Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Bahama Islands Junkanoo Summer Festival

Every interesting locality has their own precise celebrations and indigenous events which visitor flock to witness and the Bahamas are no exception. The Bahamas at first appears to be a passive and isolated location far away from the bustling behavior of the everyday life in the big city. However upon closer assessment the islands are in reality swarming with a profusion of activities and events for visitors of all ages.

It doesn’t matter if you are in search of family fun or various nightlife events, you can find them here in the Bahamas. Each of the islands have their own activities to occupy any idol hours for those who seek them. Water related sports and events are readily available here and you can be assured that you will find some of the finest fishing in the world on any of the Bahamas Islands, diving that is unmatched by any other location, and boating fit for the fussiest of captains.

Of all the events found on these Caribbean paradises, you can find the islands most talked about cultural festival known as “Junkanoo”. Even the Junkanoo has evolved into an even larger even called the Junkanoo Summer Festival. This exciting event usually runs from June to August and is celebrated concurrently on Nassau/Paradise Island, The Exumas, The Abacos as well as the Grand Bahama Island.

On the Nassau/Paradise Island you will discover all the familiar components that are usually found in the "Junkanoo in June". In addition they have added some additional features and surprises to make the celebration even more exciting and fun. The heritage and cultural explosion that is held every Saturday evening features many local musical talents and includes several theatrical performances, some local cultural demonstrations, tasty native dishes complete with tropical drinks and the Kid’s Camp which is centered around the younger generation.

Additional local events include Tuesday performances of the Bahamian Sketch Comedy groups, a Royal Poinciana Friday Tea Party held at the historical British Colonial Hilton and the National Youth Choir’s Saturday evening Concert.

Junkanoo represents Bahamas greatest cultural event scheduled for the year. Although known worldwide and familiar to many this event is strictly about the Bahamas and covers various aspects of this distinct cultural exponent.

Each of the major Junkanoo groups derives their funds from corporate sponsors. Of particular interest is the huge cost associated with this event which is usually upwards of $40,000 to $100,000. Many local corporations provide both financial and other support for the activities. These companies range from Aquapure Water Limited, Sun International, Shell Bahamas Limited and Colombian Emeralds International.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Amazing Catacombs in Paris France

Prior to 1810 the Paris catacombs were known as Paris’ Montrouge stone quarries. As with any large city graveyards began to quickly run out of burial space thus an alternative means of disposing of bodies was necessary. Here you can now walk within a maze of the Paris underground tunnels complete with storage alcoves which go up at least 20 feet and contain millions of bones. The various sides of these bone piles possess designs which have been arranged with the skulls in a sort of pattern.

Existing twenty meters underground one can find over 6 million former residents of Paris on exhibit. Among these bones of the deceased are many illustrated texts which create a macabre atmosphere while describe countless chilling events in the chronicles of Paris. It is here that several Hollywood movies have taken their cue and novels abound concerning the essence of the catacombs.

During the 2nd World War this series of underground caves were exploited as hideaways for members of the French Resistance movement. With its large area of coverage and its secretive entrances these catacombs proved to be an immense benefit.

The catacombs are unlike anything you may have seen previously. In a single word they are simply “Amazing”. Although ones first impression is to be astounded after a while it all appears to be the same. With 6 million bones in plan sight the complete outlook tends to give a spooky type of sight and since they have only a single way to escape you are left with no other alternative other then to keep walking. The entrance is easily reached via the Paris metro.

When you first arrive at the entrance to the catacombs you just may miss it since it is nothing more then a green color metal hut. You will transcend many flights of stairs to reach the visitor layer. These very steps may pose a problem for the elderly people should they be out of shape. The total number of steps is approximately 80 layers when descending into the tunnel and about 200 when coming back up. The exit steps are arranged in a small spiral. You will walk in a long expanse of dark musty tunnel prior to arriving at the bone collections. Most of the passageways are rather narrow and it will seem like they never end.

If you are a photographer you will be quickly cautioned that no sort of flash photography will be allowed in the catacombs.

Given an opportunity to visit this section of Paris, I would highly recommend this fascinating experience as one you should see. It represents an awesome chance to witness the thousands of year old caves while strolling past rows upon rows of human bones. Don’t miss this tour by any means.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Akumal, Mexico

When traveling to Akumal Mexico one nearly passes this small quiet village by without realizing that it is actually one of the Caribbean coast’s best locations for diving and snorkeling on the Yucatan Peninsula. Akumal is located a mere 65 miles to the south of the Cancun resort area and 50 miles from the Mexican airport. It may be small but it is the ideal vacation get away for families or divers who wish to escape the daily rush of Mexico’s often crowded beaches. Located in Akumal are two very tranquil bays as well as the Yalku Lagoon which is perfect for family swimming or snorkeling. The area boasts of 30 beautiful reef sites that are ideal for diving while the beautiful white sandy beaches invite one to enjoy the relaxing Mexican sun.

There is an abundance of accommodations in Akumal, five different restaurants which offer local and European Fare, several grocery stores, a few boutiques or gift shops plus an excellent Dive Shop. Most of these attractions are within a 15 minute walk of one and other. The best part of this small village is that should you be interested in snorkeling, diving, fishing or merely relaxing in the warm Mexican sun you will find you can walk to the various locations although buses and taxis are readily available should you desire them.

The temperatures in Akumal range around 80 degree during September to April and during the rest of the year you can expect 90 degree temperatures. The area receives a gentle sea breeze from the nearby Caribbean and during the winter season you may require a sweater in the evenings.

The local dive shop will setup your equipment and have it ready for your dive when you arrive at the dock. They have all the necessary diving equipment you will need at reasonable rental rates. You will be provided with an 80 cu. Ft aluminum tank which is filled to approximately 3000 psi. You will board one of the 28 foot open panga boats docked nearby. The dives are generally limited to eight people plus the dive master and the ships captain. Should you happen to be part of a larger group you can easily make special arrangements for all members to dive.

Most of the arranged dives are drift dives which take place over very stunning and colorful coral reefs. The typically currents are weak in this area and water temperature hover around 82 degree. The underwater visibility in the area can reach 50 feet up to 150 feet depending upon the weather. A light wet suit is recommended during the winter season.

If you are seeking a pristine location with clear water and an abundance of undersea life to view during your next dive adventure then Akumal Mexico is the place you just may be dreaming about.

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