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March, 2012

  1. BSNYC No Friday Fun Quiz Again Because I’m On Tour and Live to Disappoint You!

    March 31, 2012 by bikesnobnyc

    Yesterday, in the section of this blog where the comments go, a reader inserted the following words:

    Anonymous said…

    This is bullshit. I’ve been putting up with your book plugging for at least two weeks, and you can’t even manage to put up satisfactory blog posts while on the road.

    You need to get your priorities straight. I’m looking forward to a half decent post tomorrow.

    March 29, 2012 1:27 PM

    I agree that it is, like, totally bullshit, but what am I to do?  For the time being, touring is my reality.  The road has become my bride.  I am stripped of all but pride.  So in her I do confide.  And she keeps me satisfied.  Gives me all I need.  Wherever I may roam.  Woah.  Yeah!  Wherever I may wander, wander, wander.  Yeah, yeah, wherever I may roam.  Yeah, yeah.  Whoaoaoaoaoah!

    Sweet Lob, that song is ridiculous.

    (Via AHTBM)

    Anyway, rest assured that it won’t be long before my tour is behind me, at which point this blog will revert from its current state of sucking to its usual state of sucking.  In the meantime, I’ll add a gratuitous and self-serving reminder that I’ll be in the following places this weekend:

    Saturday, March 31
    1:30pm ride/3:00pm talk and booksigning
    Mellow Johnny’s 
    400 Nueces
    Austin, Texas 78701
    (512) 473-0222

    Sunday, April 1
    2:00pm ride
    1833 Pearl Street
    Boulder, Colorado 80302
    (303) 440-3535
    3:00pm talk and booksigning
    Boulder Book Store
    1107 Pearl Street
    Boulder, Colorado 80302
    (303) 447-2074
    Cost: $5.00 (good for $5 off The Enlightened Cyclist at any time, or $5 off any purchase the day of the event)

    With regard to the $5 thing in Boulder, I did receive at least one irate “Tweet” about it, and in fact was quite surprised myself.  However, when I balked, my publisher explained to me that this is the bookstore’s policy, and the $5 simply goes towards the purchase of my book or indeed any book if you don’t want to buy mine, and that purchasing something from the store obviously offsets the time and effort the staff puts into hosting wiseass bloggers from New York City who track mud into the store and fail to put the toilet seat down after using it.  Once I looked at it in this light, I agreed that there are far worse things than supporting your local bookseller.  I hope you’ll agree as well, and if not you can always just join the ride and then give me “the finger” and leave once we get to the bookstore.

    Moving on, from time to time I receive emails from people or businesses asking me to help them promote their products.  Far more often than not, I either decline or ignore these requests.  However, once in a great while I come across a product I feel I should share with my readers, and when I received the an email that contained both the phrases “Burning Man” and “beautiful dust masks” I knew right away that this was one of those products:

    I am a designer from the skateboarding industry in Santa Cruz California. I have done the artwork for many famous skateboards and surfboards. A few years ago I started going to Burning Man and I noticed that there were no beautiful dust masks in the world. I decided to make them myself and this adventure took me to the far east where I found a manufacturer who could put vibrant colors and designs onto dust masks. 

    And thus, the Vogmask was born:

    …now I have created vogmask - the world’s first designer dust, allergy, particle masks. They are very soft and comfortable and my friends and I wear them while cycling, traveling on airplanes, working with lathes and spraypaint, cleaning out the chicken coop and doing other things where we’d rather not breathe all the contaminants in the air.

    Inspiration is like lighting, or herpes, or a rabid monkey on PCP, and we never know when or where it is going to strike.  Alexander Fleming was messing around with some fungus and he discovered Penicillin.  Two idiots crashed into each other and invented the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  And the inventor of the Vogmask apparently went to Burning Man, “wigged out” on some bad acid, and strapped a pair of panties on his face:

    Vogmask is poised to become the face mask of choice for the discriminating germaphobe, though the first thing I thought of when I saw the above image was this song:

    And then I saw this image:

