100 Top Places (to see before you die) 100 places to visit. Do you have a list? http://www.lunch.com/100places <![CDATA[Singapore Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/city/UserReview-Singapore-169-1397669-228159.html http://www.lunch.com/gosingapore/reviews/city/UserReview-Singapore-169-1397669-228159.html Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:32:47 +0000 <![CDATA[Aurora Borealis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Aurora_Borealis-1524923-219620.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Aurora_Borealis-1524923-219620.html Sat, 28 Jan 2012 13:23:05 +0000
<![CDATA[Bora Bora Quick Tip by DavidStanley]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-218917.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-218917.html Sun, 8 Jan 2012 23:49:39 +0000 <![CDATA[ South Pacific Films by David Stanley]]> Guadalcanal Diary(1943) starring Anthony Quinn and The Thin Red Line (1999), were about the Pacific War. Easter Island features in Kevin Costner’s Rapa Nui (1994) while The Other Side of Heaven (2002) deals with Mormon missionaries in Tonga.
The earliest Hollywood films about the South Pacific were based on Somerset Maugham's famous short story Rain about a hooker and the repressed missionary. Sadie Thompson (1928) with Gloria Swanson was a silent movie, while Rain (1932) is a talkie starring Joan Crawford. Return to Paradise (1953) with Gary Cooper movie was filmed entirely on the Samoan island of Upolu. Samoan Wedding (2007) about four Samoan guys rushing to find fiances before Sione’s wedding a month away is actually set in Auckland, New Zealand.
Pacific Harbor, Fiji, has been used as a movie location many times. His Majesty O'Keefe (1954) with Burt Lancaster, Nate and Hayes (1983) with Tommy Lee Jones, and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) were all filmed there. Fiji is also the setting for a romantic tale of young castaways which has been filmed twice: The Blue Lagoon (1980) in the Yasawa Islands with Brooke Shields and Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) on Taveuni with Milla Jovoich. Perhaps the most famous Fiji-related film is Cast Away (2000) which places Tom Hanks on uninhabited Monuriki Island in the Mamanuca Islands.
French Polynesia boasts a classic silent movie of its own, Tabu (1931), set on Bora Bora's barrier reef. Tahiti is famous for three films which pit Fletcher Christian against the tyrannical Captain Bligh: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard, and The Bounty (1984) with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. More recently, The Stonecutter (2003) was filmed on Moorea and Tetiaroa by Daniel Zirilli. And the St. Regis Resort on Bora Bora was the setting for Couples Retreat (2009) with Vince Vaughn.
More information about all of the movies mentioned above, including DVD covers and online ordering links, is on South Pacific Films http://www.southpacific.org/films.html]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/movie/UserReview-Return_to_Blue_Lagoon-155-1631527-217545-South_Pacific_Films_by_David_Stanley.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/movie/UserReview-Return_to_Blue_Lagoon-155-1631527-217545-South_Pacific_Films_by_David_Stanley.html Thu, 29 Dec 2011 03:23:27 +0000
<![CDATA[Books Quick Tip by DavidStanley]]> SouthPacific.org http://www.southpacific.org/books.html]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Books-155-1432156-216607.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Books-155-1432156-216607.html Sun, 25 Dec 2011 21:02:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ Beauty And The Beast]]> Of all of the many unique places to visit in the state of Louisiana, only one of them is the perfect mixture of wonder and fear.  I'm talking about the Atchafalaya Swamp, or Atchafalaya Basin as many people refer to it as.  The Atchafalaya is the largest swamp in the United States, and also a great source of income, recreation, and mystery for the state of Louisiana.

The swamp sits roughly in the southern central part of Louisiana, snugly surrounded by cities such as Grosse Tete, Morgan City, Ferriday, and Henderson.  Lafayette and Baton Rouge are the largest cities nearby, and an eighteen point two mile bridge that crosses the swamp connects Grosse Tete and Henderson via Interstate Ten.

