Traveling is always easier if you take as little with you as humanly possible. Its always the intention while traveling to carry only to what is most necessary. This is not always an obtainable goal, especially when you are venturing into parts unknown. In addition to the usual essentials, a sizable map and navigational equipment become necessary.With the unveiling of GPS technology, traveling with maps and huge navigational devices becomes unneeded; a traveler need only carry a GPS receiver. A GPS receiver determines ones exact position on earth by deciphering the information it receives from GPS satellites. With the assistance of other electronic devices, the GPS receiver will precisely determine your correct location on a map.For even more even more functions and ease of use, GPS receivers can be used with other mobile devices. The PDA is one of the most frequently used mobile products for this purpose. PDAs make the perfect partner to the GPS receiver because of their unique features, such as a colored screen to display maps and hard drive space for map storage. And PDAs are light compared to other mobile devices such as notebook computers.There is a problem with using a PDA with a GPS device, however. They do not always integrate well. GPS receivers are normally connected to PDAs using a CompactFlash (CF) card or USB wires. Because some GPS receivers are quite large, attaching it to your PDA using CF can make it too large. Using the USB wires, however, can make your GPS receiver difficult to use and limit its usefulness.So what could be the solution to this problem? A Bluetooth GPS reciver.The Bluetooth SolutionBluetooth wireless technology is the open standard for wireless communication. As long as the two electronic devices are with 10 meters of each other, Bluetooth technology will allow them to send and receive signals and transfer data. No wires are necessary.Bluetooth GPS RecevierThe Bluetooth GPS receiver is simply a receiver that uses the Bluetooth technology and electronics to transmit GPS data to a mobile device. However, they must share the same technology. For example, if a Bluetooth GPS receiver will be used with a PDA, the PDA must have built-in Bluetooth technology.The Bluetooth GPS receivers used with the Bluetooth capable PDAs offer many advantages over an ordinary GPS unit, which is connected to the PDA using CompactFlash or USB wires. These advantages include the ability to use wireless connections between the devices. Without wires to limit positioning between the Bluetooth GPS receiver and the PDA, you can place the two devices at their most advantageous locations. For example, if you are using your Bluetooth GPS receiver in your car, you can place the device where it has a clear view of the sky. Then you can place your PDA on your dashboard and have optimum screen visibility. Because the wires are not used to connect the two devices, their positioning will not hamper your driving. Also, because you wont need to use Bluetooths CompactFlash slot, you can use it for other things, such as storing maps or software to optimize the GPS navigation.Aside from these two advantages, the Bluetooth GPS receiver units have other features, although most of them are brand or unit specific. Generally, Bluetooth GPS receiver units now have pre-stored US maps, point-of-interest (POI databases and route recalculation functions.
After our visit to the huge government-owned pawnshop, Nacional Monte de Piedad, we saw a side view of Mexico Citys and Latin Americas biggest cathedral: the Catedral Metropolitana. It is also at the heart of the worlds largest Catholic diocese. Due to the fact that Mexico was built on the former Lake Texcoco, the cathedral is slowly sinking and scaffolding in the interior of the building attests to the efforts to try to stabilize it.In front of the Cathedral are numerous merchants that sell all sorts of handicrafts to the tourists. The wide open public space in front of the church is called the Zcalo and it is said to be the second largest public square in the world, after Red Square in Moscow. An indigenous healer was performing a cleansing ceremony in public with a local couple. He had a variety of herbs and was burning incense for this purification ritual.To the left side of the cathedral is the Palacio Nacional which today houses the offices of Mexicos president. One of the typical organiceros was stationed outside, playing his automated melody, but none of the organ grinders we saw today were willing to have their picture taken and they always conveniently looked away when a camera was pointing at them.We had to talk our way into this beautiful building since a guard stationed outside demanded that we show identification which we unfortunately did not have on us. However, with Vanessas feminine charm we were able to obtain a few minutes in this astounding building.The National Palace