Recently in Around the world with askalo Category
The Year 2012 has thankfully come and gone without the world ending, perhaps to the dismay of the ancient Mayans of present-day Mexico who predicted that Dec. 21 of the past year would be the day the universe as we know it would bid adieu. Nevertheless, this catastrophic prophecy only spurred my fascination in this great ancient civilization. Hollywood popularized the Mayans into the contemporary mindset via the Mel Gibson-directed film "Apocalypto" because of which they may be taken as barbaric warriors bent on nothing but warfare and human sacrifice. What they actually contributed to the world was so much more.
Centre Island, Toronto Islands
Not all of Toronto's attractions are found in the downtown area alone, for family and friends alike seeking to veer off the city's main urban trappings, the Toronto Islands grant a quick and easy getaway. These are a chain of small islands located just offshore from the downtown area, and they are the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario. These islands are all about recreation and relaxation, and they can be easily reached by plenty of ferry services from downtown Toronto. Some of these ferries can even accommodate bicycles and canoes for interested passengers. You will be happy to know that some ferry operators even set aside a few weekends where families can ride their boats for free to anywhere in the Toronto Islands (we were lucky to be given this offer).
What brings you to Canada? How often do you see yourself coming here? I wanted to experience the cleanliness and exciting multiculturalism for which the city of Toronto is known for. Additionally, I wanted to experience my first ever birthday in the country of Canada, and true enough, it was a worthwhile and enjoyable weekend experience spending time with my cousins whom I haven't seen in many years.
How often do you see yourself coming here? I intend to visit Ontario, Canada at least once or twice a year, it is just along the border of New York State where I currently live. Visiting the region brings back happy memories of my college years when I was a student in neighboring Michigan state during the 1990s, when Toronto in particular was a frequent playground for my friends and I during our long weekend holiday breaks.
Did you notice any distinction between the French-speaking Canadians and the English-speaking ones? Yes, a few of the French-speaking Canadians that I observed there seem to take much natural pride in their unique heritage as French-Canadians and carry a distinct European cultural aura in terms of their architecture and outlook on life, whereas English-speaking Canadians have a pretty obvious affinity with their American counterparts living south of their nation's border in many areas, from interests in fast food, pop music to Hollywood films.
Any particular specialty/food/souvenir/symbol you remember Toronto by? I'll always remember Toronto whenever I see a photo or image of the city's amazing CN Tower, few other buildings have left such a lasting impression of a great city on me!
That is the only word I could use to describe my visit to the Georgia Aquarium's whale shark exhibit.
I had always enjoyed watching the guppies and angel fish swim back and forth in my dad's fish tank as a boy growing up in Queens NY. Little did I know that 40 years later I would be standing in the presence of this BEHEMOTH of a fish.
Favorite animal on this tour:
The Calamian Deer, these small and gentle animals are truly a highlight attraction, and they illustrate the rich biodiversity that is inherent in Northern Palawan. Their endangered status is also a reminder for the need to preserve indigenous Philippine wildlife.
Recommended time to visit Calauit Safari: January-April, in order to avoid the heavy wet season and to take advantage of the African savannah-like climate in the Calamian Islands of Palawan in that time of the year.
What makes this place unique: The relatively isolated island location of the Calauit Safari animal sanctuary has been a strong factor in the thriving of the wildlife there, and this is one of the very few places in the world where you can see the Palawan Bearcat, which is endemic to the Philippines.
Just close your eyes for a minute, and think back to the time when you were a child experiencing your first trip to the zoo. The wonder and enchantment you must have felt when you saw up close and personal the many animals of the wild living and breathing within a protected habitat is simply something you can never forget. Even now as an adult, there must be that nostalgic yearning deep inside of you to once again feel that same magic of having near close interaction with those very creatures which have been such a strong source of your childhood fascination.
The French Quarter and a touch of history
Of course the French Quarter isn't entirely all about music; you can also find here a piece of history in the form of the imposing St. Louis Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, which also happens to be the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the U.S. (the first church on the site was built in 1718). In front of the cathedral is a statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837), whose followers created the modern American Democratic Party.
"There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans...." (Boris Vian)
City: New Orleans
Country: United States
Favorite hang-out in New Orleans: The Voodoo Barbecue (BBQ) restaurant, where Southern-style American food can be sampled in all its fine scrumptious quality, especially the chicken and sweet potato!
Most unforgettable dish ever tasted in New Orleans: Smoked Barbecue Chicken served with cole slaw, sweet potato mash, toast bread and tangy barbecue sauce!
Favorite movies shot in New Orleans:The James Bond film "Live and Let Die" (1973) starring 007 actor Roger Moore; "Double Jeopardy" (1999) starring Ashley Judd; and the soon-to-be released comedy film "The Campaign" (2012) starring Will Ferrell (my own uncle was an extra in this movie!)
Favorite fast food franchise in New Orleans: Raising Cane's, which is simply put, the best tasting chicken fingers fast food restaurant in the U.S.!
Popular festival months to visit New Orleans: February (Mardi Gras festival month) and April (French Jazz festival month)
A song that reminds you of New Orleans: "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" by Duke Ellington, one of history's greatest jazz composers.
Thinking of the city of New Orleans, the first thought coming to one's mind would have to be the soulful Jazz music of the town's French Quarter. When visiting this colorful and exotic American city, you will indeed come to see how Jazz forms the heart and soul of the people, and despite the devastation wrought upon New Orleans during the horrific 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, the city's jazz scene is livelier than ever.
Name: Maria Dammers
Years of stay in this city: 19 years
Favorite places in Tübingen: Town square (Marktplatz), Plantanenallee, Old Botanical Garden, the Crooked Bridge, the ice cream cafe at the Nonnenhaus (convent)
Favorite food: Falafel at "Kichererbse" along the Metzgergasse
I grew up in a small village in Tübingen and I also did my studies there. After finishing my A-levels, I was seemingly cast away to continue my studies in Mainz where I still am staying at and working now. I try to go back home every now and then 'though, because being in Tübingen is just simply marvelous!
After Gina and I read Marlies' article on askalo about the Queen's Day celebration in Holland, we felt this sudden urge to pack our bags and experience this event ourselves. It was the perfect time to go, as Marlies invited us to visit her immediately after she moved to Amsterdam. That triggered the start of the project "Queen's Day with askalo".
Gina and I arrived in Holland 2 days before the actual Queen's Day celebration, as it fell on a Monday and it was a holiday on Tuesday in Germany, where we both work. The timing was so ideal for an extended fun weekend. We also took advantage of the chance to see the tourist attractions at a time when everything was "normal", meaning minus the holiday spirit and the additional crowd.