Calming your world with a spacious awareness retreat

Автор: admin, 11 May 2012. Рубрика: C • Метки: , , , ,  • Ваш отзыв

Calming your World With a Spacious Awareness Retreat

Join us on a journey to one of the most beautiful places on earth, and take a vacation from your pains, stresses and worries. For eight days you will practice the gift of unconditional self-love; calm your world, become present and learn how to clear your energy and access your intuition with ‘Spacious Awareness’ in an ancient Mayan culture and in a safe, supportive, fun and healing environment. Calming Your World / The Joy Of Being An 8-day Transformational Retreat at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala from June 30 to July 7, 2007.

In the past three years, I’ve spent 10 days before every Labor day weekend at Villa Sumaya – at Lake Atitlan in Guatemalla with 9 -11 participants. Each one of them was magical in it’s own way. Lake Atitlan is one of the last innocent jewels of this world. The combination of this vast and pristine vast lake, surrounded by three volcanos makes it a perfect blend of yin and yang. The lake often changes its color, and its not unlikely to start the day with bright sun, have a little shower, and then for a storm to arrive, which makes looking at the lake, swimming in it or sailing through it – a meditative experience.

Boats are the only form of transportation around the lake. There are no cars or any land transportation and many of the local people walk. When we take our hikes around the lake we often run into children or older people who effortlessly walk barefoot and carry big loads on their heads. You gain perspective and appreciation for the old world aspect and the ancient Mayan culture of the e lake – which is surrounded by 2 towns with diverse languages and magnificent costumes.

Villa Sumaya, which is heaven on earth – in Arabic, is a flawless retreat center that makes it the perfect environment for our retreat. While nothing there reminds you of a five star hotel, the accommodations are elegant, clean, simple, comfortable and nurturing. Between the scrumptious vegetarian meals cooked by a local chef, the sauna, the Jacuzzi, and the luscious gardens, Villa Sumaya is truly a heavenly place.

The focus over our last three retreats has been Living in the present through meditation, yoga, qi-gong, sharing in community and celebration. This year the focus of the retreat will be how to clear our energy, access our intuition and implement it to daily life. We usually start the morning at 7:00 with mindful movement and meditation – at the meditation hall. After breakfast we have a morning session and then go on a hike around the lake, and come back for lunch. After lunch there are four hours of free time; you can read, nap, rest, swim or have a body work or energy session. We gather for the evening session , which includes meditation and dialoguing about the daily lesson. After dinner we usually gather for a movie, chat, communal sauna/Jacuzzi and sleep – which many report is filled with dreams and visits by energies from the lake…

We usually take a boat trip to the fascinating town of Santiago and the Santa Katarina hot-springs. The town of Panhachell, which is a 20 minute boat ride from the retreat center. There are always surprises and unforgettable celebrations. When I return to NYC i can feel the energy of the lake for a couple of months.

Rereating at lake Atitlan is a treat for the body, mind and soul – in keeping with the Hopi Message 2001:

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. -Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation

A taste of southern china: lijiang and ringha

Автор: admin, 09 May 2012. Рубрика: A • Метки: , , , , ,  • Ваш отзыв

A Taste of Southern China: Lijiang and Ringha

Appropriately close to Shangri-La, Lijiang is described as “a fairyland beneath the colorful clouds of southern China. A place blessed with fresh air, clear streams, breathtaking snow mountains, and an undisturbed landscape inhabited by a friendly group of people”. You will find this unspoilt idyll where Tibet meets the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, in southern of China. The local Dongba culture has influences from all these neighbors which include the famous Dongba hieroglyphs, a pictographic writing system used by the Bon priests of the Naxi people in this region for around a thousand years.

Blessed with a pleasant climate all year round, this seemingly remote area was part of the Ancient Tea-Horse Route. The Old Town of Lijiang is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, mercifully preserving the typical groups of houses and the original lifestyle found here.