was built on the site of Montezumas Palace and was initially the residence of Hernn Corts after he conquered Mexico. The building has a beautiful courtyard with arcades and a fountain in the middle. The staircase to the 2nd floor and the walls on the upper floor are adorned with a series of murals by Mexicos most famous muralist, Diego Rivera. The wall paintings illustrate the history of Mexico, from the pre-Columbian peoples, to their subjugation by Spanish conquerors, the fight for independence from Spain, revolutionary leaders, as well as the dictatorship under Porfirio Diaz which was put to an end by Francisco I. Madero.We then walked around the crafts market just outside the Cathedral and had a look at the Templo Mayor, an imposing complex built by the Aztecs in the 14th and 15th century. It was at the heart of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec city that, like so many others, was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish invaders had a habit of destroying any preexisting architecture and building their churches and palaces on top of them.Calle Tacuba took us towards our well-deserved late lunch in the historic Caf de Tacuba, a famous restaurant located in a building from the 17th century. The caf itself dates back to 1912. I had a very tasty sopa de ajo (garlic soup) with some even tastier quesadillas con guacamole which were even hotter. Vanessa strengthened herself witha tamal (spicy rice cooked in a husk of corn). We needed the strength since our next adventure was a ride in "Mexico City" s subway.I always love riding in public transport in other cities, particularly in subways, since they all have their own peculiar atmosphere. Mexico Citys subway stations are quite utilitarian (not a lot of spectacular public art in the stations we saw) and the subway cars themselves ride on rubber wheels. This contrasts quite strongly to the metal clanking of our subway cars here in Toronto. Vanessa indicated that you have to be careful in public transit here and during rush hour the subway cars are subdivided in cars for men and for women.We took several subway routes to the Universidad Sor Juana Ins de la Cruz, a former monastery dedicated to the nun of the same name who was an interesting character and lived from 1648-1695. She was colonial Latin Americas pre-eminent poet and scholar during the 17th century. Around age 19 she became a nun, declaring that only life in the monastery would give her sufficient opportunity for her studies and intellectual pursuits. Today her monastery is the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana and we explored this historic building and were impressed by the inner courtyard that was full of eager students and, interestingly enough, numerous hungry cats waiting to be fed by the staff.On the subway ride back to Vanessas parents apartment I reflected on my first day in Mexico. It is an immense city, and the downtown just swirls with people. One thing I noticed was how ethnically homogeneous Mexico City is: the vast majority of people I saw were of indigenous or mixed indigenous / mestizo background and we both mused about how few tourists / foreigners we saw.We saw a ton, and Vanessa is certainly a phenomenal tour guide and local expert. I just wish I had more time to explore all the historic buildings with their fascinating inner courtyards. There is just so much to see and so little time...
This morning after our lovely celebrity breakfast, Nigel and I decided to walk along 4th Street all the way downtown. At 7th Avenue we split up and he went to pick up our rental car. I decided to take the C-train, a light rapid rail system part of Calgary Transit.Right off the bat I had two really strange experiences: I politely approached a very nicely dressed woman to ask her how to get to Kensington. She responded curtly "2 stops" and then she started running away from me. She ran down the elevated platform back in the direction she had come from and stopped several times to look over her shoulder back at me to see if I was following her. I knew it was a bad hair day today, but I didn't realize I looked that scary......Then, right after, an older Asian-looking man came up to me and told me I am looking for a woman, I dont have a wife. I told him that I wouldnt be able to help him in that department. He was very short and not threatening-looking at all, and he really seemed to be desperate for some female company. I wasn't at all scared, but rather bewildered, somewhat bemused and almost sympathetic to his plight. He then proceeded to ask me a few more questions about whether I was married and where my husband was. At that point he realized he wasn't getting anywhere with me. Then a young rather dishevelled-looking woman came up on the platform and he tried his luck with her, settling in comfortably in the transit shelter beside her.I stood there, puzzled, after