An Overview of Liberia for Travelers

The Republic of Liberia was on of the more stable African countries until a massive civil war. For extreme travelers, the war is over and Liberia is back on the map. Here’s a look at where the country has been and where it is going.

An Overview of Liberia for Travelers

Liberia means the land of the free. It is a fitting name considering the country was established by freed slaves from the United States in 1820. Referred to as Americo-Liberians, the freed slaves established Monrovia which is named after U.S. President James Madison.

Although there were minor disputes throughout Liberia’s history, it was generally saved the problems faced by much of colonized Africa. Indeed, Liberia was known for its hospitality, strong education system, booming rubber industry and strong liberal arts. Unfortunately, political unrest led to a brutal civil war from 1989 till 1996 during which the country fell apart and over 200,000 Liberians were killed.

Prior to 1980, the country was ruled by the True Whig Party, which consisted ostensibly of descendents from the freed slaves. On April 12, 1980, Samuel Doe led a military coup, executed the elected President and put the People’s Redemption Council in power. The new leaders increasingly pursued ethnic policies favoring the indigenous Krahn peoples. This led to massive resistance from non-Krahn peoples.

In 1989, full blown civil war broke out between various factions. The country was ripped apart and Doe was ultimately defeated and killed on September 9, 1990. One of the rebel leaders, Charles Taylor, was put in charge of an interim government. Instead of uniting the country, he more or less declared himself dictator and continued the factional fighting.

A cease fire was worked out in 1997 and rebel groups agreed to disarm. Taylor won elections in 1997 under questionable circumstances. Once again, he failed to do anything to heal the country, instead funding a guerilla attack on neighboring Sierra Leone. Under massive international pressure of the “don’t make us come there” type, he resigned and fled into exile on June 4, 2003.

On October 11, 2005, free elections were finally held. After a runoff, Liberia elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf the first female president of Liberia. She took office in January of 2006. Her election is viewed as a very positive step by Liberia to get back on track.

As to basic information, Liberia covers roughly 43,000 square miles. The capital is Monrovia and the total population is 3.24 million. Liberia has 40% of West Africa’s rain forest. Liberia is the second-largest maritime licenser in the world with more than 1,800 vessels registered under its flag, including 35% of the world’s tanker fleet.

The people of Liberia are known as Liberians. The ethnic breakdown is Kpelle 20 percent, Bassa 16 percent, Gio 8 percent, Kru 7 percent and 49 percent spread over 12 other ethnic groups. Religious break down is Christian 30 percent, Muslim 10 percent, and animist 60 percent. English is the official language, but there are also 16 indigenous languages. Life expectancy is 47 years and the literacy rate is 56 percent.

Liberia has gone from a stable, beautiful country to civil war and back. Although the war is over, it isn’t entirely stable at this time. Travelers seeking an extreme experience may find it to be a good destination, but it is still a very dangerous country.

Air Travel: Is the Clothing You Wear Important

When it comes to air travel and clothing, we are all different. There are some travelers who are dressed in business suits, others in traditional jeans, and others who wear something as comfortable as possible, such as their pajamas or sweat pants. With the recent increase in airport security and the recent change in air travel rules, there are many individuals who wonder if the clothing they wear to the airport is important. If you are one of those individuals, you can rest assure because, in most cases, it is not.

It seems as if ever since airplanes became the popular way to travel, a focus has been placed on comfort. Regardless of whether or not you will be taking a long flight, you will want to be comfortable. There is nothing worse than wearing an itchy sweater or tight pair of pants up in the air. Unless you bring a chance of clothes with you and place them in your carryon bag, you are out of luck. That is why it is important that you think of what you will be wearing before you leave for the airport. Even if you are traveling for business, you should be able to change in to your business clothes as soon as you arrive at your destination, even in the airport bathrooms.

When it comes to comfort, as previously mentioned, many air travelers make the decision to wear sweat pants and a comfortable top. In addition to being comfortable, you will find, in most cases, that these types of clothes are the best for airport security, especially when entering airport screening checkpoints. This is because most sweat pants are not made with any metal items. Essentially, this means that you should be able to enter the security checkpoint and leave it quicker than most other travelers, such as the travelers who are decked out in accessories.

