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ten links for today

May 14, 2009

1. 10 Perfect Days in Northern India

2. Turkey’s hidden treasures

3. Analyzing the Traveler’s Mind Through 3 Persistent Myths

4. White magic – five stunning white villages of Andalucia

5. Types of coffee served in Italy

6. Laid off? The one thing you absolutely need to do on the first day

7. Yellow Stone Park

8. What You Should Know About Cabbies in Vegas

9. 20 world geography facts that might surprise you

10. Travel Tajikistan

Photos: Discovering Mumbai

May 13, 2009


Click here to view all the photos

Photographs by Nihal Satpute, posted on May 13, 2009

May is National Bike Month in US

May 8, 2009


It’s time to get on your bike and ride in celebration of National Bike Month! The League of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 11-15 and Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 15. Need some ideas? Use the League’s step by step guide on how to get started promoting your event.

Check out ongoing and upcoming events in your state/city.

You can also donate your old bike!

Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India

May 7, 2009
Palace on Wheels

Palace on Wheels

Modeled after the luxurious private railway cars of the former rulers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Palace on Wheels is the subcontinent’s answer to Orient Express, replete with service-pound captains and staff outfitted in crisp tunics and brilliant turbans straight out of The Jewel in the Crown. Each of the fourteen wagons (or “saloons”) is named after a former princely state and decorated in its most representative colors and fabrics. Rich veneered wood paneling and custom-designed furniture with inlaid motifs lend a further touch of class. The train travels mostly through the desert corners of Rajasthan, usually at night to allow full days of sightseeing in such magical cities as Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhput. Guests are treated like royalty onboard and on land as well, with musicians and richly harnessed elephants meetings and greeting the train’s arrival. Luncheons are arranged at former maharajas’ palaces, and camel treks and tiger photo-safaris fill out the exciting week on wheels, culminating in a grand finale visit to the Taj Mahal, before heading back to New Delhi.

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Photos: Pacific Coast Highway, US-1

May 7, 2009


Click here to see all photos

Travel Humor: You know you’re in Los Angeles when…

May 5, 2009

1. You’re driving on the 101 and see a clear cut definition of where the smog begins and ends.
2. You’re sitting in traffic for at least an hour at any given part of the day.
3. You go to the beach and see that real lifeguards actually do look like the lifeguards from Baywatch.
4. You begin to “lie” to your friends about where you are (i.e. “Yeah I’m like 20 minutes away”) – when you know that it’ll take you at least an hour to get there).
5. You eat a different ethnic food for every meal.
6. You look around at the nice cars around you during traffic, thinking it’ll be your favorite Laker or WB star.
7. You make a conscious choice to watch Jay Leno over David Letterman.
8. You know it’s best not to be on the 405 at 4:05 pm.
9. Getting anywhere from point A to point B, no matter what the distance, takes about “twenty minutes”.
10. You know what neighborhood someone lives in by the degree of damage incurred during the riots.
11. You’ve inadvertently learned Spanish.
12. In the “winter”, you can go to the beach and ski at Big Bear on the same day.
13. You know what “sigalert”, “PCH”, and “the five” mean.
14. If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you’re definitely driving.
15. Your TV show is interrupted by a police chase.
16. You can’t fall asleep without the lull of a helicopter flying overhead.
17. When tourists ask where they can get souvenirs, you direct them to Venice Beach.
18. You’ve trespassed through private property to get to the “Hollywood” sign.
19. You don’t stop at a STOP sign, you do a California Roll.
20. You’ve ever bought oranges, flowers, cherries or peanuts on a freeway off-ramp.
21. You think that Venice is a beach.
22. You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don’t notice.
23. You’ve started crossing a street and returned to the curb when the DON’T WALK sign started flashing.
24. You’ve never listened to NPR.
25. You think Manhattan is a beach.
26. You eat pineapple on pizza.
27. When giving directions, you follow up with the phrase: “With/Without traffic.”
28. Driving along, you see a high-speed police chase approaching in your rear view mirror. You don’t panic or even flinch. Instead, you call your friends on your car phone and tell them you’re on TV.
29. You know that if you drive two quarter mile(s) in any direction you will find a McDonald’s or a Starbucks.
30. You never, ever go into the water at the Beach. You barely touch the sand.
31. You are awakened in the middle of the night by a moderate earthquake. Your reply: “That ain’t even a 5-pointer” and go back to sleep.
32. You think you are better than the people who live “Over the Hill”. It don’t matter which side of the hill you are currently residing, you are just better than them, for whatever reason.
33. You live 10 miles from work. It takes you 60 minutes to get home.
34. Walking out of Jamba Juice, you see that a movie is being shot on-location across the street.
35. You are not happy, or even slightly exited that there may be a movie star there. You just say, ”They f*ckin better not be blocking my parking space.”
36. You go to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway and the whole trip cost you $50.
37. You know what In N Out is and feel bad for all the other states because they don’t have any.
38. You know that not everyone in Beverly Hills is a millionaire.
39. You’ve gotten parking tickets from parking in the red zone in front of your house.
40. Any major movie star is picking out the best portobello mushrooms next to you at the grocers and you don’t notice.
41. The gym is packed at 3pm…on a workday.
42. Any invitation comes with, “Starts at 8pm or as soon as you can get through traffic.”
43. It’s sprinkling and there’s a report on every news station about “STORM WATCH ‘99?
44. You call 911 and they put you on hold.
45. The three hour traffic jam you just sat through wasn’t caused by a horrific 9 car pile-up, but by everyone slowing to rubberneck at a lost shoe lying on the shoulder.
46. All the “cool gyms” allow pedestrians on the street a full-view of those working out. Literally, you can’t drive by Wilshire without staring into L.A. Fitness. Perhaps a new form of window shopping?
47. The waitress asks if you’d like “carbs” in your meal.

Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov, Czech Republic

May 5, 2009
Ride of the Kings

Ride of the Kings

Moravian Slovakia is a distinctive, culturally rich region of southeast Moravia, the Czech Republic. From time immemorial, the true gem of Moravian Slovakia has been Vlčnov, a town famous for the wonderous beauty of folk costumes, wine growing, rich music tradition, folk architecture, and above all for its customs, mainly the Ride of the Kings, which has continued to attract great attention not only from artists, ethnographers, and folklorists but also laymen and folklore art lovers from all over the world for nearly 200 years.

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Prague Spring International Music Festival

May 5, 2009
Prague Spring Music Festival

Prague Spring Music Festival

The Prague Spring International Music Festival is a permanent showcase for outstanding performing artists, symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles of the world. Traditionally, the festival opens with a rousing rendition of Smetana’s Ma Vlast (My Country) and closes with the Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Important musical anniversaries are celebrated by including representative works by the composers concerned in the programme. Opera, theatre and special events take their place beside concerts in the festival. The Prague Spring is a festival that prides itself on developing young talent and a competition is held each year in various instrumental sections. Performances are held in concert and theatre venues across Prague.

Where: Municipal House and Prague State Opera

Pražské jaro, o. p. s.
Hellichova 18, 118 00 Prague 1
tel.: +420 257 310 414
fax: +420 257 313 725

From CZK 350 to CZK 2000

Official website
Click here to purchase tickets
Click here for the programme
Click here for contact information

Formerly a jail, now a hotel

May 4, 2009

Four Seasons, Istanbul

Virtually every guidebook and magazine article about Istanbul says the nightmarish prison depicted in the movie “Midnight Express” is now a Four Seasons Hotel. Almost, but not quite. The luxury hotel is indeed a former jail, and a notorious one at that, but not the one where Billy Hayes, the subject of “Midnight Express,” was incarcerated. And rather than hide from its past, the 65-room, neoclassical Four Seasons celebrates it. It will be the first to tell you that the courtyard is the jail’s old exercise yard. A former inmate’s scribbled pleadings remain on an old marble pillar, and the rooms – expanded former cells – retain their tiny windows and brass rings.

Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Address: Tevkifhane Sokak No. 1, Sultanahmet-Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey, 34110
Tel: +90-212-402-30-00
Rates: May 1-Oct 31 begin at 400 euros (U.S. $540)


ten links for today

May 4, 2009

1. Smithsonian Journeys Gallery

2. Hiking the Dolomites

3. Lisbon Tour

4. Five marvels of Moravia, Czech Republic

5. Eating Well on a Travel Budget

6. 10 things that annoy me when booking holidays online

7. Amtrak Routes and Stations on Google Maps and Earth

8. TripCart – All about attractions

9. Sri Lanka in Photos – A Land of Surprise

10. 50 Travel Sites

Madurai Summer Film Festival, India

May 4, 2009

What: Summer Film Festival – 2009
When: May 6-8, 2009; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m IST (GMT +5.30)
Where: The American College, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Inaugural film: “Nee Yaar” [Tamil / English]
A documentary film on Tamil writer Sundara Ramasamy
Directed by R.V.Ramani

Closing film: “Your’s Truly John” [Malayalam with English subtitles]
A documentary about filmmaker John Abraham
Directed by Sarat Chandran

Organized by:
Marupakkam, in association with Department of Visual Communication, The American College, Madurai and Yadartha Film Society

‘Erotica LA’ coming in June 2009

May 4, 2009
Erotica LA

Erotica LA

Erotica LA is an annual, three-day sexuality and lifestyle exposition, the largest event of its kind. It features over 300 erotic-themed booths and attracts over 40,000 consumers. This three day sexuality and lifestyle exposition features the latest and most erotic merchandise on the market, everything from romantic products to hot DVDs. It is the largest Erotic Show in the U.S. presenting a wide variety of events geared towards women, men and couples at the 2009 convention.

Friday June 12 – 4:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday June 13 – 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday June 14 – 11:00am – 6:00pm

Three-day VIP ticket: $75
Each day ticket: $35

Click here to purchase tickets

Featured Shows:
# Sexy Girlfriend/Boyfriend Contest
# LA Direct Models Talent Search
# Infusion Burlesque Show by Devil’s Playground
# The Hollywood Men
# Naughty Couples’ Sex Game
# 2009 F.A.M.E. Awards
# Erotica Bucks
# Meet The Stars
# The Pleasure Chest Learning Center
# Live from Erotica LA
# First Ever LIVE Auction
# Sexx University

Los Angeles Convention Center (SOUTH HALL)
1201 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90015
Phone: (213) 741-1151
Parking: $12.00 (No In/Out)

The Los Angeles Convention Center is conveniently located at the intersection of the Santa Monica Freeway (10) and the Harbor Freeway (110).
Click here for PDF version of the site

From the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Take the Century Boulevard exit to the Century Freeway (105) East. Take the Harbor Freeway (110) North to the Santa Monica Freeway (10) West. Exit at Pico Boulevard and proceed northward.

South Hall Parking: Turn right on Pico Boulevard, turn right on Figueroa Boulevard, turn right on Venice Boulevard, turn right on Convention Center Drive and proceed to the parking entrance.

West Hall Parking: Cross Pico Boulevard and make a right turn at the intersection of Cherry and 12th Street into the parking garage entrance.

From the Burbank Airport
Exit the airport via Empire Avenue. Turn left on Hollywood Way (note direction sign to the Golden State Freeway (5) South at Empire and Hollywood Way Intersection), take the Golden State Freeway (5) South to the Harbor Freeway (110) South. Exit at Olympic Boulevard. Turn left at the bottom of the off-ramp onto Blaine St. Turn left on 11th Street.

South Hall Parking: Turn right on Figueroa. Turn right on Venice. Turn right on Convention Center Drive and proceed to the parking garage entrance.

West Hall Parking: Turn right at Cherry Street. Turn left at the intersection of Cherry St. and 12th Street and into the parking garage entrance.