    Which will no doubt result in thousands of Vogmask orders from Japanese perverts who are into that whole “pantyface gardening” thing.
    In any case, I sincerely with the inventor the best of luck with his venture, and if you lead a lifestyle that requires you to look fabulous while being exposed to dangerous particles or fumes I hope you will consider the Vogmask.  (As a semi-professional blogger my own vocation does not require a face mask, unless I’ve consumed a particularly “epic” burrito before going to “work.”)  Indeed, there’s no reason that the Vogmask shouldn’t become all the rage among the artisanal bicycle craftspeople of Portland.
    Speaking of Portland, I previously believed it to be the mostest bike-friendliest city in which to bicycle cycle for transportation in the United States.  But then I visited the midwest, and I daresay that Minneapolis and Madison may be even more rideable than “The Artisanal ‘P’.”  In particular, riding in Madison was like riding a cotton candy bicycle while being tickled with buttercups, and my commute from my quarters in Middleton to downtown Madison looked mostly like this:
    Sure, Madison’s a much smaller town than Portland, but that doesn’t mean Portland can’t feel the Midwest breathing down its neck hair dreadlocks.  This could be why Portland’s bike-related endeavors increasingly seem to be born not of exuberance but of desperation.  For example, having already done wooden bikes, they’re now moving on to wooden helments:
    (Yes, I realize Corvallis isn’t Portland, but I’m sure it’s close enough that the Smugness Cloud rolls in if the wind direction is right.)
    It would make me exceedingly happy if, by the time I get there for my BRA, half of Portland is riding around on wooden bikes while wearing wooden helments and SPD-compatible clogs:
    Of course, the danger there is that they might all catch fire, but don’t worry, because help is on the way in the form of an emergency “bake feets” squad:

    I can certainly see bicycles being useful in a disaster, but the main problem with them is that they’re ridden by cyclists.  And if you’ve ever set out with a group of cyclists you know there’s that inevitable ten or fifteen minutes during which the two or three biggest know-it-alls in the bunch have to settle on a route.  ”Scranus to Frumunda then through the park and onto South Grundle?”  ”No, South Grundle’s gonna be a mess this time of day, let’s go around to Vulvanus.”  ”Vulvanus is being resurfaced, let’s take the Vas Deferens.”  And so forth.  It’s like a People’s Front of Judea meeting.  You can even see them doing it in the photo above, and that period of deliberation is going to mean the difference between life and death.

    But don’t worry, at least there’s going to be a disaster theme ride:

    “There’s even a cargo bike/disaster-themed Pedalpalooza ride in the works.”

    Presumably it will happen after the Allergy Pride Parade, and of course they’ll all be wearing Vogmasks.

    Yes, feeling more prepared than everyone else in the event of Apocalypse is the ultimate expression of smugness, just as the Bridgestone X0-1 is the ultimate platform for the sporting retrogrouch, and if you’ve ever dreamed of owning one a reader has forwarded me the following Craigslist ad:

    Bridgestone XO-1 – $600 (Olympia)
    Date: 2012-03-29, 9:43PM PDT
    Reply to: [deleted]

    In the beginning…

    9 bikes were given to Man to race and crash and make a mess of things.
    7 bikes were forged for the Dwarves who kept their bikes forever in the garage.
    3 bikes were given to the elves who turned them quickly into fixies and were never seen from again.
    But one bike was made by the Master Grant Peterson…One bike to Rule Them All!

    That bike is the XO-1 It is the one bike that is truly designed to do it all. At home on the road as the trail, this bike is designed to take you to Middle Earth and beyond. 

    This is a Purple 1993 bike that is small, not large: no, you crank-apes cannot ride this bike. This bike measures 43 cm (yes they made them that small) 
    I will provide pictures of the bike to people who request it. Only the worthy are able to gaze upon greatness. 

    The bike is getting ready to be rebuilt. It has non-standard handbar and shifters. I have the Moustash bar and Suntour Barcon shifters to make it right. With this bike, many people wish it to be set up to their needs and not mine. 

    I will ship this bike if you need me to. Shipping will be extra. This is the real deal. Of course, you need to be the height of Frodo to ride it!

    It’s too small for me, but I think it would fit my helper monkey, Vito.

  2. The Belize Zoo

    March 31, 2012 by travelblogexchange

    A white coatimundi at the Belize Zoo.Start: January 21, Mayan Wells
    Finish: January 24, San Jose Succotz
    Jungle Cats Seen: 5
    Monkeys Fed: 1
    Days of Reliable Internet in Belize: 1
    Price of Gas in Belize: $5.50/gallon

    We wrap up our time in Belize with a trifecta of jungle campgrounds. First stop is Mayan Wells in the middle of the country, then it’s on to the Belize Zoo education center, and finally The Trek Stop in San Jose Succotz near the Guatemalan border.

    By far the highlight of our Belize experience was the zoo. It is unlike any other zoo I’ve ever been to. The jungle setting and the dozens of species of native animals, all rescued or given by other zoos, made it more than worth the $15 admission fee. READ MORE>>>

  3. The Amazing Race 20, Episode 6

    March 31, 2012 by thepracticalnomad

    Schwangau-Horn (Germany) – Munich (Germany) – Baku (Azerbaijan)

    Where in the world is Azerbaijan? That depends on your perspective.

    Some of the teams on “The Amazing Race 20″ thought they were going to Africa when they read the clue sending them from Germany to Baku. But even if you know better than that, and can find Azerbaijan on a map or a globe, it’s not easy to characterize its location the way you can say that, for example, Germany is in “Central Europe” or Senegal is in “West Africa”.