Oil is a huge industry in the basin as is crawfishing and alligator hunting.  Alligator hunting has taken center stage recently with the popularity of the show Swamp People on The History Channel. 

The many lakes and rivers that flow through the basin provide plenty of recreational activities.  Hunting, fishing, and water sports are there for the taking. 

Guided tours (highly recommended) can be found throughout the basin, and anyone who wishes to partake in one will see numerous animals ranging from egrets to alligators and nutria to black bear.

The southern portion of the basin features brackish water (water with too much salt to be considered fresh, but not enough to be considered salt water), which opens up the opportunity of catching a number of salt water fish such as red snapper and even shrimp and crabs.

While they are rare, bull sharks have been captured in many of the basin's rivers and lakes, giving many fishermen quite a surprise.  There's even supposed to be a Sasquatch-like beast roaming the swamps as well, but there's no substantial evidence so far. 

The Atchafalaya is very beautiful, but due to its immense size and numerous twists and turns, it can also be a very dangerous place.  Not only is it very easy to get lost in (and therefore easy to never be found), visitors who venture out into the swamp with little or no knowledge about life in the swamp can easily be bitten by one of the many poisonous snakes that call the basin home.  Ground rattlers, copperheads, cottonmouth snakes (I've always called them water moccasins), and coral snakes are just a few of the legless biters waiting for a meal.  Drowning also poses a hazard as some parts of the rivers have very strong currents and whirlpools that can easily pull even the most experienced swimmer to a watery grave.  On top of that, wild hogs roam the swamp and I know of no one who's ever walked up on a friendly one.  Then of course there is the threat of lightning should you ever get caught out in the middle of a lake in a boat and one of the many summer storms spring up out of nowhere.

Basically, I do not recommend venturing out into the swamp alone unless you are extremely experienced in dealing with its many obstacles and dangers.  The aforementioned guided tours are an excellent way to see the beauty of the swamp without risking your health too much.  Many of the tours are given via party barges that meander slowly through the swamp and give tourists plenty of opportunities to take photographs.  Of course, you can always opt to take a tour on an airboat, which, for those of you who aren't familiar with airboats, is basically a flat bottomed boat with a propeller strapped on its back.  You'll cruise across the swamp no matter how deep or shallow the water gets, and you'll see everything at breakneck speed. 

Overall, the Atchafalaya Swamp possesses some of the most beautiful wonders and lethal dangers that you can find in the United States.  From pesky mosquitoes to sunsets on the bayou, the Atchafalaya has something for everyone.

Visit www.atchafalaya.org or www.louisianatravel.com  for more information on the basin and the great state of Louisiana.

http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Atchafalaya_Basin-155-1757008-211570-Beauty_And_The_Beast.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Atchafalaya_Basin-155-1757008-211570-Beauty_And_The_Beast.html Tue, 16 Aug 2011 16:23:34 +0000
<![CDATA[ A moving story of survival, endurance, and cultures...]]> Imagine flying over a jungle, having your plane crash and kill all but three of the passengers and crew, struggling to find your way to a clearing to be spotted and rescued, only to come face-to-face with a jungle tribe of suspected cannibals.  That's the real-life situation that three military personnel found themselves in during World War II, and the story is chronicled in the book Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff.  Zuckoff was unable to let this story die when he first ran across it while researching a different topic, and as a result we are able to get a closer look at an event that captured the attention of the country when it happened.

Zuckoff tells the story of a sightseeing flight that left a military base in Dutch New Guinea with 24 passengers.  The personnel at the base knew that a jungle tribe existed on the island, and it was considered a special privilege to get a flyover to see them up close.  On this particular flight, things went wrong and the plane went down in the jungle, killing all but three of the passengers.  Margaret Hastings, John McCollom, and Kenneth Decker barely survived the crash (with varying degrees of injury), and began their trek to make it to some sort of clearing where they could hopefully flag down a search plane and get rescued.  But that was just the start of their ordeal.

