What Is Was Like to Visit the Philippines While on a Navy Warship and Take a Port of Call

I was happy, when I finally learned that I would be meeting up with my ship, it was going to be pulling into the Philippines. I was going to fly from San Diego, to Manila, and then take a van down the country, about 200 miles where the ship was going to be tied up at. About 6 other guys, and me, were going to the Philippines on an Air Force cargo plane that was going that way.

It was totally loaded with pallets of cold merchandise, headed to the Philippines for who knows what. We were just passengers. The seats we sat in, where temporary net seats, and they felt like it. They were seats made out of netting, and they were facing backwards, of the way you would sit on a regular plane, facing forward. We were facing backwards when you took off in the airplane, and you were forced to bend forward, instead of backwards, into your chair. The plane needed to be kept cold, and it looked like a London fog, inside the plane, just like we were sitting in a refrigerator. That was a very long 17 hour flight.

I was 19 years old when I landed in the Philippines. This by far, was one of the funnest countries a service guy could go to. If you just wanted to have a good time in the bars, and a good time with a bunch of pretty sexy Asian girls, you will love it there.

In the Navy, most of the guys that have not been to the famous places, like Thailand, or the Philippines, Korea, or Hong Kong, always want to know if what they heard was true, about what they heard from other guys on the ship. There is no way really to explain another country sometimes to someone, they just need to experience themselves sometimes.

Where are ship was tied up, was about 1/2 a mile from the main gate, which was located right next to party central town, called Olongapo. When you were on the base, it was big. The base had a laundry mat, you could do your own wash at, and the soda machines dispensed cans of beer for you while you did your laundry.

The base had a small casino on it, with slot machines. It had horses you could rent, and a nice golf course, that had wild monkeys, that would be up in the trees, and they would throw things at you, if you came to close to them.

In the Philippines, clothing and services were very cheap and easy to get. You could have all your laundry cleaned, pressed and bagged up for you, for only a few dollars. It was like that in town also. Your money could go far. For clothing, there were out door markets everywhere, and they sold lots of knock off clothing items, for dirt cheap prices. You could be the ugliest guy on the ship, and you would still get a girl. It was not if you could get a girl, but which one you would want for the evening.

Right when you walk out the main gate, there is a small bridge with a river underneath it. All the guys called this “shit river”. It might of been that, raw sewage was always in the river. But that did not ever stop the usually 4 or 5 boats that would sit in it, with young girls dressed up in white dresses, and holding cups, begging for you to throw money out to them. People would throw pesos, down into the boat to them, and this was about 100 feet from the main gate of the base, and the entrance into town, was just steps away.

The town had lots of lots of bars, with various themes going on inside. There were little souvenir stores, or sorry sorry stores, as they called them, and different bars and restaurants, just about everywhere you looked. The funny thing about the town was, girls were everywhere and easy to get, but pornography was not seen around town, and it was illegal.

We had a bar that most of the guys from the office would hang out at on a regular basis. Usually on the weekends, or day times after work each day, we would hang out there, because that was our hangout place. The girls there did not try to hassle you into going with them, only if you wanted to, and the drinks were cheap.

They wrote our names on their bar window, just like a lot of bars did, that had special ships, and special departments, that hung out there, and claimed that bar for their own. Our department, pretty much hung out at the Cindi Bar, right on the first block of town, down one block to the right, and easy to get to.

Some of the bars, did not look so big from the outside. But it might be so huge on the inside, when you went inside. Most all the bars had bands, acts, and other things going on inside, to get more customers. It was a rocking town at night time. Back then, there were no such things as AID’s, or any other decease that might kill you these days. It was one big town party each night, and it was a free for all, young sexy woman everywhere, and plenty of cheap drinks.

Most all of our whole admin office, would hang out together, after work, and we would always start in the same bar for drinks. Some of the bigger, better bars, that had more sexier girls, and where the drinks cost a little bit more, were where we liked to go, later in the evening, to pick the girls we wanted for the night, but not spend all our time there drinking. We would go there, and just look for the prettiest girls we could find.

In the Philippines, it’s very easy, for a regular Joe, to have 2 girls at the same time, on numerous occasions, and even try 3 girls at one time, just to say they did it, and see what it is like. In the United States, you would either be the luckiest guy around. Overseas, it was whatever you wanted.

One time, we were having a division office party, and I was putting it together. We decided to have our department and the supply department have the party together. My job was to get the drinks, and reserve the bar in town. I reserved a two story bar, that had a nice balcony overlooking the street below. We had people roasting a pig, and all other kinds of food was brought in. In the Navy, they have a fund for parties. So I collected more money from each person on the list, and then requested that the Navy, give us our money, for our party, so we could have, and even better one. I put the money together, and we had a party on our hands, with everything.

This was a party, that did not matter if you were single, married, or an officer. If you were at the party, you usually had a little sexy Asian beauty with you. It was just a standing rule, that out in town, everyone is a free person, and most married guys are in the bars, and with girls, and that is just the way it is.

This party would land me in jail, but not until after having an excellent fun time at it. With the help of a Philippino chief on board the ship, he got the entertainment for us, to liven up the party. The entertainment consisted of an act of a man letting anyone who wanted to, throw darts into his back. Another act, was a man that would let you put a rope around his neck, and pull as hard as you wanted to, and you could not hurt him.

We also had many acts of girls, doing things like sticking banana’s up their vagina’s, and they would sit on the face of who ever wanted the banana. Other guys would lay down and stick money on their mouth, and the girls would come over and pick it up with their vagina’s. This was a regular division party, that was starting to get wild. Later that evening, I was arrested and taken back to the ship for being drunk and disorderly, and having to much of a good time.

One of my biggest lessons I learned in the Philippines, was about the language, and it was embarrassing. It was the word Benny Boy. In all the 9 months I was able to spend in the Philippines, I was pick pocketed, three times in all.

Once, I was pick pocketed by a group of small kids. They all came up to me, and then all started poking me with their fingers. Well, I tried to shoo them all away, and after they were gone, I realized, I had just been pick pocketed, and lost the money from my front shirt pocket, I had on me. After that, I never carried all my money in the same place, I always broke it up, just in case I got hit, I did not lose everything.

Another time, I was walking down the road, and this sexy lady, standing in a dark doorway, suddenly came out of know where, and asked me to come over to her. When I walked over to her, to see what she wanted, she got really close to me, and started squeezing my penis. I thought she must be to dirty, as she just stepped out of the darkness, and I got away from her, and stepped back and left. Later, I realized she had used one hand quickly on me, and the other went right into my front pocket, and within 4 seconds time frame.

The 3rd time, I lost my watch. I was sitting at a table, drinking a drink, in the middle of the day time. I was sitting outside a bar, at a table. This girl sits down, and after talking with her for a while, asks about my watch, and if she can wear it. Later, she says she has to go to the bathroom, and she never comes back. I asked one of the girls working in the bar, where the girl went that was sitting with me. Somehow, the girl told me she was Benny Boy. I thought that was her name, Benny Boy. Well, I asked the next girl that came over to me if she had seen Benny Boy. She just looked at me and said, “No,” with a weird look on her face.

