Hello from Cuba – First Impressions

Thanks to a severe headache, I have been unable to prepare for my departure. This is the 2nd day of my 3-day extravaganza, and I just cannot wait to get out of this suffocating heat. Tomorrow I will go to the Canadian Embassy to renew my temporary passport and then go to the airport in Toronto to catch my plane back home.

My husband has been patiently waiting to hear all about my adventures, and he has been sending me updates through various diversions. He even has his own camera crew to follow my progress around the city. Yesterday we took a nice drive down to the beach of Matheson’s Bay and I got to admire the colorful pose of the brightly painted houses that are spread up the hillside.

Well, my first impressions were not very good. The heat was again torch-cold, around -40, it seemed, which obviously is not very pleasant for a foreigner, let alone a Pole. I also ran into quite a few pedestrian-only lanes. The city is clearly a beautiful place, but when you run out of space to move, it becomes very unpleasant: you run the risk of being trapped in a busy area full of vehicles, and it is not at all pleasant to be trapped inside a large car with an unruly passenger.

I had a chance to sit down in an Internet café, buy a couple of books and chocolate, and get a couple of Internet service tones. The technicalities-connecting to the Internet and the various other necessities- were not that difficult. A little on the boring side, but not so exciting as I expected.

I had a seat in an internet café that offered a large screen (40 inches) with a clear telephone that also had a small sound-card. I was looking at what I could perhaps do with a laptop, but was dubious about the whole laptop thing. It seemed too complicated for me at this point to even think about doing a search and then going to a cyber-café for a couple of hours.

So I went to another café for an hour or so, and when I came back I had a seat on a taxi and chatted with a few other people there on the mats. They were all super nice and interested in me as well. Ultimately, I decided that I probably could do without the Internet for a week or so.

El Barrio Chino, La havana, Cuba

All day today I have been reading and emailing my favorite author, Nathalie Peyroux, and she has been writing a lot lately. We got to chatting and she said, ” Yesterday, I had a meeting with a potential employer for an hour, after which I went to the supermarket and ended up buying snacks for lunch. It seems unlikely that I will need a laptop at my new job, however, although I am still exploring the possibilities of wireless Internet.”

That got me thinking, and I realized that while I would not require a computer to have an office, I would need one to possibly communicate with my newfound friends from all over the world. Those Chinese characters are a thing of the past, the Internet is now more important, and it seems that people rely more on smartphones and the GPS these days for navigation than the old direction system.

I do love reading the stuff that helps me to explore my new world. And a testament to it is that one of the cool things about the Internet is that it translated to French for me, so I could look up a star sign in French and see who was in my advice. It took me a little while to adjust, but I got a lot of fun out of it.

From there I went to a cyber-café, where I used to laze in between waiting for my Internet access. I was surfing through them, a tired brain, when I spotted a TV program hosted by a popular TV personality. I have seen a lot of Eric Saunders programs since becoming interested in science and exploring my new universe at Science JFK. This drew my attention because the host at the cyber-café had a fascinating way of dressing up. Tall and dark ice grey tuxedo pants seem to be a favorite look all around the world.

I have to say, this was one of those networking gustations. I met a fellow traveler from Algeria on a bus in Paris, and we checked in together at the same café. It was just a brief meeting, but we decided to exchange tidbits of information about our respective countries and lifestyles.

The food in Paris, if I may say so, is not actually too good. We had sandwiches and a movie, but our appetite was more on the movie side.

And to get to know the City of Lights, we opted to take the hydrofoil along the Seine river.

Prague – an Eastern European Gem for School Trips

School trips by airplane are a fundamental part of a student’s learning experience. They give students the valuable opportunity to explore and learn from their natural environment, and they can offer a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the cultural heritage and broaden horizons. The organization of school trips needs professionals with a range of skills, which is why you will find that the best companies will provide a fully-rounded service that caters to your specific needs.

This is important because the contents of a school trip are more likely to stay in the periphery of students’ interests, rather than dominate them. If students are allowed to take the time to develop their own interests within a constrained timeframe, and if the contents of the classroom are conducive to learning, then students will be far more likely to produce academic as well as non-academic contributions.

The skills required for a successful trip

The quality of a language school trip relies heavily on the skills of the professional involved. It is essential that they have an appreciation of the material being brought to the trip, and they will need to be able to plan an itinerary with a planned route that allows the students to develop their own learning interests. Booking with a reputable company will also identify the extra risks that must be covered by every student’s parents. These companies will be able to handle accommodation and the Damascus to Istanbul leg of the trip, which will be important in helping the students to stick to the learning goals.