Once they made it to a clearing (death-defying in its own right), the dangers continued.  It was there that they came face-to-face with the tribe they had viewed from above, a clan of jungle warriors thought to be cannibals.  Fortunately for the three, the cannibal rumor was incorrect, and through various gestures and actions they were able to become friends with the tribe.  They also were spotted by a rescue plane, but their location made any rescue attempt a risky event in itself.  A paratrooper squad made up of mostly Filipino soldiers was called upon to jump into the camp to start medical care on the three survivors while the rest of the group hiked in from a base camp miles away.  Amazingly, everyone survived the landing and the medical care was started.  it's a minor miracle that gangrene and infection didn't kill off the survivors or lead to amputated limbs, but with painful and delicate care, the three were able to heal up enough to hike out to the base camp to be picked up.  At that point, getting into a glider to be snatched up via a trailing hook of a passing plane (none of which had been able to be completely tested beforehand) almost seemed normal. :)

Zuckoff does a good job in fleshing out this story by tracking down a number of the people involved, both on the military side and with the natives that witnessed the original event.  Since he goes into the background of a number of the people in the story, there are a few times when the action starts to slow down a bit.  But overall, the pacing is such that the pages keep turning in order to find out what the next triumph or tragedy will be.  I was also struck by how much of a difference it seems to make when a woman is part of the rescue situation.  Had this been three men instead of two men and a WAC (Women's Army Corp), I'm not sure it would have been very newsworthy either now or back then.  But it certainly made this story unique, and it definitely made for some interesting interactions with the natives. :)

Lost in Shangri-La is well worth reading, both as a story of human survival and endurance, as well as a look into what happens when cultures collide in unexpected ways.

Obtained From: Publicist
Payment: Free ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Lost_in_Shangri_La_A_True_Story_of_Survival_Adventure_and_the_Most_Incredible_Rescue_Mission_of_World_War_II-155-1738595-210157-A_moving_story_of_survival_endurance_and.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Lost_in_Shangri_La_A_True_Story_of_Survival_Adventure_and_the_Most_Incredible_Rescue_Mission_of_World_War_II-155-1738595-210157-A_moving_story_of_survival_endurance_and.html Mon, 11 Jul 2011 02:11:14 +0000
<![CDATA[Easter Island Quick Tip by DavidStanley]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Easter_Island-155-1434498-209884.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Easter_Island-155-1434498-209884.html Tue, 5 Jul 2011 16:54:03 +0000 <![CDATA[ Lost in plain sight]]>
In May 1945 (after Germany's surrender but with the Pacific war still active and dangerous) on the South Pacific Island of Dutch New Guinea, 24 American men and women (part of the WAC force stationed there) went on a sight-seeing expedition to the recently-discovered Baliem River valley.  This large high-mountain valley, marked on the map as impassable mountains, was in fact home to an estimated 100,000 local people who lived in settled villages with a well-established culture and a self-sustaining agrarian economy--and a tradition of permanent war and cannibalism.  

But a pleasant afternoon excursion to see this "Shangri-La" from the air turned tragic when the plane crashed on the dangerous approach over the 15,000-foot mountains into the valley.  Zuckoff does a masterful job of putting us on the plane with these American soldiers by showing us their pictures, stories and personalities.

He also does a good job as a journalist and historian and tracking the many dramatic threads of the story after the crash--the survival, the meeting of the cultures, and first contact, and the eventual rescue mission.  Along the way, we meet some amazing characters, and learn from later interviews with the New Guinean people how they experienced the events from their linguistic, cultural, and spiritual perspective.

The most interesting part of the crash and rescue for me was that the US military base was just 150 miles away, but separated by those imposing mountains and thousands of Japanese soldiers hiding in them, the survivors might have truly been in Shangri-La, the fictional hidden Tibetan valley that is a land of perpetual peace and happiness.  They truly were lost in plain sight.  

