Great ideas come at the strangest moments. They are never on time, they are not convenient, and they usually come hand-in-hand with some form of time-limit. But when an idea finally makes itself known it can create beautiful and amazing things.
In my daily life I am training to be an idea maker. A person who can be called upon when no one else can think of anything.
Cebu, a paradise island of holiday. Love it and I would remember this moment!!
Under the blue sky, swimming in the blue sea…
This YouTube video is really funny. In German but you will get it.
The daughter asks her father if he's figured out how to use the iPad she gave him, which he affirms without question.
Someone is going to make the comment that's all an iPad is good for but I am not going to go into that.
The Thai new year — a k a Songkran — kicks off next week, from April 13-16, plunging the country into all-out chaos that includes four days of water fights and non-stop partying.
In Bangkok, the biggest Songkran parties swamp Silom Road, RCA and Khao San Road, though splashing and festivities take place on any given road in the city.
Visitors can head to any Bangkok temple to witness the non-chaotic, traditional side of Songkran celebrations.
What is it?
Songkran, Thailand’s most popular festival, marks the beginning of the new solar year and the summer season in Thailand.
This year it officially starts on April 13 (though some cities start celebrating a couple of days earlier) and lasts between three and five days, depending on location.
Traditionally, families and friends celebrate Songkran by visiting temples and splashing water on each other as a wish for a year filled with good luck.
Over the years, the holiday has evolved into a nationwide water fight and a fantastic reason to travel and party. Book ahead before you hit the road though, as buses/trains/hotels are packed with both Thai and international travelers over the Songkran period.
Where to celebrate
Residents in some Thai towns splash water in the streets for just one day, which is picked by local officials. Check before you travel.
Other towns extend the holiday into a full week of ceremonies, water fights, concerts and other festivities.
Here are three of the many big festivals around Thailand that provide a dose of both watery chaos and traditional culture.
Songkran Festival, Chiang Mai, April 12-15, 2012
Chiang Mai is the wildest place to celebrate Songkran in Thailand. Festivities begin with an opening ceremony that includes a colorful procession around Chiang Mai city.
Visitors and locals pour scented water on a Buddha image and on elders.
You can check out traditional Lanna cultural performances and join in massive water fights that take place on just about every street.
Things get crazy at night, with celebrations continuing well into the morning.
One of the biggest parties comes courtesy of Chiang Mai’s Club Martini, which hosts three nights of Thai and international DJs manning the decks for its Songkran celebrations.
Old City Songkran Festival, Ayutthaya, April 13, 2012
This year, Songkran festivities in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya will be celebrated around the island city and ancient moat of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
The festival focuses on the ancient customs and traditions of Songkran that have been observed through the centuries.
Visitors can join residents in traditional Songkran merit-making activities to seek blessings for the New Year.
Ayutthaya is also famous for its elephant corral. If you don’t mind getting drenched with water mixed with a bit of pachyderm snot, join the elephants and their mahouts for some Songkran battle action.
Other popular Thai new year highlights in Ayutthaya include the Miss Songkran beauty contest and the Grand Songkran procession.
Si Satchanalai Songkran Festival, Sukhothai, April 13-15, 2012
Residents of the historic town of Sukhothai celebrate Songkran in the traditional Thai way at Traphang Thong temple in front of the Sukhothai Historical Park.
There’s a traditional market in the town square, sand-pagoda building contest, Songkran beauty contest and ancient cart procession.
Most people will be dressed in traditional Thai costumes.
- Songkran 2012!! (claudiaojeda87.wordpress.com)
- Ready to join Songkran Festival this year !!!! – Bangkok, Thailand (travelpod.com)
- Thailand Rings In The New Year With A Massive Water Fight (gadling.com)
- Agoda Makes a Splash at Songkran, Thailand’s New Year Festival (prweb.com)
Throwing A New Perspective On Life!
A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.
The film was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, London 26-29 March, a major international conference focusing on solutions.