Visitors will find there is plenty to see and do in and around the area of Lijiang. For those who like spectacular natural scenery, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is an awe-inspiring backdrop to the Moon-Embracing Pavilion at Black Dragon Pond (aren’t these great names?) Although the town can be explored by bus, taxi or bicycle, the best way to see the local charm in intimate detail is on foot. Browse the local shops, taste the local snacks and stop at every curious sight for a photograph. The Naxi music and murals are not to be missed, and after dark you can enjoy some of the charming local bars in the Old Town.

The nearby valley of Ringha is more Tibetan than Chinese. Visitors will delight in this peaceful, unspoilt area with its delightful golden-roofed Buddhist monasteries, faded prayer flags and slow-moving yaks which frequently hold up the traffic. The area is well known for its luxury accommodation in lodges, built in local village style with a wooden pole structure, exposed ceiling rafters and beautiful natural wood floors littered with colorful handmade rugs. The local restaurants also serve Tibetan-style cuisine including stews of yak and other local meats (delicious, by the way!).

The area is at an altitude of well over 10,000 feet, almost as high as Macchu Piccu in Peru which is 11,150 feet above sea level. The altitude and low air pressure may leave you panting at the hilly inclines, but it is a small price to pay for the splendid views of the snow-capped Hengduan Shan Mountains nearby. Local trips into the mountains are usually in jeeps and 4x4s and include an exhilarating ride to the Songzanlin Temple with its 700 earnest monks.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, locally named Hutiao Xia, is a strenuous walk but trekkers will be rewarded with fabulous gorge, river and canyon views. The total route takes over 2 days to complete with accommodation in guest houses along the way, but shorter parts of this high trail can be enjoyed by those with stout walking shoes and strong legs! There are also coach tours which follow the lower road through remote villages with the same breathtaking scenery. Alternatively walkers can rent a horse to ride some stages, or even be carried up some of the steps in a Mandarin Chair! Truly a Chinese experience for those who want to see the area at its natural best, but you need to hurry as there are plans to dam the gorge.

Visit this website for more information.


Автор: admin, 05 May 2012. Рубрика: B • Метки: , , , ,  • Ваш отзыв


I arrived in Beijing and the first thing that comes to mind is……B I G! This is one large city. 6500 sq. miles with 12 million people packed inside. It took an hour to go by taxi from the airport. The fare was 120Y ($15). By the way a word of advice if you travel here. Do not EVER use any services unless it is the “official” service. If someone approaches you for taxi service, tour service, tour guide, etc. do not even consider it. Do not believe anything they tell you. It is not true. You will be ripped off for sure. There are a lot of people here who have that special deal just for you. It will cost you at least twice the price than going a legit way before it’s over. That said, it is on to my Beijing experience.

The central city area is made up of “Las Vegas” blocks. They are big. Be prepared to do a lot of walking here. They are building everywhere. Maybe in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Traffic is also quite congested. I suggest you use the subway system to get around. It is easy and cheap like Shanghai. Taxi travel will take a long time to get anywhere. Speaking of subways, the Beijing system in a word; old. It works, but it is definitely quite used. The trains move slower, the stations are run down, but the key thing is that it works. Remember Shanghai’s metro in my previous blog? Well get ready for your first surprise here in Beijing. Much more crowded that Shanghai. It is not uncommon to wait 2 trains before you can get in. So here you are in a sea of people waiting for this train. Then it arrives and stops. First you will notice that as it sits there the cars are still rocking, and you can hear the air suspension system cycling on and off. Kind if weird, but apparently normal. Now the doors begin to open. You brace for the wild onslaught of pushing and shoving. I take a deep breath and get into rushing position. Then it happens……….NOTHING! What the hell is going on here? Everyone is calmly waiting while people unload! Then they start moving forward and entering the cars in an orderly fashion. I can’t believe what I am seeing! These people are so different than Shanghai. It’s like another world here. The cars are packed, but people are organized and polite. Crowded, but orderly. Later we are sitting in McDonalds looking at the map trying to figure out how to get to the hutong area. We know it will take a bus ride to get there, but we have no idea where to go. I ask this lady eating lunch at our table. She is telling us while looking at our map. Then she says it would be better if she showed us. So we finish and go out together and follow her to the correct bus stop. When the bus comes, she actually gets on with us and travels along until we get to the correct stop. How helpful can you get! I found that everywhere we went people here are eager to help you . They are polite and make you fee welcome in their city. This is very different from Shanghai.