There will also be an important need to flesh out the planned itinerary so that it is actually appropriate to the needs of the group. Many teachers and planners focus on the potential for a particular subject to be brought to life when the eyes are set on a particular destination. This is why the planned itinerary must be meticulous and designed with anatorium to support any excursions. The potential for the holiday to be a success is great, but it must be borne in mind that the trip is not simply about the destination.

The framework of the trip

Frustratingly, there is sometimes no clear framework for the excursion. Some teachers will want students to walk from a bus stop to a museum, others may want students to climb a mountain, and others may want them to enter a castle. There needs to be a clear purpose for the use of the trip and a clear expectation of what will be uncovered. If the purpose is not clear, then this will inevitably limit the amount of expectation that students have in the way of activities. If the purpose is not clear, students may never find out that they have made the wrong choice in regard to the trip.

The group dynamics will be affected by the dynamics of the group. If a group of fifty students has a history trip and another group of twenty has no history to speak of, there may be an expectation gulf between the two groups. If students do not feel that they have the chance to learn from their peers, they may become frustrated and restless. Conversely, an astronomy trip may be problematic for some students who believe that no matter how good their attire is, they will never take students into space.

Tour operators have a responsibility not to disappoint students and to make sure that the trip is a good one. A good tour operator will choose an itinerary that mixes young groups with older people to avoid the aggravation and awkwardness that can occur when young and old get together. An irritated student will shut down and a bored student and no one can help it.


A good educational tour company will choose a trip that considers all the variables in play for a successful and safe trip. They will do this by contacting other student groups to get their input and help design a carefully planned itinerary. While leaving the group can be difficult, it is vital that the safety and comfort of the students are considered. A good tour company will reduce the number of excursions so that all students have to take in their excursion. This way, they can focus on what will matter most to them, rather than following safety concerns.

The group dynamic will also be affected by the itinerary. If the group is too large for the itinerary, then it will be difficult to maintain discipline. Another Student Group Management Service will be required to help students adapt to the itinerary, but this will require a flexible attitude as students will migrate from one to another location. If the itinerary is too restrictive, then it will also limit the opportunities for traveling.

Tour operators will handle many of the mundane details, such as applying for visas and health and knowledge checkups. These will all be taken care of by the tour operator, but there will be a need for more professional and seasoned operators when it comes to governing and controlling these local clubs.

Good travel companies will be aware of these issues and will have well-collective records and other proof to support any claims that are made. Read the following article to see what is best to take with you on your next holiday.

Angelic hill or a cultivated field?

Is it a field or a cultivated hill?

I wonder which one accounts for this.

It is hard to tell, at first, especially from afar.

There is something about the romance of a natural landscape, especially one with a steep slope of forested cliffs, called Gautama Buddha View, and the Comedy of Mountains. It sets a mood and creates an illusion that the viewers are close to the ‘aris Antarctican, as the monks call them, and that they too are ordinary mortals just like us.

I think the wonder of the snow-covered crags, the quiet wind, the singing of birds, and Buddhist monks talking on their loudspeakers is the closest I ever came to that elusive mirage.

I caught the glimpse of the green flash from Mt. Nanda Devi, and the conglomeration of the white lotus petals internationally acclaimed as the Ganges Sisters, in the Irrawaddy Delta.

Thadrin Falls is a natural wonder in Burma. The water level was low, and the upper end of the falls is smooth enough to be trampled by elephants if needed. But this is not to say that the falls themselves are not steep and dangerous. The river has to be steep enough, and it has to be large enough. Otherwise, thousands of people would have undoubtedly drowned at Thadrin Falls.

Since the monsoon was coming, we went to see some of the rainforest vegetation that the botanists had described so fascinatingly. We went to the informally named Elephant Forest and hiked all the way to the railing of the falls. From there you can look out over the river and the falls in all their glory.

To the side of the forest is themeal market, which is a hundred year old. The main attraction here is the fresh fruits and vegetables, both raspberries and mangoes.

I stopped for a moment at the Herba Bridge, which is a three hundred year old bridge, quite high and impressive. Just across, there is the marker site where the British entered on their Burma Expedition in 1928. The area is important to the Burmese, and apart from the pagoda fields, heavy fortifications surround it.

From the bridge we looked down at the huge Graves stone where the British established their five-year Burma Railways’ Railway. It was an impressive sight. They had built two more railways, the- simijiang-and the- simla, on the same routes, but these are not maintained.