When it comes to clothing accessories, you will find that a number of different items set off airport metal detectors. That is why most airport security officers request that you remove all of your jewelry. Once your jewelry is removed, you will need to place it in a small bin, which will be scanned right along with your carryon luggage. Whether you have rings or a necklace, you are advised to remove them, if you can. For your convenience, you can leave your earrings on. If by chance, you earrings set the metal detectors off, you will likely be pulled a side and airport security should easily be able to tell whether or not your earring were what set off the alarms.

In addition to jewelry, you will find that your belt may even set off an airport’s metal detector. For that reason, a large number of airports have requested that you remove your belts before entering the metal detectors. Since a large number of travelers wear belts, this is done to help speed up the process of checking each and every passenger. If you do not enjoy removing some of your jewelry or removing your belt, it is advised that you leave those items at home.

Recently, a number of new air travel rules have been implemented. One of those rules requires that all passengers remove their shoes. Your shoes, once removed, will be scanned by an x-ray machine, right along with the rest of your carryon luggage. In recent years, only random passengers were asked to remove their shoes, but now everyone is. For that reason, you will to wear simple shoes that you can easily remove and put back on.

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Another air travel rule, recently implemented, is the ban of liquids. This means that adults are no longer allowed to bring a drink onboard, even bottle water. It also means that you are prohibited from placing liquid beauty supplies in your carryon luggage. One concern, made by many women is the allowance of gel or water filled bras. Currently, you are allowed to wear these types of bras onboard an airplane. Honestly, unless you mention it to airport security, there is a good chance that they would never even know.

Since there are really no rules or restrictions on the clothing that you can wear while flying the great skies, you need to choose for yourself. Whether you want to be fashionable or comfortable, it is all up to you.

An Overview of Kenya for Travelers

Kenya is stunningly beautiful African country that has seen its share of good and bad times. If you are traveling to Kenya, the following information will give you a head start.

An Overview of Kenya for Travelers

Kenya is a crossroads country in Africa, which means a little bit of various African countries reside there. More than 40 languages are spoken and as many as eleven different ethnic groups can be identified. The religious breakdown is also very diverse. Despite this variety, the country has a fairly harmonious existence. The national slogan is harambee which loosely translates to lets pull together.

Compared to other sub-Saharan countries, Kenya has historically been advanced in infrastructure and general living standards. During the colonial period, England controlled the country and developed the area. Kenyans were not allowed to participate in government, much like South Africa. As you might expect, Kenyans rebelled and eventually became independent on December 12, 1963. The Kenya People’s Union then became the only political party and ruled until 2002. In October 2002, the National Rainbow Coalition dominated elections.

Following independence, Kenya continued to grow economically and the standard of living was the envy of much of Africa. Unfortunately, corruption threw a wrench in the proceedings the country has suffered from a lurching economy for the last 15 years. In 2003, the country turned things around and things have generally improved since then.

Kenya covers 224,960 square miles and is slightly smaller than Texas. The capital is Nairobi. Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean in a series of mountain ridges and plateaus which stand above 9,000 feet in the center of the country. The Rift Valley bisects the country above Nairobi, opening up to a broad arid plain in the north. Mountain plains cover the south before descending to the shores of Lake Victoria in the west. The climate varies from the tropical south, west, and central regions to arid and semi-arid in the north and the northeast.

The people of Kenya are known as “Kenyans.” Total population is 30 million and growing at 1.7 percent a year. Ethnic groups break down as Kikuyu 21 percent Luhya 14 percent, Luo 13 percent, Kalenjin 11 percent, Kamba 11 percent, Kisii 6 percent, Meru 5 percent. Religious break down is Indigenous beliefs 10 percent, Protestant 40 percent, Roman Catholic 30 percent, Muslim 20 percent. Languages include English, Swahili, and more than 40 local ethnic languages. The literacy rate is 65 percent and life expectancy is 49 years of age.

