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The Different Flavors of Scuba Diving

Posted on December 8th, 2006 filed in travel articles
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There are different types of Scuba Dives and Scuba diving holidays each having its unique characteristics, benefits, and disadvantages.

Wreck Diving: When a ship sinks, it creates a great habitat for marine life and an environment where lots of marine species thrive. This in turn translates into great diving and great locations for underwater photographers. Wreck dives also offer a unique blend of history and diving as ship wreckage is associated with a war, pirates, a treasure, or accidents. Many world war II wrecked ships now rank among the top diving spots.

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Italian Opera Take 1: La Scala, Milan

Posted on July 10th, 2006 filed in travel articles
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La Scala, arguably the most famous and prestigious opera theater, is an upscale venue located at the Piazza Del Scala, at the heart of Milan within close proximity to the Galleria and Duomo, two of Milan’s most famous landmarks. Best way to reach the theatre is via the Metro Duomo station. Italians take their opera here very seriously as evidenced by the Gucci, Armani and other super expensive formal dress code and the ubiquitous high heels, full makeup and jewelry.

The performance usually starts at 8 pm, unless the showing is exceptionally long when it would start earlier (All Scala performances must end before midnight). Late arrivals are denied entry until the intermission. Ushers, however, at their discretion, may allow late arrivals to watch the show while standing at the theater entrance irrespective of what seats the tickets are actually for. Around 30 minutes later, and based on availability, tardy folks would be seated on one of the top level cubicles, again until the intermission. No exceptions are ever made (Richard Burton was reportedly denied entry once when he failed to arrive on time).

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Travel Article: Toronto Gems

Posted on March 17th, 2005 filed in travel articles
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My list of favorite things to do and enjoy in Toronto:

1) Roller blade or bicycle on the 40 mile waterfront path by Ontario Lake

2) Take the ferry (May-September) from Queens Quay to Toronto Islands and have a great outdoors day.

3) Enjoy great dining in the Entertainment District. Catch a movie in the fabulous ‘Famous Players’ movie theatre on Richmond and John

4) Check out Cinematheque listing and see if any favorite classic movie is showing on the big screen Last time, I watched ‘The Apartment’ the hilarious film by Jack palance and Shirly Maclaine. Another time, I landed on ‘Seven Year Itch’, arguably the most memorable movie of the late Marilyn Monroe.

5) Have a fabulous brunch buffet on Sunday at the roof of Westin Harbour Castle.

6) Attend an open air hockey game in Air Canada Center. Whenever weather permits, they slide off the roof and it’s an awesome experience.

7) Attend a concert at the Air Canada Center. I still recall the Eric Clapton concert as it were yesterday.

8) Attend one of the many musicals playing at the various theatres. Toronto is considered the third musical country of the world after New York and London. Mamma Mia world premiere was there and it was fabulous.

9) Attend an Opera at the Humminbird Center for the Performing Arts. The Toronto Opera Society usually does a great job with reasonably priced lavish productions.

10) Stroll in Yonge Street (Longest street in the world)
11) Have a night out with outdoor dining in gorgeous Yorkville.

12) Check out the various luxury stores in Yorkville.

13) Spend a day of nice weather at The Beaches. Clamor in warm sand for miles and miles.

14) Take a side trip to Port Hope (In September) and be ready for more salmon than you have ever seen (Migration destination).

15) Attend the Toronto International Fim Festival in September. It is the second most important film festival after Cannes.

16) In the winter, ice skating on the waterfront at the Harbourfront center.

17) Toronto skyline admiration from the Islands in the summer and the rotating restaurant at the top floor of the Westin Harbour Castle.
Things to avoid in Toronto:

1) Driving. One can literally get stuck in traffic for hours in rush periods. Walking is the best method of transportation followed by subway and then cab. Driving is the worst.

a) Significant time will be wasted in traffic

b) Parking, as in any big city, is extremely expensive.

c) A cab will drop one at the door whereas you can only park in parking facilities which may be 5-10 minutes walking distance

Recommendation: Rent a car in case of outside trips. In all other instances walk, bike, rollerblade, take the subway, or a cab.


Niagara Falls: Marvelous Year Round

Posted on March 10th, 2004 filed in travel articles
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Canadian Nigara Falls is one of those places that you cannot have enough and that has lots to offer year round. My least favorite is the overly touristic and tacky downtown and all its touristic traps. But that aside, there are lots of things to do and enjoy.

Summer: (May-September)
A) Favorite Attractions:

1) Maid of the Mist : Get an upclose look at the falls in this long standing must-experience boat tradition

2) Journey Behind the Falls: Walk down stairs behind the falls. Must do.

3) Whirlpool Aero Car : Awesome view of the falls through a suspended cable car.
Favorite Spots:

1) Botanical Garden / Butterfly Museum: Great place to take a break and have lunch. Nature at its prime with many acres of flowers and plants. Hosts the school of horticulture.

2) Floral Clock: Huge clock made of flowers.

3) Niagara on the Lake: My favorite of all. Gorgeous town in the midst of nature and perfect choice for bicycling and rollerblading due to the dedicated lanes that course in the midst of trees next to the lake.

B) Winter:

The Falls freeze over and it is spectacular. Best enjoyed from a falls view room at the Marriott. The experience is undescribable as you absorb the view in complete awe. Make sure you come on weekdays however. Weekends can be 4-5x more expensive!


The North American Indian Summer: Spectacular Foliage

Posted on October 12th, 2002 filed in travel articles
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North America is famous for its ‘Indian Summer’ Autumn and the extravagant foliage that abounds in some of its areas. October is the classic time to enjoy this nature fest. It is worth noting that each area has its own foliage report and that is worth checking prior to heading there.
These are my favorites in that regard :

1) The fabulous Adirondack Park in upstate New York (The drive from Manhattan is absolutely breathtaking)
2) New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachussets, Rhodes Island, and Main)

3) Quebec (Quebec City, Mont Tremblant)

4) Smokie Mountains (Tennesse, North Carolina, West Virginia)

5) Illinois: Morton Arboretum (Chicago) and Shawnee national Forest (8 hours south of Chicago)

6) Oregon: McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway
6) Georgia: Chattahoochee National Forest


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