From The West Coast To The Deep, Deep South

This morning, I saw my first armadillo since my sister picked me up at the Houston airport and drove us 3 hours deeper into Texas. The prehistoric looking critter was ambling around out by the burn pile this morning. He finally waddled off into the woods.

Shifting from the West Coast to Deep East Texas has been quite a transition.
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Mom can’t stay alone so I’m here as long as necessary. I forgot how different my home state of Texas is from every other place in the world.

A bobcat crossed the road on my way to town Friday. Before that, I saw an animal that I didn’t even know existed. It was like seeing a unicorn. I almost couldn’t believe it. It was a solid white deer. Others in town said they were rare but real.

I take that deer sighting as a good omen.
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It’s been quite a ride since I arrived in the deep, deep South. One man was trying to tell me he wanted to sell a ‘fakir’ so many times I finally had to ask him to spell it. Turns out, he was trying to say ‘half acre’ but had condensed it to five letters.

It is nothing short of code talking here at times. “The devil’s whipping his wife,” one man announced. After a moments thought, I remembered that to mean that it is raining while the sun is shining. We dress funny. We talk funny. I love us.

It’s not enough to wear a belt buckle.
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It doesn’t even count if it doesn’t look like the door off a car. Hats are de riguer and it’s going to need to be hand creased. Straws in the summer; felts in the winter. Just like it always has been.

There is one horse on our property that is a former champion.Lynx still stands proud and tall. He lives where I am staying and I was told he brought home many of those shiny buckles that cowpeople wear as trophies of rodeo wins. He’s over 20 years old but that doesn’t stop him from bucking around in the pasture before a storm.

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There is funny little horse called Pedro that keeps getting my attention. I’ve told him everything. He wanders around and follows me whenever he can. Last night, he patted me down for carrots and we saw a shooting star together.

The sporks (spoon/forks) are cross breeds between miniature horses and donkeys. There are a pair of them and they are the first hoofed animals that I have ever seen wrestle. They love to bray-night and day.

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Horse and cows are everywhere as well as donkeys of all shapes and sizes. Turns out they are more than lawn ornaments that eat, the smaller equines keep coyotes and poisonous snakes away.

I tried to get Pedro to chase away a chicken snake but he just stepped over it. They only get excited when their lives are in danger but the long, black creature was easily five feet long and I didn’t like him in the yard.

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Temperatures are just above freezing and Spring is start to show in the new growth on the trees. So goes life here in the Piney Woods of Deep East Texas. Stay tuned for updates and additions to our little slice of paradise called Misfit Island.

There Are No Limits When it Comes to Selecting Great Barrier Reef Tours

The Great Barrier Reef has long been a dream destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. This is with good reason since this natural wonder of the world is arguably the richest marine area in the world. From hump back whales to dreamlike coral palaces, there is much to see under the water. This is only half the story though since this Queensland treasure has just as much to do above the water as it does below. The timeless coastline is breathtaking to see and even those who are repeat QLD visitors complain that they just can not see enough.
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Because the Great Barrier Reef is so much more than simply a habitat, but a living thing on its own, each and every day is different. When you take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a trained tour guide, you are certain to spot wonders that you never expected. If you want to ensure that you have the opportunity to enjoy all that Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef have to offer then you owe it to yourself to take advantage of a Great Barrier Reef tour. This is really the only way to visit the many small islands that populate the waters.
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You will find a wide variety of Great Barrier Reef tours ranging from day trips to white water rafting. Your Great Barrier Reef island tours will give you a chance to swim with the sea turtles or to sail on schooner. Regardless of your taste for adventure, you’ll be able to find a tour that is both entertaining and challenging.
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It is not difficult to find a tour. What may be a little tricky though, is deciding on which tour is right for you and your party. There is such a wide variety that you may find that you have too many choices. Of course, this is really a good problem to have. You can make the task of selecting the perfect outing a little easier if you think about the types of activities you enjoy most and how much you want to spend.
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Do you want a tour that is slow and peaceful or would you prefer something that will get your heart pumping? Would you like to incorporated under water activities or do you prefer to stay above the water? There are many specialized Great Barrier Reef and Island tours available as well. Perhaps you’d like to spend your holiday hoisting sails. If so, then a sailing adventure may be for you. There are many charter tours available as well. You can even create your own island tour by renting and piloting your own boat. The only limit is your imagination. Once you know the type of tour you want you can easily select the perfect plan.
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Most Great Barrier Reef day tours begin early in order to take advantage of the full day. If you are staying in the north part of the region then you’ll have a short distance to travel to get the more popular reef areas. You will generally have lunch on board your water craft and take in several of the islands. Island tours that focus on specific areas are also available. Either way, you will see the Queensland coast in all its beauty through a Great Barrier Reef tour.