    The International Air Transport Association defines Azerbaijan as part of “IATA Europe”, an entity that also includes Turkey and parts of North Africa. That’s potentially relevant because it’s the IATA definition that applies by default, if no other definition is specified, when the rules of an airfare or frequent flyer program provide that a common price or number of mileage points applies to a ticket to anywhere in “Europe”. (Read the fine print carefully, though: There’s a narrower IATA definition of “geographical Europe” that excludes North Africa and most of Turkey, although it does still include Azerbaijan.)

    There’s a certain logic to this definition, and to grouping Azerbaijan with the countries to its west, if one takes the Caspian Sea as the continental divide. But while Azerbaijanis, like Turks, may aspire to “European” status, that’s not generally how they are perceived by the rest of the world.

    If one thinks of the Caspian as the center of its own region rather than as a border between regions, one is more likely to group Azerbaijan with the countries across that sea to its east (and where related Turkic languages are spoken) as part of “Central Asia”. Baku is probably more like Almaty, Kazakhstan than anywhere else that The Amazing Race has visited. Both Baku and Almaty are oil boomtowns. The big cultural difference is that Kazakhstan has retained a much larger ethnic-Russian minority, while contemporary Azerbaijan is almost entirely Azeri in ethnicity and first language.

    Coming at it from another direction, one could look at Azerbaijan in relation to its larger neighbor to the south: “It’s just north of Iran,” said one of the Amazing Race contestants who had recently returned from a “tour” (how different the meaning of that word is when used in relation to soldiers in foreign wars!) in Iraq with the Army.

    Or one could group Azerbaijan with its immediate neighbors as part of “Transcaucasia” or “the trans-Caucasus”, i.e. “the places across the Caucasus”. But that only leads one to ask, “On the other side of the Caucasus Mountains from where?”

    The answer to that question, of course, is “Russia”, the great power on Azerbaijan’s northern border to which the the last 200 years of the country’s history has been most closely connected.

    What I found most remarkable about this week’s episode of The Amazing Race, in fact, was how rarely the words “Russian” or Soviet” were used to describe anything about contemporary Azerbaijan other than a Lada car.

    Have more than a century of Russian rule, followed by more than 70 years still dominated by Russia as part of the Soviet Union, become irrelevant in the 30 years since Azerbaijani independence? I haven’t been to Azerbaijan (yet), but I don’t think so.

    The racers went to Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, which developed as the center of the Czarist and later the Soviet oil industry. Since independence, Azerbaijan has put a priority on finding ways to export oil and gas without its having to go through Russia. But Russia remains Azerbaijan’s largest source of imports, from food and consumer goods to infrastructure.

    Airline routes, as I’ve often written, tend to follow trade routes, and Azerbaijan is no exception. Nobody likes to change planes in Moscow if there’s an alternative, especially with a short scheduled time to make a connection, but if all went well the teams on the race could probably have gotten from Munich to Baku sooner via Moscow than the way they all went via Istanbul.

    According to an old Aeroflot Soviet Airlines timetable on my bookshelf, the only flight between Baku and anywhere outside the USSR at the time of Azerbaijani independence in 1991 was a single weekly flight to Istanbul, a route that now has seven nonstops a day. It’s an indication of how much external perceptions of the country have changed that, so far as was depicted on the TV show, none of the racers or the airline staff or travel agents they talked to even considered routings via Moscow or anywhere else in the ex-USSR. One reason may have been that the fastest connections through Moscow would all have involved “interline” connections between different airlines, which would lead them to be ranked lower than “online” connections in the default displays of most computerized reservation systems.

    What does it matter to foreign visitors that Azerbaijan (or Kazakhstan) used to be part of the USSR? As I say in The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World:

    The term “Second World” originated during the Cold War when the United States divided all the world into “our” side and “their” side. The “Second World” now refers to “developed,” centrally planned (or formerly so) economies, mainly Russia and the former Soviet Union — now referred to as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) — and to a lesser extent the rest of Eastern and Central Europe. Despite Westernization, these countries retain a certain commonality in the nature of their tourist and other infrastructures, the appropriate and feasible modes of budget travel and types of budget accommodations, and the costs of travel relative to the other main world regions.

    The key Soviet legacy that foreign tourists to Azerbaijan have to deal with is the requirement that visitors — including tourists — from most countries outside the former USSR have an invitation from a local “sponsor” before they can be issued with a visa.

    Hotels of a certain quality (and expensiveness) can serve as sponsors to provide the requisite “visa support”, but that means that tourists must pre-book and, typically, pre-pay for hotels for every night they want their visa to be valid. Independent travel by foreigners who want to decide only after they get to the country where they will go, or how long they will stay in each place, is technically illegal.

