Tuesday, 13 March 2012

South Africa

South Africa was once divided into two British Colonies, namely the Colony of Natal and the Cape Colony, and two "Boer" Afrikaner Republics, namely the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 after 8 years of negotiations after the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 - 1902. The Republic of South Africa as it is today was form in 1961, which covers the southern tip of Africa and an area of 1,2 million square kilometers.

The country was divided into 9 provinces (states) in 1994 when we had our first democratic elections and Mr. Nelson Mandela became president. The provinces are: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and Gauteng. Each province has its own capital and the country has three capital cities, namely Pretoria the administrative capital, Bloemfontein the judicial capital and Cape Town the legislative capital.

The population is about 45,3 million people and is made up of 13 different groups, namely the Zulu, Xhosa, Shangaan, Ndebele, Swazi, Pedi, South Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Khoisan, Coloured, Asian and White. To mix things up even more, we have 11 official languages of which English is the most commonly spoken. Afrikaans is mainly spoken between your white and coloured people and it is derived from Dutch, German and French.
South Africa has 6 neighbouring countries, namely Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and unfortunately poor old Zimbabwe. Its 2700-kilometer coastline includes four of Africa's largest harbours - Durban and Richards Bay along the Indian Ocean and Cape Town and Saldanha Bay along the Atlantic Ocean.
South Africa has a moderate climate with three rainfall regions, the majority of the country has summer rainfall, the South Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate with winter rain and a very small area along the south eastern coastline know as the "Garden Route" has all year round rainfall. Summer is basically from October to April and winter is June, July and August.

South Africa has a two tier government, a national government with a democratically elected president and each province has its own provincial legislature. Since the political change of 1994 the South African society has made great strides towards a democratic, socially more equitable and economically more globally competitive country. It has, in fact, become a leader in many spheres of international north-south relations. Recent growth of the South African economy is largely based on the tourism sector, a gradually diversifying and increasingly competitive manufacturing sector, value-adding beneficiation of mineral and agricultural raw materials and a sophisticated trading, financial and professional services sector.
Internationally South Africa can be ranked amongst "upper middle income countries" like Chile, Portugal, Korea, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil and Poland.

Travel in Brisbane

With a population of 1,600,000 and with an area of approximately 525 square miles, Brisbane has shucked the reputation it had as a backwater and changed it to a reputation that the people living there can be proud of, being one of the country's most progressive centers. Brisbane has a number of interesting locations such as a great riverside park and a good street cafe scene. Brisbane's cultural calendar is quite busy and the nightlife is thirving too.

Locally, Brisbane is known as Bris Vegas, renowned elsewhere for the sun and the brash, grlitzy hordes that follow it. Brisbane is also an arts capital that is thriving, it has lot's of theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries. It must be paradise with a climate this good.

Brisbane is placed in a good location where the weather is in a delightful contrast to the chilly weather further south, Brisbane
is most pleasant in winter time, June to August, when the days are warm and sunny and the nights are cool. All that while not suffering from the further north stifling humidity. Between June and August, a lot of people from Sydney and Melbourne move up north so a crows could be expected.

The Sunshine Coast

Not more than an hour drive from Brisbane you can reach the Sunshine Coast Queensland, beginning at Caloundra and extending to Cooloola, that is gateway to Fraser Island. The Sunshine Coast Queensland has a pristine coastline and lush hinterland and a superb cuisine. Whatever you are looking for adventure or a nice spot of sand to sit and ponder, the sunshine coast delivers. This coast is a holiday center for both couples and families.

Just to give some examples of the diversity, the kids can be kept happy fishing, visiting local attractions, canoeing or wandering around the markets. There are a variety of swimming spots provided by rivers, sheltered bays and beaches. You can take a quiet rainforest walk, play a round of golf or you can choose a romantic dinner by the sea or in the mountains.

The Sunshine Coast is an ideal place to relax, being a perfect mix of coast and country.