I went outside, I was looking for this girl that just took off with my watch, and it was just a cheap watch. I had never had an expensive watch before. But, I still wanted to get my watch back from her. I was walking up and down the street, and I would ask people, “Do you know where Benny Boy is?” One girl that I asked, said, “Why you want Benny Boy, when you can have me?” I wondered why she said that.

I kept asking people, and they would give me weird or bad looks. I saw a shore patrol van up ahead, and when I got there, I asked the guys inside, if they knew of anyone named Benny Boy. I told them, that she had just stole my watch, not to long ago, from around the corner. These guys just looked at each other, and I did not know, I was still new to the Philippines.

One of them asked me, “Do you know what Benny Boy means?” He told me that, “Benny Boy, is the Tagalog name for ladyboy, or shemale, or man in woman’s clothing.” I was embarrassed. Not from these guys, but the other girls I asked, thinking Benny Boy might of been one of their friends, and now they all thought I was looking for a Benny Boy. It’s funny now.

In the mornings, most the base was hustling and bustling around. The taxis were busy, and the ship was busy with everyone coming back in the morning to go to work. Even thou the ship is overseas, and about half of the guys are single, and half of the guys are married, most everyone that can, usually stays in town.

Most everyone finds a girl that has a place, or you can also rent hotel rooms cheaply for the night, almost everywhere. The way most of the bars work, is they call it a bar fine. You pay the bar for the privilege of taking the girl out of the bar for the rest of the evening. It is up to you and the girl, to figure out what you are going to do for the rest of the night.

Most of the girls, just want to get away from where they work at, and go to another bar, and hang out with their friends, and bring you along. After all, you have all the money usually. If the girl ever wants money for herself, she usually will let you know that up front, and you can decide for yourself. Other girls, never ask for anything from you, sometimes, and they are the funner ones to spend time with.

Most all the bars have the price of their bar fine, right up on the wall. Some of the bigger bars, with model type dancers, and bar girls, have the highest prices. I figure those are for places where the ship comes in, and only gets to stay for a couple of days, so the guys splurge, and get the best they can buy.

Most all the bars, have the girls wearing bikinis as their outfits. Needless to say, you can easily see what you are shopping for. In the mornings, since the medical department was also in our department, the corpsman would be busy every morning, giving out the VD shots. Some days, the line of guys standing in line to get shots, was 30 or 40 guys deep.

In the Philippines, it was a practice of taking peoples military ID cards, so they could not go into town and spread anything if they got VD. The medical department was swamped all the time. The girls were supposed to have been checked by doctors on a regular basis, that worked in the bars that were big, and the Navy did have people, who checked on them, to make sure the girls were seeing doctors.

You might have a battle group of 15,000 guys pull into port, and there still might be 3 or 4 girls, to every service guy, and all hot and sexy, in bikinis too. This was a playground for any 19 year old.

The ship would seem to always have a lot of parties and cook outs. One of the favorite places that we used to go, was an island, called Grande Island. It was just off the coast, and maybe only 1 mile away by bonka boat. These little bonka boats, had large wooden beams to keep them steady, and afloat. We would take them out to the island, usually in the middle of the night. The island had lots of cabins that we would stay in the for the night. That was the Navy’s party place. We would all drink, and roast pigs, and just have a good time on the island.

Most of the guys still preferred to be in town, where all the night life was happening. If a ship was going to be in town for only a few days. Some of the guys would pay hundreds of dollars to get someone else to stand their watch, or take, or exchange their duty day with them, just so they could go out in town, everyday they were going to be in port.

Even before most of the ships would pull into port, as I would take care of secret message traffic, and I would know when a certain ship was going to be pulling into port, before most people. But, a lot of the bars in town, would already have the new signs painted on their windows, welcoming whatever ship it was, that was going to be coming into port. They just always knew the ships schedule, better than we did.

The whole time I was in the Philippines, I never felt unsafe, walking down alleys, or just hanging out. I was never worried about being robbed, attacked, or anything like that, like I thought might actually happen, when I was in places like Pakistan, or somewhere else. The Philippino people are really so friendly, and they all speak English, and it’s just a really fun place to visit.

A person could really go out for the night on $20. That would be $10 for a bar fine, which might be kinda high, as the peso exchange rate was roughly 50 pesos for 1 dollar. Some bar fines, would only be maybe around 300 pesos, which is less than $10. You could get a hotel room for the night, just about anywhere, for around $7 a night. And, for $3, you could get a handful of beers, and some tacos to eat, for the last $3. So for $20, you could eat, drink, get a girl, and get a room, for $20. You could spend more, and get better, and some guys could spend a lot less.

One night in the Philippines, a lot of us from the office, went out as usual together. This night, a LTJG that was our division officer, decided to go out with us. All the guys called him feel good, because his name rhymed with that, but no one, ever called him that name, to his face. He was the kind of officer, that if you were typing something up, he would come up from behind you, and put his hands on your shoulders, and just look at what you are doing, and try to give you a massage like you were doing a good job, or something.

No one ever told him to stop, as he was a nice guy, and he was our division officer also. This night, we were going out, we had a new yeoman that had not been on the ship, or working in the office for that long yet, and he was our youngest guy in the office, and lowest ranking. He also went out with us that evening.

This would be another night, I would end up locked up for the evening, at the end of it all. We were in a bar, that had a mechanical bull in it. We were all drinking, and betting on who could stay on the bull the longest. I remember riding the bull that night, because I did really good at staying on it, but my legs must of hurt for 2 days after that, because I hanged on so tight, I used up muscles, I never even knew my legs had.

Well, I don’t know how things turned out, but before you know it, the new yeoman, had his shirt off, and was sitting in our division officer’s lap. Here we are, surrounded by some of the most beautiful girls in the world, it seems, and these guys are doing this. Well, it turns out, the division officer had to much to drink, and he had taken the shirt off the enlisted yeoman, and pulled him into his lap. When some other guys saw these, they broke it up, and a fight broke out.

We all ended up out in the street, in front of the bar, and a bunch of us, got taken away for being drunk and disorderly. Our division officer was also one of the people that had been taken away, and locked up. I could hear the division officer in another cell, throwing up. I could hear him say, to the yeoman that had his shirt removed, don’t say anything, just don’t say anything.

As it turns out, our division officer, was transferred right away, from our ship, and we all thought he must of been kicked out of the Navy. One of the guys saw him about a year later, and said he was stationed on another ship, and was a LT now. So he got a new duty station, and he got promoted, and I guess it was just swept under the rug.