By Rachael Prescott
Are you an adrenaline seeker looking for your next hair-raising, spine-tingling adventure? If so, look no further. With the help of an anonymous commercial pilot, dubbed Pilot Anonymous, Airfarewatchdog has put together a list of the world’s most thrilling airports. So buckle your seatbelt, pass on the $7 snackbox, and get ready for a wild ride!
Toncontín International Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
(Photo: egmTacahopeful via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/egm757lover/2120465227/)
Thousands of feet above sea level, Toncontín International Airport boasts a short (6,132-foot) runway. Due to the surrounding mountains, the approach resembles a zigzag. Pilot Anonymous explains, “With the advent of GPS, the approach into Tegucigalpa is no longer straight. We weave between the mountains as we land.” To line up with the runway, planes must make a last-second 45-degree turn. Talk about sweaty palms!
Queenstown Airport, Queenstown, New Zealand
(Photo: BierDoctor via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bierdoctor/2298996480/)
Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of the world, so it’s no surprise that its airport delivers pure excitement. It lies below The Remarkables, a jagged mountain range seen in The Lord of the Rings. On descent, passengers may feel a sudden drop in altitude caused by strong downdrafts. Bird activity by the runway, as well as frequent bad weather and visibility, also make Queenstown Airport a real knee-knocker.
Gustaf III Airport, St. Jean, St. Barthélemy
(Photo: mike2099. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike2099/600475860/)
“Small airports, short runways, and terrain are the three whammies of flying,” says Pilot Anonymous. Gustaf III Airport has all three. Its 2,100-foot runway begins at the base of a hilltop traffic circle, making for an abrupt and steep descent. At its end lies St. Jean Beach and its clear blue ocean. Though signs advise sunbathers not to get too close to where the runway meets the sand, it’s still a popular spot to soak up the rays.
Princess Juliana International Airport, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
(Photo: Mike Roberts NYC via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebroberts/4378048306/)
Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. Steps from Maho Beach, it only gives pilots a little more than 7,000 feet of running room to land, causing the approach to be exceptionally low. Planes fly mere feet over sunbathers, and passengers feel as though they could reach out and shake their hands. Next time you pass through, be sure to wave.
Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport, Sitka, Alaska
(Photo: Courtesy Jenna Collee)
If you’ve seen The Proposal, you’ve seen Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport. Located on the small island of Japonski, its lone runway is almost completely surrounded by water. Unpredictable weather is a constant concern. Pilots must take heed of boulders and other debris that can wash onto the runway during storms, as well as gusty winds.
Courchevel Airport, Courchevel, France
(Photo: Hugues Mitton [Hugovoyages]. CC Attribution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Courchevel_aeroport.jpg)
Tucked away in the French Alps, Courchevel’s airport is one of the most dangerous in the world. Seen in Tomorrow Never Dies, its runway is a short 1,722 feet and has a steep incline (which slows planes down on landing and speeds them up on takeoff). As if that isn’t enough to make your heart race, the airport sits at an altitude of 6,588 feet. “Here,” says Pilot Anonymous, “engines don’t produce the same amount of power, and with the air being thinner, there’s less lift for the same airspeed over the wings.” Consider yourself warned.
Catalina Airport (Airport in the Sky), Avalon, California
(Photo: Courtesy Bob Rhein, Catalina Island Conservancy)
Catalina Airport isn’t for the faint-hearted. Nicknamed “Airport in the Sky” because of its lofty elevation and sheer cliffs, it’s known for downdrafts and turbulence on approach. Its sole runway is raised in the middle, so much so that pilots can’t see where it ends. Heavy rains can cause it to become littered with pieces of asphalt, potholes, and soft spots, all things you don’t want to encounter.