Beijing is also a clean city and people always use the trash cans. I didn’t see people spitting and talking loudly here. Many speak some English so it is not hard to get around.

The air quality here is not so good. There is a lot of dust which may be from all the building going on in the city. There are many cars adding to the poor air quality. I would rate it about the same as LA.

In keeping with my Shanghai comparisons, the women in Beijing are average to below average. Not many lookers in this city. Shanghai way outdoes Beijing in this category.

I also found it interesting that there are no places for you to sit here. City streets, subway, bus stop, and even many parks all do not provide seats to stop and rest. It would be a good idea for you to carry a small towel to use to sit on the curb at times. There is a lot of walking involved in this city let me tell you.

You can find everything to eat here. All of it expensive, as is most everything else here. I think it is a little more pricey than Shanghai. I expect by the time the Olympics start, things will really be expensive. Prepare to spend about 500 RMB for 2 people a day. That will get you mid to upper class living conditions.

The buildings and historical sights are all over this city. It would take a long time to see everything. I want to make mention of the National Military Museum here. It is worth a visit. I found all this US hardware on exhibit there. Tanks, big guns, airplanes with the Chinese Army insignias painted on them. Some of it was given to China by the US. But there were pieces from the Korean War, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The P51 *picP51* was flown to mainland China by a Taiwan pilot who wanted to defect. Look under the wing in the pic and you can see the Chinese Star painted on it. Then there is the U2 *pic U2 spy* that operated out of Taiwan. It flew 112 missions over China before it was shot down. They picked up all the pieces and taped them together to display here. The cool thing about this museum is that the things here were taken out of service and put here without any restoration or even cleaning. The tanks and planes have oil stains on the floor beneath them. *pic Mig* The Mig looks as if it was flown to the museum. Of course the Great Wall was quite an experience. Also the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Heavenly Temple, the Hutongs, all amazing sites. When you see my pics, try to look closely at the bar *pic Hutong bar* and read the signs. Enough said……

Borthwick castle – hotel and wedding venue in scotland

Автор: admin, 04 May 2012. Рубрика: B • Метки: , , , ,  • Ваш отзыв

Borthwick Castle – Hotel and Wedding Venue in Scotland

Borthwick Castle was built in 1430 by Lord Borthwick. The castle was built as a stronghold, designed to withstand invaders, and also as a base from with offensive strikes could be launched when needed. When the castle was first built it had a portcullis, moat and drawbridge.

Throughout it’s history the castle has hosted many distinguished guests. Mary Queen of Scots enjoyed the hospitality of the Sixth Lord Borthwick on many occasions, including her honeymoon. So inevitably she and her third husband the Earl of Bothwell sought sanctuary at Borthwick in 1567 when they learned that the Scottish nobles planned to capture them. A force of 1,000 men surrounded the castle but Mary escaped through a window in the Great Hall dressed as a pageboy, and rode through the night after her husband.

Steeped in history, Borthwick Castle has been a hotel and wedding venue since 1973 and is a fantastic place to have the best day of your life! Based near Edinburgh in Scotland it’s easily accessible in a stunning location.

If you’re not getting married but instead are just looking for an unusual place to stay for your holiday then look no further than Borthwick Castle. It’s bedchambers are unique and luxurious. You can even stay in the room which Mary Queen of Scots stayed in during her stay in the castle!