    Many illegal things are possible for a price, and there’s a gray market in sponsorships for sale for “business visits” by foreigners whose real business role is as tourists. Unfortunately, independent travellers in such countries are constantly at risk of being shaken down by officials who presume, usually correctly, that independent travellers are probably breaking or bending the rules.

    I remember vividly how disappointed the police who showed up shortly after we checked into a hotel in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) were when they discovered that our visas, unlike those of most independent tourists they had encountered, appeared to be in order.

    Azerbaijan in general and Baku in particular don’t get good reviews in most guidebooks, and there’s really no chance that foreign tourism could bring in enough foreign exchange to make much difference to the economy of a major oil-exporting country. Besides, foreigners wandering around the country unescorted might become inadvertent witnesses to human rights abuses, and further embarrass local governments.

    Last week in New York, I got to watch an apparatchik from neighboring Turkmenistan tell the skeptical members of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that no laws or government action are needed to protect the rights of women in Turkmenistan, since there has never been a single complaint of domestic violence reported to the Turkmenistan government or police! The last thing a country like that wants is tourist cellphone videos of police brutality or political demonstrations showing up on Youtube or Al Jazeera.

    Whatever the reasons for these visa policies requiring pre-booking or other sponsorship, they also keep the numbers of foreign visitors small enough to severely inhibit the development of commercial services — hostels, guide services, etc. — targetted at foreign backpackers. That’s a decidedly mixed blessing, with consequences some travellers love, some hate, and some love and hate.

    You aren’t likely to find yourself trapped in a tourist ghetto or on a “backpacker bus” along the “Lonely Planet trail”, interacting only with other foreign visitors and not with local people except as servants. But neither will you find many people familiar with what backpackers might want or need or find hard to cope with if they haven’t booked a tour in advance, or services set up to serve your particular tourist needs. Travel in such a place can be logistically difficult, but highly rewarding, if and only if you can accept the hassles and uncertainty.

    Have you been to Baku lately? What was it like? Please share your experiences in the comments.

    (Posted by Edward, 25 March 2012, 23:59)

  4. Harrington Moving & Storage Pedals Toward a Greener Future

    March 30, 2012 by Daniel Dean

    Leading moving enterprise, Harrington Moving & Storage, announces its most recent environment friendly changes.

    In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Harrington Moving & Storage, starting today, will implement a widespread environment friendly program, entitled Green Wheels.

    The Green Wheels program aims to disband the use of Harrington Moving & Storage’s gas guzzling trucks. Instead, for long distance moves, Harrington Moving & Storage will use their customers’ hybrid vehicles. For local moves, Harrington Moving & Storage will transport their customers’ belongings by bicycle with the help of an attached trolley.

    “We are discontinuing the use of our trucks and instead we will only cater to hybrid vehicle owners,” said Jeff Harrington, owner of Harrington Moving. “In addition, we are the only moving company to transport belongings by bicycle.”

    Harrington Moving & Storage will perform long distance moves using their customers’ hybrid vehicles, the company will only cater to customers who own such fuel efficient vehicles.

    When customers request Harrington Moving & Storage services, they will be asked regarding their vehicle type. If they cannot obtain a hybrid car, then Harrington Moving & Storage will refrain from assisting them in their relocation task.

    Harrington Moving & Storage has been preparing for the latest changes that go into effect today. Some of the company’s movers have never ridden a bicycle, therefore Harrington created a training course to teach safe cycling and proper handling of the belongings while pedaling on two wheels.

    Harrington Moving & Storage’s latest announcement is just one of the many changes the company is undertaking in an effort to go green. Last month, Harrington Moving announced the use of the Green Packer, large packing crates that conserve on using traditional wasteful packing materials.

    “Harrington Moving & Storage always tries to offer the best possible service, as of late we decided to expand our notion of good customer service to include our environment,” Harrington said.

    About Harrington Moving & Storage
    Harrington Moving & Storage has been a leader in the moving business since 1996. Harrington Moving offers high quality moving and storage services of all types. It is the only moving company in its region to initiate monthly charitable services. Its benevolent services have helped various organizations, schools, and even individual community members tremendously. Many non-profit organizations have reviewed Harrington as ‘irreplaceable assets to our community’ and ‘the moving company with the biggest heart’. Harrington Movers is concerned with reducing its carbon footprint, it recently has implemented various environment friendly changes.

  5. Online Reputation Management Uses its Detective Skills to Uncover Shady Practice

    March 30, 2012 by Daniel Dean

    European adult processing firm turns to Online Reputation Management after one of its American clients charges its innocent customers unwarranted fees.

    A European adult processing firm recently turned to Online Reputation Management after receiving negative online press when one of its American clients, an adult film store, charged its customers groundless additional credit-card fees.