Monday, 12 March 2012

marriages round the world reavealed

  In many cases a marriage is recognized both by a church and the state. While the legal requirements for a wedding are established by the state, many couple wish to follow certain religious traditions to have their marriage recognized in their church as well. In the Catholic religion marriage is considered sacred and is one of the sacraments of the faith. The Catholic Church puts forth their own requirements for a marriage to be recognized in the eyes of the church.

One of the most important aspect of a Catholic wedding is the location. Many couples may wish to be married in an outdoor ceremony but it is important to realize that an outdoor wedding would not be recognized by the Catholic Church. The purpose of holding your wedding ceremony is to demonstrate that you are seeking God's blessing and influence in your marriage. For this reason the Catholic Church does not recognize any marriage ceremonies that are held outside of a church. While you will still be legally married in accordance with all state guidelines your marriage will not be recognized by the church.

A Catholic wedding does not have to include a Mass as part of the wedding. The church will recognize a union that is performed in a church and by a priest without the full Mass. Many couples will opt for a full Mass to have the opportunity to receive additional blessings during their wedding. A wedding that includes a full Mass can be slightly over an hour long in terms of length. A wedding that does not include a Mass can be approximately 20 minutes long and usually includes readings, hymns and psalms as well as blessings from the priest but does not include a celebration of the Eucharist.

Yet another final superstition relates to offering well wishes to the bride. At a traditional Irish wedding it is considered bad luck for a woman to be the first one to congratulate the bride and wish her well. For this reason a close friend or relative of the groom will also take it upon himself to ensure that he is the first to congratulate the bride.

A traditional Irish wedding usually concludes with a toast that has been recited for many years. At the end of the reception the guests will gather around the couple for the final toast. The couple will begin the toast by saying, "Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, 'tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God's blessing in your hour of need."

One additional tradition of the Catholic Church is requiring the couple to attend pre-marital counseling sessions, sometimes called Pre-Cana. These are extremely worthwhile because the give the couple the forum for talking about various serious issues. This time honored tradition of the Catholic Church goes a long way in ensuring that the couple is right for each other and that their marriage will last. These sessions are usually hosted by a priest and can also include young married couples who testify to the joys and tribulations of marriage. These can be either individual or group sessions and include weekly or monthly sessions or may be one intensive weekend of counseling.

Of course, no traditional Irish wedding complete without the presence of bagpipes and kilts. It is customary for friends and family members to bring along their bagpipes and pipe the couple into the mass and into the reception. They may also continue to charm the guests with an assortment of bagpipe tunes suitable for dancing. Not only do friends and family members enjoy performing for the couple and the other guests but they also enjoy taking the opportunity to dress in traditional kilts for the occasion. The look and sound of the bagpipers creates the feel of a truly traditional Irish wedding.

In order for a marriage to be recognized by the Catholic Church it is important to adhere to certain traditions. These traditions include location, music selections, seeking annulments for previous marriages and participating in church sanctioned counseling sessions.

north cyprus

Long neglected in comparison to its well-know neighbour to the south, North Cyprus has come into its own in recent years and now stands proudly as one of the most 'up and coming' Mediterranean holiday destinations. The island's history has seen it under the rule of most of the world's powers; from the Romans, ancient Greeks and Lusignans, to its more recent past as a British colony. In the 1970's, the island was subject to international dispute again, culminating in an invasion by Turkish forces to protect the interests of their compatriot Turkish Cypriots. The result was the 'green line'. Under the control of the United Nations, this border separated the two parts of Cyprus and also effectively isolated the north, both politically and economically. The island remains divided, and of the world's powers, only Turkey technically recognises the state of North Cyprus. However, recent history has seen changes and it is now possible for visitors and residents to freely cross between the parts of the island.