Zuckoff gives us all the drama and brings this now-obscure moment of World War II history to live.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Lost_in_Shangri_La_A_True_Story_of_Survival_Adventure_and_the_Most_Incredible_Rescue_Mission_of_World_War_II-155-1738595-208009-Lost_in_plain_sight.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Lost_in_Shangri_La_A_True_Story_of_Survival_Adventure_and_the_Most_Incredible_Rescue_Mission_of_World_War_II-155-1738595-208009-Lost_in_plain_sight.html Sun, 29 May 2011 12:20:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Iguazu Falls Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Iguazu_Falls-155-1421088-207185.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Iguazu_Falls-155-1421088-207185.html Mon, 9 May 2011 03:40:20 +0000
<![CDATA[Capetown Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/city/UserReview-Capetown-155-1397676-207184.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/city/UserReview-Capetown-155-1397676-207184.html Mon, 9 May 2011 03:36:07 +0000
<![CDATA[Barcelona, Spain Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Barcelona_Spain-155-1333476-207183.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Barcelona_Spain-155-1333476-207183.html Mon, 9 May 2011 03:30:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Bora Bora Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-207182.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bora_Bora-155-1421085-207182.html Mon, 9 May 2011 03:24:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Canyonlands National Park Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
One of America's most spectacular national park! I had great fun driving around it!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Canyonlands_National_Park-155-1421087-206726.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Canyonlands_National_Park-155-1421087-206726.html Sun, 1 May 2011 14:12:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Interlaken, Switzerland Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-155-1419364-206725.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Interlaken_Switzerland-155-1419364-206725.html Sun, 1 May 2011 14:05:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Lake Powell Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Lake_Powell-155-1421086-206724.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Lake_Powell-155-1421086-206724.html Sun, 1 May 2011 14:01:47 +0000 <![CDATA[Canadian Rockies Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Canadian_Rockies-155-1421084-206723.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Canadian_Rockies-155-1421084-206723.html Sun, 1 May 2011 14:00:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Bali Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bali-155-1437075-206654.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Bali-155-1437075-206654.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 16:21:04 +0000 <![CDATA[ Once forbidden to us mortals]]> The Forbidden City was the seat of Imperial power in China for more than 5 centuries. It was where the Emperors ruled and where every Chinese would want to pay pilgrimage to at least once in his/her lifetime, together with an excursion to the Great Wall of China. These are the 2 most magnificent man-made architecture in China. Both are huge and both plays a significant role in the history and civilization of China.

The Forbidden City is the largest palace and compound in the world when it was first built some 600+ years ago. It still is the largest in the world. Here, you will find some 9999 rooms with some one million bricks and two million tiles used in its construction. Only one man lived here, the Son of Heaven (during his reign), the rest were his concubines (thousands) and the castrated eunuchs who served him.
There had been many Chinese movies made about the Forbidden City and the Empress Dowager Cixi who ruled for the longest time. The most memorable western movie I remember is The Last Emperor starring Joan Chen. If you've seen the movie, you'd have quite a good idea of how humongous the Imperial Palace is. It takes one a good four hour (at the least) to tour the Palace. That's only because most of the treasures that were once in the palace had been rampaged by the Europeans and Japanese during their attacks early last century. If those treasures are still around, it'd probably take you at least a week to go through the compound. In any case, give yourself at least a good four hour for a quick tour. One walks from the South to the North, one way in and one way out. Before that you'll likely walk through the Tiananmen Square before venturing into the Forbidden City.  If you'd like to see the whole of the Palace compound, go to the South gate & visit the Jingshan Park opposite it. Climb to the top of the pavilion and you'd get a good overview of the entire Palace. One tip though, do not go in the Winter!

My first trip was in the Summer 1993 and it was a little warm but otherwise a pleasant experience. I went again around end 1996 accompanying my aunt and it was in the winter. The only thought we had was to get out as soon as possible! In 2007, when I was staying in Beijing, I took another trip here and it was most pleasant in April. So, the time of the year makes a huge difference in visiting the Forbidden City (as well as the Great Wall of China)!