The main strip of bars in town, where your major bars were located, which had the prettier girls, the bigger dance floors, and the better bands. All the roads to the left or right, were also filled full of smaller bars, and there must of been at least 100 different bars, just in that 2 mile radius.

There were bars with girls oil wrestling, wet t-shirt bars, and one of my favorite bars, and a lot of other guys favorite place also, I’m sure, was called “Begger’s Banquet”. It was full of girls, and it had a little bit of a different twist. This was the place that a girl would bring something out on stage with, and people would throw pesos on the stage, and they would do different things, with different objects, and beg for people to throw money on stage. The more money that was thrown out, the more bizarre they would become.

Some of these girls, were amazing, with how they could stretch themselves, or give themselves their own cunnilingus. Some of the things they could fit inside their vagina’s was amazing, to say the least. And that was just one bar of many different types of bars on the strip, and the side roads.

On one of my journeys, me and a friend were heading to another town, that was about 10 miles away. The town we were heading to, was famous for a game called “smiles”. That is when a bunch of guys sit around a table drinking, and one of the girls goes under the table. When someone smiles, they have to drink. You can only imagine what the girl is doing under the table to whoever broke a smile.

In the Philippines, most people travel by either jeepney, or a 3 wheeled motorcycle bike called a trike, and they are both busy, with lots of horn honking going on all the time, just like a big city. We were heading to this other town, when we saw a small circus set up on the side of the road and off to the side. We told the jeepney driver to let us out there. We paid to go in, and it was a freak circus. They had the half man, half woman person, they had really small people.

They had a man that must of been 8 foot tall, he only had on a pair of torn up shorts, so it was not a trick, and he would not even look at us. He must of lived in that cage for a long time, and they had a lot of deformed people on display. It was one of the weirdest circus’ I ever saw.

One day, I was walking down the main street in the Philippines, they call Magsaysay Avenue, and I heard a guy shout out, “Brandon”. Well, that was the name of my high school that I went to. I looked, and it was a guy that I had went to school with, he was also in the Philippines. I talked to him, and he had joined the Navy as well. He was stationed on a ship, and was import in the Philippines the same time I was.

The bar that we usually hung out at, and played pool, and just lounged around, was called the Cindi Bar. Most of the girls were in their teens, or early twenties. There was one girl, or woman, who was in her thirties. She was the seasoned girl. She had already been to San Diego, and knew all the places there. We were always told, don’t bring back a girl from overseas, she just wants to get into the United States.

It’s O.K. to find one in the states, they are already there, but if you find one overseas, don’t bring her back. She will marry you, and then dump you when she gets her papers to live in the United States, we were told. There was always that goof ball guy, that wanted to marry a girl he met over there, and he might of only known her, for a few days. They Navy always tried to discourage anyone from getting married, as the paperwork had to go threw our office, and you had to request to get married.

This girl that was older, she had her own home, and she would invite us all, over there on the weekends, and make spaghetti for all of us. She would also have some of the girls from the bar over at her house. At one time or another, I think every one of us, had spent some time alone with Maria, who was the oldest girl of them all, the one that owned the house, the one that had already been to San Diego.

Almost each guy from the office had been her short time boyfriend, as they liked to call it. None of the guys seemed to mine, we all had a good time with her, and we all liked her. On one of those occasions, I was on a couple of days of leave. I decide to take a few days off from the ship, and I was staying at Maria’s house. Well, while I was on leave, something happened to the civilians that were working on base, and the base decided to called back all military personnel, and canceled all liberty into town, until further notice.

They were afraid, the civilians might start to riot, over a contract dispute, that was going on. At any give time, there seemed to be more civilians, working on base, than military personnel. At the base in the Philippines. It had lots of Philippino citizens, that did work on the base, and they all seemed to ride bicycles to, and from work. When work would let out, it would just be a traffic jam, and a sea of people on bicycles everywhere.

The town was deserted, except for girls everywhere, and some civilians that were working with the Navy, that did not have to follow the military rules. I was aware everyone had to be back on base, but not until you were officially notified by someone. I was just enjoying having the whole town to myself. I could walk in a bar, and there would be no guys, but all the girls were still there. It was like being Hugh Hefner or something.

Eventually shore patrol saw me, and told me I had to go back to base and report in. A few days later, everything was back to normal, and the town was a giant Mardi Gras type atmosphere again.

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When In Italy – Twenty Essential Things To Do

Sitting round the dinner table one night , after a few bottles of Chianti with some old friends, most of whom had spent time as European tour guides and backpackers, I asked them to name the best thing to see or do while staying in Italy. There was a lot of loud discussion as some tried to praise the less obvious things over the more mainstream, but there were also plenty of unanimous agreement for others.

In no particular order may I present to you the top 20 things to do in Italy as decided by my mates.

1. Nun Watching in Piazza San Pietro

There is something serene about watching a line of Nuns on tour, especially on specific Saint’s days, taking photos of the façade of St Peter’s or trailing behind each other inside the huge basilica. They are only out numbered by the pigeons, which parents ,who hate their children, encourage to sit on their offspring’s head in hopes they will pick them up and fly away, perhaps dropping them somewhere over the Forum.

2. Eating Gelati 3 times a day

This is mandatory for anyone travelling during the months of June, July and August. How the Italians get it so creamy, tasty and dribbly is beyond me but you never feel full. It’s the best thing after a long hot day queuing up for hours to see all those magnificent artworks. It is made with totally natural ingredients and everybody claims to have the best gelato shop in Italy, which is believable, but some even go further, experimenting in odd flavours like tomato and believe it or not basil.

3. Holding up the leaning tower of Pisa

You’ve all seen it. The obligatory photo of someone and their mates holding up the Leaning tower, either with one finger or both hands. Probably the next best thing to climbing it, which is all anyone goes to Pisa to do. And holding it up is about the cheapest thing there.

4. Dodging Cars in Rome

After sky diving in Switzerland and a taxi ride in the Czech republic this probably the most adrenaline packed activity you can do in Europe. To cross the road you must keep walking, make sure you keep eye contact with any oncoming driver like a bullfighter and keep moving. The cars and bikes will come very close, never actually touching you, so long as you keep going.

5. Parking on a Kerb

Everyone else does it.

6. Singing a Duet with a Gondolier

He may not be the next Pavarotti but your gondolier should have a pretty good voice. They know all the old favourites and it makes the experience all the more authentic. They usually ask for a bit extra for the service on top of the hire fee. The most favoured time is around dusk as the lights are coming on making the reflections in the water add to the atmosphere.

7. Hanging out with the Pope on Wednesday

Tourists, Nuns, Priests, locals and pigeons flock to Piazza San Pietro for the weekly address from his holiness Pope Benedict XVI at around 10am. Afterwards you can check out the inside of the Basilica and the crypt where St Peter’s remains are kept.