As this brief overview reveals, the country suffers the economic problems of many countries in Africa. That being said, it is beautiful place that will hopefully overcome such hurdles. It is definitely a place you will remember visiting.

A Quick Holiday To Relax

Sometimes it is hard to make it until the summertime vacation, isn’t it? You can choose to take some short vacations to help relieve some of the stress, so that you can better make it to the long summer vacation. It will cost less to take a quick holiday, too. What are some options for short holidays that you can consider to help make the time between vacations go faster.

What about having a quick holiday in your own town? There are most likely some activities that you have never even visited. You may know that they are available, but you just don’t visit. You can visit these attractions and pretend to be a tourist in your own hometown.

You can take a long weekend of three days to rest and relax from the hard work that you have been doing at work. If you have some extra money that you can spend, you can get a motel room that offers an indoor pool. This is especially fun if there is snow and ice on the ground. A motel with a continental breakfast will save you a little more money, because you will not have to buy breakfast.

If you are on a tight budget, then relax at home. Turn off the phone, leave the computer alone, and only use your cell phone for emergencies or turn it off altogether. You can spend time at home catching up on movies that you have missed, eating popcorn, and relaxing.

Historical homes or museums could be a source of activity if you so choose. You are sure to find something new to visit if you simply do a little research. Whether you have a museum in your own town or one nearby, you are sure to have a relaxing and informative time visiting.

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Do you have parks that you have not explored in your city? Some of them may have free events that they offer, including movies and more. If you enjoy hiking or biking, you may find some trails to explore with your family. Check your local paper to see what activities are planned around and in your city at the parks and at other locations. Check your local arts association as well, because many times they offer free events that you can attend.

Look for things to visit that are within just an hour of two of your home. Taking short vacations are a great way to get away from the stress of life without a huge expense. You can pack a picnic and take a quick holiday any weekend that you choose. You can leave in the morning and then come back at night after you enjoy an attraction. Short holidays are a way to make that time between vacations seem shorter so that you can reduce your stress levels.

Taking short vacations of three days or less can be a great time for you and for your family. You only need to research the options that are around you and plan a fun quick holiday for you and for your family. They will appreciate it and so will your stress level!

Cheap Airline Flights And Travel

Every one of us dreams of traveling by airplane and view the beauty of the world from the aerial view. There are many variants when it comes to air traveling, some of them were developed by freight or for commercial and company use.

Why choose travel by air?

Obviously one of the problems by land is lack of space. Meaning thousands of motorists traveling everyday and it seems that this will cause a time delay if you are heading to an important appointment. For busy people the time factor is very important.

It is also a know n fact that traveling by air is much faster than its alternatives. We can assume that people traveling by air are those who have important things to do, like businessperson, authors, diplomats, travelers, government officials and some other important persons.

If you are planning to travel by plane with a large number of friends and relatives to go to a far place and you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of transferring from one bus to another, air travel is the solution.

Evidently, the most interesting spatial characteristics of an airport are its setting and relativisation of the social life implied by air travel.

Cheap flight on the way

Always put up with in mind that cheapest does not always mean the best. For instance, a courier flights may be cheaper than the student fare but restrictions and limitations can affect you personally.

Some times traveling thru a weekdays is unlike from the weekends. At times also staying one day or less or more could affect the fare price. Some airlines cut off their flights. Some of them scheduled it in every month and then two months.

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It would be cheaper to flight from one airplane then transfer to another rather than having a flying directly towards the destination.

Fares depend on who the traveler is or his/her status. As much as traveler’s status is concern nowadays, the following people are the one entitled to discounts with some airlines, like students, young children, disabled persons, and senior citizens.

Consulting an airline agent will be a great help to the passengers; it will surely be able to cover up all the issue and thoughts running in your mind about the flight. You can also bargain with the agent to have a good deal with them.