In the winter, Beijing is absolutely freezing and walking through the Forbidden City is not a pleasant experience at all. The stone wall and the bricks would be so cold that walking through it is not heavenly but hellish. Just like the Forbidden City, it was a palace as well as a prison for its occupants. For those who lived there, it was more of a life of betrayals and murders than those of luxury and happiness. Hundreds and thousands of concubines all vying for the attention of a lone man, the emperor! So, you can imagine! Well, if you can't, there are enough Chinese movies and tv series that recount the plight of some of these concubines and empresses. This is not a palace of joy. Rather, there had been many murders and suicides in this palace (perhaps like any other palaces too).

The 3 famous emperors who had ruled from here were Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. It was during Qianlong reign that the empire reached its zenith. Chinese supremacy during the 1700-1900 was unsurpassed until it fell to the invasion of the Boxers Rebellion and the Allied Forces in the early 20th century. That's also when my great grandparents left the country for good! As I've never met my grandpa, I have no idea at all what life in China was like. 
Incidentally, the notorous Empress Dowager, Cixi, also ruled the empire from here after she organized a coup and installed her six year old son on the throne and then ruled under his name. The Central Kingdom was effectively ruled from within the walls of the Forbidden City, so named because no one other than the "ministers" being summoned by the Emperor were allowed into its wall. The Opium War changed everything and ended the rule of the emperors. The last emperor Puyi abdicated his throne in 1912.

The Forbidden City was once the most powerful symbol and icon for the Chinese people. Today, it's been converted to the Palace Museum and for a time, even Starbucks had a presence here. However, it has since been relocated after countless objections from the Chinese people. Everyday, the Palace Museum will welcome its visitors who still marvel at the magnificence of this architecture built some 6 centuries ago. It is a symbol of power and imperialism for the people of China. While the imperial family had been persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and no longer lives (I believe there is still some descendants who live among the common people) anywhere near this palace, the majestic architecture still dazzles many visitors and academics who have made their way here. 

The Forbidden City has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 so for those of you who are fans of the UNESCO, make sure this is your no. 1 stop in Beijing. Do not miss it if you're visiting China. Otherwise, you've made a wasted trip as with the omission of the Great Wall. These are 2 of the most important architecture in China! 
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Forbidden_City-155-1426850-206650-Once_forbidden_to_us_mortals.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Forbidden_City-155-1426850-206650-Once_forbidden_to_us_mortals.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 12:01:12 +0000
<![CDATA[Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-128-1394724-206636.html http://www.lunch.com/living/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-128-1394724-206636.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 03:37:03 +0000 <![CDATA[Travel + Leisure Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Travel_Leisure-155-1394667-206635.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Travel_Leisure-155-1394667-206635.html Sat, 30 Apr 2011 03:35:07 +0000 <![CDATA[LonelyPlanet.com Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> LonelyPlanet.com helps plan a trip before stepping into unknown territory. Sometimes, I don't buy the book but visit this site for an overview as I don't really like carrying a thick book around. At other times, I browse to see where I'll be led next.]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-LonelyPlanet_com-155-1397598-206595.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-LonelyPlanet_com-155-1397598-206595.html Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:21:13 +0000 <![CDATA[Easter Island Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Easter_Island-155-1434498-206511.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Easter_Island-155-1434498-206511.html Wed, 27 Apr 2011 15:11:41 +0000 <![CDATA[Maldives Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Maldives-155-1434315-206510.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Maldives-155-1434315-206510.html Wed, 27 Apr 2011 15:08:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Florida Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-Florida-155-1435887-206509.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-Florida-155-1435887-206509.html Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:58:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Wyoming Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Wyoming-155-1435900-206508.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Wyoming-155-1435900-206508.html Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:53:49 +0000 <![CDATA[ Bhutan, as one woman's encounter]]>
Similar to Steil's time abroad in its scope and events, Napoli's itinerary during 2007, the Year of the Female Fire Hog, seems rather limited, for time and sights. She tells of what happens at Thimphu's newly launched Kuzoo 108 radio, even if her tale tends towards the everyday in a globalized pop culture blur that links her to her Bhutanese hosts as often as what keeps them still so much different than Americans. As she does not get out of the capital much, there's not a lot that happens. But her enthusiasm, tempered with her growing understanding of Buddhist transience, enriches her straightforward narrative. She's not a flashy writer, so the depth comes more from subtle transformations inside her, compared to the rapid ones in a nation eager to tap into what it sees as the excitement, comforts, and goods of globalization.

