Monthly Archives: September 2014

Top 10 attractions in Paris

  1. The Palaces of Versaillesis one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. This stunning historic castle with its beautiful architecture and gardens, and deep history is a must visit sight on a sightseeing trip to Paris.
  2. Take a relaxing trip down the River Seine onboard the Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise. A river cruise is a great way to see many of Paris’ famous landmarks and sights.
  3. The Arc De Triompheis one of the most iconic monuments in Paris and must for any visitor to Paris.
  4. The Louvre Museumis home to some of the finest art work in the world. Home to thousands of classic and modern masterpieces, the Louvre Museum is the jewel in the crown of French culture.
  5. A very popular attraction in Paris is the Cathedral of Notre Dame, with a Paris Pass you can take a visit to the top of the Towers of Notre Dame for free.
  6. Fancy trying some French wine? Then take a trip to O Chateau Wine Tastingwhere you can sample some exquisite wines from the vineyards of France.
  7.  The Orsay Museumexhibits work by Delacroix, Manet, Guaguin, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, van Gogh and many more great artists.
  8. Discover Paris from the 56th observation floor of the Montparnasse Towerwhich offers visitors a stunning view of the city in all directions.
  9. Palais Garnier has been home toOpera de Parissince the 1600’s and is also home to a small gallery which hosts exhibitions as well as a permanent exhibition of the sets of operas from its history.
  10. Grevin Wax Museum features over 300 wax figures of the world’s most famous people dramatically posed in amazing scenes.

Source: (parispass.com)

 

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Qatar Airways New International Airport Tour, 2014

Welcome to Hamad International Airport

Comfort. Convenience. Choice. These are the things that matter most to today’s traveller and is at the heart of Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways’ new home. The customer experience that the airport provides doesn’t just offer these qualities, it celebrates them.

East Africa’s Single Visa Launch Set for Japan

KENYA will this week join Uganda and Rwanda in Tokyo, Japan for launch of the East Africa single tourism visa in that country during an ongoing travel agents expo.

The EA single tourist visa costs $100, and allows entry into the three countries without the hassle of getting separate visas previously charged at $150 to enter each of these countries.

The launch will be done during the Japan Association of Travel Agents tourism expo which runs from tomorrow till Saturday in Tokyo. Kenya’s marketing agency Kenya Tourism Board will also showcase the destination at the event.

The single tourist visa for EA came into effect on January 1 and has so far been launched in South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, US and Moscow.

 

Source (allafrica.com)

10 REASONS EVERYONE NEEDS A VACATION

couple-on-the-beach

1.Gain Perspective on Life – During day to day work our minds are caught up with the problems and activities of the job. Vacations are times for a change of pace. A great vacation might cause you to think, “This is what life is about!” Ask yourself – Do you live to work or work to live?

2. Wards Off Burn Out – Vacations give you timeto relax, de-stress and let go. Constant stress on the job can lead to burn out. Recovering from burnout requires lots on non work time.

3. Enhances Creativity – Any down time in which you let the daily worries go leaves room for new thinking and creativity. So many clients tell me that just as they are going to bed at night millions of new ideas pop into their heads. Vacations set the stage for letting ideas flow during and after your time off.

4. Family or Self Time – A vacation allows you to spend quality time with your family or by yourself. A trip to a spa or going someplace new alone can also be a renewing and exciting event.

5. A Rest for Your Body and Mind – How refreshing to let go of daily tasks and relax into something new! It gives your mind a rest and if you have strenuous work it gives your body a rest too. Even if your work isn’t physically strenuous it allows you time to listen to your body and pay attention. Many physical illnesses come from a lack of down time and stress.

6. Get Appreciation – It is nice to be missed and frequently when someone is on vacation those who work with him or her suddenly realize how much that person does and how valuable he/she is to the organization. Of course the reverse could happen too. If you discover that you were not missed, then you will need to work on finding ways to add value to your work or your job will be in jeopardy. A coach can help you!

7. Appreciate Your Job – Having unstructured time to do what you want to do is fun initially. At the end of my vacation however you feel really energized and excited to get back to the structured environment of my work. That’s if you love what you do. If you find yourself dreading going back to work, you need to find out what the problem is and get it resolved. A coach can help you here too.

8. Time to Think about Career -The Wisconsin Medical Journal reports on a study on 1500 women between 1996 and 2001 that shows that vacations help employees do a better job. Vacations give people time to think. Some employees might contemplate how to do a better job and others might think about how to get a better job! Thinking about what constitutes meaningful work might give some criteria for a new job.