8. Checking out David’s A–e

You could line up and pay to see the original inside the Accademia, where it was shifted at the end of the 1800’s to protect it from vandals and the elements. Or you could examine his copy up close in Piazza Signoria for free, or you could climb the hill above the Ponte Vecchio to see the bronze version standing in Piazza Michelangelo. Or you could see all 3 and make a comparison.

9. Drinking wine and watching the sunset in Cinque Terre

There is something quite unique about sitting on the rocks next to where the fishing boats pull up, lanterns bobbing along the wires around the cove in the sea breeze, listening to a guy practising his baritone opera through an open window, watching the sun sinking over the horizon sipping on a locally made red after eating home made pasta and pesto sauce. Perfect.

10. Eating Pizza in Napoli

Home of the Margherita pizza. A famous local pizza maker Rafaelle Espositi heard the Queen of Naples was interested in trying a pizza so he made a patriotic one using basil, tomato and mozzarella for the colours of the Italian flag. She liked it so much she gave her name to it. To be enjoyed while observing the kamikaze scooters and cars going hell for leather down the narrow streets.

11. Cliff Diving in Sorrento

Not for the faint hearted. Locals, generally boys, scramble up the steep cliffs to leap off dropping tens of metres into the big blue beneath. If that is way too over the top you could always take a mask and snorkel and wait around underneath.

12. Calling your mum from the top of the Venice Campanile

Believe it or not there is a public pay phone at the top of the campanile so you can make that all important call to your mum, or maybe order a pizza for dinner.

13. Wine Tasting in Chianti

There is a theory that the word Chianti comes from the old Etruscan word for water ‘Clante’, which is an obvious connection to make if you drink a lot of Chianti. The stringent production standards set by the Consortium means the quality of all types of the wine is consistent and it’s hard to find a bad one.

14. Tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain

But don’t go swimming unless you want to pay a huge fine. One coin means you return to Rome, two coins means you return and get kissed and three coins means you return and get married. All the money gets swept up regularly and given to charity. The authorities also don’t take kindly to anyone stealing from the fountain. Put the coin(s) in your right hand and throw over your left shoulder. It’s something fun to do with the change from your third gelato.

15. Visiting the Sistine Chapel

If you survive the 3km walk through the rather opulent Papal Rooms of the Vatican Museum you will be rewarded with the sensational view of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Created in situ by Michelangelo, he often painted freehand straight onto the wet plaster, through belligerent Papal outbursts, financial difficulties, staffing problems, slipping foundations, wars and finally completed after 4 years in 1512. Take mini field glasses and some sort of key to each fresco. The noise of everyone whispering is only drowned out by the guard bellowing ‘silencio’ every so often.

And don’t sit on the steps.

16. Walking the planks in a flooded Venice

One of the more original experiences when visiting this watery city. Winter rains flood the lagoon and when the tide is in the level can rise to your knees. Practical locals have come up with the solution in the form of raised platforms so you can walk the planks around Piazza San Marco without getting your toes wet. Or you could invest in some stylish rubber booties.

17. Getting Grappa-ed ( drink too much Grappa)

Every country has it’s fire water. In Russia and Poland it’s vodka, in Mexico it’s Tequila, in Czech it’s the Absinthe and in Italy it’s Grappa. Distilled from the leftovers from pressing the grapes for wine, all the pips, skins and stalks, it is usually drunk at the end of a meal after the espresso. The first shot takes care of any sensation in your throat and the second and third take care of the rest of the nervous system.

18. Buying a Ferrari hat

After football, the Pope and their own mother comes the nation’s almost religious following of that little red car from Maranello. Most Italian drivers appear to fancy themselves as the next Schumacher along the autostrada, including the truck drivers, but you have to admit the car is cool.

19. Riding a scooter in Tuscany

Winding country roads between rolling green hills, vine rows neatly slicing down the hillsides, wild flowers in the fields and those tall cypress trees lining the driveway to a mediaeval villa. All that fresh air and the chance to take life at the local pace while unpacking a tasty picnic in some farmer’s field.

20. Finishing a Bistecca alla Fiorentina ( T bone Steak)

The resurrection of the Florentines favourite steak made national headlines. The local celebrity butcher from Panzano, Dario Cecchini had held a public funeral and memorial service when the EU banned the sale of beef on the bone products after the mad cow scare a few years back. Now it’s back and everyone is celebrating. Just make sure you’re really hungry for this one as it is huge.

The general consensus was that these were all the things that should be done during a trip to Italy, along with all the usual art and history things of course, in order that you get the most out of the trip.

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What to See in Your First Bangkok Tour – A Glance at Bangkok

Discover the best time, attractions, and cuisine in the city

Bangkok has a reputation for its numerous temples. Its rich history and religious culture catch the eyes of people around the world.

This article helps planning your first Bangkok trip.

When to Go

Bangkok situates in the southeast of Asia – tropical maritime monsoon climate zone, featuring moderate weather. It is hot and wet through the year, with the average temperature 82?/28?. Its weather can be generally divided into three types: hot season (March-June), rainy season (July-October) and cool season (November-February).

Tropical Weather and What to Pack

Cool Season (November- February): Those months are the coolest seasons in Bangkok on which the average temperature does not surpass 26 ?. Several long-sleeved T-shirts are enough.

Hot Season (March-June): Bangkok’s hot season is hot and moist. T-shirts and shorts are enough. Take a hat and a pair of sunglasses to prevent strong sunlight, and sun cream is recommended to protect you from the strong sunlight.

Rainy Season (July-October): Rainy season in Bangkok is damp and sultry. You may be encountered with casual droops in a day so light rain coat and umbrella is necessary. It is recommended to prepare alternative shoes and clothing.

The Best Time to Visit: November-April

This period is the most comfortable time for your visiting since then the weather is cool and the southern island is open. Loi Krathong Festival (December 15th in Thai lunar calendar, approximately in November 15th) is also a charming day on which the Bangkok will become a wonderful place full of light on the Chao Phraya River.

What to See in Bangkok

Bangkok gains its reputation for its religious atmosphere and prolonged history. Along with the river, it spots a number of historical buildings. The city is a live shrine treasure where most of the tourist attractions are connected with temples. The most famous attractions in Bangkok are the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kae and Wat Pho.

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace is a complex of royal buildings at the heart of Bangkok. It has been the official residents of the Kings of Siam and long been the typical loyal resident of Thailand since then. Back to Chao Phraya River, the palace covers an area of over 260,000 square meters with wall surrounded. Within the wall is the representative Siam architecture and among which the most famous are four palaces with distinctive characters. Preserved, and majestic considerable, it expresses a glorious of ancient royal picture to tourists.

The Wat Phra Kaew

Located in the northeast part of the Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most remarkable example of Thai temples. Inside the Hindu shrine of the god, there is the dark-green Emerald Buddha which is a religio-political symbol and the protective image of Thailand. In the Thai history and legend, emerald Buddha brings prosperity and peace to where it resides. Every summer, winter and rainy seasons, the King performs a special ritual to bless the country-changing the cloak around the status.