The irony of her (a native Brooklynite) leaving downtown L.A. (working for NPR's "Marketplace") to quiet down in this place that seeks to settle people into a happiness based on not materialism but spiritual balance does not escape her. She and her radio crew try to promote a "Symphony of Love" for Valentine's Day while she comes to terms with the lessons of what may appear to be lifelong love, but in fact may be a pleasant encounter. Her tempered wisdom works well in her telling.

Later, her return to Bhutan, twice in a brief time, brings already the sense of a rapidly Westernizing realm. It's one that appears in her perspective as a protective one, like that towards a lover, worried about the object of her affection becoming too altered, too quickly. But that attachment's not the Buddhist way, either, as she learns.

While I learned much less about Bhutan itself than what I'd expected, a bibliography, some fact-filled chapters late in the book, and a list of websites point us towards more information. The tone's therefore a bit uneven, but this may reflect her own preoccupations as they shift from first visit to follow-up complications. (I wish photos were included: they were needed to enhance the rather low-key account of what Bhutan looks like, at least beyond Thimphu, where she's settled in for most of the events.)

Napoli favors her own vantage point, as character-driven rather than focused on scenery or excitement, and she keeps the story a modest one. She reveals enough of her past to inform her own transformation but she does not linger. She keeps the story moving, and although the tone of later chapters, after her first return home and then back again, feel altered, she's changed from her Bhutanese stay. Her own sudden embrace of being a godmother, and her own insights as she connects more with a country in need of contraception and all sorts of careful planning with temptations all around it, make for a satisfying, delayed-coming-of-age tale.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Radio_Shangri_La_What_I_Learned_in_Bhutan_the_Happiest_Kingdom_on_Earth-155-1713099-206269-Bhutan_as_one_woman_s_encounter.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/book/UserReview-Radio_Shangri_La_What_I_Learned_in_Bhutan_the_Happiest_Kingdom_on_Earth-155-1713099-206269-Bhutan_as_one_woman_s_encounter.html Fri, 22 Apr 2011 00:02:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Lake Chuck Is Worth A Look!]]>
As I grew older, Lake Charles became a bigger part of my life.  I eventually attended college there and graduated from McNeese State University.  While in college and after graduation, I fell in love with the city and its surrounding area.  For this reason, I now live about ten miles out of the city limits in a small community that is rural enough to remind me of home but close enought to the action in Lake Charles so that I can quickly get a metro fix.

I've worked numerous jobs in and around the city and have tried to partake in just about everything the area has to offer.  When Louisiana is mentioned on television or in other types of media, New Orleans obviously gets top billing.  Other major cities mentioned include Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and once in awhile Shreveport also gets a nod.  Lake Charles, however, has managed to remain relatively unknown outside of southwestern Louisiana and southeast Texas.

The city and its surrounding area have plenty of things going for them, including the two week long Contraband Days festival that is celebrated every spring in the city and the huge Red, White, Blue, and You celebration held ever Fourth of July.  Lake Charles also features the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the state (behind New Orleans).  Other festivals and activities that occur yearly include the Cal-Ca-Chew Festival, the Fur and Wildlife Festival, the Marshland Festival, BayouCon (a science fiction and pop culture convention of which I am the vice president of), and the Cajun French Music Association Festival.

On top of all of that, the city and the surrounding area has plenty of nightclubs, dance halls, and a whole lot of places to eat.  Everything from Cajun food to Tex-Mex can be found in the area.

Lake Charles is also home to two casionoes and the neighboring city of Vinton is home to Delta Downs Race Track where you can bet on the horses if you wish.

