les Bossus Restaurant (418-522-5501, 620, St.-Joseph Est) for great food and atmosphere, or stay at Hotel Royal William (888-541-0405, 360, boulevard Charest Est) for a location convenient to a variety of areas of the city.

The Citadel

his fort in the Old City has played an important role in the history of the city, and the Citadel (418-694-2815, 1, Cote de la Citadelle) is still an active military facility for the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces. A 60-minute tour is both interesting and very valuable for learning the history of the area.

The Plains of Abraham

After taking the Citadel tour and learning about the 1759 Battle of Quebec, walk right over to where it took place on the Plains of Abraham, which is now a huge, beautiful park with its own exhibits, concerts and things to do.

Aquarium du Quebec

Kids will love seeing polar bears, seals, walruses and a variety of other animals is the Aquarium du Quebec (418-659-5264, 1675, avenue des Hotels). Parents may want to call ahead and find out about a program that allows children to assist the animal keepers, and even learn to teach the animals tricks for the shows.

Whale Watching

If the seals and walruses interest you, go see the biggest animals in the ocean by doing a whale watching trip. Cruises AML (866-856-6668) runs whale watching trips out of Tadoussac, Baie-Sainte-Catherine and other ports that are a bit of a drive out of the city, but well worth the trip for the chance to see a variety of whales, including belugas.

Grosse Ile

A fascinating piece of Canadian history can be found at the island of Grosse Ile (888-773-8888) not far from Quebec City. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the island was used as a quarantine station for immigrant ships, and today it is a beautiful national park where many of the buildings have been preserved to use in a historical tour. Take a fun boat trip on Croisieres Lachance (1-888-GROSSE ILE, 110, de la Marina, Berthier-sur-Mer) to get there.

A Sauce Like No Other

Visiting L’Entrecote Saint-Jean (418-694-0234, 1080, rue Saint-Jean) is an opportunity to try “Entrecote Sauce,” a delicious combination of curry, mustard and other secret ingredients poured over steak and fries. The restaurant claims to be the only place to find this sauce in North America.

Summer Arts

The arts are in full bloom in the summer. Cirque du Soleil puts on an outdoor show only performed in Quebec City, “The Image Mill” turns the giant grain silos in port into a huge outdoor screen, or try the festival celebrating French heritage or music festival.

For more information on these, check out the tourism offices for both Quebec City (877-783-1608) and the Quebec Province (1-877-BONJOUR).

Quebec City is full of great things to see and do, picking just 10 is hard to do.

Cruising with Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

NCL Epic

NCL Epic

Going on a cruise can be an ideal way to travel together as a family because parents and kids can spend quality time together – and apart. Thanks to children’s programs on cruise ships, kids can be somewhere safe doing fun activities targeted specifically to their age group, while the parents have their own fun, and then everybody can come back together for dinner or other family events. Families traveling with a child with developmental disabilities or autism may have concerns about their children’s needs being meet and having them participate in such programs, but they will find that the cruise lines want all passengers to participate and are willing to work with parents to make sure everybody has a great cruise.

Disability attorney Dale H. Boam notes that cruise ships are required to comply with various laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act if the ship docks in the United States. “Obviously, the easiest rules to think about are access rules,” he says with regard to regulations that relate to things like mobility impairments and wheelchairs. However, when it comes to developmental disabilities or autism, “the needs become very specific.”

To that end, parents should “be ready to fully disclose what their child’s concerns are,” says Richard Ambrose, Vice-President of Entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Lines. (To listen to radio interviews with both NCL and Mr. Boam, click here.) The cruise line and its staff are willing to meet your child’s needs, but they first have to know what they are.

Boam suggests that calling the cruise line’s access or disabilities desk prior to the cruise  “as a starting place for discussion.” Ambrose says that at NCL, when such a call is made, it starts a process where the access desk notifies the fleet youth supervisor at the main offices and the youth managers working on the ship. With parental input, “We can work and develop a program for that child so that they are included in all the activities.” Ambrose also advises that once a family arrives on the ship, the first thing parents should do is go to the youth program and meet the manager to “discuss their child’s needs and issues.”

What should be part of that discussion? What should parents bring up? Boam says, “The easiest thing to do is to think about what accommodations, what services, does your child need on their IEP (Individualized Education Program) in their school setting?” What the child needs help with at school, is often what they need assistance with in a cruise program, because the ship activities often “sort of mimic school programs.”

One accommodation to think about that wouldn’t come up in a school setting is having the child be placed in a younger group. For example, a 14-year-old with cognitive disabilities might not be safe in a teen program that allows lots of latitude in coming and going, and may therefore do better in a program for 11-12 year olds.