    The adult processing firm, a leader in its field, serves both European and American clients, it specializes in setting up payment processing for adult businesses that need to accept credit card transactions.

    Recently, the European firm’s manager, Wagner, discovered during a routine Google search that negative comments were written about her company in various blogs, review Web sites and complaint Web sites.

    “I was really surprised to read the comments customers were writing,” said Wagner. “I honestly had no idea what everyone was speaking about, customers kept mentioning ‘unwarranted charges.’”

    The unfavorable feedback caused a decline in business profits, resulting in Wagner deciding to change the company’s name and turn to Online Reputation Management.

    Online Reputation Management repair specialists created a strategic approach to Wagner’s “complicated” situation.

    “It isn’t easy when someone posts negative reviews that stem from no where, the negative reviews tend to multiply into hundreds of negative reviews that eventually lead to a loss of profits,” said Online Reputation Management founder, Ed Eshel. “The Internet is a wild animal, fortunately, we know how to tame it.”

    Online Reputation Management used their detective skills to decipher Wagner’s situation. The repair specialists discovered that one of Wagner’s clients, an American adult film store, charged its customers with groundless additional credit-card fees. The adult film store’s customers received their monthly bills and saw the additional charges, so in response, those customers immediately blamed Wagner’s company and posted negative reviews.

    “I was shocked and very angry,” Wagner said after learning of the situation. “My company is extremely honest, we charge reasonable varying rates and amounts pending on the service. In this case, the film store charged additional fees to profit on behalf of their customers.”
    Since Wagner changed the name of her company, Online Reputation Management repair specialists stressed the importance of maintaining her clean reputation, the specialists designed Wagner’s business Web site and implemented a public relations stint to promote Wagner’s renamed adult processing firm.

    In addition, the online repair specialists exposed the adult film store’s shady practice, which resulted in all its customers, who were overcharged, to receive a full refund.

    “Online Reputation Management saved my company and exposed the truth,” Wagner said.

    About Online Reputation Management
    Online Reputation Management offers effective solutions for your Internet branding and reputation repair needs. The firm specializes in promoting your reputation in a positive and accurate light, and driving search engines away from negative reviews about you or your business. Online Reputation Management’s repair services surpass that of competitors, in repairing its customers existing reputations on the web, and thus creating positive ones. Online Reputation Management has been working with top companies, and recognized individuals, specifically in the United States, and have achieved tremendous successes in their Internet reputation repair and management services. Online Reputation Management works around the clock to deliver the best results, the firm continuously works to protect your reputation.

    For additional information, interview, and image requests contact VirtuosOnline.

  6. This Just In: BSNYC In Transit!

    March 30, 2012 by bikesnobnyc

    Unfortunately, my travel itinerary precludes the curation of a complete blogging post today, and I am currently en route to Chicago, where I hope to see you later today at the following places and times:

    6:00pm ride
    TATI Cycles
    1013 E 53rd St
    Chicago, IL 60615
    (773) 598-8284
    7:30pm talk and booksigning with The Book Cellar and 57th Street Books
    On The Route
    2338 W Lawrence Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625
    (773) 989-2453

    I do intend to conclude the week tomorrow with a more fuller post, but in the meantime I will say that Madison, WI (the city from which I am now departing) is an exceedingly pleasant place to ride a bicycle, and I want to thank everybody who joined me during my brief visit.  In fact, between Madison and Minneapolis, I’m not sure Portland has all that much to be smug about.  Our BRA ride even became “epic,” owing to the inclusion of this very short unpaved sector:

    Also, I was wearing the new Rapha perforated yak leather underpants.

    Lastly, I apologize for the early hour of this brief post, and if you’re having trouble waking up you should watch this video which was forwarded to me by a reader:

    Apparently this video is meant to promote the Nagoya Keirin Association, though I didn’t see a single bicycle.  (Unless they are being secreted in her cartoon cleavage.)

    In any case, now that you’re awake I wish you a productive day, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a regular update.

    Yoars treely,

    –Wildcat Rock Machine

  7. How To Decrease Heart Attacks by 32%?

    March 30, 2012 by travelblogexchange

    The answer to this blog post’s subject???

    …regularly vacation!! :-)

    Relaxing During Vacation… Great For Your Health!!

    Did you know, in a 2008 New York Times article titled, “Vacations Are Good for You, Medically Speaking” they mentioned there have been studies done that show men who don’t regularly vacation, compared to those who do, are…
    32% more likely to die of Heart Attacks…


    And although that was done particularly regarding men, we’re sure results for women would say similar things too.