9. Fewer Regrets – The late Paul Tsongas who was a Senator from Massachusetts once said “Nobody on his deathbed ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’. Now is the time to begin living the life you love. Vacations allow you to think about what makes you happy and what constitutes meaningful work.

10. Expands the Mind – Vacations give you time to see, hear or read something new. Whether you take a trip, go to concerts, or get caught up on your reading, vacations give you the space to do something that is different and new. A change in routine gives you all sorts of new possibilities.

Vacations are good for employers too. Joe Robinson, author of the book Work to Live, says that vacations improve productivity and profits. At one company he cited sales increased 15 percent, a staff turnover problem was eliminated, and performance improved so much that the company was able to get rid of overtime.

Culled from http://www.evancarmichael.com/Business-Coach/107/10-Reasons-Everyone-Needs-a-Vacation.html

Facts That Will Make You Want To Travel

Looking for a reason to travel? Check out this video by BuzzFeed and be inspired.

Air France pilots’ strike lingers

Air France

Airline Air France-KLM pilots began a week long strike at the French arm of the business over company plans to expand its low cost subsidiary Transavia, cancelling more than half of its due flights on Monday.

Pilots say the strike will take place from September 15-September 22. The longest strike for the company since 1998.

Unions fear that expanding Air France’s low-cost operation Transavia will lead to “jobs being outsourced” and “social dumping” with pilots being employed on local contracts.

New competition from low cost rivals and fast-growing long-haul carriers in the Gulf has prompted Europe’s legacy carriers to speed up restructuring measures and tweak their business models.

Air France has warned that 60 percent of its flights are likely to be cancelled on Tuesday if the strikes continue.

The strike sent the companies shares down almost four percent, while Air France Chief Executive Frederic Gagey said the strike would cost the airline between 13 and 19 million dollars a day.

The CEO said the positions of French pilots had hardened during weekend talks and expressed concerns about the strike’s financial impact as well as the defection of previously loyal passengers to competing airlines.

“It is as though we had talked for 20 hours for nothing,” he said at a news conference

Passengers stranded at French airports were outraged at the outcome of the strikes, with many missing their connecting flights aswell as their jobs.

At Paris’s main Charles De Gaulle airport, a total of 212 Air France flights were cancelled on Monday out of some 500.

Air France said it had sent 65,000 text messages to alert passengers affected by the strike called by its main pilots’ union SNPL, and deployed some 7,000 extra workers to help stranded customers.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled will be fully reimbursed while the compensation for delayed flights will range between 250 to 600 euros.

Unions warned the transport situation would be even worse on Tuesday and Wednesday as the pilots who did decide to work on Monday would have to take their legally stipulated rest.

 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies.

Going abroad? Here are 10 diseases you need to watch out for

As globalization continues to grow and dominate our trade, economy and lifestyles, the associated ease of access to remote regions of the world is reflected in our travels.

Increasing numbers of destinations worldwide have opened their arms to international travelers, but as you venture on your own travels, whether for business or pleasure, which infectious diseases could you be exposed to?

This article by Meera Senthilingam lists a number of diseases travelers need to be weary of

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

Locations: Caribbean, Central and South America, Western Pacific Islands, North Australia, South and South-East Asia, West and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This mosquito-spread virus can be found in many parts of the world and with no treatment or vaccine available yet, your only protection is to cover up and use insect repellent to keep the mosquitoes at bay. This species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, bites throughout the day. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop and are flu-like, including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and pain in the eyes, muscles and joints, and generally last for one week.

There are four different serotypes of the dengue virus, all of which are now found globally and whilst infection with one can give you immunity to that type in the future, infection with a second, third of fourth serotype can lead to more severe illness than the first exposure — such as Dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Schistosomiasis

Locations: Africa, the Middle-East, and some parts of South America, the Caribbean and South-East Asia.

Freshwater snails carry the schistosoma parasitic worm that causes this disease — also known as bilharzia. The snails release the worms’ larvae into contaminated freshwater rivers, lakes, ponds or wetlands, which then penetrate through skin, such as the soles of your feet.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worm is endemic in 52 counties where water is contaminated with the feces of people infected with the worm, which contains parasitic eggs. Symptoms can take up to two months to develop and whilst some people never develop symptoms, others experience fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches within two months of infection. The extent of symptoms depends on the amount of parasite you have inside your body.