The rural areas surrounding Lake Charles also feature some of the best hunting and fishing in the state, and you're just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico if you want to take in a bit of saltwater fishing.  The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, the largest coastal marsh refuge in the United States, and Holly Beach, are just a car drive south out of Sulphur, a city that borders Lake Charles.

Sports teams in the area include the McNeese State University Cowboys and Cowgirls, who compete in everything from football to soccer, and the Louisiana Swashbucklers, an indoor football team that hosts home games at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, but still want a few luxuries within arm's reach, Lake Charles is an excellent city to visit.  And if you do ever visit the Lake Charles area, feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to show you around!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Lake_Charles_Louisiana-155-1698486-206176-Lake_Chuck_Is_Worth_A_Look_.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Lake_Charles_Louisiana-155-1698486-206176-Lake_Chuck_Is_Worth_A_Look_.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:49:19 +0000
<![CDATA[Carlsbad Caverns National Park Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Carlsbad_Caverns_National_Park-155-1426878-206175.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Carlsbad_Caverns_National_Park-155-1426878-206175.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:08:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Outside Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Outside-155-1394630-206174.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Outside-155-1394630-206174.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:07:59 +0000 <![CDATA[California Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-California-155-1435886-206173.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-California-155-1435886-206173.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:06:47 +0000 <![CDATA[The Grand Canyon Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/place/UserReview-The_Grand_Canyon-155-1409095-206172.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/place/UserReview-The_Grand_Canyon-155-1409095-206172.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:05:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Wyoming Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Wyoming-155-1435900-206171.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Wyoming-155-1435900-206171.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:04:00 +0000 <![CDATA[New Mexico Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-New_Mexico-155-1435893-206170.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-New_Mexico-155-1435893-206170.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:03:26 +0000 <![CDATA[Arizona Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Arizona-155-1435883-206169.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Arizona-155-1435883-206169.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:02:54 +0000 <![CDATA[United States of America Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-United_States_of_America-155-1434302-206168.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-United_States_of_America-155-1434302-206168.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:01:43 +0000 <![CDATA[Seattle Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Seattle-155-1300352-206167.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Seattle-155-1300352-206167.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:00:53 +0000 <![CDATA[Florida Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-Florida-155-1435887-206166.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/state_province/UserReview-Florida-155-1435887-206166.html Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:59:54 +0000 <![CDATA[Prague, Czech Republic Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Prague_Czech_Republic-155-1419372-206107.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Prague_Czech_Republic-155-1419372-206107.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:06:07 +0000 <![CDATA[Toronto, Ontario, Canada Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/city/UserReview-Toronto_Ontario_Canada-155-1432586-206106.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/city/UserReview-Toronto_Ontario_Canada-155-1432586-206106.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:02:57 +0000 <![CDATA[Berlin, Germany Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Berlin_Germany-155-1419374-206105.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Berlin_Germany-155-1419374-206105.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 08:01:42 +0000 <![CDATA[Niagara Falls Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Niagara Falls is also the honeymoon city of the Canadians. Personally, as one of the great Falls, I prefer Iguazu Falls in Brazil over Niagara Falls. I've yet to see Victoria Falls so I can't determine which is the most awesome!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Niagara_Falls-155-1409094-206104.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Niagara_Falls-155-1409094-206104.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 07:54:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Signature Travel & Lifestyle Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Zinio.com and it has only 4 editions annually. The pictures are great especially in the digital version. I had not seen this magazine in the stores before but that may be because it's Australian. The digital version is quite worth keeping at $5.17 for 4 issues!]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Signature_Travel_Lifestyle-155-1729624-206102.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Signature_Travel_Lifestyle-155-1729624-206102.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:34:49 +0000 <![CDATA[Business Traveler Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Zinio for a mere $15.99! Awesome!]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Business_Traveler-155-1729646-206101.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Business_Traveler-155-1729646-206101.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:27:18 +0000 <![CDATA[DestinAsian Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Zinio as it's only $15 for 6 issues while the paper edition is more than doubled that. You can get this magazine for free from lounges at the Singapore Changi Airport and also some hotel spas in Singapore and Thailand. The magazine has improved over the years and I normally got mine for free but am now getting the digital subscription on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. It's available on iPad too.

