SEPTEMBER 2015

Freeport, Bahamas

by: Stephanie Larkin (reading – 3.8. - 9.8.) History
The Bahamas were discovered by Christopher Columbus during his first voyage. He called the area "baja mar", which means low or shallow sea, and the name stayed to this day. The British arrived in the 1600s after the Spaniards had left in search of gold, and many British fleeing the American Revolution settled there, along with southerners during the American Civil War. The Bahamas became an independent member of the British Commonwealth in 1973.

Freeport, and the nearby resort area of Port Lucaya, are located on Grand Bahama Island, which is the fourth largest island of the Bahamas. They have been developed over the past 50 years to be resort areas, as opposed to other Caribbean towns which have developed gradually from history to present time.

Things to Do
While docked in Freeport/Port Lucaya, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including golf, shopping, snorkeling, boating, and visiting the beaches and casinos. There are also beautiful natural wonders to explore at the Lucayan National Park, the Rand Nature Center and the Garden of the Groves. UNEXSO - which stands for Underwater Exploration Society - offers some of the best snorkel, scuba and dolphin encounter experiences anywhere.

Getting Around
Both Freeport and Port Lucaya are a bit of a hike from the cruise terminal, so if you aren't part of a shore excursion - which includes transportation - you'll need to take a taxi or rent a scooter to get around.

Weather
They say that it's 'better in the Bahamas', and concerning the weather - they are generally correct! Temperatures in this subtropical area range from about 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, with warm ocean breezes.

About The Author

Stephanie Larkin is the editor of www.WaltDisneyCruise.net , as well as www.CruiseNewsOnline.info . She and her family love to cruise - her 3 children especially love the towel animals and chocolates left on the beds at night!



Maldives Holidays Important Facts

by: Peter R Stewart (reading – 10.8. - 16.8.)

Before booking a luxury holiday, a cheap holiday or any hotel in the Maldives, or before just looking for any island hideaway in the Maldives, it is important that you know where you are going to, and what you will find when you get there.

Too many people arrive at their holiday destination having chosen it only for the price, and a dubious guarantee of sunshine, and have never investigated their destination for its suitability for themselves and their family. A disastrous vacation can often be rescued by the surrounding countryside, but this won’t be possible in the Maldives, because you are probably going to be trapped on an island, and that hotel in the Maldives may be on an island you can walk round in a few minutes. So you need to know something about where you are going at the very outset.

The Maldives is in fact an archipelago consisting of 1190 low lying coral islands scattered across the equator, in groups of 26 naturally occurring atolls. The Maldives is 45 minutes from Colombo, 3 hours from Dubai, 4 hours from Singapore, and 13 hours from London.

On the map it is in the Indian Ocean just south west from Sri Lanka, and you don’t need a visa.

The Maldives literally sits on top of the Equator so there is a year round 25-30 degrees Celsius, and has frequently been described as paradise on earth.

If your idea of paradise is in a pristine tropical island with swaying palm trees with a pure white sand beach all the way round and then a limpid blue and turquoise sea, then the Maldives is just exactly that.

It is sunny, quite unique, and almost totally unspoiled.

The hotels range from the top of the range giving you the perfect luxury holiday to the other end where there are plenty cheap Maldives Holidays, as well as the total hideaway Maldive islands. They all have one thing in common and that is they are perfect for people who are looking for peace and tranquillity, a chance to rejuvenate and relax. This is not the place to go if you have to spend your holiday visiting places. This is however the place to go if snorkelling or diving are your thing.

It is little wonder that a huge proportion of tourists in the Maldives is returning for a second or third time, simply the place is addictive, with its sun kissed white sand beaches, crystal clear warm lagoons, and multi coloured coral and incredibly exotic marine life. When you consider out of all of the islands only about 200 are inhabited., and of the remaining islands around 100 have become island hotels, there will be more beautiful deserted atolls than you know what to do with.

For more about the Maldives visit www.worldwidevacationspots.com/categories/Indian-Ocean-Hideways/The-Maldives/

About The Author

Peter Stewart writes exclusively for www.in-kenyasafari.com as well as www.worldwidevacationspots.com and he has in-depth knowledge of the places he writes about.



Five Reasons Why We Love Chocolate

by: Janette Vince (reading – 17.8. - 23.8.)

It’s one of the most popular sweets of all time. Women crave it, men hoard it, and Aztec kings were said to have been the first to eat it. But why do we love chocolate so much? Following are just a few reasons why chocolate is so popular—and why you shouldn’t give it up completely, even if you’re on a diet!

It melts in your mouth - Chocolate contains fat—that's no surprise. The cocoa butter in chocolate gives it a rich, creamy consistency that also transmits the cocoa’s flavor perfectly. It also has a melting point that’s just a bit lower than the average human body temperature, which gives you that melt-in-your-mouth feeling every time you pop a piece of chocolate in your mouth. Chocolate lovers often describe this melting feeling as a true moment of ecstasy.