You can evade infection by avoiding swimming in freshwater and by heating water if needed for bathing. There is no vaccine available, but there is an effective and fast-acting treatment: The drug praziquantil will kill parasites within one to two days of treatment.

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Malaria

Locations: Africa, Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, Asia, and the South Pacific.

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms include high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness, and if untreated malaria can progress to severe illness and even death. The WHO estimates there were 207 million cases of malaria in 2012.

No licensed malaria vaccine exists but preventative anti-malaria drugs are available and recommended for people traveling to endemic regions. A range of options is available, from weekly to daily pills. Wearing long clothing, regular use of repellants and sleeping in air-conditioned rooms or under insecticide-treated bed nets can help avoid bites. But if despite all this you still get infected, an effective treatment is available.

Yellow Fever

Locations: Tropical regions of Africa and South America.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes continue to wreak their havoc with the yellow fever virus, which can cause fever, chills, headache, backache and muscle aches. About 15% of people infected develop serious illness that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure and sometimes death. Some people become jaundiced, which is where the “yellow” comes from. The WHO estimates there are 200,000 cases of yellow fever each year, with 90% of them occurring in Africa.

As there is no treatment, the main method of protection is from a vaccine, which travelers need to receive at least 30 days before travel to get lifelong protection against the virus. If you are a seasoned traveler you will be familiar with the need to prove your vaccination with the yellow card provided after your injection, as countries with the disease, as well as those harboring this mosquito species, aim to prevent the disease spreading or entering their population. If traveling to remote locations, it might be wise to keep that card firmly inside your passport.

Tuberculosis-

Tuberculosis

Locations: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe

A third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with tuberculosis (TB), which is the second greatest infectious cause of death globally (after HIV/AIDS). TB can occur in a “latent” state where people carry the bacteria without developing the disease itself. TB occurs in nearly every country but infections are more concentrated in developing countries, particularly in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

This airborne disease is spread from person to person and infects mainly your lungs but can spread to other parts of the body.

There is a vaccination available but its protection in adults is limited. Its greatest protection is in young children yet to be exposed to the TB bacteria. Symptoms include a prolonged cough, weakness, tiredness, weight loss and night sweats. If diagnosed, TB is treatable and curable with an extensive course of antibiotics. However, drug-resistant forms of the disease have emerged globally.

Travelers’ Diarrhea

Locations: Highest risk in Indian subcontinent, North Africa and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

This is a collective term for diarrhea caused by a range of bacteria, viruses or protozoa.

Transmission is generally through consuming contaminated food or water and though symptoms are usually mild, infections can ruin a vacation or business trip, causing dehydration, weakness and general inconvenience from numerous trips to the bathroom. It can be avoided by sticking to bottled water, making wise food choices and regularly washing your hands, as your immune system simply isn’t ready for those new, exotic micro-organisms.

GUINEA-HEALTH-EBOLA

Ebola

Location: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, DR Congo, (Senegal has had an isolated case).

As of March 2014 this once remote and easily contained disease has gained international recognition. To date the current outbreak of Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) has reached five countries and those traveling to affected regions are advised to be aware of the symptoms, which include fever, rash, diarrhea, vomiting and red eyes. Alongside these symptoms, internal and external bleeding are also signs of the disease, which spreads from person to person by contact with infected body fluids, such as saliva, semen or blood. Small outbreaks continue to occur in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ebola has no licensed vaccine or treatment and has fatality rates of up to 90% in infected people — but the virus requires very close contact with body fluids to be transmitted and is easily avoided with regular hand-washing and protective clothing — and avoiding contact with bodily fluids.

Typhoid Fever

Locations: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Highest risk in South Asia.

This bacterial disease is spread by contaminated food and water and the resulting fever can be life threatening. Symptoms begin as high fevers, weakness, stomach pains, headache, and loss of appetite. Travelers should get vaccinated before travel but as the vaccine only protects 50%-80% of recipients it’s wise to be careful about your choice of food and drink.

As with travelers’ diarrhea, stick to bottled water and avoid unpeeled fruit and vegetables, street food (as delicious as it may look) and ice in drinks. Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics but drug-resistant bacteria have begun to emerge so perhaps avoid that cucumber in your salad or that icy cocktail in the sunshine.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Locations: North America, Europe, Asia.