From the Long Beach Airport
Exit the airport via E. Donald Douglas Drive. Turn right on N. Lakewood Blvd. Take ramp onto (405) Freeway North toward Santa Monica. Take the Harbor Freeway exit onto (110) Freeway going north toward Los Angeles. Take the Santa Monica(10) Freeway and exit toward Pico Blvd. Continue on Cherry Street. Turn right on West Pico Blvd. Turn left on South Figueroa Street. Arrive at 1201 South Figueroa Street on the left.

From Santa Monica/Brentwood, CA Area
Take 10 East towards LA, merge onto 110 South towards San Pedro, exit 9th Street, toward Downtown, stay STRAIGHT to go on James M. Wood Blvd., turn right onto Cottage, turn left onto W Olympic, turn right onto S Figueroa St., turn right on Venice Blvd., turn right on Convention Center Blvd., enter parking structure.

Metrorail Service
Metro Rail Blue Line: The Metro Rail Blue Line connects with all Metro Rail and Metro Link lines at Union Station and stops on Flower at Pico (PICO STATION), directly across from the Los Angeles Convention Center. Metro Rail fares average $1.70 each way. To plan your trip, call 1-800-COMMUTE or visit

From Union Station
By Metrolink Rail: Take the Metro Red Line. Exit at 7th Street then transfer to the Metro Blue Line (Long Beach). Exit at Pico Boulevard Station. Then walk one block west to Figueroa Street.

Commuter Express from Downtown Los Angeles
Take route 413 – From Temple/Hill (Civic Center) to 11th /Figueroa Street (LACC).

Los Angeles Convention Center Parking Garage
Phone: 213-741-1151
Daily Rate: $12.00
Park in the South Hall Parking Lot

Four Three Three Spring Garage
433 S. Spring St.
Miles From LACC: 1.50 Miles


Friday June 12, 2008
Time Title
4:00 p.m. Show Opens
4:50 – 5:00 p.m. Burlesque Performances Stage Show
5:00 – 5:40 p.m. Sex Toys for Beginners Seminar
5:40 – 5:45 p.m. Erotica Through the Ages (Dance) Stage Show
5:45 – 6:05 p.m. Erotic Fashion Show Stage Show
6:25 – 6:45 p.m. Hollywood Men All Male Dance Revue Stage Show
6:45 – 7:00 p.m. Sexy Vow Renewal Ceremony Stage Show
7:00 – 7:40 p.m. Pole Dancing for Fun & Fitness Seminar
7:45 – 7:50 p.m. Girl Power (Dance) Stage Show
7:50 – 8:10 p.m. Twisted Cherry Lingerie Show Stage Show
8:15 – 8:45 p.m. Screaming O Contest Stage Show
9:00 – 9:40 p.m. Porn star Q&A: Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask (Presented by Genesis Magazine) Seminar
11:00 p.m. Show Closes
Saturday June 13, 2008
11:00 a.m. Show Opens
1:00 – 1:40 p.m. The Big O: Female Orgasm and More Seminar
1:45 – 1:50 p.m. Erotica Through the Ages (Dance) Stage Show
1:50 – 2:10 p.m. Erotic Fashion Show Stage Show
2:40 – 3:00 p.m. Hollywood Men All Male Dance Revue Stage Show
3:00 – 3:40 p.m. Pole Dancing for Fun & Fitness Seminar
3:20 – 3:40 p.m. Screaming O Contest Stage Show
3:45 – 3:55 p.m. Burlesque Performance by Ms. Pason Stage Show
4:15 – 4:20 p.m. Girl Power (Dance) Stage Show
4:20 – 4:40 p.m. Twisted Cherry Lingerie Show Stage Show
4:30 – 5:40 p.m. A Burlesque, Lap and Chair Fantasy Seminar
5:40 – 5:50 p.m. Latex Fashion Show & Fetish Model Award Presentation Stage Show
6:30 – 7:00 p.m. “Show Your Ink” Tattoo Contest Stage Show
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. 3rd Annual F.A.M.E. Awards Stage Show
11:00 p.m. Show Closes
Sunday June 14, 2008
11:00 a.m. Show Opens
12:45 – 1:25 p.m. Fellatio: Sword Swallowing 101 Seminar
1:25 – 1:35 p.m. Burlesque Performance by Ms. Pason Stage Show
1:35 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Back Door Betty: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Anal Sex Seminar
3:30 – 4:20 p.m. Live the Fantasy: Erotic Role Play for Couples Seminar
4:15 – 4:35 p.m. Hollywood Men All Male Dance Revue Stage Show
4:45 – 5:05 p.m. Screaming O Contest Stage Show
5:10 – 5:20 p.m. Boob Job Giveaway Stage Show
6:00 p.m. Show Closes