Keep in mind that the overriding goal for staff and parents is for the kids to have a great time. “We believe everybody should have a fantastic vacation,” Ambrose says. Or as Boam puts it, “It’s much better to have a great vacation than a great lawsuit.”

Summer Wildlife in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Summer Wildlife in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Summer Wildlife in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park are excellent places to view wildlife at any time of the year, but during the summer there are even more ways to see get out in the good weather and view the elk, bison, bears and other animals found in this beautiful area of Wyoming. Traveling to the Teton area, you can view animals from a boat, bike or specialized vehicle designed to take you into the back country.

The biologists on staff at the non-profit Teton Science Schools conduct wildlife expeditions in vehicles that have been customized to allow guests to go off the main road while still maintaining a level of comfort inside the vehicle. The biologist-guides who conduct the tours are regularly out in the field around the area, so they have expert knowledge of where animals might be, (You can hear a radio interview with one of the biologist-guides here) . The guides also have a lot of information they can pass on, and always conduct the observations in ways that don’t disturb the animals. Binoculars and spotting scopes are provided as well as snacks and beverages.

Summer Wildlife in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Summer Wildlife in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

For those who enjoy biking, or simply getting out in the open air, Teton Mountain Bike Tours is an excellent option. There are a variety of guided tours available, but you can also just stop by and rent a mountain bike, comfortable beach-cruiser style bikes with gears, or racing style bikes, depending on what type of experience you want to have. One nice thing about renting from this outfit is that the location at the edge of town on North Cache Street means you can park, rent a bike, and then hop straight onto the trails right from the shop without having to transfer the bike anywhere. There are mountain bike, dirt path and paved paths that can be picked up just across the street from the store. For those who are not hardcore bikers, a good option is the paved path that goes up through the National Elk Refuge, into Grand Teton National Park and up to Jenny Lake.

Another option for wildlife viewing is a float trip from the water while going down the Snake River with Mad River Boat Trips. This is particularly a great way to see a variety of birds, including bald eagles. For those who want a relaxing ride while just taking in the scenery, the float trip is a good choice. The trip is a 13 mile float and includes a hot breakfast.

The area surrounding Jackson Hole contains an amazing number and variety of wildlife and there are plenty of different outdoor options to view them while also having a fun time.

Teton Science Schools


700 Coyote Canyon Road  Jackson,WY

Teton Mountain Bike Tours


545, North Cache St.,  Jackson,WY

Mad River Boat Trips


1255 South US Highway 89,  Jackson,WY

Absinthe in Las Vegas, the Hottest Show on the Strip

    Absinthe - The Gazillionaire Credit Tom Donoghue

Absinthe – The Gazillionaire Credit Tom Donoghue

While visiting Las Vegas, make sure you make time for the hottest ticket in town Absinthe.

It’s amazing circus acts, it’s irreverent comics, it’s burlesque numbers, and it’s all under one tent. In an era of ever bigger, more extravagant Las Vegas shows, Absinthe has become the hot show on The Strip by going for stripped-down, small and intimate. The show takes place in a small tent right on the grounds at Caesars Palace.

Once inside, you’re just a few yards away from a stage that isn’t much bigger than the typical living room. Suddenly, acrobats are doing amazing stunts seemingly right above you, to jaw-dropping effect. However, your jaw will find its way back up between acts to burst into laughter as “The Gazillionaire,” the character who not only funded the show but hosts it, and his faithful assistant “Penny Pibbits” engage the audience in ribald and politically incorrect humor. Check out this radio interview with Gaz and Penny from Absinthe to get an idea of their style of humor and find out more about the show. The style of humor during the performance definitely gets members of the audience involved to hilarious effect, just one more benefit of Absinthe’s small setting.

    Absinthe - Penny Pibbets Credit-Tom-Donoghue
Absinthe – Penny Pibbets Credit-Tom-Donoghue

“There’s other shows that put a lot of money into the sets and everything. We wanted to kind of flip that over and do the most ridiculously simple, intimate, little thing we could do,” says the The Gazillionaire. “In this day and age, you know, you can compete with ‘Avengers’ on the 3D IMAX screen, or you go the other way and just put a bunch of crap really close to everyone and you feel a part of it.”

Absinthe calls itself an “acro-cabaret,” with the cabaret portion coming from a couple of numbers from burlesque-style performer Melody Sweets as “The Green Fairy.”

The tent is located in the Roman Plaza at Caesars Palace with shows running every night but Monday. There are 8 and 10 p.m. shows on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with 8 p.m.-only shows on Wednesday and Sunday.