Regardless of the politics, the effect of this isolation is a bonus to tourists. Whilst the recent relaxing of restrictions has meant growth in development in many areas, much of the country remains all but untouched by the hand of modern life. There are still many places where farmers use donkeys in preference to tractors and there is a feeling that the 20th century, never mind the 21st, has had little impact. North Cyprus is also home to some of the most important archaeological and historic sites in this part of the world. The remains of Salamis, the capital of Cyprus in Roman times, include a massive amphitheatre and other important remains. Though much remains to be excavated, the sheer scale of the site is breathtaking. Equally breathtaking are the views from St Hilarion castle! An important 'crusader' castle, St Hilarion is in a remarkable state of preservation and an abiding testament to the skill and fortitude of its builders. A few miles away, in the peaceful mountainside village of Bellapais, is the remarkable Bellapais Abbey. Dating from the 13th century, this monument to an older civilisation still exudes a palpable atmosphere of peace. Famously the setting of Lawrence Durrell's novel, 'Bitter Lemons of Cyprus', the village is a 'must see' for visitors. As is the sea-front town of Kyrenia. With a castle and many delightful, bustling alleys, the heart of Kyrenia is its ancient harbour, described by the Mail on Sunday as 'one of the most beautiful places in the world'. Originally warehouses for carob and other of the island's products, the water-side buildings are now home to a range of delightful restaurants and shops

There are so many more important sites that a good guidebook is as essential as good sun-cream! But amongst all this history, there is a more lively side to North Cyprus too. Many hundreds of restaurants and tavernas can be found here. All at prices that delight the wallet, whilst delighting the palette with a mouth-watering choice of local and international cuisine. The location also makes it ideal for the many operators offering watersports and diving. The coastline, as with many similar places, is protected by statute and items may not be taken from the ocean bed, but there are some challenging and scenic dives here. Indeed, the north coast was the site of the world's oldest recovered shipwreck. Professionally lifted from the sea-bed some years ago, the remains of the ship, and its cargo, can be found in Kyrenia's castle museum.

Despite its languid and old-fashioned aura, North Cyprus is definitely firmly in the 31st century when it comes to accommodation. The many hotels, of all sizes, and holiday villages here are all of a surprisingly high standard. Whilst there are a number of international style larger hotels, brimming with every facility imaginable, there is much pleasure to be had in discovering some of the small 'boutique' hotels and family-run properties that form the majority of the available tourist accommodation. Travel is simple too, with a number of airlines operating into Ercan, the island's principal tourist airport. All in all, North Cyprus offers much for the Mediterranean visitor and now is the time to explore and enjoy, before the 21st century catches up.

seven continents theory

Viewed from space, the Earth appears to have four or five major landmass areas depending on your viewpoint. Despite this, we hold on to the illusion there are more continents.

As we all learned in grade school, there are seven continents. A quick look at a globe, however, reveals this basic assumption is just flat wrong. In particular, how can Europe be considered a continent when there is no clear division with Russia?

To the surprise of many, the Arctic is not classified as a continent. Instead, it is divided up between North America and Asia. Yes, Asia because Russia is considered to be part of it in the seven continents model. Following are the accepted seven continents in alphabetical order.

Africa is undeniably a continent by any definition. It is also the second largest one as a measure of landmass, covering over 11,700,000 square miles and making up 5.9 percent of the total surface of the Earth. As a measure of population, Africa is second most populous continent with over 840 million people.

Antarctica is also considered a continent, if a particularly barren one. 98 percent of Antarctica is covered in ice and it is the only continent neither considered a country nor claimed by any other country.

Based on sheer size, Asia is the dominant continent in the world. It has the largest landmass area and is home to over 60 percent of all humans. Talk about traffic jams! In truth, the measurements on Asia can be a bit misleading. Under the seven continents methodology, Asia extends over much of Russia, the Mideast and even parts of Egypt.

Often referred to as the forgotten continent, Australia is the fourth continent. Incorrectly referred to as an island for significant periods of history, Australia is undoubtedly a continent. That being said, it is the smallest in landmass with just more than 4,000,000 square miles, but has a healthy population of over 20 million people.

Europe is also considered a continent, but there is little geographic evidence supporting this claim. The continental designation is primarily a political and historical development. Regardless, Europe covers an area of 4 million square miles, but is heavily populated with over eleven percent of the world population at 705 million people.

North America is our next continent. Once again, we run into the practical issue of boundaries. Using the seven continent methodology, North America extends into the arctic as expected, but is also considered to include much of Central America. The total landmass is 9.45 million square miles. 514 million people are estimated to live in North America.