A great read for travels in Asia.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-DestinAsian-155-1729645-206099.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-DestinAsian-155-1729645-206099.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:15:33 +0000
<![CDATA[Where Chicago Magazine Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Where_Chicago_Magazine-155-1729666-206098.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Where_Chicago_Magazine-155-1729666-206098.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:07:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-155-1394724-206097.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/product/UserReview-Arthur_Frommer_s_Budget_Travel-155-1394724-206097.html Tue, 19 Apr 2011 06:05:38 +0000 <![CDATA[ Life & Mirrors of the Soul]]>  
The Nile didn’t begin in Egypt, rather the movie begins in Ethiopia and ends in the magnificence of the Great Sphinx and Alexandria. Music in this film is upbeat, it sets the tone of the journey, movie and story.

Excellently shot with beautiful sunsets, stunning waterfalls, ancient rock churches, Mystery of the Nile outlines the expedition of a team of historian, archaeologist, journalist, photographer and kayaker. The team attempts to understand the River Nile, beginning from its source, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, some 3000 miles away from Egypt. This team of courageous men and women has to learn a few survival skills as well as learning to live in unfamiliar territories. In the search for knowledge, they learn about themselves and their hosts as well as local bandits (who fired gunshots at them) in different areas of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

The film shows the danger in navigating the River Nile, including white water rafting in the fast flowing section of the river where their raft flipped and there were crocodiles in the river! They were lucky to be alive to continue with the journey! This is a film about adventure and surviving it. If you’re into expedition of that sort, then this is definitely the kind of film for you. Personally, you’ll never catch me in this kind of trips! I have phobias about drowning in water and being eaten live by crocodiles,  hehheh!

So much about water… how about some desert landscapes? Well, I love this part of the film where they shot the desert. I’ve got this fascination with the desert and the volcanoes! Wish I had managed to venture into the Sahara when I was last in Morocco but it wasn’t meant to be. May be in the near future! Sudan looks awesome in this film. It certainly looks like a place I’d enjoy myself in! An ancient dynasty buried in sands… my, that’s quite a surprise and a big mystery!

On Day 81, the team reached the borders of Sudan & Egypt. They made a big mistake one night when the team leader and the kayaker encountered a huge windstorm in the river in the darkness of the night. Pasquale, the expedition leader and Gordon Brown, the kayaker, nearly drown. Luckily both survived and the team was able to continue to the first ruin in Egypt, the mighty Temple of Abu Simbel, which if you are intending on a trip to Egypt, a MUST! It was even better than visiting the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Abu Simbel is an extraordinary achievement of the ancient Egyptian.
The Aswan High Dam improves irrigation and puts a stop to the famine and salinity of the river which destroyed farmlands in the past. The film takes the audience through some of the most important historical sites of Egypt; Luxor, the beautiful tomb of Nefertari and then the modern Cairo. It took me back to my journey a decade ago, to the mystery of a great civilization some 4000 years ago, to the land of beautiful Cleopatra. 

Egypt dazzles...........]]>
http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mystery_of_the_Nile-155-1021311-205965-Life_Mirrors_of_the_Soul.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/movie/UserReview-Mystery_of_the_Nile-155-1021311-205965-Life_Mirrors_of_the_Soul.html Sat, 16 Apr 2011 09:04:32 +0000
<![CDATA[Oia Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Oia-155-1728411-205810.html http://www.lunch.com/100places/reviews/d/UserReview-Oia-155-1728411-205810.html Wed, 13 Apr 2011 10:44:54 +0000 <![CDATA[Athens Quick Tip by Penelope11]]> http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Athens-134-1438018-205793.html http://www.lunch.com/EuroTravelTips/reviews/d/UserReview-Athens-134-1438018-205793.html Wed, 13 Apr 2011 02:58:05 +0000