For more information on tickets call 800-745-3000.


Travel Louisiana: Vidalia, Louisiana

Vidalia Riverwalk, cr:vidaliaprogress.com

Vidalia Riverwalk, cr:vidaliaprogress.com

Vidalia is a city that is located in Concordia Parish in the state of  Louisiana. This city rests at an elevation  of only 66 feet above sea level. It has one sister city and that is  Natchez, Mississippi.

These two cities are separated by the Mississippi River.  Many people think that the city of Vidalia got it’s name from the well known  sweet vidalia onions, but that is not true. The city of Vidalia was named after  Vidalia, Georgia.

Vidalia is a city with a lot of charm and it attracts visitors  from all over the world. Some main attractions in Vidalia include Riverview RV  Park, Frogmore Plantation, The Delta Museum, The Vidalia Riverwalk, and the  Tacony Plantation.

The Tacony Plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This plantation originated in 1845. This plantation produced 3,387 cotton bales  and 17,000 bushels of corn. This is where one of the wealthiest cotton planters  in the state of Louisiana lived. His name was Alfred Vidal Davis, Sr.

The Vidalia Riverwalk provides much entertainment for local residents and  visitors. While touring the Riverwalk you will see restaurants, a hotel, shops,  amphitheater and boat ramps. The Delta Museum invites visitors with free  admission. The Frogmore Plantation spans 1800 acres. This Plantation recieved  the Rural Tourism Award in 1999. The Riverview RV Park is a resort that offers  full services.

Many events take place in Vidalia year-round. Upcoming events for the month  of November include Back to the Roots Hair Show. This event will take place on  November 5, 6, and 7. November the 21rst through January 3rd brings the event  Christmas Lights on the River. December 4th is the Vidalia Christmas Parade.  December 17th bring Santa to Vidalia and this event is Breakfast with  Santa.

People from all regions of the world travel to Louisiana to taste the flavor  of the South. You and your guests can learn about the history and culture of  Louisiana.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Waterfront Hotel

Manchester Hyatt over the San Diego Bay  Credit: Manchester Hyatt

Manchester Hyatt over the San Diego Bay Credit: Manchester Hyatt

The beautiful bay of San Diego is one of California’s popular travel destinations and the Manchester Grand Hyatt is a beautiful waterfront hotel overlooking that bay.

Any trip to Southern California is not complete without a visit to picturesque San Diego. This stunning city, best known for its exceptional climate, is California’s second largest city. The Manchester Grand Hyatt, with its waterfront location and close proximity to local attractions such as Seaport Village and the San Diego Convention Center, makes for an excellent place to stay when visiting the city or taking a cruise out of the port of San Diego.

Manchester Grant Hyatt

The Manchester Grand has two towers that give it an impressive look along the skyline. The location of the hotel puts it a close distance to popular attractions like SeaWorld, the Gaslamp Quarter, U.S.S. Midway Museum or the port of San Diego.

The 1,625 rooms located in the two towers are classic in décor and many have a view of the bay. All have windows that open so guests can enjoys the fresh San Diego weather. Activities on site include a marina, tennis courts, gym, bike rentals and the Kin Spa. The pool deck is a large area that connects the two towers together and offers a great view of the sky line. The pool area includes hot tubs, cabanas and several fire pits that are lit up at night.

Family Friendly Activities and Camp Hyatt

Pool areas are always popular with kids of all ages and guests can enjoy warming up in the evening by making classic s’mores over the fire pits. The Hyatt also offers a seasonal backyard area where one can participate in lawn bowling, giant checkers and family friendly poolside cinema Saturday nights.

Camp Hyatt is also a unique feature where children can participate in half or full day sessions that include activities on and off site. There is also an evening session that includes dinner, so parents can plan an evening alone.

Sally’ Seafood on the Waterfront and Top of the Hyatt

The Hyatt has a several choices for dining and drinks such as Ann Marie’s Coffee Shop, Redfield’s Deli and the pool bar to Sally’s Seafood on the Waterfront. Sally’s offers fresh seafood including signature appetizers such as blue crab cake, and chicken spring rolls. The restaurant also offers local fish and chips and the popular lobster pot pie. It is also a great happy hour location with Mini Burger Mondays and Taco Tuesdays followed by Wasabi Wednesdays, which showcases the restaurant’s specialty sushi. One will enjoy Sally’s while dining on the boardwalk and basking in the sunny San Diego weather.