LaGuardia Airport, New York, New York
(Photo: dsearls via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/docsearls/4429271655/)
New York’s LaGuardia Airport is busy and short on space. It’s bordered by Bowery and Flushing bays, and pilots must contend with crowded skies thanks to nearby JFK and Newark airports. Mere miles from Manhattan, approaching planes appear to skim the skyline. Right before landing, pilots make a number of white-knuckle turns, one of which is 180-degrees around Citi Field.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Lukla Airport), Lukla, Nepal
(Photo: Simon Deutsch via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035725700@N01/3015512844/)
Nestled 9,000 feet high in the snowcapped Himalayas, Tenzing-Hillary Airport is the gateway to Mount Everest. Its short (1,500-foot) runway slopes up the side of a mountain. Used by locals as a way to get from one side of town to the other, a siren warns of approaching planes. Pilots have one shot to land, as the surrounding terrain rules out a go-around. Perhaps even more gripping is takeoff. Once planes begin speeding downhill, stopping isn’t an option. If they aren’t airborne before the cliff at the end of the runway, they descend into the void below, leaving those onboard to pray there’s enough power to eventually do so.
Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland
(Photo: calflier001 via Flickr. CC Attribution. http://www.flickr.com/photos/calflier001/5040190108/)
Barra’s airport is the only one in the world where scheduled flights land on a beach. When the windsock is flying, locals are advised to keep their distance from its three runways, which are marked by wooden poles. High tides cover them, so flights must be scheduled accordingly. For bonus chills and thrills, fly in at dusk, when just a few vehicles are used to illuminate the runway.
Factor in your holiday allowance, the cost of flight plus hotel and the various weddings and baptisms you will inevitably have to attend, and your visit time in 2012 is anything but unlimited.
So here are seven places that should come top of your 2012 trip list.
1. Yeosu, Korea
“The Living Ocean and Coast” is the hopeful theme of this year’s marine-focused World Expo (May 12-August 12) being held in Korea’s coastal city of Yeosu.
From a distance, the event’s plankton mascots and sub-themes like “Preservation and Sustainable Development of the Ocean and Coast” and “New Resources Technology” seem straight out of a grad school syllabus — but look closer and this one promises to be one of the most stylish and sophisticated World Fairs yet.
The event is expected to draw 100 participating countries, and to wow eight million visitors with floating pavilions, dazzling offshore multi-media shows, a vast Ocean Experience Park representing life in the world’s five major oceans, and various forms of architectural grandeur (including a mock-up, high-tech, coastal city of 2050) all supporting the idea that human prosperity is inextricably tied to a healthier planet.
In the final, seventh episode of the BBC nature documentary series “Frozen Planet,” viewers are witness to what’s considered “the largest recent natural event on our planet” — the collapse of the Jamaica-sized Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
No matter where you stand on climate change, the White Continent is incontrovertibly, irreversibly changing.
And maybe it’s really time to see it without the David Attenborough narration. Huge tabular iceberg “graveyards,” frenzies of wild penguins and the most pristine, otherworldly landscape available without a rocket ship are all here.
Quark Expeditions (www.quarkexpeditions.com) runs several up-close Antarctica journeys, including voyages to the continent’s remote east coast, rare penetrations inside the Antarctic Circle and an “Introduction to Antarctica” trip that covers all the basics for under US$4,000.
3. Poland and Ukraine
Who doesn’t love a major sporting event with “crazy road trip” written all over it?
Euro 2012 (June 8-July 1) — the 14th European Football Championship — looks like just the ticket. UEFA’s big tournament has decided it’s time for something different, with the usual sites of France, England and the like giving way to stadiums in Poland and Ukraine.
That’s the farthest “out” this tournament has ever ventured, or likely ever will. All games will be split between eight cities — four in each country — with quarter-final and semi-final games in Warsaw and Kiev (which will host the final).
Ticket sales have been feverish since last spring, but fans can log onto the Euro 2012 site’s “Tour Operator Programme” to purchase all-inclusive packages from UEFA-licensed tour operators.
4. Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii
Last year’s US$56-million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center project, featuring a new museum, movie theaters and exhibits on a redone seven-hectare campus, makes Hawaii’s assemblage of historic naval vessels even more visit-worthy.
Highlights include the deck of the 45,000-ton USS Missouri (aka the site of Japan’s surrender), the cramped quarters of the USS Bowfin Submarine and the wreckage of the USS Utah from a viewing platform on Ford Island.
The most arresting site lies offshore at the commemorative and newly refurbished USS Arizona Memorial, situated over a sunken battleship that entombed 1,177 Marines and sailors in its hull.