Wandering around the palace, tourists have a good chance to appreciate the exquisite wall painting. All the pictures’ themes are from traditional Indian literature Ramayana. Apart from that, the splendid appearance and glittery decoration of the buildings are also extremely impressive.

The Wat Pho

As the most ancient temple in Thailand, The Wat Pho neighbors to the Grand Palace, and at the same time, it also reserves the biggest reclining Buddha. With the whole length of 46 meters and the foot length of 5 meters, the reclining Buddha boast the largest reclining Buddha around the world, all covering with gold and its pedestal is decorated with 108 auspicious patterns. The temple gains such a high reputation, domestically and externally, not only for the fame of largest reclining Buddha but also for its majority of statuses and stupas. It is made up of 99 stupas of which 71 are surpass 7 meters and 394 Buddhist figures in about 80.000 square meters.

Distance from Bangkok city center: the three above are at the Grand Palace District, very close to the city center. It is a good idea to buy a map of Bangkok in a local bookstore as a guide if you want to travel the city with no guide.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun lays on the west bank of the Pian, in the close distance of the Grand Palace. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun, so it is also called the Temple of Dawn. It has existed since at least 17th century and it is the biggest Mahayana stupa in Thailand. You can easily take a river boat from one side to the other for only 3 baht.

The Amphawa Floating Market

Almost every tourist has a visit to a floating market in mind on his first trip to Bangkok. Actually, there are more than 5 floating markets in Bangkok among which the Amphawa Floating Market is the most attractive. A branch of the Mae Klong River floats through the market and many little wooden house neatly lined up alone the canal, selling souvenirs and a lot of charming snacks and sweets. It opens at 15 p.m.-20 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday so you can arrive around 16 p.m. so you would not miss the amazing little temple across the river, and at the same time have an early seafood lunch on the river banks and get a little long tail boat cruise.

Erawan Shrine

The Erawan Shrine features four heads and four pairs of arms towards different sides. Housed in the city center of Bangkok, it is a well-known statue of Hindu god: creation Lord Brahma. Whenever you arrive, you will always meet a great crowd of believers there. More attractive thing is the performance by resident Thai dance troupes which are often operated in festivals by worshippers in return for their wishes coming true.

Tips:

Cover shoulders, legs and stomach when visiting temples in Thailand especially in the Grand Palace, otherwise you may be rejected. It is easy to rent a sari near the Grand Palace.

Obey Customs:

1. When offering prayers to Buddha kneel down with feet pointing away from Buddha.

2. At any time, pointing Buddha with your foot is prohibited.

3. Remove shoes when entering any of temples.

Dining in Bangkok

Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines around the world. Although it has been mutually influenced and combined the merits of over the course of many countries, it features the use of fresh herbs and spices and its sweet-and-sour flavor. The combination of varies spice gives tourists a fantastic and excited taste. And the same with other Asian cuisines, rice is the staple grain of Thai cuisine.

Tom Yum Kung:

Tom Yum is a typical Thai soup, usually cooked with shrimp. It is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant spices and herbs generously used in the broth.

Thai Green Curry Seafood:

Thai Green Curry Seafood is a based on coconut milk and fresh green chillies. The curry is not necessarily sweeter than other Thai curries but, although the spiciness varies, it tends to be more pungent than the milder.

Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai, typical Thai dish, mainly include coconut milk, dill weed, lemongrass, Thai chili peppers, chicken and fish sauce. The main material could be varied according to local flavor, such as seafood, mushrooms, pork and tofu.

Things to do in Bangkok

The profound history of Bangkok nurture the exotic and unique traditional culture here which is rarely found in other part of the world. By experiencing local traditional activities, tourists can have a further knowledge of this city. The UME Travel website offers good tips on your preference.

Thai Kick Boxing

Thai kick boxing is a traditional art of self-defense of the Thais. It originated in Thailand and has a history of over five hundred years ago. It can strengthen the body, mind and heart, as well as show patience and persistence. During this combat sport, competitors are permitted to use their fists, legs, knees and elbows to knock down their adversary.

Apart from brute strength, Boxing is also a test of technique and skill; hence it attracts the attention of many people, home and aboard. With its wide spread throughout the world, it is regarded that Thai boxing is good for women and kids as well since it toughens them up from daily practice and spiritual learning.

Thai Massage

Thai traditional massage can be traced back to hundreds years ago when Buddhist monasteries made it as a form of preventative health care for monks. Currently, a popular forms of massage combines acupressure, assisted yoga postures and ayurveda with oil and lotion.

The recipient wears loose and comfortable clothing and usually on a padded mat or firm mattress on the floor. During the whole practice, giver performs professional twist compound with pure oil. With body compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked, receiver will feel energetic and comfortable that had never been after 45-min service.

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Suicidal Tendencies Interview

TIS= The Indie Spiritualist

DP= Dean Pleasants

EM= Eric Moore

TIS: This is a really nostalgic tour you’ve put together here. You have the Cro-Mags, DRI, Underdog…all of who, along with yourselves, are hardcore legends! What’s the tour experience been like for you so far?

DP: It’s been really cool man. Sort of a blur, as tours usually are, but a lot of fun. We call the bus we’re on “the submarine”, we go underwater and we emerge at the gigs. Every day is a different crowd of people but its always fun. We’re playing stuff off the No Mercy record as well as Suicidal Army and other older stuff, so the crowds really enjoying it, and we are too. We’re really getting into our niche right now, which is usually what happens, and then tour is over. We’re all bonding and it’s just been a lot of fun.

TIS: Is it me, or do you guys tend to steer clear of touring with a lot of the newer “punk/hardcore” bands?

DP: Not really, we just do what works for us. We did some shows recently with Deftones.

EM: Yeah and we toured with Lamb of God a while ago. We tour with a lot of the new bands, and then we smash them, haha.

DP: We did some festivals in Europe and it was just such a diverse lineup. We did a show with Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Kiss. It was crazy.

EM: Yeah, believe me, it’s diverse. Suicidal is very diverse.

TIS: Did you guys ever skate yourselves?

DP: Oh yeah, absolutely.

EM: Dean still skates. His board is right over there. I used to skate when I was skinny too. Like all the time. I fell and busted my lip and shit, but I’d always get right back up.

TIS: Haha, cool. So what boards did you grow up on?

DP: Well when I was a kid, my first board was this little polyurethane, plastic thing when they first came out. That was before they were skating bowls and stuff. I’m skating a Pep board now with monster wheels and Indy trucks. I can show it to you.

TIS: Yeah that’d be awesome if you don’t mind.

DP: No, not at all!

EM: I always had the Wal-Mart boards man. I had the Wal-Mart board of life. I’d tell my mom I wanted the one that scooped on both sides and she’d be like, “No! You’re gonna get this $10 board, and you’re gonna like it”, and I’d be like, ok, fine, I’ll just ride some BMX bikes. Because when you’re a thug growing up, you’d just be stealing whatever you liked.