    Now, we’re not naive, we know regular vacations aren’t the only answer to having better health and allowing you to live longer…

    …of course diet, exercise, stress levels, personal habits, etc. all make a huge difference…

    …but we certainly do believe that study backs up what we talked about in Chapter # 1 of our Free eBook… that a Great Reason to Travel Now is, “For your Health!!”

    We’re sure most anyone would agree that stress levels are super high with our world being so busy, busy, busy… with the economy being shaky, with technology and changes moving at a super fast pace, etc.

    So more then ever we all need to…

    …Slow Down!!

    And vacations are definitely the best way we know to do just that!

    Time off and chilling out at home is of course a good thing as well but there’s always chores to be done, a phone ringing, an email box blinging, and the list goes on and on.

    Not till we get away and get out of our normal settings do most of us truly relax!

    For starters, the average person sleeps 1 extra hour per day while vacationing… now we doubt many will complain about that little travel perk. ☺

    But we all know beyond that how good it can feel to not have to cook, clean, make a bed, deal with work or a boss, have to worry about the yard work, cleaning the car, etc.

    And even better are the feelings of relaxation, happiness & health that come over you when strolling down a beach, taking a swim in the warm sun, watching a beautiful sunset, seeing the kids smile after experiencing something new, have experienced an amazing dinner, etc.

    Oh yah, if you’re still in your working years and you’re finding yourself not 100% as effective & efficient as you want to be at the office (or maybe your boss is the one pointing these things out) we all know getting “away from it all” for a week or two allows us to come back to work more energized, focused & efficient!

    So for us, we intentionally made “For your Health” as Reason # 1 in our Free eBook as we know from many personal experiences travel & vacations are awesome for your Health and we also know your health is super important as without it…

    …not much else matters!

    We encourage you to book that next vacation soon (and even better, make them super regular by being a member of a Travel Club just like we are! ☺) so you can reap all the health benefits that you’ll experience!

    We Appreciate You.

    Nancy & Shawn

  8. Tobacco Caye, Belize

    March 30, 2012 by travelblogexchange

    Wanderlust Wednesday: Tobacco Caye

    Located forty minutes off the coast of Central Belize, Tobacco Caye is Paradise. In the town of Dangriga, you board a tiny row-boat with a motor and then spend the next 40 minutes praying until you dock. 
    From the dock you can see all the way across the island which is about the size of a football field.  Every square inch is packed with a hammock or a cabana,  which is not to bad considering the island never felt crowded, instead it was more like summer camp. You pay around fifty dollars to sleep in a great beach-front cabana. At our cabana, all of the travelers ate together family style, choosing from a smattering of fresh home cooked Belizian food. Everyone gets to know each other quickly, so at night we would wander under the stars to one of the two beach side bars serving up local rum and punch drinks along side of Belikan beer. 
    The island is not for those looking for a non-stop scene.  It is sleepy enough that you forget what shoes are, and your daily activities include swimming, walking barefoot to in the sand, and crawling into ten different hammocks until you find the perfect one.  You also entertain yourselves in whatever manner possible, which mainly includes  climbing palm trees and tirelessly trying to crack coconut (the upside of this game is an endless supply of coconut juice).   
    You can snorkel around the who island or take day trips to the world’s best reefs. When we were there in July, we saw a manatee, and I will never forget how it stared straight at me. Strangely, he had a wiry mustache, and I can’t shake how much he looked like an old man. 
    Tobacco Caye remains one of my favorite islands to this day, trumping a lot of the ones we saw in Southeast Asia. I’ll do a post soon about my top favorites…

  9. Been there, haven’t done that – 5 things you shouldn’t miss in Berlin

    March 30, 2012 by travelblogexchange

    In our mission to inspire and inform Grown-up Travellers we continue our series of articles containing ideas for alternative things to do and see in well-known destinations. So far we’ve been shared tips on LondonStockholm and Copenhagen and upcoming articles will cover Amsterdam, Oslo, Chicago and New York.

    All good stuff. But today it’s the turn of the German capital, right?

    You got it. Berlin has so much to see and do, both sides of the former wall. Regular readers will know I lived there for a couple of years, and have taken some pictures to show how much the city has changed since 1990. You should also have a look at this article on Ostalgie and how to cure it before you go and get hung up on all that Trabi love. But if you also want to do something a little less off the tourist trail, read on…

    5 things in Berlin your friends won’t have heard about *

    * er, I’d be fairly confident betting that they haven’t, anyway.


    Image (c) Suddeutsche Zeitung

    Located right on the banks of the River Spree in Kopernick on the outskirts of Mitte you’ll find the former soap factory, squat and now ubercool entertainment sport KaterHolzig. The compound contains a club, rooftop café and a gem of a restaurant in Katerschmaus. If you arrive at night finding the latter can be an adventure, but don’t give up. You’ll find clues in the graffiti-covered industrial ruins that lead you through an ‘adults-only playground’ past art installations, wooden shacks, a ship in the middle of a dance floor, beds, couches, beach huts, huge leather sofas, homemade furniture and old vending machines until you climb the stairs and open the door to the restaurant itself.