Getting a flight and paying little is a tough job. It maybe concluded that that there are so many considerations and options in choosing cheap air flight whether local or overseas. Finding for cheaper ways to travel by air is not that easy. It will need to take a lot of time and patience.

Just remember this that there is no charge to consult a travel agent. It would be better to find someone who can suggest you of those travel journals in order for you to know what would fits your needs.

Travel agents will provide the best costumer service, full practical advice, and will assist you finding the information on cheap airfares when you need to travel. You also need to know information about last minute flight, hostel memberships, rail passes and hotel reservation.

An Overview of Canada for Travelers

Home to hockey, Canada is a country of beautiful cities and wide open spaces. If you are considering taking a trip to the country, here is an overview of some things you might want to know.

An Overview of Canada for Travelers

The official name of the country is simply Canada. It covers an area of landmass over 3.8 million square miles in size and is the second largest country by square mileage in the world. The capital is Ottawa with a population of over 1.1 million people. Other major cities include Toronto with 4.8 million residents, Montreal with just fewer than 3.5 million people and the beautiful city of Vancouver with a population of roughly 2 million people. With its far northern location, Canada is a country with a cool climate. The farther north one goes, the colder it becomes until artic conditions apply.

Citizens of Canada are known as Canadians. The most recent study put the total population at more than 32.4 million Canadians. Of this figure, ethnicity breaks down into a wide variety of groups with no group forming a majority. Specifically, Canadians are comprised of 28 percent British-Irish heritage, 23 percent French, 15 percent general European and a whopping 26 percent are classified as mixed. Following the transfer of Hong Kong from British rule to Chinese, many citizens of Hong Kong immigrated to Canada, particularly the Vancouver area.

Religious preferences share the break down found in ethnicity. 44 percent of Canadians claim the Roman Catholic faith as their own, while 29 percent are Protestant. Other Christian and Muslim denominations are claimed by roughly 8 percent of the population.

English and French are the languages spoken in Canada. Literacy rates are 99 percent. Average life expectancy for a Canadian man is 77 years while a Canadian woman will live to 82 years of age on average.

Canada is a country with an odd segmentation. Whereas most countries tend to be divided towards eastern and western population centers, Canada can be said to be more of a north and south designation. Specifically, most of the population lives along the border with the United States and practically nobody lives in the far north given the cold.

Canada tends to be overshadowed by its neighbor to the south. This is unfortunate as the country is beautiful, the people are friendly and life is lived at a comfortable pace.

An Overview of Australia for Travelers

Australia is a very diverse country geographically and a hot spot for tourism. If you are thinking about heading down under, here is some information on Australia.

An Overview of Australia for Travelers

Australia is its own continent, the only country in the world that can say as much. It covers roughly 3 million square miles and is about the size of the continental United States. The capital is Canberra, but Sydney is the biggest city with 4.2 million people. The climate of Australia is extremely dry inland with more temperate conditions along the coast. The population centers are primarily along the coast due to soaring temperatures inland.

Australia was originally inhabited by Aboriginal tribes. In 1770, Captain Cook claimed the land for Great Britain. In 1788, the first colony was established in New South Wales. Most of the colonists were convicted criminals from Great Britain. Gold was discovered soon thereafter and Australia became a destination for immigrants seeking fortune and a new start in life.

On the far northern coast, Australia is home to one of the amazing sites in the world. The great barrier reef is a water enthusiasts dream. With incredible plant life, the reef is world renowned as a diver’s paradise. A watchful eye is advised given the presence of the Great White Shark in the area.

Australia is a Commonwealth. The federal powers are mapped somewhat after those in the United States, but no bill of rights exists. Unlike the U.S., the individual territories retain significant authority over their own affairs.

People in Australia are called “Australians.” The country has a population of just over 20 million, and the population is growing at a rate of 1.1 percent a year. Australians ethnicity is 92 percent European, 6 percent Asian and 2 percent Aboriginal. No religion dominates, but 27 percent of Australians considered themselves Roman Catholics. Life expectancy for males is 78 years while females live to 83 on average. Literacy rates are a surprisingly low 85 percent.