Source by Peter Joness

Top 7 Wet and Wild Water Sports in Sri Lanka

If you are looking for a thrill filled vacation in Sri Lanka then you must try the water sports in Sri Lanka. From the surf haven of Arugam Bay to scuba diving around the reefs of Hikkaduwa coast, you can rediscover the fun and excitement that you will cherish forever.

Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for water sports with its stunning beaches and waters.
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Some of the bays and reefs naturally provide the rips required for surfing and diving whilst others are renowned for their sailing.

Unlike most of the other places in the world, you can enjoy water sports in Sri Lanka for almost all the year.
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It is because Sri Lanka has two climate zone, North-East and South-West. For the South-West coast good time is from October to April while on the North-East coast the ideal time is from March to November.

If you are a water sports lover, there are number of water sports in Sri Lanka which you can try. These includes windsurfing, surfing, waterskiing, tube ride, jet-ski, river fishing, snorkeling, wake boarding, body boarding, banana ride, diving, river cruises, deep sea fishing etc.

Although there are number of famous places for water sports in Sri Lanka, some have edge over others.
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Kalpitiya, Arugam Bay, Bentota, Weligama and Hikkaduwa are the most popular spots for water sports. You can feel delight by Surfing in Arugam Bay, Scuba Diving in Hikkaduwa, Jet-Ski riding in Bentota, Kite-Surfing in Kalpitiya.

It’s easy to find good quality accommodation at each of above places. Also traveling to these places is not that difficult and can reach by any means of travel.

The price level also makes Sri Lanka a good place for water sports or I should say for tourism. lt’s cheap and delivers best simultaneously.
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For 10-20 USD you can enjoy a full hour of most of the water sports.

Full or partial water sports training courses and camps are available for both beginners and experienced people. Most of the hotels do arrange water sports upon your request. You can check with your hotel or ask from locals to get to know about the water sport centers nearby you.

Here are the Top 7 Wet and Wild Water Sports in Sri Lanka

1.
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Diving and Snorkeling

This is a wonderful and exciting sport which involves swimming on or in water equip with diving masks, swim fins and carrying a snorkel, which is a breathing tube which enables the snorkeler to breath with ease face down in water. Snorkeling appeals to all ages because it affords one an opportunity to observe the interesting and exciting water life easily without complicated water equipment and complex training required in other sports like scuba diving. Hikkaduwa, Weligama and Kirinda are the famous places for Diving and Snorkeling.

2. Surfing

Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in Sri Lanka among both locals and foreign tourists. High quality waves, warm water and friendly locals will ensure a trip of a lifetime. With a wide range of excellent Surfing locations on both the east and southwest coast, Sri Lanka has consistent surf year-round and Arugam Bay, Weligama and Hikkaduwa are the famous places for Surfing.

3. Water Skiing

Unlike snorkeling, water skiing is a surface water sport which involves a sports person being pulled behind a boat as he moves on skies on the water surface.
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This sport requires strength of both upper and lower body, stamina and balance. Water skiing is fun and open to all ages. Negombo, Hikkaduwa, Aluthgama are the famous places for Water Skiing.

4. Jet Skiing

The sport involves riding on water by using a motor boat which can make to incredible speed and turns. Amazing! Isn’t it? Just imagine yourself speeding up on water! The other aspect of this sport is that it can accommodate two or more people.
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This is satisfying for couples on honeymoon or holiday who enjoys cruising on water as they savor the feeling of speed and breeze. Bentota and Passikudah are the famous places for Jet Skiing.

5. Kayaking

Also referred to as whitewater kayaking. Kayaking involves paddling a kayak, which is a small boat powered by occupant(s) using a double-blade paddle in a sitting position, on a moving body of water. The moving water can be slow, demanding or extreme, which renders the sport lots of fun. Bentota and Weligama are the famous places for Kayaking.