Wagah Border – ‘Berlin Wall’ of Asia

May 2, 2009

Wagah Border Ceremony

Wagah Border Ceremony

Every late afternoon, just before sunset, the Indian and Pakistani military meet at the border to engage in an extraordinary 20-minute ceremony of pure theatre. The border-closing ceremony elicits machismo and posturing from the proud young soldiers on both sides, but also, despite the two countries’ uneasy relationship, a stunning display of harmony.

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Three best safaris in India

May 1, 2009

India has a wide range of wildlife safaris and national parks, some of which have accommodations in the heart of the reserves. Visitors can take elephant rides or jeep tours to watch the flora and fauna – lions, tigers, crocodiles, elephants, boars, birds, monitor lizards and more – and experience the beauty of Indian wildlife.

Here are three wildlife reserves we think are amongst the best:

  • Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
  • Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat
  • Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttaranchal

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Tips for money exchange before travelling

April 30, 2009

One of the first things most travelers do after landing to your destination country is exchange money, or make use of your debit/ATM/credit card. This can be a huge expense, especially if you’re careless. A few tips can help you get the best exchange rate and avoid paying high fees.

  1. Know the rate before you go
    Look at the currency converter for the most up to date exchange rates. When you know the current rate you’ll know what you’re getting into is a good or a bad deal.

  2. Get money from the ATM
    Using your ATM card to get cash from a local ATM will save you from traveler’s check fees and exchange stand fees. Most ATMs will only charge an ATM fee (if any), but will not charge you a percentage fee for the actual exchanging of the money.

  3. Get a lot of money from the ATM
    Don’t go to the ATM and get only a day’s worth of money. Get 2-4 days worth of cash and stash it in various places. Try to figure out exactly how much you need so you won’t have to exchange your money back again. Most ATMs charge fees for withdrawing money in a foreign country and if you withdraw $100 in one day, that ATM will charge the same to withdraw, say, $500 in the same transaction, rather than spending fees on 5 transactions everyday.

  4. Use a worldwide bank (if you can)
    ING (if you have an ING Electric Orange Checking) and HSBC both have banks in almost every country in Europe. You can use your ATM card at any of their locations and not get charged a fee. Bank of America partners with banks in the UK, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and China. Also, if you’re eligible, USAA lets you take money out of any ATM in the world and will reimburse you any fees the ATM charges.

  5. Talk to your local bank
    Give your local bank a call before you head overseas and ask what their rates are and what they can do for you. They may not be able to prevent fees on your ATM card before you go, but if you call when you get back they will likely remove the fees.

  6. Don’t exchange money before you go
    You are going to get a worse exchange rate in your country than you will in the country you’re visiting.

  7. Don’t exchange money at the airport
    The exchange kiosks at the airports have terribly high fees. Look for local spots like banks or currency exchange places that offer zero fees and good rates. Banks are your best bet.

  8. Understand the difference between buy and sell
    If you are at a bank/exchange kiosk in another country they post two rates “we buy at” and “we sell at”. “We buy” is when they are buying the the currency (e.g. euros) back from you to your currency (e.g. dollars). “We sell” is when they are taking your dollars and giving you euros. You will want to look at the sell rate when you get there and the buy rate when you are going home. Ideally, you want both of these numbers to be as close to the current exchange rate as possible.

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