Enjoying the sun and surf at Istanbul’s beaches

27 May, 2007

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While not touring the great monuments of the Byzantium Empire or the great mosques built by various Sultans, then why not head towards any of these great beaches in the city.

Burc Beach: This is more of a family (read: Children) oriented beach. If you have children then you must definitely head towards it, otherwise, ignore it. It is located about 10 miles or 24 kms from the city centre.

Solar Beach: Located, literally, walking distance from the Burc beach, this is a good spot for all those tan-lovers. One of its famous spectacles is the night-time beach party that takes place here every night. Frolic during the day, tango during the night.

Dalia Beach : This is more of a private beach than a public one. A small, natural inlet ensures the visitors to privacy from the general public. Located about 38 kms from the city center, it houses an excellent fish restaurant.


Istanbul partys on!

25 May, 2007

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Being a cosmopolitan city that it is, Istanbul cradles the best of both, Eastern and Western World.

The former Constantinople, or Byzantium, as the city was known during the days of yore, has something to offer for everyone, irrespective of taste and culture.

Among its many delights, are some of its well-known nightspots, where after a hard day of sight seeing, many tourists converge to shake a leg or two.

Babylon: The city’s premier concert venue, stages Turkish, jazz, rock and even electronic music shows. Among the famous of all events is a monthly, ‘Oldies with Goldies’ event, where have said to fight over tickets.

Balans: This is a popular rock club, where it is experiencing growing popularity with the introduction of the newest form of ‘electronica’ genre of music. It is also a pub and has its own brewery, too.

Nardis Jazz Club: Located at the Kuleidibi Souk, this simple, yet elegant Jazz club attracts all the jazz lovers who converge here to hear the local musicians.


Daydream Island – For all those daydreamers out there

25 May, 2007

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Daydream Island is one of the many favourite holiday destinations for the Queenlanders in the Whitsunday Islands archipelago. One of the seven islands of the ‘Molle Group’ in the Whitsundays, Daydream is a small island measuring only 400 meters at its widest point.

With ever-present tropical waters and white-sandy beaches, supplemented with plenty of under-age activities, it is not hard to see why this tropical paradise is famous among the residents of the sunshine state.

There are only two resorts that cater to ever growing tourist population. The one, which is at the north-eastern end mainly, caters to day tourists, while the newer one, Daydream Island Resort and Spa, have all the facilities for over-nighters.

Similarly, all the tropical islands, Daydream too, offer a plethora of activities to suit all ages. Some of the popular ones are snorkelling, water polo, kayaking, tennis, beach volleyball, mini-golf and even yoga sessions.


Delectable South African Cuisine

25 May, 2007

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South African cuisine is a rich combination of many cultures, with three main cultures of Africa, Netherlands and India dominating it.

Being an African country, it is only natural that its staple diet would consist of local agricultural products such as dishes made of corn, ground maize and whole grain.

Though, Africans usually keep cattle as a sign of progress and wealth, they usually slaughter them on special occasions. But nowadays, cheaper meat like chicken is becoming more and more popular as the main dish.

Some of the few dishes that are popular in this part of the world is ‘bobotie’ – a delicious baked meatloaf; ‘bredie’ – a tomato stew; ‘melktert’, which is a cinnamon flavoured custard tart; koeksisters, similar to donuts; and ‘malvapudding’ – a brandy soaked sponge cake.

And then there are the staple and well-known Indian dishes like biryani, samosas, chutney and rusks, which has now favoured intensely by the locals and visitors alike.


Rottnest Island — Home of the Quokkas

25 May, 2007

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One of the main islands and holiday attraction off, the coast of Western Australia is the ‘Rottnest Island’. The island is so-called as it main inhabitant is a cat-size marsupial called ‘Quokka’.

According to the legend, when the Dutch explorers arrived here, they were so taken aback with the teeming population of Quokkas, that they, in disgust, named it as a ‘Rott enest’ (rat’s nest).

These quokkas are the main inhabitants as well as the local attractions – more than the island itself – are usually found around human population as they like to savage for food.

Numbering about 10,000, they usually feed on leaves and barks of small trees and bushes, as well as grass and other small plants, which they take fancy to.

It is only due to the exclusion of feral cats and foxes from the island that Quokkas have been able to survive, and thus, multiply.


Joshua Tree National Park – California

24 May, 2007

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One of the newest parks – if it can be called that – is ‘Joshua Tree National Park’ in California. It is basically a desert park that incorporates two American deserts – Mojave and Colorado.

Before 1994, when it achieved the special status of a park, it was more of a monument, and not very known among the more famous natural treasures such as the Grand Canyon or the Great Mississippi Basin.

Joshua National Park has some ancient petroglyps and is home of endangered desert tortoise and bighorn sheep. For some night time stay, there are about nine campyards, which can accommodate around six people, two tents and two cars each.

The ‘national park’ is open all year round, but this being a desert, it is advised that the best times to visit is either spring or fall, when the temperatures are bearable. It can be reached via Highway 62 or Interstate 10 towards the south. The paved roads leading towards the park are narrow but well maintained.


Wonderful resorts at Little Corn Island

24 May, 2007

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Lying about 45 miles off the east coast of Central American country of Nicaragua, is a drumstick-shaped island called Little Corn Island, which forms a part of a group called Corn Islands.

Though, why is it called that, remains a mystery, but this little piece of real estate is so isolated that is literally unspoiled. With less than a hundred people, many of whom are not even permanent residents who call this island home, this island is truly a tropical paradise.

With no shoppers areas, no nightlife of whatsoever, just a few resorts and miles of unspoilt forest and sandy beaches, this little paradise is yet to be discovered.

With easy access from Nicaragua, this island can only be reached via ferries or a high-speed boat.

For tourists, there are many resorts that can offer a relaxing stay. These are:

Casa Iguana:
Little Corn Island, Corn Islands, Nicaragua

Hotel Los Delfines:
Little Corn Island, Corn Islands, Nicaragua

Sunshine Hotel:
50 minutes north of the Fresh Lobster Company, Little Corn Island, Corn Islands, Nicaragua

Lobster Inn:
Pelican Beach, Little Corn Island, Corn Islands, Nicaragua