DP: So here’s my board. It’s definitely got a work out on this tour and is definitely a cruiser. The guys at Rip City (Santa Monica, CA) hooked this up for me. I told them I played in a band with Jim’s brother and they hooked it right up.

EM: Yeah, the only reason he’s skating a Pep board is cause Pep is our homeboy.

DP: Yeah. I really like to cruise, so on this thing, it’s like two kicks and you can go forever, and it’s fast. Before this board, I skated Dogtown’s and I also had a Jesse from Santa Monica Airlines.

TIS: Rad. So Sucidal, particularly Mike Muir has been noted as having a beef with Rage Against The Machine. In fact, he wrote a song called Do What I Tell You, which is a parody of the lyrics from Rage’s song Killing In The Name. Is this still an ongoing thing?

EM: Hahahaha.

DP: Honestly, I don’t know too much about it. We actually just came from South America where we played with Rage.

EM: Yeah, we played with them. It was only three bands, us, The Mars Volta & Rage.

DP: Yeah and that was pretty cool, so I don’t want to say anything bad about them.

EM: But we really don’t have anything bad to say anyways.

DP: They put on a hell of a show. It was crazy. There were 50,000 people going nuts. I mean, we all put on a good show, but Rage PUT ON A GOOD SHOW.

EM: Yeah, Rage was killing it.

TIS: Cool. So is it safe to say you don’t play that song anymore, or at least didn’t then?

DP: We definitely didn’t play it there.

EM: It was really a beef between people, not bands. It wasn’t like we had to whoop their asses, or they had to come at us.

DP: It was a war of words, which Mike was involved in. What happened was the bands were on tour together, and someone was on the phone, and someone pushed someone, and it was really all Tom Foolery. Then they said something about Mike in an interview and the band being old or something funny. Mike asked us if we’d mind if he wrote a song about them. He didn’t really want to involve us. I wasn’t mad at those guys. So then he wrote Do What You Tell Me, I was like, ok, he really is mad at them.

So we were going to South America, where we’d been offered two festivals, one in Chile and the other in San Paulo. Rage’s manager was like, well I don’t know if they want you guys to come, but he asked them and it had been long forgotten. And the Brazilian people said they wanted Suicidal to come, so we went. We got there and saw Tom, and Zack, and said hi and everything was cool.

TIS: Right on. What’s the word on the new album? Is there a tentative release date?

DP: Well we wanted to release the No Mercy/Suicidal Army record to tour on because Mike had a vision of doing the records over and showing people a harder side of Suicidal. We usually play three or four of the songs in our set. As far as the new record, it’s really based on timing now because of the way the industry and distribution is. We really want to be out right now and rebaptize the people who were into us before, as well as show the newer generation of kids who we are before we put out a record. We don’t want to release something that isn’t going to be heard. That’s really important to all of us. When you put your heart and soul into something, you want it to be heard. And we’re going from this US tour onto Europe and South America etc.

TIS: Yeah my friend Randy was saying on the way up how much he liked the new recordings of the No Mercy stuff and what you guys did with it.

EM: Yeah man, that’s that new, hard and fast stuff.

DP: It’s a throwback to the way they recorded a long time ago. I was originally in Infectious Grooves, before Suicidal, and we were used to doing stuff a certain way, a lot of jamming and writing, but there was a formula to Suicidal that made it sound the way that it did. And we went back to that formula. Mike was doing the hard rhythms and I was doing the solos, and the drummer and bass player were doing their thing. It really makes for a different type of recording. And that’s what we did with No Mercy. When you listen to it, you can hear everybody doing what they do best.

TIS: You mentioned Infectious Grooves. You guys are playing your first U.S. show in 10 years on Nov 23rd. Can you talk a little about that?

EM: Yeah man, it’s going to be a big show. We’re playing at The House of Blues in Hollywood.

DP: Infectious was able to play in Chile with RATM and The Mars Volta, and we’d never played there before. We’ve done some touring in France, Europe and Australia though. Infectious’ first tour was opening for Ozzy.

TIS: Yeah I remember that. Would he come out and sing Therapy with you guys?

DP: Yeah, and actually, when he shot the video with us, he had a broken leg. We were in Chicago and I’ll never forget it. Anyone can say what they want about Ozzy, but he’s the nicest guy, he really is.

TIS: So is there any truth to the Suicidal/L.A. Sureno Venice 13 gang rumors? You can nod once for yes, and twice for no if you’d like.

EM: Hahaha, oh man.

DP: Haha, well there’s a lot of gangs that claim Suicidal but I myself am not a gang member.

EM: I wear red so…(laughter).

DP: We have a lot of people who are into the band that are also into other things that may not be savory. When we play in Ventura, we have Hell’s Angels at our shows all the time. We have a lot of 1% biker gangs that are into Suicidal. They never really cause trouble at the shows, but they’re there. When we play Ventura, the whole street is lined up with Hells Angels.

TIS: Sounds insane.

EM: It’s weird.

DP: Yeah, it’s crazy. So a lot of people like our music and for us, that’s an honor. There’s a lot of people in prison that like our music and they say it helps them through their day so that’s great. For us, it’s most important to touch somebody. If you can help someone through their day when they’re having a hard time, that means something. So as far as the gang thing, I don’t know. It’s crazy and people are definitely doing their thing.

TIS: Cool guys. Thanks for your time.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Work For the Travel and Tourism Industry

The travel and tourism industry is a massive global industry that caters for the needs of those who have to travel away from home in terms of providing facilities and services like hotel accommodation, air and road transport. Close to a billion people are involved in international travel in this industry which generates billions of dollars every year. Sometimes making a decision on which industry to work for can be quite hard given the many options available today across the globe. Below are five reasons why you should consider working in the travel and tourism industry.

1. There are lots of work opportunities. The travel and tourism industry has a lot of opportunities employment for those seeking employment. You can work in the aviation sector, road, rail and water transport, accommodation providers like hotels and lodges, leisure and business travel agents and tour guides. It is now also possible to work from home thanks to technology which is convenient for some people like mums who have a child or children and do not want to be far away from home.

2. The perks are good. The travel industry provides rewards that not many other industries do. For example those working in the airline industry can get free tickets for themselves and immediate family members to fly to any destination that the airline they work for flies to. Those who work as travel agents can get reduced travel fares and even pay reduced accommodation rates. Then there are the familiarization trips that those who work in the industry have the opportunity to take. Just think of an all expenses paid trip to places like the Seychelles, France, the Kenyan coast of Mombasa to name just a few.

