Saturday, September 27, 2008

San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District

Ask any “60’s Child” what comes to mind when you mention San Francisco and they are certain to say “Haight-Ashbury District”. Should any area of this old city evoke various images of the 60’s this area has to be the one to do it. Here the beginning of the Hippy culture was growing by leaps and bounds as the flower children were selling their wares on the busy street, one could smell of incense burning on every corner and the wild tie dyed clothing that was so popular at the time.

A brisk walk around the block would reveal smoke shops and many Eastern influenced outlets which bore names such as “Dreams of Kathmandu”, “The Love of Ganesha” and “Pipe Dreams”. Unfortunately, these relics of the 60’s are all but forgotten and have left the scene forever. The Haight district of today presents a completely new image compared to what it was 50 years ago. The area now boasts of exclusive boutiques, several high priced clothing shops, many second hand stores, and cafes with modern internet connections as well as an abundance of restaurants featuring great tasting foods from all reaches of the continent. The Haight district of yester-years has now become highly commercial.

A walk along Haight avenue reveals the changes that have been made to date and the new clientele that populates the avenue. These new customers range from Neo-punks out for fun, the club kids looking for things to do, various fashionites with time on their hands, tourists who hope to catch a glimpse of the long gone 60’s and the normal neighborhood folks all feel comfortable here. They may be here to obtaining a new body piercing, perhaps to grab a Mexican burrito, maybe they are looking for a new music CD or just out for a cup of espresso at the corner cafĂ©.

Keep in mind that there are two different areas of Haight. You have Upper Haight that stretches from Masonic to Stanyan. This is the commercial shopping zone while Lower Haight is a more diverse type of neighborhood. While it displays an alternative nightlife lifestyle with bars having names like Noc Noc or Mad Dog as well as the more popular clubs such as The Top or Nickies. It is now a magnet for DJ’s and attracts those who are seeking dance music - record shops or clubs such as The Top.

During the day the attitude around the Haight is basically laid back and it appears that many people are merely hanging around the cafes or bookstores. The area has its share of panhandlers and tourists. The weekends in the area can get very crowded with the shoppers out in full force during the day and the bar goers roaming around at night. You can notice a lot of the homeless people camping near the entrance to the Golden Gate Park where they hang out around Upper Haight area however should you walk by them they merely request some change or provide you with a friendly smile.

If you are a fan of the 60’s you just may be a bit disappointed in your visit here however if you search you are sure to find many interesting things to do and places to visit while in the Haight-Ashbury district. It is worth the trip.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discover China's Ancient History and Scenic Beauty

In the event you are seriously considering escaping your daily grind at the office and departing upon an exciting and challenging vacation the only problem you may encounter is where you wish to travel to. Amongst the places you may possibly consider is the ancient and exciting country of China. China has a long history dating back thousands of years and represents a unique and varied lifestyle vastly different from our own way of living.

Perhaps you are already aware that China is home to the rare but amazing giant pandas. The pandas are considered to be one of China’s national treasures and these creatures are adored by both the young and old from all parts of the globe. Many people visit China every year for the sole purpose of seeing the Giant Pandas in person. The giant pandas can be readily found in the Chinese states of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi.

While visiting this amazing country you must make sure you stop at the Giant Panda Museum. The Giant Panda Museum was established in the year 1993 in order to advance the scientific studies associated with the Panda and to educate the public concerning the various issues which relate to protection of wild species and their environment. This museum is slightly different then any found in the western world. The Giant Panda Museum is known to be the world’s only museum which is firmly dedicated to endangered and rare animals only.

When you visit the Giant Panda Museum in China you will notice they have three main exhibition areas which are named the butterfly Hall, the Giant Panda Hall and the Vertebrate Hall. The walls of the museum are filled with a variety of interesting and informative posters and pictures of various animals.

After spending time at the museum your next stop should be Beijing. In Beijing you can easily discover an abundance of activities created to keep you and your family occupied for hours at a time. The Forbidden City in China is a magnificent structure and is known to be the world’s largest Imperial Palace. This palace currently consists of 8000 rooms however during its lifetime the palace once amassed over 9,999 rooms. Due to wars and natural disasters the last room count was reduced to a mere 8000. Surrounding the palace you will discover a moat that is over 18 feet deep accompanied by a wall that is over 33 feet high.

Beijing over the centuries has served as the capital city of many dynasties including the Ming, Yuan and Qing. Apart from the imperial palace we have mentioned you will also find many royal mausoleums like the Ming Tombs, Western Qing Tombs and the Eastern Qing Tombs.

China is a different world then what we know and it possesses many attractions which draw people from the far reaches of the globe.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Puerto Vallarta - The Jewel of Mexico

While the Caribbean coast of Mexico offers you great destinations like Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the west coast provides you with even more enjoyment. The jewel of the west coast is Puerto Vallarta. You will find amazingly warm people, fantastic living and the best way to relax on your tropical vacation.

The city of Puerto Vallarta lies nestled against the splendor of the Pacific Ocean. You will find wide expanses of sandy beach, numerous options for chartering boats for scuba and fishing as well as some of the best shopping and dining in Mexico. Why take a trip to the city? You'll experience the wonder and beauty of this pristine area firsthand.

The Ocean – Here, the Pacific Ocean is largely calm and undisturbed. You will enjoy access to aquamarine waters and much more. Just offshore, you will find incredible coral reefs, home to hundreds of species of fish and other marine life. You will also find numerous ways in which to explore those reefs. A scuba diving trip can be one of the best things for your vacation.

If you prefer to spend your time above water, rather than below, consider chartering a fishing trip. You can catch numerous species of game fish in the crystalline waters, providing you with an incredible outing during your stay.

The City – You'll find numerous ways in which to while away your time in the city. November through May, you can experience the thrill of bull fighting, while you can stroll through some of the world's most impressive art galleries any time of year. Dining is another thing that the city takes very seriously. You will find everything from Sushi to steaks and traditional Mexican cuisine. No matter what your taste buds crave, you will find it here.

If you demand entertainment, the nights in Puerto Vallarta come alive with music, light, laughter and life. Hot Latin beats and incredible music help you dance the night away. You will find international music, as well. November sees numerous festivals in the city, with fireworks and a pervasive festive atmosphere, though the city is a live with entertainment year round.

Family Fun – If you are looking for things to do with the family, Puerto Vallarta offers you that, as well. You can enjoy canopy tours out of the city, taking you through the jungle canopy on a zip line. Visit any of the numerous water parks in the city or heat to a Mexican fiesta for great fun.

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