The restored offshore memorial structure stretching over the huge, shadowy wreck makes its re-debut on May 28 (Memorial Day), marking the 50th anniversary of the monument’s opening day.
5. Calgary, Canada
Every summer, Canada’s cowboy epicenter, Calgary, Alberta, hits its boot-kickin’, bronco-bustin’, team-ropin’, chuckwagon-fare-samplin’, Duke-&-Duchess-of-Cambridge-attendin’ stride at the annual Calgary Stampede — a treasured national event that’s been dubbed the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
In 1912, a traveling vaudevillian launched the event, aiming to preserve old western values and heritage. That means this year marks the rodeo’s centennial. In other words, pardner, the Calgary Stampede (July 6-15) just got even greater.
More than 700,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s festivities at Stampede Park, which hosts premier rodeo events at the Stampede Grandstand like the GMC Rangeland Derby, as well as hundreds of general admission exhibits, concerts and activities.
An isolated dictatorship besieged by economic sanctions, human rights violations and a long-standing international “tourism boycott” fostered by its own repressed pro-democracy movement — few countries have fueled as much debate among travelers as Myanmar.
But while the tourism debate and sanctions linger on, Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and a cautiously revised National League for Democracy party line encouraging responsible travel to the country suggest that, while it may be too early to schedule a full-fledged Vietnam- or even Cambodia-style “Burmese tourism renaissance,” times are changing.
So for on-the-fence travelers, 2012 could be the year to re-engage in a pristine Southeast Asian landscape replete with timeless scenery, startling monuments, countless pagodas and charming locals who haven’t given up hope.
7. London, England
Home of this year’s Summer Olympics (July 27-August 12), London will become the first city to host the modern games for a third time.
To prove itself worthy it will feature a steroidal, 200-hectare Olympic Park facility and an assortment of city-wide, traveler-friendly prep measures that include an expanded high-speed rail transit system, a Gateway Travelcard good for free day-of-event commuting for ticketholders, and a “maintain normal prices” pledge signed by several London tourist attractions.
Many of the Summer Games’ 300-plus events (held at over 30 venues) will take place in the usual London hot spots: Wembley soccer, Wimbledon tennis and North Greenwich Arena basketball.
Think US$900 for gymnastics finals tickets and US$1,400 for track and field ceremony day. But fear not. There are still plenty of US$44 badminton preliminary round seats too.
Skip the awkward exit, follow our comprehensive gratuity guide for big cities like Rio, Cape Town, Hong Kong and more
Tip too little and you’re blacklisted, tip too much and you’re a chump.
Different cultures call for different gratuity customs, so here’s a comprehensive guide to the etiquette in seven different big cities. But when in doubt, remember the golden rule — always leave 10 percent and you won’t get chased down the street. Probably.
Also on : Best places to travel to in 2012
Canada is known as a friendly place, but skip the tip and you may set off a riot. Giving gratuities is heavily emphasized in the service culture and servers rely on their tips as a big part of their income.
Restaurants: The bill will come with a 13 percent government Harmonized Sales Tax, but a 10-15 percent tip is still expected for standardservice. If the service was above average, 20 percent is expected.
If the meal was not satisfactory, alert a manager instead of foregoing the tip. He or she may be able to offer a complimentary dish or discount.
A CA$1-2 (US$1-2) tip is expected at the bar, and 10-20 percent is still expected for table service.
Taxi: Cabbing is not common outside downtown Toronto. A small tip of C$1-2 is expected.
Hotel: Tipping is at the discretion of the guest but a CA$5 tip is sufficient for porters who carry your bags.
Other: Tipping in cafés is not expected, but give your pizza delivery guy a CA$2-5 tip.
Brits are not as keen on tipping as their transatlantic cousins, but in certain situations it is expected, especially for good service.
Restaurants:Diners are not expected to add an additional tip if there is already a 10-12 percent service charge in the bill. If the bill says “service charge not included!!!” leave a 10 percent tip.
Taxi: If a cab is any kind other than a black cab, passengers usually round to the nearest pound or just tell the driver to “keep the change.”