6. Banana and Tube Ride

Definitely, this is a sport you cannot afford to miss. Banana boat and tube riding involves getting on to a tube or banana like boat usually in six and soaring off on water with speed. Since there is little space to hang on to, the fun comes along in trying not to fall off the boat.
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The beauty of this sport is that participants wear life jackets and even if one falls off one will be picked up and the sport continues. Bentota is the best place for Banana and Tube Ride.

7. White Water Rafting

One of the most engaging water sports activities in the world, white water rafting is very popular in Sri Lanka. It requires no specific skill and fitness level. However this is a very challenging activity and good for individuals with an adventurous spirit and ‘can-do’ attitude! Kitulgala is the best place for White Water Rafting in Sri Lanka.



Source by Tharindu M

Four Different Baltimore Pro Football Teams Have Won Championships

Winning the championship is the primary goal of any football team, or any sports team at all really. There is only one reason to go out and play and that is to win the championship. A championship season is not only rewarding to the players that duke it out on the field, but also to the fans that root them on. Cities and regions should be very proud of their championship winning teams.

Baltimore is a great football town and professional football has been present there in one form or another for more than 60 years. Many people do not know this, but four different professional football teams have won championships while representing the city of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Ravens – 2000
The last Baltimore team to win a league title in pro football was the team that currently represents the city in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens began as a franchise in 1996, having been active as the Cleveland Browns the previous year. They had a few tough years, but in 2000 everything came together behind a strong running game and an out of this world defense. They ended up defeating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Baltimore Colts – 1958, 1959, and 1970
The Baltimore Colts won championships three times. In 1958, they defeated the New York Giants for the NFL title in what many would refer to as the greatest game ever played. After trailing most of the 1959 title game, the Colts would always score 24 unanswered points and defeat the Giants in a rematch of the previous year's championship game by the score of 31-16. The Colts won their third league title in 1970 when they beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl V by the score of 27-17. Technically, the Colts have a fourth title as they were champions of the NFL in 1968, but went on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets of the American Football League before the two leagues merged.

The Baltimore Stars – 1985
The Stars franchise had played the first two seasons of their time in the USFL in the city of Philadelphia. The team was moved to Baltimore for 1985 and because they were not as successful as they had been in the past, they were able to make it into the playoffs. The magic was still there though and they marched through the post season and would win the last championship game in USFL history by defeating the Oakland Invaders.

The Baltimore Stallions – 1995
The Canadian Football League expanded into the United States in the mid 1990's, and one of the cities that got a team was Baltimore. In 1995, their second season, the Baltimore Stallions not only won their division, but they became the first team based in America to win the Gray Cup as champions of the Canadian Football League. The team was gone the next year as they were moved to Montreal and renamed the Allouettes.

Gather the Rate Information From an International Moving Company

Time to move, but this time it is not around the corner from mom and dad, it is not across the country, it is across the ocean. The first thing you think about is how you are going to move your entire life to another country. You need to call an international moving company to gather rate information. You search the web, you call different companies. You find that it is going to be even more difficult to move overseas than you thought.

Each international moving company has very different rates to the same location. You realize that you can not even take your hair dryer with you. That is fine; it may be less expensive to obtain the necessary electrical equipment while you are in your destination country. Your computer, after all you would not have gotten this job if you had not been surfing the web late at night.

You search long and hard for the right adapters for your computer. Finally, that is settled. Your pets, oh goodness, are you going to be able to get your goldfish and hermit crab over there? They are your constant companions after all. You call the international moving company of your choice to see if they have any information.

You have decided that Goldy and Herman will be going to live at your brother's house. In addition, the washer, dryer, large flat screen television and other appliances will live in your brother's garage until you get back. Clothing, toiletries and other basic items will have to be sorted through.

Finally, the packet of information on making transatlantic moves arrives. You realize that you have forgotten to update your passport, immunizations, and several other key items. Panic sets in as you only have two weeks left to get it all together. You rush to the doctor, local federal office building and the post office.

Everything goes well until you get to the post office. You need to put a change of address in but have no idea where you will be living. So your mail will go to live at your brother's house as well.

Five days left until your big move. The international moving company calls and requests if you are packing your belongings or if they need to send packers in to help. You think for a moment and decide to pack things yourself. They offer to ship your car for you at a special rate so that you do not have to purchase transportation while there.