From the Himalayas, we looked down at the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world, the bodhi tree, under which the sitting Buddha is placed.

The terrace walk takes you to the Mingalazan Falls a distance of about 6 kilometers. If you are fortunate enough and look through the glass floor of the bridge into the falls, you will experience a wonderful and healing falling sensation that is supposed to occur. We sat there for a long time on a stone bench that was surrounded by the Bodhi tree and nothing happened. We left and went down the stairs, disappointed. We got back on the train and went to the station, were told there was no more going up, that the bridge had been destroyed. We were blankly staring at the now bare bridge. After a brief rest at the station we hurried to the head office of the company andlearned there that the bridge has been destroyed. The company officials were useless and did not try to explain.

The ruins did not seem to be damaged so we blankly returned to the train. Train after train rumbled by and we eventually quietened down just a little. The atmosphere was still pleasant for a dawn train so early into the morning.

We learned that the British Government was in Bangkok trying to arrange a meeting between the Thai Ambassador and a UK Minister. When we returned to the station forecourt, hundreds of all types of Thais from all walks of life were waiting for the train to Bangkok, many of them walking with a few dogs on their heads. The wait was very short but the atmosphere was festive and happy. We all arrived in Bangkok in June still unsure of what to do. It was too early to book hotels so we walked around a bit seeing as much of the city as possible. Our hotel was the Elephant Hostel on Kattaswick Street, and is still the largest non- policed accommodation in the hostel industry. It is situated in the heart of the city near many of the residential Thai lodging, and is meters from the murals which illustrate the colours of different regions of Thailand. The funky, cheerful, clean and safe building make it, for me, one of the safest and most comfortable hostels in Bangkok.

Do you like hiking? Did you ever think about climbing the Kilimanjaro?

The road Trip

Gas Prices versus airline tickets

The Great American Road Trip was enacted in the 1970s and has evolved into a popular vacation choice for families and groups. The original epic odyssey has grown exponentially into one of the greatest travel experiences available, with gorgeous scenery, unpredictable ecological fairways, and an intense desire to escape into the wilderness.

With extraordinary historical sites and lighthouses, the Alaska Route is a land of pristine opportunities for hiking, kayaking, climbing, and of course, good old-fashioned adventure.

Geographically speaking, the Alaska Range extends from northern Canada to western Russia, blending peninsula wilderness with awesome glaciers and snowfields so that visitors can experience the pristine scenery from the start to the finish of the road trip. The Alaska Range is home to many summer activities such as salmon fishing, bear watching, hiking, and even biking.

The Kenai area is home to many campsites frequented by tourists looking for alpine union offorship. The vast majority of these campsites are easily accessible via auto, truck, or snowmobile. The spot which may prove most popular for tourists is the Alaska Highway, also known as the Pacific Highway. Many people claimed that it was easier to drive the Peninsula Highway than the Alaskan Highway, especially since most of us have to make a 1,000-foot climb to reach the Shish Glacier from the Indian Way. Whichever way you decide to go, the trip is always an adventure.

The Shish Glacier is the end of the Alaska Highway, but only the beginning of the most dramatic, adventure-filled, population-dense trek possible on Alaska’s West Coast. Called the Denali Loop back, it is a major highway in the area, connecting the Kenai Peninsula and the world’s biggest and most active glacier with Denali National Park. You can get to the glacier from the south by taking a road that leads to it.


Most people will take a highway unless they are going somewhere on the Peninsula that isn’t on the normal route. However, the world’s shortest route, the Kokaiatta route, does run through the Kenai Peninsula, so it is possible to get from Denali up to the edge of the glacier by a little over hour. If you do decide to get off the beaten path, it is important to stay in a good campground. There are a few major spots, but there are plenty of minor ones as well.

The changes in the terrain make it necessary to ascend slightly to go beyond the tree line. This will lead to a trip to the slope of Kokoti and a difficult hike up the Shearwaters. After going up and back down the Shearwaters, there is a very scenic rock beach on the Ochre Pits. You can also stay at theapo’ano Valley Hotel in Port Angeles if you are going to stay in that area.

While it is true that any peak time will be crowded in the area, sometimes it is better to wait. If you don’t mind hiking to get to the peak, you will have a good time. In other situations, you will want to be at the top of the peak so you can take in the dramatic change in the scenery as it occurs.

The reasonable fee of $10 per car entrance into the park helps to minimize crowding at the sites. Most people leave the park without visiting the hayfield, so don’t be shy and push your car to the edge of the lot to pick up the hay. Most visitors watch the traffic and walk on the roads that lead to the high overlook. This is a good way to enjoy the sites and get some great photos of the volcanic mountains.