    Image (c) Berlin.Unlike

    You’ll be greeted by the sound of happy guests enjoying themselves and a visual as well as gastronomic feast. The grungy appearance of both the locale and staff (tattoos and piercings are clearly obligatory) contrast with both the excellent food and attentive service.

    The seasonally-inspired menu changes on a weekly basis and usually features provincial specialities as starters and main courses. The desserts are worth the journey alone and the wines are well-chosen to accompany the food. This “cat’s feast” is ver popular; I was lucky to grab the last table and reservations are definitely advised.

    Image (c)

    Make sure you give this place a try for an unusually successful combination of Berlin alternative and gourmet food in a highly unique setting. Rumours are that the building will close for renovations in a couple of years so don’t hang about either.

    Katerschmaus – KaterHolzig, Michaelkirchstr. 23, 10179 Berlin. Reservations 030 51 05 21 34. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 1900.

    U and S Bahn Jannowitzbrucke. Check website for details:


    Schlangenberger Strasse

    The motorway disappearing under the apartment complex – image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

    Berlin’s mayor at the time famously said that “if the devil wants to do harm to this city, he will make sure that another Schlange is built”. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for this slightly nuts architectural experiment, but it certainly remains a revolutionary slice of town planning. It is the only example of its kind in the world – an apartment complex built on top of a motorway in the 1970s. Others were planned, but perhaps due to the reaction to “the snake” and its huge budget overrun never got off the drawing board.

    Yes, the autobahn is in that tunnel there, halfway through the complex - image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

    The scale of the project becomes clear when you visit this part of Wilmersdorf in western Berlin. 1064 apartments sit on top of 600 meters of motorway. The sound and vibration proofing are so efficient – well this is Germany – that even when standing directly underneath the motorway all that can be heard is a low drumming sound – and for the residents above there is only silence.

    And out it comes the other side, after some 600 meters under the 1046 apartments - image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

    The Schlangenbader Straße property remains the largest connected residential complex in Europe and is well worth a visit. Berlin offers many architectural curiosities and another, more central one can be found at Pallasstrasse – see the photo and brief description here.

    Schlangenbader Strasse, Wilmersdorf, Berlin. U-Bahn Breitenbachplatz


    Breakfast on top of the Reichstag

    Image obtained from under Creative Commons (c) SIRDS

    Okay, it’s time to share one of my top tips for Berlin. I’m sure you are planning to visit the Reichstag and climb its impressive glass dome walkway when you visit the German capital. After all, it’s an amazing sight and free too. The only problem is that the queues can be horrendous. But if you know how, you can skip them and enjoy an extremely heart breakfast on top of the building at the same time!

    The German Bundestag is in fact the only parliament building in the world to house a public restaurant, situated right next to the glass dome with superb views over the city.

    Image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

    The restaurant Kafer serves quality modern German cuisine accompanied by German wines – but perhaps the best bet is breafast. Simply email them before visiting to book a table between 0900 and 1015 and turn up at the main entrance. If the weather is good sit outside on the terrace and try to make it through the full breakfast with Sekt (sparkling wine) while admiring the panoramic view over the city.

    Image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

    Note that you will have to provide your full name and date of birth when booking and that you should bring ID for security clearance purposes. You will have to go through an airport-style body and baggage check before being escorted into the building, where you can pick up a headset and audio tour for the dome. It’s a wonderful experience and you’ll then be free to visit the dome afterwards and walk off a few calories…

    Restaurant Kafer, Reichstag Building. Reservations email:  Breakfast 0900-1015 Lunch 1200-1430 Tea 1530-1630 Dinner 1830-0000.

    U Bahn Bundestag. Check website for details:

    We hope you enjoyed this article so far – click here to read the rest!

  10. Vaccines

    March 30, 2012 by atlanteanconspiracy

    “The March 1999 ‘Vaccines’ feature in Parenting magazine provided all propaganda one would expect from a subsidiary of Time, Inc. Time-Warner, Inc., the parent company, is a corporate member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Time’s president, Richard D. Parsons, and the Editor-in-Chief of TIME, Norman Pearlstine, are longstanding CFR members. One CFR published policy objective is substantial worldwide depopulation including half of the current U.S. population being targeted. This population reduction program is largely funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Merck Fund, both financially and administratively linked to the Merck pharmaceutical company–the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer.” -Dr. Len Horowitz, “Parenting with Deadly Timely Propaganda”

    The FDA’s VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System) receives around 10-12,000 reports of serious vaccination reactions annually, with about 1% fatal. However, the NVIC (National Vaccine Information Center) investigation on VAERS reports that based on a New York study, 97.5% of vaccine related deaths and disabilities are not reported to/by the FDA. So the number of annual American fatalities is likely closer to 1000 and disabilities closer to 100,000. On top of this, the catch-all diagnosis SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), killing up to 10,000 babies a year, has been shown to “coincidentally” occur shortly after immunizations/vaccinations.