You consider it but outfitting your car to drive on the wrong side of the road will cost more than buying an inexpensive European car. So you decide against shipping your car. It goes to live at your brother's house.

The big day arrives. You have not packed a thing. Your new boss calls to tell you that they are providing a furnished flat, transportation and a line of credit to help you get started. You call the international moving company, confirm your final arrangements and grab your suitcase which is packed to get you through the first few days. The day has finally come and you are off.

A Tale of Two Mountains, Vegetation and a Festival in Athens

People living in or visiting Athens tend to feel overwhelmed by the concrete nature of the city. The Athenian apartment buildings make up much of the city, cramming in the over 4 million residents of this metropolis. Natural vegetation may be hard to find, yet a little north of the center is a green oasis waiting to surprise you.

Two mountains make up the highest part of the Attica basin. Standing at a height of 338 meters, are the Tourkovounia or Turkish Mountains. The mountains were given the name as a reminder of the siege of Athens by the Ottomans in 1456. Prior to that, the mountains were known as Wolf Mountains due to the many wolves that once roamed the area. In ancient mythology, it was believed to be the dwelling of the God Zeus from where he controlled the weather and sent his thunder and lightning into the world.

Amongst the many caves, steep rocky cliffs and boulders is the Attica Woods. Until the occupation of Greece in 1941, the mountains had a rich vegetation and wildlife. Much of it was destroyed due to human intervention, pollution and negligence. Restoration of the 230 acres of green space began in the 60s and well into the 70s. Over the years, the ecosystem was restored and became once again a natural habitat for Athenian wildlife, especially that of birds. There are about 95 species of birds, 26 of which reproduce locally. The vegetation includes plants that are typical of the local flora; such as low bushy plants, pine, cypress and olive trees. Since 2003, it became a protected green space and a natural escape for all Athenians to enjoy.

The mountains and the Attica Woods are now a center of education, amusement, athletics and quiet afternoon walks. Students can have a learning experience walking through the rich vegetation, athletes can jog along the many paths and visitors can go on picnics. There are volleyball and basketball courts as well as small soccer fields and tennis courts. In addition, the city of Athens has initiated an annual festival during the months of July and August which attracts thousands of people. The Athens Festival includes theater productions, live music shows, dance, children's theater as well as world-renounced artists. In an effort to make the events available to all citizens and visitors, most events have little or no entrance fees.

If you are renting an Athens apartment or an Athens studio in neighboring areas, such as Chalandri, Tourkovounia are definitely within view. During the Festival, there are buses from the center of Athens that can take you directly there. You can easily check the website for the schedule of activities and events and plan your trip accordingly.

The highlight of every visit to these mountains is found higher up the winding roads. As you make your way up, you will come upon a clearing that hosts a cafe waiting for you to lay back and rest. Further up, and you will come upon the most magnificent view of the city; 360 degrees. The contrast of the rich vegetation, human activity and the sprawling city below is breathtaking and must not be missed.

So for those who claim that Athens has no beauty, all they need to do is spend the day at the two mountains that separate eastern part of the city from the western part. They are sure to change their minds.

The Pole of Cold – Could You Live in the Coldest Place on Earth?

How would you manage living in a village with average January temperatures of -50C?

The valley of Oymyakon in northeast Russia is known as the 'Pole of Cold' and it is no wonder the village is the coldest permanently occupied settlement in the world. This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth and the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. This area truly experiences the 'Russian winter' as it is know around the world.

The village is located around 750 meters above sea level and the length of a day varies from 3 hours in December to 21 hours in the summer. And because its extreme cold temperatures in winters, in June, July and August temperatures over 30C are not uncommon. In August as the weather beings to change, the temperature can easily drop down to -15C or jump as high as 30C.

The Pole of Cold is located not far from Kolyma Highway (also known as the Road of Bones) which was made in the 1930's by Stalin's prisoners .. The road starts off from Yakutsk and heads off up to Magadan and surmounts three major mountain ranges, which in combination with other climatic factors create the unique climate of the area.

The village was, in the 1920s and 1930s, a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks from the thermal spring. Ironically, Oymyakon actually means 'non-freezing water', but even alcohol freeze here.

Astoundingly, around 500 Siberian people make their homes in this seemingly uninhabitable environment, mainly engaged in traditional occupations such as reindeer herding, hunting and fishing. In the last few years, another small, specialized industry has emerged here, tourism.