Take a good camera, a good pair of binoculars, and perhaps a GPS finder! The only drawback to the park as far as photography is concerned is the large number of slot machines, which are free, but requires a coin…..and a chip. You can only take one photo per fee at most of the sites. It’s worth taking a fee (the average couple dollars) to take the photo of the fantastic Denali Peak 9, though.

Denali, Alaska, America

The other Arcade action takes place at the West Side Market. It is a smaller version of the swap meet that you find in Grandma’s house down in Texas. It captures the festive spirit of the holidays, crafts, and unique goods, and even has a very popular ice skating rink. The wait staff is friendly and helpful, and a very big “Thank You” is often heard as they close the doors.

Most of the visitors to the West Side Market (which is the nation’s oldest grocery store) come from Broadway in Manhattan and the local suburbs.

If your car is not fantastic to take with you on this road trip, then you can always rent a car here.


See Business Passport Photos of You on the Go

When you travel on business, you need to have your own passport. However, since the invention of the passport card, business travelers have had the luxury of carrying their passport in their wallet and adding it to their laptop bag or briefcase. Now, it is possible to buy a business passport photo just for your home.

The passport photo should be business-oriented and accomplish two main things: first, it looks good on the back of your photo ID card; second, it helps Immigration and Naturalization in any country you visit.

You can buy these photos in a kit or individually. For a start, I recommend a kit since you can order a photo without the kit. The kit comes with everything you need: the photo, the clear print, the replacement photo, an envelope and a receipt where you can pick up your new photo at a local photo shop.

If you choose a kit, then you should buy a flat, white photo – no dark or dark-colored photos. Unless you’re sure this is the correct color, I suggest you purchase a color photo.

To find a suitable photo, check the regulations for passport identification cards. The photo must be 2 by 2 in size. It must be identical, taken within the past year, be a specific size, and should be of high-quality, with a white or off-white background. When ordering, tell the processing agency what color you want, how many photos you need, and that you’d like priority processing. The agency will tell you how to order the photo in 2-3 weeks or 5-7 days. If you need it faster, tell them that you’ll be willing to pay an extra fee.

Do avoid giving your full name when ordering a passport photo since it will be used in the case of a name change. Also, passport photos must be 2 by 2 inches. If you give your full name when ordering, it will be more expensive.

The processing time for a passport is between 2 and 3 weeks. Plan on getting your photo taken around the same time each month, or else you’ll have to wait for an available slot and pay a higher price. In addition, plan to spend more time filling in details of your photo like eye height, eye width, and eye proximity.

Passport photos should be up to date. The best time to apply is shortly before your departure date. That’s because it’s a faster process to replace a lost or stolen passport. The normal waiting period is between 30 and 90 days. If you need to renew your passport, apply earlier to avoid the security hold.

passport photos should be up to date. The passport site has a section regarding requirements. If you still have time after a year, you can renew by mail. renewYour passport renewal notice will include your current photo in this format.

Sometimes people are allowed to add pages to their passports. To do this, they have to go to a passport service center. Click on a link here to find a location near you. If needed, you can find here a nice hotel.

Regional Passport Services

Other than a name change, most people use their passports for business. They have the most up-to-date information, and are usually easier to handle since they are processing requests from all around the world.

To apply for a new passport, most first-time applicants will need to send all paperwork to the State Department. Since these are the most important documents, you might want to request expedited service. Your passport should be delivered in 4-6 weeks.

The State Department still takes 7-14 days to process each passport application. So you will have to decide when you need to get your new passport, and use an expedited passport service to reduce the wait time.

Nouveau Legalese (adjacent to US dollars and cents)

The Spanish word for “meter” (emergencies on purchases and meals etc)

“Coke” (soft drink, soda, juice, etc)

“Hand” (hang up, calculator)

“Mountain” (for landscaping and trees, apples and pearls)

“Black Hole” (deepest, confined and extreme places, also called black holes, also called bottom of the hole, etc)

“Step” (dance floor, dance halls and dance clubs)

“Work” (work and workshops)

“School” (school)

The definite article used in newspapers

noodle soup: (used to buy food/school supplies)

Articles for medical use ( pharmacy ,ental care )

alanji: (used to attract women )

cles( shirts )

armpit: (for farmers)

cat’s Cradle: (a place where ants and bees were kept, probably a meaning of agriculture)

The waiting line is for the passport office, usually takes about 45 minutes.

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