Travelers and Wanderers around the Universe

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Compelling Reasons to Visit Puri this Winter

Puri is synonymous with the Jagannath Temple. One of the four sites of pilgrimage most revered by the Hindus, Puri attracts pilgrims all year round. The temples, ashrams and monasteries of Puri are great specimens of heritage architecture. Tour them and unwind at the beach - your trip to Puri this winter will surely leave you rejuvenated. Go ahead and book hotels in Puri and plan a trip between November and February – the weather being most pleasant during this time. Here, we give you six compelling reasons to plan a trip to Puri this winter.

Visit the Jagannath Temple
Lord Jagannath is the ‘Lord of the Universe’. His name comes from the Sanskrit words ‘Jagat’ meaning ‘universe’ and ‘Nath’ meaning ‘lord of’. When you visit His temple, you will see the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra seated on the ‘Ratnavedi,’ a bejeweled platform inside the temple. Devout Hindus visit the Jagannath Temple to cleanse their soul of sins and pray at the feet of ‘Lord of the Universe’. You must experience its magnificence and divinity at least once in your lifetime.


Tour Chilka Lake
The Chilka Lake is close to Puri, just 37 kms away. It is the largest inland salt-water lagoon in Asia. Bird-watchers and animal lovers flock to Chilka Lake as it is the dwelling of many stunning beings. From white-bellied sea eagles to sandpipers, flamingos to gloven plovers - you will see a variety of avian life-forms here. Some of them are migratory birds which only visit during the winter months. The Chilka Lake is one of the two places in the world where the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins can be spotted. Capture them on your smartphone camera when you tour Chilka by boat. The lake also supports a flourishing ecosystem of flora and fauna.

Konark Temple
The Konark Temple is located about 36 km away from Puri. Built by King Narasimha in the 13th century, it is a magnificent piece of architecture. The structural design of the temple is a tribute to the Sun God. The chariots of the Sun God and the horses which draw it are depicted through the structure. There are many shops and eateries near the temple. You can sip tea and snack on samosas after your short drive to the Konark Temple from Puri. The Konark Beach is also closeby. The peaceful and quiet ambience here will help you reconnect with Nature.

Shopping at Puri
Shop for local handicrafts at Puri. You will find souvenirs which you can take back home. Visit Swargadwar near the Puri Beach. There are shops here which sell traditional sarees like Bomkai, Ikats, Pasapali and Sambalpuri weaves. ‘Pattachitra’ is a traditional art form of Odisha.  These are palm leaf paintings which hail from the region. Take one home to change the look of your decor. Silver works and stone crafts from Puri are also famous. Cigar boxes, jewellery boxes and decorative trays made of silver are available at emporiums and other shops.

Beaches in Puri
The beaches in Puri are spectacular. Watch the crimson dawn break over the Bay of Bengal from the Puri Beach, or from your hotel room. There are many 5 star hotels in Puri which are sea-facing. Choose hotels which are along the beach, to enjoy access to private beaches and clean sea. Fresh seafood is available at shacks along the seafront. Enjoy a relaxing massage on the beach as you hear the waves crash on the shore, not too far away. There are sand sculptures to be found on the beach. They depict art from the walls of Puri temples and from other mythological sources. Take a stroll along the beach in the evening to enjoy the soothing breeze.

Local Food at Puri
When in Puri, try out the local fare. ‘Khicede’ is the main ‘bhog’ or speciality dish offered to Lord Jagannath. It is a staple dish in Odisha, prepared with rice and lentils. You can sample this dish at most eateries at Swargadwar.  Book hotels in Puri which have in-house restaurants and serve traditional Oriya food. ‘Dalma’ is one such preparation with lentils and vegetables. The ‘Pakhala Bhata’ is a rice preparation served with curd. The khaaja is a local favourite you must try – a crunchy and sweet snack, khaaja is as popular as the Puri Temple. Do not miss out on the ‘Chana Poda’ - a sweet dish prepared with smoked cottage cheese.