Every year in March a traditional Russian festival is held in the Pole of Cold, the coldest place on earth. It unites experienced travelers and locals who can be regarded as true explorers of the World. Even Santa Claus, of Lapland, and Russian Ded Moroz, of Veliky Ustug, have visited and founded their residences here. These fabulous heroes meet their colleague Chyskhaan (the Lord of Frost) who is considered the Pole of Cold host.

During the festival, you visitors witness vivid celebrations showcasing the traditional costumes, music and dance of the indigenous Evens people as well as reindeer racing, ice fishing, dog sleding and native cuisine.

The place is worth visiting! It is something to do at least once in a life-time. Those people who have been to this place can be called "True subjugators of Earth". Visiting Oymyakon in winter is arguably one of the most Russian things to do in Russia.

Tour America's Largest Canyon By Train

For a true Western experience and a unique way to visit America's Grand Canyon, travelers should board the Grand Canyon Railway for an exciting trip to the nation's largest canyon and take a step back into a time when rails were the grand way to travel.

Utilizing vintage locomotives the GCR takes thousands of visitors each year from Williams, Arizona into America's grandest of canyons.

The engines and cars have all been painstakingly restored to provide a true "step back in time" ambiance for travelers who can experience an old-fashioned train robbery as well as entertaining strolling musicians.

The original railroad lines was built in 1901 and provides travelers a 130-mile round trip tour with five levels or classes of service – coach, first, dome, luxury parlor and luxury dome with prices ranged from $ 68 – $ 179 per person.

Those in coach class will enjoy riding in streamliner-era coaches with bench-style seating in classic air-conditioned 1950's cars having large windows.

First class provides over-sized, reclining seats, huge windows and servings of fruit, pastries, coffee and juice.

Riding in dome class enables the traveler to have panoramic views inside vintage glass-enclosed stream-liner cars along with snacks and sparkling wine.

In the luxury parlor you will find lounge-style comforts, private cash bar and rear platform access. The parlor has plush seating, large windows, snacks and sparkling wine.

A new level of service is the luxury dome which combines views in the observation dome and the opulence of the parlor class.

Prior to and following the tour, guests also have the opportunity of staying in the 3-diamond Grand Canyon Railway Hotel that is reminiscent of the century-old train depot that housed the original hotel.

In addition to several room grades, visitors will find numerous amenities and dining.
The large Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is also part of the railway property and includes 8 "buddy" sites, 51 back-sites, 65 pull-through sites, complete services with laundry facilities, convenience store, pet resort, playground, sports courts , wireless internet and shuttle service to the depot.

Visitors will find a picnic pavilion, fitness trail, cafe gift shop, depot gift shop, swimming pool, fitness room and a wild west show.

There are several travel packages to the rim and some can be customized to include an inner-canyon day tour, river floating and drive-through of the wildlife park.

For a true excitment make your next adventure a tour via train.

Property Management, Colorado Springs, CO Might Be Necessary

There are many reasons why you might need property management. Colorado Springs, Co does present some unique circumstances in this regard. With the nearby location of Peterson Air Force Base, Fort Carson, Schriever Air Force Base and the United States Air Force Academy, relocations and deployments are common to our residents. Many times our serving military members have purchased a home when stationed here, and the subsequent move requires them to find tenants to rent their home instead of selling their home outright.

Although renting a house looks like a great idea, it is important to understand why you would choose to hire out property management. Colorado Springs experiences a large amount of flux as the military members move from station to station. By using a property management company, you can avoid some of the pitfalls of trying to manage your home and the issues that might arise from another part of the country – or even overseas.

Some of the problems that might come up if you are without local property management include:

  • Not knowing how many people are living in your home
  • Improper care of your lawn and exterior of your home
  • Plumbing issues
  • Electrical issues
  • Nuisance to your neighbors and / or homeowner's association
  • Illegal activities on your property

These are only a sampling of issues. Your home here in view of Pike's Peak is a substantial investment. If you choose to rent your property but can not be in the area to assess the ongoing condition on a regular basis, you place your investment at a very high risk.

Here, in Colorado Springs, we value our military – perhaps more than other communities. In order to rest securely in the care of your property, you should seriously consider the cost-benefit of hiring experts in property management. Colorado Springs, Co is the place you call home.