3. It is a growing industry. In spite of the recent downturn because of the threat of terrorism and the world recession, travel industry players are optimistic about its growth. In good times and bad times people always get the urge to move. And with more and more places becoming accessible because of air travel and with both air travel and hotel rates coming down in order to accommodate peoples pocket there is reason to believe that the travel industry will continue to grow and more markets will be reached which is good news for service providers. Furthermore technology like the internet has made it possible to access markets anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

4. It is never boring. Working in the industry almost means that you will meet new people from time to time. This is especially true for those who work as frontline staff in travel agencies, airline offices or hotels. Those who work in the airline industry as flight attendants have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world, visit different towns and cities and see and experience different cultures. That can never be a boring job.

5. You do not need years of studying to work in the industry. You may love a certain profession but because of the years of studying involved in learning it you may be discouraged from joining it. Not so with the travel and tourism industry. Three to six months may be enough depending on what qualification you are studying for to get you started working for this exciting industry. Some people because of their love for the work and experience gained in certain areas of the industry have even started working and studied for the paper qualifications later.

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The Vacation Sales Cold Call Script

If you have been hunting around for a cold call script, take a look at this one. The destination vacation is a big money operation. People who make 1,000 calls per week generally find 100 interested prospects that turn into 50 paid customers using scripts like this one. Everyone tweaks a word here and there in scripts and this one is no different. Sit with your sales manager for approval on the wording and then try this script out on your next 100 calls and see if it makes a difference.

“Hello, is __________ there?

Hello, my name is _________, calling from _______________ How are you today? (Customer’s first name)

I see that you filled out a survey form and expressed interest in a Hawaii vacation.

Our company has just released our VIP Invitations for vacations to Hawaii and your name is on that list!

I am calling to make sure you want to take advantage of this discounted Hawaii vacation offer. Mr/Ms_______________________what do you think?

If you have pen and paper,I’ll give you all my information so you can start planning.

Again, my name is ________ and this is through _____________________________.

This Hawaii vacation package is for 4 days and 3 nights on Maui. Your airline will be _____________________________. You will be staying at the Hotel __________________ for 4 days and 3 nights. If you need other airline arrangements we are a full service travel agency and we would be happy to search for another airline fare.

I know that we do not pay your personal expenses or any taxes and no service fees are paid. The last time I went, I believe I paid not more than $25.00 and I paid that at the hotel check-in.

I only have 11 vacation packages to Hawaii and I do have other calls to make to lucky people. Are you ready to buy this great vacation today?

The cost is $698.00 for two adults and must be taken within 6 months from today. As long as both of you are over 21 years of age, you are on your way to sunny Hawaii!

Do you have your credit card ready or do you need to discuss this with someone before you buy?

I’m only offering this one package today so you would need to buy today, but then again, take up to 6 months before you run off for a fabulous vacation!

Oh no, Ma’am, there are no hidden fees or charges. But now that you mention it, there is one thing that I would ask you to do. Once you get home, would you drop me a line and tell me what was the most exciting, the most beautiful or the most fun about this Hawaii vacation?

Yes, you can enclose a snap shot if you would like.

If you are ready to buy right now, I’m ready to take your credit card and get you all set up.

Yes, Ma’am, please read the numbers on your card.

I’ll read that back to you.

Now if you would verify your address I’ll get your things into the mail.

Wonderful! Now write down my name and phone number so I can answer any questions for you.

My Ticket Registrations department might give you a call to verify the spelling on your name or some other detail, I hope that is not a bother for you.

Okay, we are all set.

I will you enjoy that fabulous sun, sand and sea! Aloha!”

Invest your time and words into a script that deliver what you want to convey as efficiently as possible. Use a mirror and practice doing phone sales to yourself until all the words are comfortable and you can smile the entire way through. A great telesales script is extremely valuable.

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Advantages of Bus Travel

Bus is the most popular transport nowadays. Many people choose bus as the best transport for them because of the many advantages they find in it. Others never get on a bus, thinking only of the disadvantages, which are truly a lot. Here I will tell you the reasons why it is better to choose travelling by bus rather than travelling with your car for example.

The good standpoints for travelling by bus

Many people choose bus transport because it is cheap. This is the main reason why when you get on a bus you will see mainly students and old people. The tickets for long destinations are much cheaper than the flight tickets. You can also by a card for every month and travel at reduced fare. This is also a good advantage to choose bus transport, because it saves you money that you can spend on your next vacation.

Another good advantage of bus transport when going on short travels is that bad weather won’t be a problem for the bus driver. If you are planning to go to the nearest village with your bicycle and it starts raining or snowing, you will get wet for sure. If you choose the bus, you can save yourself this uncomfortable situation and it also can save you money because it won’t get you sick. Also if you choose to take a flight and the weather surprises you and a storm comes out, you may be waiting for hours because of delayed flights.

However, this won’t happen if you choose bus travel. In modern buses, you will have an air conditioner, toilet, the bus-hostess will offer you drinks and snacks to make your trip more enjoyable, and there are also at least two TV sets in new travel buses. So you can enjoy your trip watching a movie and having a snack without worrying when will be the next stop for the toilet. Also if you are travelling on a bus for more hours or even days, you can always make new friends there. So, the new social contacts are the other advantage of the bus. And if you have to choose between a plane or bus, remember that you will see much more if you are travelling with a bus. The bus also stops at many places during the travel and in that time, you can have a coffee or a cigarette if you are a smoker. In the plane this could not be done.

Another good advantage of buses is that they reduce the traffic jams in the rush hour in big cities. Imagine that everyone uses cars. The traffic jams will be a lot bigger than they are now. In some countries like India, a bus can gather more than 150 passengers. Imagine that all these people were using their cars instead of bus transport the cities will be crowded.

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The Top Five Longest Rivers in Europe

Europe is widely considered the beginning of Western Culture. Geology-wise, Europe is 1 highly complex continent. Geographical attributes range from rolling plains to highlands and mountain ranges as well as water bodies like the Celtic Sea, the Baltic Sea plus the Caspian Sea. Europe likewise has broad river systems. People have a way of stoning up ideal alongside bodies of water although, especially rivers, which has its advantages in trade and economic sciences. Some cities, like Venice even took these water systems into a entire new level. Let us take a look at the major contenders of the Longest-Rivers-in-Europe list.

1. Volga

The Volga River in Russia is one river with bloody history. You just have to watch war movies (or play war video games) to know that during the Two World Wars (I and II), a lot of battles have been fought nearby since some points in this river are deemed strategic. Blood and conflict aside, this river, spanning 3,692 km (2,294 mi) will be the longest in Europe. This river is widely considered Russia’s National River and you would frequently encounter Russian literature and paintings referring to it. The river has its source within the Valdai Hills northwest of Moscow, heading east into Lake Sterzh, draining out and in the end turning south until Volgograd and discharging into the Caspian Sea. The delta is the largest estuary in all of Europe.