Get ready to experience spiritual rejuvenation - Puri has that effect on all travelers.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Does My Parent Need Extra Care? 4 Signs

With the holiday season not too far off, chances are you will have additional opportunity to spend time with your parents. In an episode of Tell Me More from NPR News, the hosts suggest this is the time to have important conversations with your aging parents. If it has been a while since you last saw them, their appearance and other aspects of their well-being will be easier for you to hone in on.

Asking parents directly whether or not they could use additional help might yield truthful answers. But in many cases, parents could benefit from receiving additional help long before they are ready to ask for it. Your job as the child of an aging parent is to keep an eye out for your parents.

But what are the red flags that your parents could use additional help or home care?


Here are 4 signs to watch for. 


1. A lack of taking care of his or her appearance.

This point has less to do with natural signs of aging, and more to do with upkeep and personal hygiene. For example, unwashed hair, unpleasant body odor, unclipped nails, wearing stained clothing, etc. 

If your parent has stopped taking care of his or her personal appearance, this could be a sign of withdrawal, or a sign of forgetfulness. It could also mean your parent feels his or her appearance is low on the priority list. Energy levels can quickly decline from one day to the next, so it could be your parent may be fine one day, but may need help with basic tasks the next.


2. Not getting around to household chores.


An obvious sign that a parent could use additional help is if chores around the house begin to get neglected. For example, the floors are left unswept, laundry has been left unwashed, the fridge has not been cleaned in a while. If there is spoiled food in the fridge and few whole foods, fruits, or vegetables, this should also raise an alert. Your parent's diet is what will keep him or healthy, and a poor diet could exacerbate aging symptoms. A large stack of unopened mail is also a concerning sign. The state of your parent's house is a quick way to get a pulse on whether your parent could use additional help.


3. Forgetfulness and signs of memory loss.


Maybe your parent has always been forgetful… But has it seemed more pronounced of late? Does she have difficulty keeping track of the days of the week? Or does he or she lose track of the time? Has he had problems with utilities being turned off due to forgetting to make payments? Does she repeat herself or tell stories more often than usual? Does he forget to take medications? What about regular meals? As we age, our appetite often lessens, as we are less active, so we require a reduced calorie intake. But that does not mean your parent no longer needs the nutrients that a balanced meal would provide. 

Other concerning signs are if your parent has unexplained bruises on his or her body. If she or he cannot remember how they occurred, then it might be time to increase care. Additionally, take a look at the next sign for further on this point. 


4. A decrease in physical mobility.


Does your parent find it harder to move around? Does she falter when standing up or sitting down? Has he stopped going to the second floor? Does a little walk around the block wipe him out? Why are these signs of concern? When there is a physical decline in mobility, your parent may be more susceptible to falls. Which can cause a cascading effect that is hard to reverse. The house that your parents have lived in for twenty years, is likely not optimized for elderly living. And your parent could be suffering as a result. It might be time for a family discussion about downsizing to space that is optimized for elderly living.

Over the holidays, if you begin to see decline in one or more of the above areas, it's time to get additional help. If your parent is already displaying some of these signs, do not be alarmed. Signs of aging will happen to everyone eventually. What is most important is providing help at the right time. And in a manner that is easy for parents to receive while not infringing on their desire to remain in control.

Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium Experience

One of the many  activities we did during our Las Vegas vacation was to see the  Shark Reef Aquarium.  It was an amazing experience, it was both  education and fun.  In light of what happened in Las Vegas, I would like to encourage  everyone to say a prayer for the city of Las Vegas especially  for those who  are dealing with the trauma.  I have been praying that God will give these people the strength they need  in these hard times.
We parked at  the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to get to the Shark Reef Aquarium.  There was an event for African American  women during that time.