The World's Most Beautiful National Parks

National Parks are one of the top adventures.

Yellow Stone:
Yellowstone National Park being 3,500-sq.-mile, is a wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. The park spreads into parts of Montana. It features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous. It's also home to hundreds of animal species, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.

Grand Canyon:
Grand Canyon National Park is home to much of the huge Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of environmental history. Views include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter's Lookout Studio.

Yosemite:
Yosemite National Park is in California's Sierra Nevada foothills. It's famous for its giant, ancient sequoia trees, and for Tunnel View, the iconic vista of high Bridalveil Fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. In Yosemite Village are shops, restaurants, lodging, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery.

Kruger:
Kruger National Park, in South Africa, is one of Africa's largest game assets. Its high thickness of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks. Mountains, and tropical forests are all part of the countryside.

Torres del Paine:
Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile's Patagonia area, is known for it's rising mountains, bright blue icebergs that slice from glaciers and golden pampas (grasslands) that housing rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. Some of its greatest iconic sites are the 3 granite towers from which the park takes its name and the peaks called Cuernos del Paine.

Serengeti:
Serengeti National Park is known for its huge annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. Seeking new meadow, the mobs move north from their background grounds in the grassy southern plains. Numerous cross the marshy western corridor of crocodile-infested Grumeti River. Others turn northeast to the Lobo Hills, home to black eagles. Black rhinos live the granite outcrops of the Moru Kopjes.

Fiordland:
Fiordland National Park is in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island. It's known for the glacier-carved fiords of Uncertain sounds. A beach forest trail on the sandy Milford shore proposals views of soaring Miter Peak. Attached, the craggy Earl Mountains are reflected in the smooth surface of Mirror Lakes. On the Cleddau River, the Chasm Walk passes over bridges with views of powerful waterfalls.

Zion:
Zion National Park is a southwest Utah nature reserve illustrious by Zion Canyon's steep red cliffs. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive scratches through its main section, leading to forest tracks along the Virgin River. The river streams to the Emerald Pools, which have waterfalls and a droopy garden. Also along the river, partly through deep chasms, is Zion Narrows wading hike.

Lakes National Park being 295-sq.-km, is a forest reserve in central Croatia. It's recognized for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, combined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. Walkways and hiking trails breeze around and across the water, and an electric boat links the 12 upper and 4 minor lakes. The later are the site of Veliki Slap, a 78 meters tall waterfall.

Glacier:
Glacier National Park being 1,583-sq.-miles, is a wilderness area in Montana's Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. It's traversed by the mountainous. Amongst additional 700 miles of mountaineering trails, it has a route to attractive Hidden Lake. It has the activities of backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears.

Flood Recovery and Water Cleanup For Baltimore, MD

Built at the mouth of Patapsco River, Baltimore's close proximity to Chesapeake Bay proved to be both a boon and a bane for the people of this Maryland city. Baltimore Harbor, located in this Mid-Atlantic coastal city, made it convenient for water-related industries to flourish, attracting both immigrants and investors. Entering the list of America's "comeback cities" in recent years, businesses in this city are boomed with the emergence of new prime-rate hotels, great shopping centers, and grand office buildings.

However, Baltimore's location has listed it as one of the major cities at risk for hurricane damage and the resulting disaster problems. Several cases of flooding have hit the city in recent history, prompting the necessity for water cleanup Baltimore, MD programs to be established.

Last September, a tropical storm raged across Northwest Baltimore, bringing in torrential rains and subsequent flooding through most of these areas. The heavy rains caused the Jones Falls River to overflow, uprooting trees and flooding roads and nearby communities. Homes and businesses were flooded creating nightmares for owners, particularly when the sirens rang prompting everyone to leave. These addressed to severe water damage to homes and buildings, signaling the need for water cleanup Baltimore, MD to take place.

Residents say that this was the worst storm they've seen in over ten years. The rate the waters rose prompted city officials to take extra precautionary care and be on an extreme lookout for people trapped in homes and buildings. This includes people in cars where most fatalities have previously occurred. National statistics show 86% of flood fatalities occurring in trapped vehicles, so city officials warned communities and travelers against driving through flooded roads and areas.

For business owners, they saw their hard-earned money washed away by the flood, together with the trash and debris that made a mess to the entire community. What they needed was an immediate water cleanup Baltimore, MD recovery program to restore their business and minimize their losses.