2. Danube

Even though Danube only ranks as the second longest river within the continent, with its length of 2,860 km or 1,777 miles, it really is to Europe as the Nile is to Africa ( as well as that just like the Congo, it has been a source of inspiration for those in the literature, along with inside the arts, music and film and tv). The river originates inside the Breg River in Black Forest in Germany and it flows in a southeastward direction, passing through quite a few tourist spots and our natural resources along the river and 88 cities, four of that are Eastern European capitals (Bratislava, Vienna, Belgrade and Budapest). It discharges into the Black sea through the Danube Delta, that is second only to the Volga Delta in terms of size, but it is well- looked after. It’s in fact a UNESCO World Heritage Internet site.

3. Ural

The Ural River, which spans 2,4,28 km or 1,509 miles, is yet another river in Russia. The river starts at the Southern Ural Mountains, the mountain range that is supposedly the physical boundary of Asia Europe, and flowing south by means of the Orsk and Orenburg, continuing west and passing Kazakhstan then turning south again until it discharges into the Caspian Sea. The wetlands near the Ural River Delta are an important stopover of migrating birds. The river is usually supplied by melting snow and it can be employed by iron and Steel Companies, with the lower reaches becoming used for irrigation.

4. Dnieper

The Dnieper, a 2,285-kilometer (1,420-mile) river, is a symbol of Ukrainian Statehood. It is vital in the economy, as it truly is a leading waterway and is had been part of the ancient trading route – The Amber Road. The river starts at the swamps of the Valdai Hills in central Russia, with melting snow becoming the primary source, and in the end being given food by many tributaries, coursing by way of the Belarus-Ukraine borders, to Ukraine itself and emptying out into the Black Sea.

5. Don

The Don River, flowing for a distance of 1,950 km (1,220) has one issue in common with Volga – bloody history. Its being a strategic point was established way back within the conflicts of the Middle Ages and in World War II, key fighting been possible in some parts of the river as well. Oh, at 1 point, it really is 105 km (65 miles) from the Volga River and there is a waterway that connects the two. It begins at a town southeast of Moscow and discharges into the Sea of Azov, maintaining its role as an aid in economy and trading in the process.

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5 Exotic Places To Visit In Taiwan

If you want to visit a location that is exotic and has fantastic scenery, Taiwan is the answer for you. An island country, Taiwan is home to a prime Southeast Asian culture, tasty cuisines, amazing climate, and numerous forest parts and festivals. The capital city of Taipei boasts of vibrant culture and entertainment. Taiwanese cuisine is rated as one of the best on a global scale. So once you step into Taiwan, where do you go to experience the full grandiosity of Taiwan?

1. Taipei

The largest city and the capital of Taiwan, Taipei is the cultural, arts and the natural heartbeat of this landlocked country. Numerous artistic temples devoted to local deities dot the landscape. Famous among them is the Longshan and Taipei Confucius Temple. Taipei 101 captures your attention as the tallest skyscraper in the horizon. On New Year’s Eve, the platform serves as the tallest fireworks display in the world. There are numerous festivals like lantern festival, ghost day celebrations, double ten day etc. These festivals liven up the atmosphere and you should be there to experience the feeling. Taiwan tour packages are incomplete with an authentic festival experience.

2. Nantou

The second largest city in Taiwan, Nantou is home to the most famous tea plants, the oolong teas. See the original teas grown in full splendor. The mountainous landscape makes it very dear to trekkers and mountain hikers. Notable hiking trails include Maolan and Hanbi hiking trails. You should also definitely visit the Cingjing farm, which boasts of luscious farms of oolong trees.

3. Kaohsiung

From its humble roots as a small trading firm, Kaohsiung has grown into an economic powerhouse. You will find many refining and shipbuilding industries here. The city boasts of stable and strong infrastructure, which enabled it to host 2009 world games. The primary attractions in this beautiful city include, Liuhe Night Market, World games stadium and a great resource of nature with forests. Taiwan travel packages ensure a stop in Kaohsiung.

4. Hsinchu

Did you know that most of the worlds’ electronic items are made in Taiwan? Your phone probably was made in Hsinchu, the leading electronic manufacturing hub in Taiwan, and probably the whole world. The Hsinchu technological zone is home to IT offices and leading giants like Huawei etc. Why don’t you come around and take a tour of the world’s leading electronic hub? You may even get great discounts while shopping here.

5. Kinmen

Kinmen is actually a group of islands under Taiwanese administration. The major attraction is knives made from the unexploded arsenal during the Chinese Civil War. Kinmen noodles are equally famous as a delicacy. Collect your kinmen knives as a souvenir and make your Taiwan stay memorable.

The above five places showcase what Taiwan is all about. Make sure you book your Holiday Packages to Taiwan from an established travel agency to enjoy the full benefits.

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The Wildlife Near Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

If you love eco-adventures to see wildlife but you also prefer to relax in a jacuzzi instead of a tent at the end of the day, I have a great suggestion for you. A vacation to Punta Cana on the east coast of the Dominican Republic may be right up your alley. In Punta Cana, you can stay in a nice resort with all the luxury comforts while at the same time having easy access to some of the most amazing wildelife on Earth less than an hour away. The best way to have a thrilling experience with the wildlife in the Dominican Republic is to take Punta Cana excursions, i.e. day-trips, with a respected eco-tour operator.

The rock stars of the animal world in the Dominican Republic are the 4 species of large sea turtles (hawksbill turtles, green turtles, leatherback turtles, and logger-head turtles), the giant sting rays, the West Indian manatees (sea cows), and the bottle-nosed dolphins. Visitors to the region are also quite impressed with the extensive colonies of frigate birds, boobies, and brown pelicans roosting and nesting on the mangroves near Saona Island.

Of course, if you are into snorkeling or diving, the extensive coral reef ecosystem along the coast of the Dominican Republic will take center stage. The Dominican Republic coral reefs host literally thousands of tropical fish and invertebrate creatures so strange you may mistake them for plants at first. Regardless of whether or not you can identify all the creatures you see on the reefs, the vivid colors.and patterns will dazzle you.

There are many other fascinating animals to check out in the Dominican Republic too. These include the very large rhinoceros iguana, the agouta (solenodon) that looks a little like an anteater, and the fuzzy little hutia that looks like a cross between a guinea pig and a rat. Then there’s the hairy Cacata tarantula (also known as the Dominican tarantula) and its cousin the tailless whip scorpion. If you are into bats, you should definitely take the time to go on some excursions exploring the caves in the Parque Nacional del Este, the largest nature park in the country and less than an hour from Punta Cana. There are several interesting bat species living in these Dominican Republic caves.

While people are usually more curious about seeing exotic animals than plants, there is one plant species in the Dominican Republic that is a true star and a “must see.” The plant I am referring is the mangrove which forms dense mangrove forests. The mangroves located off the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic are easily accessed from Punta Cana by taking Punta Cana excursions. The mangrove forests also serve as vital habitat to thousands of other species. They serve as critical spawning grounds for fish and invertebrates and protect juvenile fish and sea turtles from predators. This is why conservationists world-wide and many Dominicans are so interested in conserving them.

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