Lyme disease is mainly found in the northeastern, north central, and Pacific coastal regions of North America. It is caused by bacteria which spread through the bites of infected black leg ticks.

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If untreated the infection will spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. So when wandering through the wilderness be sure to protect yourself with insect repellant. But as infected ticks need to be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted, effective spotting and removal of ticks from your body will also prevent you from getting infected.

If caught early the disease is treatable with antibiotics.

Hepatitis A

Location: Most of the developing world.

The Hepatitis virus has many forms (A, B, C and D) but Hepatitis A is the one most travelers should be aware of as it spreads through contaminated water and uncooked food. The disease is closely linked to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene and is one of the most frequent causes of foodborne infection.

There is a safe and effective vaccine available against the virus, which most travelers are advised to have, but again, wise food and drink choices are recommended to avoid the resulting liver disease and potentially severe illness. Symptoms include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice. WHO estimates show 1.4 million cases of Hepatitis A each year. There is no treatment for the disease other than rehydration and supportive treatment for the weeks or months of recovery time required.

This article was culled from cnn.com

Dubai Hotel – The Spectacular Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Take a retro glance at the opening of the Spectacular Atlantis The Palm, Dubai.

How to find the best airplane seat

seats

No matter the distance of your journey, whether between cities or countries, getting a good seat on your flight is always an added advantage. Airplane seating is probably the last thing you consider after managing to secure the cheapest flight deals or nailing that upgrade or free first class ticket award. It is quite practical to consider where you are going to be seating.

It is believed that the window seat of an exit row is the best seat. Here you won’t be disturbed when your seatmate gets up, you can lean against the window and sleep plus with the extra legroom you can use your carry-on as a footrest.

The passenger expectation on the comfort of the seat position is relative to the needs of the passenger. Simply put, different passengers expect different kinds of comfort. So here are few tips on how to find the best airplane seat.

Tip 1: Know your aircraft

With the availability of information of the web these days, you can find websites that will graphically show the position of every seat for every airplane model flown by many airlines. Sites like www.seatguru.com can give you information that will help guide your choices. Avoid seats near the rest rooms and galleys at all possible cost. These positions are the busiest.

Tip 2: All aircrafts are not the same

You have to find out the specific aircraft type. Note that not all aircraft are configured the same way. The Japan airlines have over a dozen different seating configurations just for their 747s and American Airlines has two different 777 first class configurations. Also visiting websites like www.seatguru.com  and www.expertflyer.com will help you know more about aircraft configuration and best seats.

Tip 3: What is available?

Airline online platforms may not always show you available flight seats. And depending on airline website for seat assignment is more like gambling and hoping for the best luck. Expertflyer.com can show you which seats are occupied or available for specific flights up to 11 months in advance for over 100 airlines worldwide. When you choose your seat, call the airline and close the deal.

Tip 4: Patience pays

Airlines usually save the best for last if you are willing to wait. Generally, airlines hold back certain choice seat for their elite frequent flyers. When their seats are not assigned, they will then be released at the airport before flight time. You might get seats at the front of the coach cabin and exit row seats. Asking for the “reserved” seats after you check-in might get you another chance of a better seat that is, if you don’t like your current seat or it has been given to another passenger.  It is best to book online, directly from the airline’s booking site, as you can usually easily pick which seat you want.

 

Tip 5: Strategize for an empty middle seat

Look for an aisle seat towards the rear of the plane where someone is already sitting in the window seat (or vice versa). The reason you want a row where there’s already someone in the window or aisle seat is because if you sit down in a row with two empty seats next to you, there’s a good chance that a traveling pair will take them. But in general, the empty middle seats (when there are two people on either side) tend to fill up last towards the rear of the plane, so you might get that spacious advantage. If you’re traveling with someone, try to reserve the window and aisle seat towards the rear of the plane, leaving the middle vacant–if, by any chance, someone does end up sitting in the middle, they’re usually more than happy to switch at the last minute.

 

Grand Canal, Venice: Float in ecstasy

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is the perfect destination for your wedding, honeymoon or a romantic weekend break.Venice, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and home to many attractions and sights.