A day after the storm, residents gathered and saw for themselves the power of water and Mother Nature as homes and businesses were damaged from the flood. Homeowners, who transferred valuable furniture to buildings when storm warnings were alerted, stood in shock as they discovered these buildings were not spared from the flood and provided little protection for their valuables. After damage assessment, water cleanup Baltimore, MD can begin.

Part of the water cleanup in Baltimore, MD includes cleaning out of parking lots which were waist-deep in water during the flood. Now that the floodwaters have receded, mud and dirt remained which have to be cleaned up, brushed off and hosed away. Roadways also needed cleanup work as trees, vegetation and water-damaged vehicles blocked the roads from traffic. This created more heads for home and business owners who needed to get everything back to normal. They can do so through the water cleanup Baltimore, MD program efforts.

City officials, homeowners and business professionals pooled resources to make the water cleanup Baltimore, MD as efficient and successful as possible. They did so in clear efficiency, typical of residents of great cities, to pave their way back to full recovery.

The Crime Against Peace in the Inkeri Land

The Neva river cuts across the Karelia Isthmus, a land about 15,000 square kilometers in size, from lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland. The 4,000-year history of that region is a tumultuous one.

The early pioneers on the shore of the Baltic Ice lake, Gulf of Finland, Neva river, and Lake Ladoga, had relative peace for about 2,800 years. Things started to change around 800 AD, as the major political players grow stronger and clashed.

Ingrians were often scattered, uprooted, and relocated. The study of history paints a clear picture of how desperate, irrational, cruel and war mongering the human race can become, fueled by capricious power.

Sometimes, small violations over property or encroachments into traditional hunting and fishing grounds led to violence. But there was another level, the political power play, which often involved building up force to resist force, and using the political power of a group to build a larger group, to take over neighbors' territories, effect selfish land grabs and paybacks, repress truth, and deny justice.

The current Inkeri Coat of Arms presents the historic conflict of the Inkeri region particularly clearly in its depiction of the wide-flowing water border of the Neva river; travel, transportation, and trading; defensive castle walls of the opposing North and South sides, covered with red blood; and the idealistic hope for a judgment by the wise, old King (God), with his golden crown and embedded jewel stones.

Between 1299 and 1300 AD, Sweden built a town and stronghold at the west end of the Neva river, where it flows into the Gulf of Finland. They called it the Crown of the Land. (Novgorod First Chronicle).

The word Inkeri (or Ingria) is used in two ways in this article:

1. To describe the geographical area

2. To describe the people of the Inkeri / Ingria community

Because the history of the Inkeri is so tumultuous, it is easy to lose the thread of the original meaning and the original spirit of the Inkeri Baltic Finns community, summarized as follows:

  • They were a free, independent tribe and part of the region's pioneering rural community.
  • The initial Inkeri / Ingria community was made up from the Baltic Finns, Votes, and Izhorians.
  • They grew together and shared the Finnish language with the Chuds, Estonians, Izhorians, and Vepsians.
  • The Neva river traffic by the Vikings, the Swedish and Novgorod Wars, and the formation of Russia and the totalitarian Stalinism that followed.
  • The King and country of Sweden welcomed the Russians and gained control from 1580 to 1595, and from 1617 to 1702.

The Origin

In early times, the nomadic people simply settled on land that nobody else was using, due to low population. The planet's population was estimated at 30 million in 2000 BC.

Because of the Ice Age, the Nordic region during the Stone Age was not as attractive for the hunters / fishers / gatherers as a Mediterranean city or remote island, the Black Sea, or some tropical island on the Pacific.

Then, it all changed. It has been said that hunger for power and "the love of money" are the "root of all evil", and that certainly seems to be true in the history of the Neva River region, and the lands to its east.

Political / military dictators in history have typically campaigned for political power, followed by a quest for more military power, and then a campaign to horde territory and riches. Richness and fame is what drives them, and in order to obtain them, they are willing to wipe out the opposing side, which is simply defending its own rightful land.

The ordinary inmates of the land – natives, pioneers, and rural people – have built families, tribes, community, education, culture, and tradition. They have a particular close interaction and connection with their land, the seasons, the natural food ingredients, local resources, and the environment, but they are run over as if they are just part of the earth.