The convention center was adjacent to the Mandalay Bay  resort  where the  gunman in the recent  massacre had  stayed.  It  sends chills to my bones when I think about it.  I can't even  imagine the horror that the people attending the  concert must have felt.  I fear for my children  every time we travel  because of crazy people like the shooter in Las Vegas mass shooting.
Horrible things like this always make you think how scary the world we live in nowadays.  All we can do when we go somewhere is to pray that God will  protect us from harm.  
The Mandalay Bay has a tram  that connects to its sister companies, the Excalibur and Luxur.  All three luxury hotels were built by Circus Circus before they sold it to MGM.  Circus Circus is where we stayed at during our  vacation.
A post shared by Chubskulit Rose (@chubskulitrose) on
A post shared by Chubskulit Rose (@chubskulitrose) on
Our experience to  one of the largest Aquarium  in North America was  amazing.  The Shark Reef Aquarium  displays numerous different species of sharks, rays, fish, reptiles, and marine invertebrates.
We love all the  photographs with information  displayed  on the  lobby  leading to the Aquarium entrance.

If you are  in Vegas, the aquarium is  one of the interesting places to see especially with kids.  I told my husband that if the massacre had happened before our vacation, there's no way I would even consider going to Vegas at all but my husband said that we can't let our fear hinder us from doing things.  I agree with him but I still can't shake off the fear because of what happened there.
Anyway, our children had a blast.  This  huge aquarium  really brought some educational entertainment  to us.
I recorded a video which you can watch below.  Enjoy.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Aerial View of #LasVegas

It's Monday  and I am feeling nostalgic so let us travel  down memory lane and let me take you back back when I was a kid, shall we?  My family never   went to any vacation  growing up so it was a huge  childhood dream for me to be able to travel by plane.  Whenever I heard an airplane, I would run out and look up the sky and watch the plane  until it disappears from my sight.  I always  wondered how it feels to be able to go somewhere via  airplane.  

That childhood desire faded away  and thought that I will never experienced it but things  have changed ever since I met my husband.  My very first flight was when I was 30, it was a little  nerve wracking as I have never done it before but it  awaken that childhood dream  once again. Thanks to my husband for  re-igniting that dream and making it come true.  In the Philippines, not many people could travel via airplane because it is expensive to fly.  Ground transportation is the most common way to travel due to its affordability.
I am grateful that my husband  loves to travel, me and the kids get to enjoy  seeing new places every year.  I  always tell our children how lucky they are to be able to travel at an early age because I've never done that till i was in my 30s.
Anyway, I preferred  traveling on daytime because I get to  look down and  enjoy the aerial view of the place.  The series of photos  in this post was taken when we were arriving in Las Vegas.  This was  our first time so it was a new  view for us to see.  Even before touching down, I could almost feel the hot weather just by looking at the mountains without  trees.  I am used to where we live where the scenery is green and the vegetation is thick during the warm weather.
I was relieved to see the big body of water  after seeing the dry mountains.  This is over looking the Lake Mead.  Don't get me wrong, Las Vegas is  beautiful but I don't think I could live there, it's just not a place  for me for a long haul.  It's a beautiful city to go  on a vacation though, there's a lot of entertainment.
My kids were amazed of how bare the mountains are.
 I was excited when I see parts with lush of greens as we were seeing  brown view  for a long time.  I was apprehensive going to Las Vegas with kids but it was  actually  a really good experience.  We got to go to Arizona  as well with this  vacation.  Tune in for our long  road trip fun to Grand Canyon.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Best Places to Stop Traveling along the Southern Pacific

The Southern Pacific route is one of the most diverse, interesting ways to get from the West to the East Coast. The route begins in San Diego, California and ends in Georgia. If you need a route to follow you're in the right place! The route follows old US-80 and some of its new equivalents, spanning about 3,000 miles. Here are some of the states in which you can stop on this culturally varied route.


California

California 2014
From the golden beaches and Pacific bays of San Diego, to right down along the border to Mexico, US-80 takes you through quite a few little border towns, and even past a couple of roadside attractions. You will travel through towns you have heard of, like La Jolla, and through a few you might not know anything about, such as Felicity. If you plan to stop, you might want to get a bit of information about La Jolla, California, or even some of the roadside attractions – such as the Desert View Tower. Also, don’t forget to head south of the border real quick to get some Tecate beer right from where it is made. This is also a good place to stop for non-alcoholic libations before you begin the trek across the Mojave.