Just the right chemistry - According to a study done at the University of Michigan in the United States, chocolate contains chemicals called opioids. Opioids are also found in opium, and they serve to dull pain and give a feeling of well-being to people who ingest them. According to the study, people who eat chocolate produce natural opiates in their brains that soothe their nerves and make them feel good. When the receptors that detected opioids were blocked, that chocolate craving was lessened.

Chocolate also naturally contains “uppers” like caffeine, sugars, and phenylthalymine, which will make your heart pound a little harder, your breathing come a bit more quickly, and give you a feeling of alertness. The effect is not dramatic enough to be uncomfortable in most people; it’s mild enough to produce a pleasant “high,” which is often equated to the feeling of being in love.

Chocolate equals love - Speaking of love, the association might not be completely physiological. Women crave chocolate more often than men do. Women are also habitually given chocolate as birthday and Valentine’s Day presents. In our culture, chocolate is thought of as a romantic gift. It’s outside the realm of mundane, day-to-day food, reserved for special occasions—and, for women especially, it’s associated with love and romance. That could be another reason why women particularly love chocolate: deep down, it makes them feel loved, cared for, and pampered.

It really is good for you - Recent studies suggest that chocolate—especially dark chocolate—contains chemicals that lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. Flavanoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to make a difference in cardiovascular health. Until recently, tea was considered the main source for these chemicals. Now, scientists recommend that you have a chocolate cookie or biscuit with your tea so your body gets more of those life-lengthening chemicals. Don’t have milk with your dark chocolate, however—the same studies show that milk can cancel out the healthful effects of eating chocolate by preventing those helpful chemicals from being fully absorbed in the body.

Chocolate does contain fats and sugars that you shouldn’t eat a great deal of—but as long as you eat it in moderation, the science suggests you can add as much as a year to your life.

It’s great for your sex life - Ever since the time of the Aztecs, people have believed that chocolate has aphrodisiac properties. But there may be some deeper truth to those old legends. Recent studies have shown that women who eat a little bit of chocolate a day have significantly more sex than women who don’t. This could be because of those brain-soothing chemicals that are found in chocolate, and that chocolate encourages the brain to release more of as it’s eaten. Chocolate just makes us feel good—which is a key ingredient for a healthy sex life.

But there are more creative ways to use chocolate in the bedroom besides just eating it. Adventurous and playful couples have incorporated it in the bedroom for years. For a sensual treat, make a chocolate fondue and feed your loved one strawberries dipped in the sweet sauce. Give your spouse fine chocolates for no reason—they’re sure to show their appreciation later. If you’re not afraid to get a little messy, use chocolate-flavored body lotions and lubricants—you can always share a shower to clean off afterwards!

It’s important to remember not to overindulge in chocolate. It does contain high amounts of saturated fats and sugars that can cause health damage and obesity if you take in too much. However, when eaten in moderate quantities, chocolate truly can be a miracle food. Even better, it tastes wonderful. It's hard to find anyone who doesn't like some kind of chocolate, whether it’s white, dark, or milk, Hershey or Belgian. So the next time you have to give up something for Lent or take up a new diet, think twice before giving up chocolate. It not only tastes good, it's health benefits give you a great excuse to keep on enjoying it.

About The Author

Janette Vince is managing director of the online business www.thanksdarling.com . Thanks darling offer a wide range of experience days out and breaks. For a memorable day out making chocolates visit www.thanksdarling.com/chocolate-making-with-lunch.htm .



Costa Rica, a Paradise for Eco-Tourism

by: Clint Leung (reading – 24.8. - 30.8.)

For those who would like a destination for eco-tourism, Costa Rica is hard to beat. For a little country in Central America that’s only 19,730 square miles, there’s definitely a lot to see and do. Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’ in Spanish, which is the country’s official language. Located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, Costa Rica is one of the most stable and prosperous of all Latin American countries. There are tropical beach resorts on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the country for sun vacationers but the main attraction of Costa Rica is the eco-tourism. For example, there is a wider variety of bird species in Costa Rica alone than in all of Europe and North America.

Surprisingly, there are diverse eco-systems and microclimates within Costa Rica. In addition to the coastal beaches, there are dense jungles and rain forests with a wide variety of fauna. Some of these forests are referred to as cloud forests because of the moisture of the mists that linger among the trees in some parts. One forest has a cable car set up so that tourists can observe the plant and animal life at the treetop levels. For the more adventurous types, there is a place where one can swing from tree to tree using a network of rope attachments. There are also dry forests as well as colder barren volcanic tundras. Quite extreme changes in microclimate can be observed even within 30 minutes of travel. Some parts of the country have canal systems similar to those found in the Amazon and a few rivers offer excellent white water rafting.

There are several volcanoes within the country and the extinct ones are easily accessible since they are tourist attractions. A few have beautiful turquoise color lakes that have formed in the craters at the top of such volcanoes. One of the more famous active volcanoes is Arenal where visitors can safely watch the eruptions from a nearby facility that has outdoor hot springs naturally heated by the mountain.