If it had not been for the lure of trading foreign goods, wealth, and money (opportunities taken by the Entrepreneurial Vikings starting in the Nordic around 800 AD), life / people could possibly have continued working their land: growing crops, building cabins, hunting animals, catching fish, picking berries and mushrooms, and trading fairly at the local marketplace.

This was a simple life; a life devoid of lusting after, and spending time and assets on gold, silver, and gem stones, silk and crystals, emeralds, flashing metal swords, helmets, and face guards, long boats, mantels, leather sandals and shields.

When the Mongols marched north and east during the 12th century, invading the territory of the Kievan Rus, Moscow was just a trading post, located in the Vladimir Suzdal principality. The Mongols burn down Moscow in 1238, and returned back to pillow it in 1239.

A similar pattern reemerged with another nation (Russia), as the Kievan Rus got back on its feet; Moscow's outstretched bear claw of expansion was activated. The insatiable lust to conquer, dominate, and consume the riches of the foreign lands fueled their ambition and drove them further and further north into Siberia, fanning out east and west. Typically, this was done in the name of religion and culture promotion, followed by forced submission, taxes, and the working of the silver mines.

From Siberia, the movement headed west into Fennoscandia and into Lapland (Kola Peninsula), again represented first by religion, custom, culture and trading, and followed by taxes and mining. Finally, political control of Moscow went south, and then bear claw swung down into the Baltics including the Novgorod republic.

The outward expansion of the Grand Duchy continued in the 14th and 15th centuries, by which time the rulers of Moscow considered the entire Russia territory their collective property. (Wikipedia)

Sources.

Wikipedia. Grand Duchy of Moscow.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchy_of_Moscow

Novgorod First Chronicle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novgorod_First_Chronicle

The Dutch East Indies Campaign

The Dutch East Indies, today Indonesia, was the region of one of the Pacific campaigns during 1942. It was here that the Dutch East India Company held a reasonable source of oil. As Japan's oil supplies were drizzling out, they sent their army to occupied the oil rich regions of the Dutch East Indies.

The Dutch East Indies Campaign began soon after Pearl Harbor. Japanese troops approached Borneo, the largest island in the region, where the Allies had stationed only a few Dutch and British troops. In the month of December, Japanese troops steadily advanced further into Borneo. By the end of January 1942, much of Borneo had fallen including Balikpapan.

The Japanese army was also advancing further elsewhere in the Dutch East Indies. In Celebes and Molocus, they sustained their victories as both fell to the Japanese army in 1942. Japanese troops also landed at Sumatra, where they occupied oil refineries at Palembang as well as key Allied airfields. On the eastern side of Java Japanese paratroopers landed at, and occupied, Timor.

Their troops gradually island hopped their way through the region, and occupied airfields which further expanded Japanese aircraft range. With additional airfields the Japanese air force stepped up their aerial bombardments. Japanese aircraft bombed Allied troop convoys, supply ships and other warships out of the water. In February, hundreds of Japanese planes swarmed across Darwin targeting Allied shipping in port as well as aircraft.

But the Allies still held Java where they had thousands of troops. To occupy Java, Japan sent an invasion fleet which was to transport approximately 35,000 soldiers to Java. Japanese destroyers and cruisers provided naval cover for the transport ships.

On 27 February, an ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) fleet did indeed intercept the Japanese escort fleet at the Java Sea. It was there that Japanese warships wipped out much of the ABDA fleet. The ABDA fleet was initially dispelled, and the Imperial Japanese Navy intercepted those warships that did make an effective withdrawal soon after. The Battle of Java Sea ensured that the Japanese invasion fleet reached its designated target, albeit a little later than planned.

In March, Japanese troops landed at Java. During this period, they landed at three points along Java's coastline; and from there there they advanced further inland. The Japanese had both naval and air superiority for the Battle of Java. Although the Allies had a numerical advantage, without adequate air and naval support they could not hold Java. By the 5 March the Japanese troops occupied the capital Batavia. By the 8th the remaining Allied troops surrendered to the Japanese in Java.

With the fall of Java, the Japanese had effectively won the Dutch East Indies Campaign. The Allies evacuated what troops they could shortly after. The campaign had been a great victory for Japan as they absorbed the Dutch East Indies into their empire. After the fall of Java, the Japanese army headed eastwards toward New Guinea.