Those who want a great view of the bay should try the Top of the Hyatt, located 40 floors up. Enjoy a drink while looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows in the tallest waterfront hotel on the West Coast.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

One Market Place  San Diego, California 92101

(619) 232 1234

Staying in a hotel that offers waterfront views is nice, but staying in a waterfront hotel like the Manchester Grand Hyatt that offers great views, service, activities, dining and a programs for families is even better.

Partying at Patong Beach, Thailand

Ptong beach, Credit-maruf90.blogspot

Patong beach, Credit-maruf90.blogspot

Letting loose in Thailand can be an unforgettable experience, even to the partiers with the most fickle of tastes. While almost any beach can provide an adequate amount of entertainment, the premier destination is Patong Beach in Phuket. With an endless maze of streets filled with bars and strip clubs, Patong sees its share of seedy entertainment but also its fair share of tourists from all around the world coming to seek escape.

From endless parties and New Year celebrations with show stopping firework explosions all over the sky to bar crawls from Irish, German and Thai establishments and even to gay-friendly neighborhoods with happening night clubs, Patong Beach never stops having fun, even when the sun comes up well above the horizon in the morning.

While it is hard to find an accommodation that is quaint and quiet, most tourists look for quite the opposite when they come to Patong Beach. Expectations are that sleep will be very limited and partying will be aplenty. Those expectations are usually correct and are exceeded. Hotels and hostels are located amidst streets with bars and crowds that never sleep and, unless one is inebriated beyond belief, sound sleep can often be interrupted by noises and music from the outside.

For distinctly cultural activities, tourists should look elsewhere to other Thai beaches, as Patong is the most tourist-friendly location in Thailand, which also means it is the most westernized and most devoid of the genuinely local flavor. The most prominent staple feature of Patong is the extensive presence of black market faux-luxury item rip-off sales booths and tents. One can buy a pair of fake Ray Ban sunglasses, a Mui Mui wallet or a Louis Vuitton purse for $20-$100 USD, with extensive bargaining. Comparable to Canal Street in New York City, Patong beach black markets attract throngs of tourists annually, all hoping to score an unheard of bargain on an item that looks almost identical to its authentic luxury counterpart but costing one-twentieth of the original’s price.

A typical day in Patong Beach life involves renting a couple of lounge chairs in the early afternoon and soaking up the rays of sun with a couple of Carlsbergs (a popular beer in Thailand). As the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, a lot of beach goers turn it up a notch by either renting the jet skis or para-sailing over the beach. The prices for jet ski rentals or para-sailing can be steep but are worth the excitement of taking in the vistas of Patong Beach in one swooping look while riding the waves or sweeping across the sky.

At night, there are still plenty activities to occupy one’s time. One can say goodbye to a passing day by purchasing and lighting one of the Chinese lanterns and sending it off into the sky. On weekend nights and holidays, the entire sky lights up with glimmering lanterns floating up to the sky from the shores of Patong, creating one of the most spectacular and romantic spectacles.

Once the darkness sets in completely, most tourists descend down to the beaches and the nearby streets for drinking and dancing and general debauchery. Plenty of beach bars have nightly parties with lucrative drink promotions. Body paint contests and glow-in-the-dark paint soirées are a norm in this party town.

Luxury Boston Hotel at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

Front Entrance of Boston's Fairmont Copley Plaza

Front Entrance of Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza

In 2012, the Fairmont Copley Plaza will celebrate its centennial with the completion of a $20 million dollar renovation with a complete schedule of activities and events, including hotel history tours that will lead up to the anniversary on August 19, 2012.

From the moment the guest steps out of their car or taxi in front of the hotel, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston staff begins to deliver superior service. One may even be greeted by Catie Copley the “Canine Ambassador” of The Fairmont. It’s a level of service that will last throughout the guest’s entire stay, no matter what the setting.

Boston Historic Hotel

The building, which opened the same year Fenway Park was built, is a 383-room symbol of Boston’s history located within walking distance of Boston Common, the Freedom Trailand Beacon Hill. Right across the street from the hotel one can find the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church and Hancock Tower.

Nearly every 20th Century American President stayed at the hotel. As part of the building’s renovation, the Fairmont has added eight themed suites which focus on Boston’s unique history and culture. The rooms are classic with modern conveniences meant to give a residential feel to the stay.

Fairmont Gold

While the service at the Fairmont Copley Plaza is excellent, visitors have the option of choosing the Fairmont Gold service, which takes the service to an even higher level. Guests have their own reception area on the fourth floor along with access to the lounge, which offers breakfast in the morning, appetizers and cocktails in the early evening, as well as coffee, tea, sodas and an honor bar throughout the day.