In addition to the many different birds that can be sighted, there is a wide number of other exotic wildlife including monkeys, sloths, jaguars, bats and reptiles that can be seen during one of the many available nature tours. Every year, there are sea turtles that come to certain beaches to nest and this event attracts many nature lovers. The wildlife in Costa Rica is not only rich on land or the air but also in the surrounding oceans. For scuba divers, Costa Rica offers excellent diving opportunities and they are quite different from the waters in the Caribbean. The higher amounts of plankton in the local seas attract more numbers of large marine animals than can be found in the Caribbean.

Coffee and bananas are some of the main exports for Costa Rica. For coffee lovers, this is the place to sample some of the best in the world although we should inform you that the locals like their coffee quite strong. Tours in the valleys will often go past numerous coffee plantations.

Most tourists will fly into the capital city of San Jose. Although there is some nice colonial architecture to see in San Jose, it’s not one of the nicer places to stay in Costa Rica. The city is noisy and polluted but relatively safe. One can use San Jose as a base for many day trips to the various rain forests, volcanoes and beaches. Travelers can also fly into Liberia which is a town in the north part of the country. This is a much quieter region and close to many of the northern resorts. One option that many travelers take is to rent a vehicle and tour the country on their own. However, the roads of Costa Rica are not the best with lots of potholes and mudslides are common during the wet season from June to November. If renting a vehicle, a 4x4 is definitely recommended.

There is so much to see and do in Costa Rica that many visitors return to see parts of the country that they missed before. The country is easily the most popular destination to visit in Central America. Costa Rica now has tourist offices set up in North America for those who want further information.

About The Author

Clint Leung owner of Free Spirit Activewear (www.FreeSpiritActivewear.com ) , an online retailer/designer specializing in premium quality activewear with specialty sports themes including scuba diving and martial arts. Free Spirit Activewear has numerous information resource articles on specialty sports as well as free eCards.



The Pyramids of Giza

by: Steven N. Ng (reading – 31.8. - 6.9.)

The most famous Egyptian pyramids ever built are the Great Pyramids of Giza, located in the outskirts of present-day Cairo. There are over 100 Egyptian pyramids of various sizes, and over 50 more in neighboring Sudan. However, the three Great Pyramids of Giza earn their fame by being the largest of these.

In the most popular pictures of the Pyramids of Giza, like the one shown below, the middle pyramid, that of Khafre (Chephren), appears larger due to the angle and because it was built on higher ground. The largest pyramid is actually the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), the one on the left.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu

Contrary to popular belief, not all the Great Pyramids of Giza are considered part of the Seven Wonders of the World. Only the largest, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, is the only one of the Seven Wonders that still stands. Egypt was also home to another of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was destroyed long ago.

The Pyramid of Khufu has a height of 145 m (475 ft) and a base area of 52,400 sqm (562,500 sqft). That area is large enough to fit over 20 Olympic-size swimming pools! And for thousands of years, until the rise of modern-day skyscrapers, the pyramid was the tallest building in the world.

What makes the pyramid an architectural triumph and one of the Seven Wonders of the World is the fact that the rocks used in its construction each weigh more than 2 tons. And there are more than 2 million of those rocks.

Greek travelers to ancient Giza wrote that it took a hundred thousand slaves 20 years to construct the pyramid. However, since they visited Egypt more than 2 thousand years after the Egyptian pyramids were built, the truth of their accounts are suspect. Modern engineers estimate that it would likely take less people and less time to build the pyramid using technology that was available at that time.

Treasures of the Pharaoh

The Pyramid of Khufu was built by the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) in the 4th Dynasty circa 2560 BC, making it over 4500 years old! It is widely accepted that the pyramid was built to bury Pharaoh Khufu when he died. However, many other conspiracy theories abound as to why the pyramids were built, ranging from astronomical observatories to alien artifacts.

Since Egyptian Pharaohs were noted for being buried with their great treasure, Arab conquerors attempted to gain entrance into the Pyramid of Khufu in order to plunder it.

They managed to find a few narrow passages that led both up into the center of the pyramid, and down beneath the massive structure. However, all they managed to find at the end of these passages were empty chambers. No mummies or treasure was found in the pyramid.

During the Arabs' excavation of the Pyramid of Khufu, they encountered various boulders and slabs that were used to seal the passages and chambers within the pyramid. They also found hidden doors. This probably fueled the many myths about the Egyptian pyramids being booby-trapped, and where a grave robber who managed to get in would never get out alive.

A 17th century Englishman managed to uncover another shaft connecting the passages, but still no treasure was to be found.

Two conclusions can be derived from this. First, ancient tomb raiders have long since plundered all the treasure from the pyramid, leaving behind nothing but a few empty chambers. Or second, Khufu's mummy and treasure is still cleverly hidden within (or beneath) the Great Pyramid.

For more information on the Pyramids, visit www.nekhebet.com/w_pyramids.html

About The Author

Steven maintains the informational website Wonders of Ancient Egypt at www.nekhebet.com . Do visit if you want to find out more about the wonders of Egypt such as the Pyramids and the Lighthouse; or mysteries such as mummification and conspiracy theories; or its religion and history.