Our final continent is South America. Covering 6.9 million square miles, South America covers 3.5 percent of the total surface of the Earth. With a population of 371 million people, it ranks as the fifth most populous nation.

The misleading nature of the seven continent theory has to do with Europe. If the countries of Europe weren't such powerful entities through history, would we really consider it a continent? Not likely!

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is synonymous with casino playing and sports betting. While the desert blooms on its outskirts, the lights of this betting mecca signal all who enter that this is not any other vacationionl spot. Who does not recognize the big neon cowboy called Vegas Vic waving to all visitors: "Come In Come In" at the entrance to the Pioneer Club.

But, let us suppose you have decided to go to Vegas and have no idea which casinos to go to play. There are so many that you might just go to the nearest one and miss out on some real and true excitement. That is why you must read this article.

Why Do you Want to Go to a Casino?
Interested in the spectacular sights? These are the top three not to miss:
1) The Venetian
Why go to Venice if you can take a gondola ride through street just like you would in Venice? This is a definate MUST and especially so if you are going with a mate. For singles, this is still a great experience because the place is huge and the ride entertaining.

2) Paris
Similar in theme to the Venetian, this casino makes you feel like you have visited Paris in France with the imposing Eiffel Tower looming down on you from above, you can even take a fast-moving ride and wizz through and by the towers and other spectacular palaces and gardens.

3) The Bellagio
No waterfall or water fountain I have seen is as spectacular and coloruful like the one sported at the Bellagio. Starting with blue and then changing from an orange to a fiery crimson tinge, I felt that the water has caught fire and I was witnessing something I had only read about: instant combustion.

1) Excalibur
This is one of the most busiest corners of the entire globe. Their casino is the largest you will ever see and it addition it is not just a casino. Its designed in a medieval manor or palace kind of theme that makes you feel as if you have been jutted back in time. The tables are also easy to get a seat and the dealers are fair. Yes. The Excalibur is a great place to play your favourite casino games.

2) The Luxor
Why not enter ancient Egypt and place your bet as the age-old pharaohs look on? The casino hall at the Luxor is designed as the interior of the Great Pyramid in Egypt (actually it's a lot better than the orignial one) and the betting floor is vast and encompassing of all games such as poker, craps, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and a large number of electronic slot machines.
3) The Hilton Casino Lounge
Amazing but true. The Hilton casino lounge supplies the best odds for sports and casino bets. Maybe it's the fact that this is not one of the better known casinos in Las Vegas, or maybe its because its name is not synonymous with gambling, but in any case, if you are interested in pure card or slot gaming, this is the casino to go to.

Las Vegas is one of the best locations for entertainment in the world and you can find all kinds of shows and theme parks there so you will not get bored no matter what you like. Relax, or take an active part in your trip. Learn more about casinos at http://www.gambling-portal.com because you will definitely enjoy your stay at Las Vegas.

getting married in Thailand

A legal marriage in Thailand consists of both parties registering their marriage in person with the local Thai Amphur (Civil Registry Office). The United States does recognize the validity of such a marriage. For American citizens marrying either Thai citizens or another American citizen, the procedure is the same. For Americans marrying a third-country national, their prospective spouse must also follow a similar procedure with their own embassy.


1. Complete an affidavit at the American Embassy. The affidavit form, available upon request, includes all of the information required by relevant Thai law. The form must be completed and notarized at the Embassy.

2. Have the notarized affidavit translated.

3. Take the affidavit and translation to:
Legalization Division
Department of Consular Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3rd Floor, 123 Chaeng Wattana Road
Tung Song Hong, Laksi District, Bangkok
Tel:(02) 575-1057-8, Fax:(02) 575-1054

4. Take the affidavit and supporting documents to a local Amphur and register yourselves as married. The Amphur will also require the following documents:
• Your American passport
• If one party is Thai, the Thai citizen's identification card
• If either party is under the age of twenty, written permission from the parents (with Thai translation);
• If either you or your fiance have been previously married the Amphur will want to see proof that prior marriages have been terminated; either divorce or death certificates. These documents, if available, should be translated into Thai prior to presentation at the Amphur.