two really strange encounters: one nicely dressed woman runs away from me (I must have looked really scary), and right afterswards an older man solicits my company (I guess I must have looked good enough to him....). Every urban centre has its interesting characters and experiences, and Calgary is obviously no exception.Then one young couple restored my faith in humanity. I took all my courage together and asked them too how to get to the Kensington Area on the C-Train. They explained that sometimes 7th Street can be a little gritty and then took me to the automated ticket machine and showed me how to obtain my $2.25 admission onto the C-train to get over to Kensington. The world was sane again....I was in the mood for a light lunch and right in the heart of Kensington there is this recently opened restaurant called Indochine Bistro, a bistro/ lounge serving Vietnamese food. After my filling breakfast at the Twin Gables B&B I couldn't have handled a big lunch, but by this time (about 2:30 pm) I needed a little meal to tide me over to the evening, so I had a lovely vegetarian noodle soup, which was just enough after my delicious morning meal. .Often my curiosity gets the better of me and I started talking with the owner. It didn't take me long to realize I had stumbled over a really interesting human story.Kevin Nguyen is 31 years old and was born in Saigon / Vietnam (todays Ho Chi Minh City). He grew up in a well-to-do middle class family and lived a very good life until he was 12 years old. Then his family had to flee the country due to Vietnams political problems.His mother, his sister and Kevin became Vietnamese boat people and spent about 2 years living in a refugee camp in Malaysia. Kevin describes the living conditions as incredibly difficult, hundreds of people were squeezed into long buildings that were subdivided into different sections that each held many families. In addition to the cramped conditions, there was never enough food and Kevins aunts and uncles kept sending money from Canada to help. Kevin summarized his experience as living in very poor conditions, but there was also a lot of love and humanity.Originally Kevins family wanted to move to the United States. But because they had family members in Canada and Great Britain, that would have meant that these two countries would have had to reject their refugee status application first before they would be able to apply to go to the USA. Kevins mom decided that the wait would be too long and applied to go to Canada instead.At 14 years of age Kevin came to Canada, more specifically to Calgary and his family settled in. Kevin said that to this day he is very grateful that this country took him, his mom and his sister in. Upon his arrival in Canada, Kevin went straight into Grade 10 at Western Canada High School in Calgary and said that he never really experienced rejection from his class mates as a newly arrived refugee. He did say that he went through a major experience of culture shock adjusting to Canadian culture, food and traditions.After high school he went to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and studied electronics and petroleum engineering and graduated with a Bachelor of Petroleum Technology. He worked for several oil and gas companies and consulting firms in Calgary before he decided to partner up with a friend to open a restaurant.Although that business venture did not work out, Kevin was hooked on the hospitality industry. Despite the fact that there is a significant amount of risk involved in running your own restaurant, he enjoys being his own boss. He opened his own restaurant, Indochine Bistro, in October of 2005 and he intended it to be different from the usual Vietnamese restaurants that resemble cafeterias more than comfortable eateries. The name of his restaurant is from the French word ndochine which used to be the French name for Vietnam.Kevin enjoys owning a restaurant and said he loves meeting people. In particular he loves working behind the bar and calls it a dream job. Kevin explained that the Kensington area is a great neighbourhood for his restaurant since there are so many people taking a stroll and its a really close-knit neighbourhood with the feel of a real village. In the summer there are many street festivals so there is lots of action going on.Indochine Bistro features an extensive menu with 73 items of quality Vietnamese cuisine. Eating out at Indochine is extremely affordable: only one item was over C$10.00 and most of the dishes cost between C$6 and C$8.I enjoyed my little exploration of Calgarys Kensington area, it definitely had a very cozy, village-like feel to it. And it was great meeting a young Calgarian who has made an amazing life transition from living a comfortable middle class life in Vietnam to becoming a refugee to making his mark as a successful young entrepreneur in Canada.