Black cabs are more worthy of tips because they have better knowledge of London’s maze-like roads. Tip at least 10 percent.
Hotel: Tipping is at the discretion of the guest, but we suggest £2-5 (US$3-8) for the porter if he helps with bags.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazilians have a friendly reputation, but tipping is not a part of the culture. Brazilians are often direct and clear on money they want or do not expect.
Restaurants:A 10 percent “servico” charge is often added to the bill. While there is no legal obligation to pay it, it is customary to do so.
Taxi: Tipping is not expected, but cabbies will often round to the nearest real.
No one likes to deal with change in Brazil, even in supermarkets cashiers will round to the nearest five cents.
Hotel: Tip at least R$5 (US$3) per person in hotels for the room service, maids and bellboys.
Other: In nightclubs, people are given a paper ticket that tracks each individual’s drinks, and it is paid at the end of the night so bartenders never deal with cash. Most of the time, a 10 percent service charge will be added, so you do not have to tip.
Food delivery does not require a tip because there is often already a delivery fee. Tipping for beauty and hair is not standard.
Tipping is not a Chinese custom. Most low to mid-end restaurants prioritize speed and efficiency over friendliness and customer service.
Restaurants:A 10 percent charge is added to most restaurant bills. But a Hong Kong restaurant insider tells us that less than one percent of places which charge service tax will give it to their staff. It is just a means of making prices appear lower.
So, if there is a service charge, leave anything from a HK$5-10 (US$0.65-1.3) dollars on top, just in case.
Hotels: Locals don’t often tip in hotels, but if the porter carries your bag in a high end hotel, HK$10 is sufficient.
Taxi: Tipping is not expected in taxis, but don’t be surprised if the driver doesn’t return small change like HK$1 or HK$2 coins.
Note: Hong Kong coins are thick and heavy, so people often leave small tips — not for the service — but to relieve their bursting pocket seams.
According to the Singapore government website, tipping is “not a way of life” in Singapore and the government does not encourage a tip beyond the service charge and tax.
Restaurants: Despite the no-tipping rule, locals tell us that a small tip is greatly appreciated when someone has gone out of their way to help you, even if it’s just the change.
Taxi: Tipping in cabs is not expected, but it is a nice courtesy to round up or tell the driver to keep the change.
Hotel: An exception to the rule is hotel staff. Tip porters around SG$2-5 (US$1.6-4) if they help you with your bags or flag you a cab.
Other: Do not tip at Changi Airport.
Changi Airport corporate communications representative, Kwan Shu Qin tells us, “Service staff are not allowed to accept tips from passengers and customers they serve.
“This is to ensure that all airport visitors enjoy a consistent high standard of service, regardless of whether they tip.”
Some tourists believe laid-back Aussie culture doesn’t practice tipping, but just like the Brits, local Aussies tip for table service — unless the service is bad.
Restaurants: Starting wage for wait staff is around AU$15 (US$16) per hour and can go up to AU$25, so waiters do not rely on tips for their wages.
Most diners do tip about 10 percent for good table service, but on the flip side, cheapskates don’t have to feel particularly bad for giving exactly AU$150.50 if that was the billed amount.
Hotels: Tip the porter AU$1-2 per piece of luggage.
Taxi: Tipping isn’t common but taxi drivers will usually round to the next AU$2-5.
Other: Tipping at pubs is not expected either unless your bartender makes you a special fancy drink — then, give him a dollar or two.
Cape Town, South Africa
Tipping is common practice in South Africa for a range of services, such as given by taxi drivers, tour guides and gas station attendants.
Restaurants: It is expected for diners to tip a standard 10-15 percent of the bill in both bars and restaurants. Similar to Canada, low-paid wait staff rely on gratuities as part of their income.
Taxi: Taxi drivers expect to be tipped around 10 percent.
Hotel: Hotel porters who carry bags should be tipped R5-10 (US$0.65-1.3).
Other: You’re likely to run into “car guards” when traveling, these orange-vested, often self-employed helpers direct you to a parking spot and stand around to protect your car. If you use their services, they expect to be tipped R1-5.
If you do not want to use a car guard, wave them away and ignore them.