    “Then there are vaccines. Everything from cancer viruses to DNA fragments and mercury has been found in vaccines. The entire vaccine supply is contaminated. And what is the government doing? Mandating more and more injections of our children. The Chicago Tribune reported in 2001 that 60 top scientists met in Chicago to present overwhelming evidence that cancer viruses found in monkeys are in many of the vaccines. A recent poll in the United Kingdom showed that over 80% of the population opposes the mandatory injection of the measles, mumps and rubella (mmr) vaccine. A news anchor has gone public with the fact that this vaccine has brain-damaged his child. Autism is up over 2000 percent and is rising in the industrial world proportionately with the increase of mandated vaccinations.” -Alex Jones, “911 Descent into Tyranny”

    The long term adverse effects of vaccines have been documented and include chronic immunological and neurological disorders like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, autism, allergies, and cancer.

    A German study found correlations between vaccinations and 22 neurological conditions including attention deficit and epilepsy. The dilemma is that viral elements in vaccines may persist and mutate in the human body for years, with unknown consequences. Millions of children are partaking in an enormous, crude experiment; and no sincere, organized effort is being made by the medical community to track the negative side-effects or to determine the long term consequences … However, individual doctors may not be wholly to blame. As medical students, few have reason to question the information taught (which does not address the information presented in this report). Ironically, medicine is a field which demands conformity; there is little tolerance for opinions opposing the status quo. Doctors cannot warn you about what they themselves do not know, and with little time for further education once they begin practice, they are, in a sense, held captive by a system which discourages them from acquiring information independently and forming their own opinions. Those few that dare to question the status quo are frequently ostracized, and in any case, they are still legally bound to adhere to the system’s legal mandates.” -Alan Philips, “Dispelling Vaccination Myths” (

    In the December 1994 Medical Post, Dr. Guylaine Lanctot, author of the best-seller “Medical Mafia,” said, “The medical authorities keep lying. Vaccination has been a disaster on the immune system. It actually causes a lot of illnesses. We are actually changing our genetic code through vaccination …10 years from now we will know that the biggest crime against humanity was vaccines.”

    After her independent study of the medical literature on vaccination, Dr. Viera Scheibner concluded, “there is no evidence whatsoever of the ability of vaccines to prevent any diseases. To the contrary, there is a great wealth of evidence that they cause serious side effects.”

    For decades, more than half of all childhood “immunizations,” about 12 of the 18 average vaccination doses, have contained the chemical preservative Thimerosal which is made from mercury, the second most toxic metal known to man (Uranium is first). That’s about 200 micrograms of mercury before the age of two, 30-40 times the amount of safe levels in adults. Another preservative found in most all vaccines is formaldehyde which is incredibly poisonous with no acceptable safe amounts in the human body.

    Dr. Boyd Haley, Chairman of the Chemistry Department at the University of Kentucky, one of the nation’s leading experts on mercury poisoning said, “Thimerosal is one of the most toxic compounds I know of. I can’t think of anything that I know of is more lethal.

    Before the 1990s only 1 in every 10,000 children was diagnosed with autism. Nowadays over 1 in every 150 children born in America comes down with autism, and each time it’s those children who have been “immunized” who begin having seizures or start mentally going downhill right after vaccinations. The Amish, numbering around 200,000 who religiously oppose vaccinations, have never had a case of autism. Based on sheer statistics, they should have well over 100 autistic among their numbers right now, but they do not. They are mixed right into the Pennsylvania population with a rapidly increasing ratio of autistic kids, yet remain unaffected. It is clear that Thimerosal and Formaldehyde are causing “autism” in children, “alzheimer’s” in the elderly, and a wide range of other new neurological diseases.

    “Indeed, it was contaminated live viral vaccines that spread this disease [AIDS] and likely others, including chronic fatigue, certain leukemias, and possibly Gulf War Syndrome as well, to vast populations. In fact, today’s live viral vaccines, including the oral polio vaccine required by law be given to our children, are still littered with simian (monkey) virus contaminants since they are developed in monkey kidney cells, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration turns a blind eye to as many as 100 live monkey virus contaminants per vaccine dose, and is barred from telling health professionals and even health scientists this truth because of pharmaceutical industry dictated proprietary laws and non-disclosure agreements.” -Dr. Len Horowitz in a speech before the Citizens Against Legal Loopholes Rally, The Capitol Mall, 1996

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