Australia was often considered the forgotten country. Long distance transportation changed that designation. Now it is one of the hottest tourist destinations year in and year out.

Amsterdam Cheap Travel Guide… Enjoy It!

When you opt for a cheap travel to Europe, the city of Amsterdam should be your best choice. The city offers cheap relatively compared to most European cities but not sacrificing the quality of the trip.

The city…

Amsterdam is undoubtedly a beautiful city. No wander it is the fourth most visited cities in the region just after Paris, Rome, and London. Most of the population speaks either French or German or both. The people also can speak English and Dutch as well. The area is relatively flat. You cannot find slopes and hills unlike other European cities. If you want to roam Amsterdam by foot, it is very conducive for hiking. This would save you from the trouble of renting a car or hiring a taxicab to transport you within the city. And since Amsterdam has lots of sights to offer, hiking would be fill up the day while spending some time on different attractions the city has to offer.

If you don’t feel the idea of hiking, Amsterdam provides not only cheap but free transportation. White-bikes are located in abundance in the city. In fact there are over 700,000 bikes waiting for you. You can hop on one of these communal bikes at one place then drop it off on the other. They are stationed in different point of the city so you won’t get a hard to locate one.

Not into biking and hiking but still opting for cheap Amsterdam vacation? You can always ride any of the public transportation within the city. Amsterdam offers some of the best train, bus, and tram systems in Europe. They are cheap and the service is extremely good.

The attraction…

Amsterdam is lined with several museums and monuments often time just a shot away from one another. To be exact, Amsterdam has 42 museums and almost 7,000 monuments within its limits. And if you want to visit them without confusion, the city has prepared 7 waking routes, marked especially for you.

You can see the works of Hals, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and several other world-renowned artists in Amsterdam’s most famous museum- the Rijks museum. A Van Gogh admirer? Vincent Van Gogh has his own museum located near Rijks. For a more contemporary and modern pictures, paintings, and pottery, you can visit Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. For a closer feel of Amsterdam during the 1600s, you can visit the Museum Willet-Holthuysen that is considered World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

When you visit during summer (July-August), expect to see bed of Tulips along with other Holland’s pride- narcissus, daffodils, and other flowers.

Canal attraction is superb. During summer, you can tour the city by boat. The city’s canal stretches up to 100KM giving you an alternative way to see the city. During winter, the same canal freezes and transforms into a sporting site where skating events take place.

The rates…

Amsterdam is not a typical European city where you have to spend so much to survive. It does not charge premium rates like any other European cities. You can stay at one of the hostels in Amsterdam under $70. Dining is also very affordable in the city. You can survive a decent meal for under $15. Transportation is also cheap. Tram pass could be purchase at around $5 for unlimited ride for the day.

Picturesque view and rich culture and history give every reason to travel to Amsterdam. And with prices are relatively cheap, you surely would enjoy your stay at Amsterdam.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cuban Salsa

Dance has been an important part of rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before the birth of human civilization. In the beginning, before we had written language to record things, the purpose of dance was often to tell stories and to pass them down to future generations.

The story of dancing in Cuba

In Cuba, as in ancient times, dance tells its own story. The passion and energy of Cuban dance reveals the strength and conviction of the Cuban people, determined to enjoy life despite ‘la lucha’ (the struggle) of living in a strictly regulated country where the average monthly wage comes in at around 400 pesos – less than £10.

The richness of Cuban music and dancing also tells the story of Cuba’s melting pot of cultures. From the high-stepping flamenco brought by the Spanish settlers in the 15th century to the frenzied tribal dances of the West African slaves, dancing is in the blood of the Cuban people.

From the teenage girl in denim shorts to the cigar-seller on the street corner, Cubans are given to break into spontaneous dance steps. Furthermore, the people dancing on the streets of Havana are likely to be just as good as the professionals, because in Cuba dancing is simply a way of life.