Arizona

Arizona 2017

On the Southern Pacific Route, you’ll be passing through Southern Arizona, right next to the Mexican border. Tucson, AZ is a fantastic spot for natural beauty and parks, combined with a magnificent cultural history. Tucson’s history goes back much farther than many of its other southwestern neighbors, so there’s no shortage of cultural history and architecture, including Mission San Xavier del Bac, a 18th-century mission. The Arizona-Sonora Cultural Museum is a zoo, botanical garden, and art gallery all in one.

The Sabino Canyon is another part of Tucson that shouldn’t be missed. Located in the Catalina mountains, it’s a great place for swimming, hiking, biking and other activities. You’ll also pass through Yuma in Western Arizona, a popular place for golf, hiking, fishing, and bird watching. Here, you can also find historic attractions such as Yuma Territorial Prison State Park and Castle Dome Mines Museum & Ghost Towns.


New Mexico


Las Cruces is one of the cities you’ll pass through on the Southern Pacific route. This is the location of Mexico State University, and fine art galleries, Museums, and a lively theater scene are just some of the things you’ll find. Las Cruces boasts an average of 350 days a year with clear skies, making it the perfect location for outdoor activities. Enjoy the historic charm of Old Mesilla Village or take a scenic hike through Dripping Springs Natural Area.

Carlsbad Canyons is another one of the highlights that you should stop in while passing through Arizona. Above ground, you’ll find breathtaking canyons, desert wildlife, high sea ledges, and flowering cactus. Below the ground, there are more than 119 caves formed by limestone dissolved by sulfuric acid. You can either explore the caves yourself through a self-guided tour or embark on one of the ranger-guided tours.


Texas


Route 80 stops through several towns in Eastern Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth. In Dallas, you can find lots of art museums with huge collections, such as The Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository. You can also stop at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, which was named “One of the Most Breathtaking Gardens in the World” by Architectural Digest. Fort Worth is a hub for Western culture and features cattle drives, nightlife, and cultural institutions.

While on the Southern Pacific Route, you’ll also stop in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. At 8,749 feet, this is the highest peak in Texas. You’ll also pass through EL Paso Western Texas, which serves as a melting pot between American and Mexican culture. You can find extraordinary Tex-Mex cuisine here and visit the El Paso Museum of Art and Hueco Tanks State Park, which includes rock climbing and Indian petroglyphs. 


Louisiana


Louisiana is well-known for its cuisine, which includes such favorites as catfish fillets and boiled shrimp. Although it’s a bit out of the way of the Southern Pacific life, New Orleans is definitely worth a visit. Bourbon Street is well known for its party animal reputation because of the Mardi Gras celebration held there once a year. The French Quarter is another must-see location when visiting New Orleans: it’s known for its nightlife, jazz scene, fine architecture, and historic charm, along with some eclectic places to shop.

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is another not-to miss destination and contains a vast collection of history that tells the story of the war. Jackson Square is a historic park in the French Quarter where you can find a bevy of historic architecture and artists who paint, draw, display and sell their work. The death place of Bonnie and Clyde is located conveniently on Route 80, so you can stop while you’re on the road.


Georgia


US 80 runs across Georgia on the fall line, which is a geological divide where you can view rivers dropping in a long series of rapids all the way up from the Piedmont Plateau down to the lower coastal plains. When the lands were being settled, early Americans used these areas for their settlements. Columbus, Georgia is right on the banks of the Chattahoochee, and more towards the center of the state, Macon is right on the banks of the Ocmulgee. 

On this route, you will cross nearly 300 miles of Georgia and can see anything from forests of pine and hardwood to rolling hills, dozens of sleepy southern towns, stately old farmsteads and even tin roofed shacks. You might even stop off in Warm Springs to see the home of Franklin Roosevelt, or in Plains to see the home of Jimmy Carter.

With so much cultural history to see, the Southern Pacific route across the US is one of the most interesting ways to get from coast to coast. Although the states listed are amazing, there are many more sites to see along the way. Don’t be afraid to visit some out-of-the way places to add some spontaneity to make your trip more exciting.

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