Located in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island offers a breathtaking, tropical-like atmosphere that stretches across 12 miles of land. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, numerous activities and attractions are offered at this exciting destination. Whether you wish to sink your toes deep into comforting sand or would like to enjoy an assortment of outdoor sporting events, "Hilton Head" makes a worthy location for your next vacation. Below you will find five reasons to plan a trip to this stimulating area: Championship Golf CoursesHilton Head is home to some of the best golf courses under the sun. The championship level of play attracts many notable participants in the various tournaments held in the area. For instance, the Harbour Town Golf Links may demand the most expensive in green fees, but allows the average player to share the same course with professionals. This is also where the Verizon Heritage tournament is held in April. BeachesHilton Head offers 12 miles of beachfront land to explore, offering easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the reasons why Hilton Head attracts so many to this intriguing destination. To enjoy the official beach season, each year visitors flock to the area between April 1st and September 30th. A few public accesses to the beach can be found off South Forest Beach Drive, off Coligny Circle, and at the end of Beach City Road.Explore and Admire the Natural BeautyThe combination of sun, surf, and turf makes extremely inviting natural scenery that creates grassy dunes, lush forests, and tidal marshes. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful surroundings created by natures best. Hilton Head is considered a barrier island, which is comprised of a headland, beach, surf zone, and sand spit. This is the perfect mixture to provide a much-needed breath of fresh air.Satisfying Sightseeing When visiting Hilton Head, a trip to Harbour Town makes for a great sightseeing tour associated with the lap of luxury. This is where multi-million dollar yachts and homes are situated about various marinas. Famous celebrities have also bought into the land in Hilton Head, including singer-songwriter, John Mellencamp and former NBA star, Michael Jordan. Wildlife ExplorationsHilton Head also serves as a haven for wildlife, so if you enjoy the company of animals, there will be plenty of opportunities to visit with the wild locals. Some of the residents include alligators, large water birds, deer, bobcats, mink, wild boars, the loggerhead turtle, and the bottle-nosed dolphin. To enjoy a guided nature tour and cruise, contact the Coastal Discovery Museum for excursions that visit points of nature interest, such as the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, and the Audubon-Newhall Preserve.
If you are going to stay at The Beach House in Barbuda, then I would make the following comments to you.The first thing is dont even try to bring any children under the age of sixteen, apart from anything else the ambience of the resort isnt right for kids, and they dont let you.You need to own an oil well to come here, although it is mostly well worth it, some of the criticism I have read is quite unjustified in my opinion, however use some of your money to organise private flights to the island or you are at the mercy of the daily flight roster, and that can mean long waits at the airport in Antigua.It is worth the trip just to see the beach, it is spectacular, and seems to go forever, and the views from your suite, and there are 21 of them are views of the beach and the incredible turquoise sea, and furthermore the beach is but a few steps away.If you are not a beach person, then there is a salt water pool surrounded by wooden decking, but honestly, the beach is just so wonderful, deserted, and the sea is such brilliant colours, and the water is so clear.Caribbean Hotels, even in the luxury category all have rough edges if you are used to the luxury of the far East, and The Beach House is no exception. The advice given to me was to regard your suite as your own beach house on your own beach, and when you treat it like that, then everything falls into place. No televisions, are a welcome feature, after all we come here to escape the bad news world.The suites all have a large sitting area, and very comfortable King size, goose down four poster beds, which look out right onto the beach and the lagoon, which is beautiful but not for swimming in.The best feature is your own Service Ambassador who is only a telephone call away, and you will have your own mobile phone to call him, and they will attend to your every need, and in fact spoil you rotten.The Club House is where you take your meals, although you can eat on the beach, you only have to ask. The menus look spectacular, and the food may not quite always live up to your expectations, but this is the Caribbean, and quite frankly I dont go to this part of the world for a culinary experience. The food is mostly OK, sometimes very good, and occasionally brilliant.You should definitely visit The Beach House Hotel in Barbuda, but not between September and December 2006, because it is closed for a refurbishment which can only enhance its charms.