If you need any further reason to visit the castle then perhaps you’d be interested to learn that it is also rumoured to be haunted. From British Heritage Magazine:

“The Red Room has spooked so many people that the owners called in an Edinburgh priest to exorcise its lingering spirits. Legend says that a young servant girl bore an illegitimate Borthwick son in the room. Mother and baby, potential threats to the title, were quickly put to the sword. In other era, the Borthwick family chancellor used this room, and the niches for his safes remain in the stone wall to this day. According to gossip, the Borthwicks discovered their chancellor was embezzling money from the family coffers. Eschewing the nicety of a performance review, they intercepted the chancellor on his way home from Edinburgh one evening and cancelled his contract by burning him to death. The ghosts of the young servant girl and the fired chancellor still wander the stony spiral staircases of Borthwick, some people say, and even the most stalwart visitors admit to feeling invisible presences in the Great Hall.”

Attracting tourists to egypt

Автор: admin, 01 May 2012. Рубрика: A • Метки: , , , ,  • Ваш отзыв

Attracting Tourists to Egypt

Holiday resorts usually have a set of good points around which they can market themselves to visitors. Every holidaymaker has their individual set of criteria by which they evaluate holiday destinations and even where warm, dry, sunny weather is almost guaranteed, they still needs to be some other additional benefit to differentiate those resorts from all the others. In Egypt hot sunny weather that continues for day after day, even in seasons where other locations have lost their warm days, is the main promotional highlight. There are hardly any times of the year when the Red Sea resorts of Egypt do not benefit from great holiday weather. But in Egypt, the hot weather is not enough, on its own, to bring in the tourists in their thousands.

Egypt is one of those unique locations that have a combination of features that make them almost unique and set them apart from all the other holiday destinations that are within geographical and financial reach of the huge tourist market of Europe. Warm dry weather is a feature of this region for almost the whole year round. The primary holiday destinations in Egypt for western tourists are Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. Both are coastal resorts on the Red Sea and average daytime temperatures rarely drop below 25 degrees Celsius whatever the time of year. That makes them very popular destinations for European travellers seeking winter sun holidays, during the times when northern European weather can bring endless days of dull wet weather. Another feature of these Egyptian resorts is the quality of the hotels. The number and scale of luxury hotel complexes will impress any first-time visitor and they present a stark contrast to the landscape that surrounds them. Beyond the resort areas, the terrain quickly returns to empty desert scenery, which is fine for day trips, but not too interesting for tourists. The sea presents a much more rewarding opportunity and here the resorts provide a wide selection of water sports activities including one sport to which the region is particularly suitable. Scuba diving in the red Sea is very popular and just about every hotel in Sharm el Sheikh provides a dedicated dive school, which provides equipment for hire, different levels of instruction and a choice of dive trips to specific locations offshore. Reef and wreck dives in the warm waters of the Red Sea are ideal for attracting thousands of people to the region every year.

Other holiday destinations are familiar with tapping into the sports marketplace to attract their visitors. The Canary islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria are all favourites with athletes for early season training camps. The islands have some of the most highly developed sport facilities and with that marketplace still growing, new facilities are still being built. Winter sports are another activity that drives the tourism economy of many resorts. Ski resorts in France, Austria, Switzerland, {Italy and other countries benefit from geography and weather that brings hundreds of thousands of people to the slopes every year. The ski season lasts for between four and five months, starting before the Christmas period and extending to April depending on snowfall. These resorts have the dual benefit of a summer season which uses the landscape to attract those who enjoy the great outdoors. Sport is not a pastime that you would typically associate with Egypt, but where there is a connection the Egyptians are quick to take advantage. One sport in which Egypt is unusually successful is squash. The Egyptians currently provide three of the top four male players in world rankings and now also have a player in the top ten of the women’s rankings. Hurghada has used this sporting success to bring international sport to the resort. The Hurghada Challenge has brought top female squash players to the coastal resort for many years, with an all glass outdoor squash court being erected in the town centre, providing a unique environment for spectators and players alike. This year Sharm el Sheikh is seeking to duplicate that success by staging two international women’s squash competitions later this year. The Soho Square Squash Championship starts in late October and, at the end of November, squash returns to the resort with the Sharm El Sheikh Open.

So the tourist authorities in the Egyptian resorts are using a three-pronged approach to attracting visitors. Luxury hotels, sporting aspects and of course fantastic weather make the Egyptian resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh priority destinations for many.