The variety of Cuban dances

Cuba boasts a huge range of dances including classical ballet, contemporary, flamenco and folk dancing. But it is the partnered routines that appeared in Havana dancehalls between the 1920s and the 1950s – Salsa, rumba, mambo and cha-cha-cha – that can be seen in every Cuban bar, club and street. Of these, Salsa is the most popular dance internationally.

Since the name ‘Salsa’ (it’s Spanish for ‘sauce’) was coined, Salsa dancing has exploded in popularity in Latin America and across the world. Salsa dancing classes are now hugely popular but to really get into the swing of it a Salsa holiday in Cuba itself is a must.

Tips for Cuban Salsa dancing

If you do take yourself on a Cuban holiday, you’ll have the unique experience of watching Cubans Salsa dancing. It sometimes appears that by some genetic aberration they have been born with super flexible joints, defying physics to carry out all the complex manoeuvres they have integrated into the dancing. Their remarkable twisting body movements and natural sense of rhythm will dazzle you.

If you have the right technique, Cuban Salsa is easier to learn than many other forms of dance. The basic footwork is a fairly simple walking motion, pausing every fourth beat, and there are some six basic steps you can follow to make sure you’re on the right tracks.

1 Relax

To dance Cuban Salsa well it is important not to rush, but to relax into the steps. Movements should be precise and deliberate in addition to being flowing and smooth.

2 Walk with purpose

Salsa dancing involves a continual circular motion. Couples walk around each other with an imaginary axis between them. This makes turns look smooth and effortless. Walking gives time to untangle your arms after each turn.

3 Have confidence in your lead

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The leader (usually the man) should have constant tension in his arms, while his hands guide his Salsa dancing partner around the floor. There is no need to clamp onto each other’s hands, only to use the right amount of tension to provide a leading signal.

4 Be flexible when following

In order to follow well, ladies should try to match the tension of their partner. The exception to this is when arms need to be relaxed and flexible to complete arm-twisting Salsa moves without injury!

5 Keep balanced when you spin

The key to all the spectacular spins in Salsa is not to lose your balance. One way to do it is by spotting while you spin – focusing on one spot at each turn – an age-old dance technique.

6 Use your body

In Salsa dancing, ladies should make use of their body and be sensual, playful and creative. This can involve some creative arm movements, going with what feels right and basically showing off a bit. Enjoy!

A Romantic Weekend Getaway To Kims Beach Hideaway Luxury Resort In NSW

If you are looking for an Australian Luxury Vacation, or even just a romantic weekend getaway, then Kims Beach Hideaway Luxury Resort only about 90 minutes north of Sydney is the answer. Kims is a collection of luxurious chalets on the beach in Toowoon Bay What a beautiful place Kims is, right on the beach surrounded by pine trees, and lush terraced gardens.

It is so quiet and peaceful, just the sound of breaking waves on the beach, this really is a beach retreat.

There really isn’t much to do here, which is perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, and as each of the beach facing chalets, and it would be fair to say that is the majority of them, has direct access to the beach.

The beach itself is beautiful with fine white sand, ideal for swimming.

The rate here includes all meals, and the meals are all buffet, but of the very highest quality. If you like seafood, they have incredibly fresh seafood, and if you like meat, then there is plenty for carnivores to drool over. The salads are fresh and original, and there is a quite superb cheeseboard if you have any room left.

The range of desserts is awesome, especially at lunchtime.

The chalets themselves are somehow old fashioned, but superbly appointed for 21st century living. There was just a suggestion of ‘olde worlde’ kind of rustic, with warm colours. They are an absolutely perfect answer for a romantic weekend break.

You could reserve a spa bungalow with king sized bed, louvered windows to let in the cooling breeze, and your own veranda and balcony with a Jacuzzi. Privacy and relaxation is what Kims is all about.
The granite tile bathroom is large and there is a double shower with massaging double shower heads.
There is a CD player, Television, and complimentary DVD’s available from reception.

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To cap it all you will have a library full of books, and complimentary magazines.

It is fair to say that as an Australian Luxury vacation or a romantic weekend getaway, this isn’t a cheap option but Kims Beach Hideaway is worth every penny.