One of the things that make Venice ‘the city of romance’ is the Grand Canal also known by Venetians as Canalazzo, the major water-traffic corridor sweeping through this beautiful city. It is the main street of Venice.The Canal Grande snakes through the city of Venice in a large S shape, traveling from the Saint Mark Basin on one end to a lagoon near the Santa Lucia rail station.Shaped like a backwards “S,” a medieval sign of wonder and mystery, the Grand Canal down the ages has witnessed plenty of both.Only a few bridges cross the Grand Canal: the Accademia Bridge, the Rialto Bridge and the bridge near the station at Ferrovia. Stand on these and watch boats pass by filled with fruit and vegetables, slabs of soft drink and building materials because Venice is still a city without cars and everything the city needs has to be transported by water or handcart.

From-Venice-bridge-grand-canal

……it’s like magic

The Grand Canal is one of the best ways to see the beauty of Venice. It is one of the most travelled water ways in Europe and the most popular in Venice, Italy. The canal is an ancient water route lined along its length with buildings. The best way to capture these Venetian buildings is to travel by the Vaporetto, the water bus. The Grand Canal was traditionally the high-rent district in Venice; houses were larger, and decoration was on a much grander scale. This makes sense when you consider that the Canal offers much greater opportunities for everyone to see the buildings facing it.

Canals of Venice

A Vaporetto (plural: vaporetti) is a water bus that takes both locals and visitors to the places they want and need to go throughout Venice. Because traveling the canals is the easiest way to get around the city, the vaporetti has long been the most efficient and cost-effective modes of transportation.Riding in the front offers the best views,so if you’re able to grab the forward seats, go for it. This will give you the opportunity to snap a lot of great pictures along your journey. During the summer, however, the vaporetti can become quite crowded, so the front seats are at a premium.

There is always time for a gondola ride

Venice Gondola Ride

Couples can take a romantic Gondola ride along the Grand Canal.Gondolas were once the chief form of transportation through the canals of Venice. Today, they are generally used as sightseeing vessels for tourists willing to shell out quite a few euros for a ride on these historic rowing boats.Gondolas are tourist vehicles that visitors can hire for sightseeing purposes or purely for the opportunity to say they rode on one of these historic vessels. Many hire them for a romantic journey and, each year, hundreds of couples become engaged while sailing through Venice’s canals.Taking a trip with your spouse in Venice and failing to ride a Gondola is like going to New York and ignoring the statue of liberty. Many tourists also take advantage of a romantic gondola ride along the waterway, which is an especially memorable way to experience the canal.

These traditional and symbolic boats have been used as transport around the Venetial waterways for more than 10 centuries. Venice Gondola rides are without doubt the number one must-do attraction in Venice. Gliding through serene waters, while serenaded by your gondolier, against the stunning backdrop of Baroque building is an experience you won’t soon forget. A Venice Gondola Ride is truly one of the best ways to enjoy this enchanting city. Do you want to sweep your partner off their feet? Include a serenaded Gondola ride starting from the city center at Piazza San Marco,pass the Grand canal under the ‘Bridge of sighs’ (where you can steal a make out session). Stop at the church of Chiesa di Santa Maria, treat them at the nearby Trattorries (casual cafeteria) which serves tradition Italian cuisine.

Whether you’re feeding the pigeons at Piazza San Marco, riding the Vaporetto (water bus), searching for cheap bargains at San Polo, every sceneryalong the Grand Canal  looks like it was exclusively made for lovers.

Go shopping along the Grand Canal. Take your spouse to restaurants and enjoy the delicious Italian cuisine.

Here are some interesting fun facts about Venice and the Grand Canal include:

  1. The city has 118 islands and more than 150 canals and 400 bridges.
  2. Venice only has two official canals, Canal Grande and CanaledellaGiudecca.
  3. When two houses are linked by anarch, that’s a sign that the same family owned
  4. There are over 170 buildings on the Grand Canal including restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.
  5. The Grand Canal is approximately 2.5 miles long and averages at a depth of about 16 feet
  6. Until the 19th century, there was only one bridge that crossed the Grand Canal.
  7. The Grand Canal divides the city of Venice in to two parts.
  8. Over 15 million tourists visit Venice each year.
  9. Lord Byron, the English poet swam the length of the canal after a liquid night on the town. One of his spurned mistresses threw herself into it. The husband of George Eliot, the British novelist (alias Mary Ann Evans), fell into it from a hotel window.
  10. The legendary Venetian lover Giacomo Casanova courted contessas and courtesans in his private love boat before winding up in “The Leads,” the attic prison in the Doge’s Palace, from where he dramatically escaped through a hole in the roof.

 

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