Fairmont Gold guests have a concierge at their disposal to provide personal service for them during their stay. If a guest mentions they have tickets to the Red Sox game, the next day they might find an information card in their room giving them information about how to get there, game start time, expected weather and the starting pitchers. The staff at the Fairmont anticipates needs and helps guest enjoy their stay.

New Dining Experience

As part of the hotel’s renovation, the hotel is developing a new restaurant set to debut in the summer of 2012. Local flavors and cuisine are sure to have a place on the menu, as they always have at Copley Plaza, but there will also be a lifestyle menu catering to healthy eating and special diets.

Catie Copley, Canine Ambassador

Perhaps the most famous member of the Fairmont Copley Plaza staff is Catie Copley, the hotel’s official canine ambassador. Catie, a black Labrador, has her own spot in the hotel lobby where guests can stop by to pet and feed her and hopefully feel more at home at the hotel. She also has a small dog house outside one of the doors where guests can greet her. Guests can even schedule an appointment to take Catie for a walk.

Catie has her own business cards and e-mail address and has even published her own children’s book. Copies of the book, complete with Catie’s footprint signature, can be purchased in the hotel’s gift shop.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston

138 St. James Avenue  Boston, Massachusetts  02116

(617) 267-5300

There are many reasons to visit Boston – great food, history and catching a Red Sox game. While there, there are many reasons to enjoy a stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

Travel Louisiana: Enjoy a Taste of Southern Cuisine

Praline Yam Bake

Praline Yam Bake

Many people come to the lovely state of Louisiana to taste the unique Creole and Cajun food that cannot be found any other place in the world. This is just a sweet little sample of dessert that you and your family will enjoy while visiting Louisiana.

Praline Yam Bake


8 yams

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons of real melted butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of real butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of all- purpose flour

1/2 cup of chopped pecans


1. Peel all potatoes and place in a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt and cook until tender. Drain and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into chunks.

2. Mash the potatoes, add milk, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 egg, vanilla and a pinch of salt.Mix until fluffy and place in a greased baking dish.

3. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Stir in the remaining brown sugar, butter and pecans. Spread pecan mix over the potato mix and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve and enjoy!

Singapore Nightlife: Clarke Quay

clarke-quay, Cr-seeetheworld

clarke-quay, Cr-seeetheworld

Clarke Quay is well known as the party district of Singapore, where the city’s locals and expatriates alike come to let lose and explore the vibrant and diverse nightlife. The amount, proximity and breadth of bars and night clubs, all squeezed together into a mere few blocks of pure entertainment are the prime factors that keep people coming and coming back. The neighborhood has come a long way from its humble roots to one of the most sought out destinations for party goers and tourists alike.

China One

China One is a second-level bar and night club that features talented local acts that perform top 40 rock and pop hits in intervals throughout the night to the delight of the club-going crowds. With several rooms, the fun never stops – whether this fun includes shooting pool and drinking beers or dancing the night away on the dance floor to the infectious tunes played by the resident DJ’s or songs sung by the bands playing that night.

Le Noir

With heart-stopping beats, exquisite decor and exceptional bottle service, Le Noir is the place to see and be seen for young twenty-something models and their entourage. This venue features an outdoor bar area just before the main club entry, where drinks and food can be enjoyed underneath the stars and among the lively crowds. After 10pm, club doors open to its visitors and stay open well into the late hours of the night.

The Chupitos Bar

For tequila lovers, Chupitos can hit the right spot with its extensive menu of tequila-based drinks and shots. Signature concoctions can leave heads spinning in no time as potent poison can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. Friendly waiters and waitresses are ready with their shot recommendations for the indecisive types and, even if the impossibility of drinks failing to impress occurs, the well-chosen top 40 music can keep the party mood alive.

The Pump Room

Pump Room is one of the biggest clubs in Clarke Quay and is, certainly, one of the most popular as evident by the throngs of people always hanging out in and outside of the club. A resident band playing the usual classics keeps the crowds dancing shoulder to shoulder on a crowded dance floor and, frequently, on tables and podiums by the VIP areas. The bar is extensive, spanning the entire length of the club, and features an impressive list of alcoholic beverages.


In a vaguely-Viking inspired setting, within the wood panel-cladded walls, a lively band belts out the well-loved classics from the eighties, nineties and today. The crowds often chime in and partake in the singalongs that are a part of a routine night at Highlander, making this bar one of the funnest spots in Clarke Quay. The band often takes song requests from the crowds and the singalongs are broken up only by the breaks in the sets when dance music surges and urges the bar goers to let loose on the dance floor.