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Scariest Places on Earth

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Paro Airport
Paro AirportWho Flies There: Druk Air, the national carrier.Why It’s Harrowing: Tucked into a tightly cropped valley and surrounded by 16,000-foot-high serrated Himalayan peaks, this is arguably the world’s most forbidding airport to fly into. It requires specially trained pilots to maneuver into this stomach-dropping aerie by employing visual flying rules and then approaching and landing through a narrow channel of vertiginous tree-covered hillsides. 

Princess Juliana International Airport
St. Maarten

Princess Juliana Int.AirportWho Flies There: All major U.S. airlines, as well as Paris-based charter carrier Corsairfly, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and a handful of regional operators.

Why It’s Harrowing: The length of the runway—just 7,152 feet—is perfectly fine for small or medium-size jets, but as the second-busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it regularly welcomes so-called heavies—long-haul wide-body jetliners like Boeing 747’s and Airbus A340’s—from Europe, which fly in improbably low over Maho Beach and skim just over the perimeter fence.

Reagan National Airport
Washington, D.C.

Reagan National AirportWho Flies There: All major U.S. airlines.

Why It’s Harrowing: Flying around Washington, D.C., is fraught with peril—just ask the pilot of a small aircraft that drifted into restricted airspace in March 2008, causing Congress to be evacuated and military planes to be scrambled. Located smack in the center of two overlapping air-exclusion zones, Reagan National requires pilots flying the so-called River Visual into the airport to follow the Potomac while steering clear of sensitive sites such as the Pentagon and CIA headquarters before making a steep turn and landing on this natural peninsula. Taking off, too, is a white-knuckle event in which pilots are required to climb quickly and execute a steep left bank to avoid flying over the White House.

Gibraltar Airport

Gibraltar AirportWho Flies There: Air Malta, British Airways, EasyJet, Iberia Airlines, and Monarch Airlines.

Why It’s Harrowing: Pinched in by the Mediterranean on its eastern flank and the Bay of Algeciras on its western side, the airport’s truncated runway stretches just 6,000 feet and requires pinpoint precision. And upon hitting the tarmac, pilots must quickly and fully engage the auto-brakes. Yet as nerve-wracking as the landing can be, it’s never guaranteed. Because of Gibraltar’s unique topography, the British colony endures unusual localized weather patterns that cause flights to be diverted to nearby Tangiers, Faro, and Malaga.

Matekane Air Strip
Matekane Airstrip

Who Flies There: Charities delivering aid, and the occasional bush pilot.

Why It’s Harrowing: Because of the diminutive 1,312-foot-long runway perched at the edge of a couloir at 7,550 feet, becoming airborne at the end of the tarmac is virtually impossible. Instead, you drop down the face of a 2,000-foot cliff until you start flying. Says bush pilot Tom Claytor, “The rule in the mountains is that it is better to take off downwind and downhill than into wind and uphill, because in Lesotho, the hills will usually out-climb you. It’s a little bit hard to do the first time.”

Barra Airport
Barra, Scotland

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:iU4cMC-SriIVzM:http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40005000/jpg/_40005914_barraairport300x220.jpgWho Flies There: British Airways and Fly be.

Why It’s Harrowing: Have you ever landed on a beach? The airport on the tiny Outer Hebridean Island of Barra is actually a wide shallow bay onto which scheduled planes land, making it a curiosity in the world of aviation. Admittedly, the roughness of the landings is determined by how the tide goes out to sea. Locals, who are avid cockle pickers, steer clear of the vast swath of hardened sand when the wind sock is up—a sign that specially rigged Twin Otter propeller aircraft are incoming.


Toncontín AirportWho Flies There: American Airlines, Continental, Copa Airlines, TACA, Islena Airlines, and Aerolineas Sosa.

Why It’s Harrowing: Having negotiated the rough-hewn mountainous terrain, pilots must execute a dramatic 45-degree, last-minute bank to the left just minutes prior to touching down in a bowl-shaped valley on a runway just 6,112 feet in length. The airport, at an altitude of 3,294 feet, can accommodate aircraft no larger than Boeing 757’s.

John F. Kennedy International Airport
New York

Who FliJohn F. Kennedy International Airportes There: All major U.S., European, and Asian airlines.

Why It’s Harrowing: Parkway Visual—a.k.a. the Canarsie Approach—is the especially daunting flyway here, since pilots have to avoid interfering with flights into New York’s two other close-by airports, LaGuardia and Newark. Set up in 1964 as a noise-abatement measure to pacify angry residents, this approach forces pilots to have a reported 1,500-foot ceiling and a five-mile visibility for their circular approach before lining up with runway 13L, with the threatening waters of Jamaica Bay beckoning at the runway’s end.

Madeira Airport
funchal airportWho Flies There:
Most scheduled (and many charter) European carriers.

Why It’s Harrowing: Wedged in by mountains and the Atlantic, Madeira Airport requires a clockwise approach for which pilots are specially trained. Despite a unique elevated extension that was completed back in 2000 and now expands the runway length to what should be a comfortable 9,000 feet, the approach to Runway 05 remains a hair-raising affair that pilots absolutely dread. They must first point their aircraft at the mountains and, at the last minute, bank right to align with the fast-approaching runway.

Saba, Netherlands Antilles
Juancho E. Yrausquin  AirportWho Flies There:
Windward Islands Airways (Winair).

Why It’s Harrowing: Perched on a precipitous gale-battered peninsula on the island’s northeastern corner, the airport requires pilots to tackle blustery trade winds, occasional spindrift, and their own uneasy constitutions as they maneuver in for a perfect landing (there’s no margin for error) on a runway that’s just 1,300 feet long. “Shorting this means ending up in the cliffs,” says one pilot matter-of-factly, “while overshooting it means an uncomfortable go-around. Either way, you’ll want to bring the Dramamine.”

A must visit place : Sedona, Arizona

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
by Ann

Did you know that Sedona was voted the most beautiful place to live or visit in USA Today? Here are my favorite places to experience breath taking beauty.

• I love the Red Rocks in Sedona and you won’t find anythingRed rocks, Sedona more beautiful anywhere in the world. You won’t have to hunt to find them they are everywhere you look.

• The reason I love the red rocks is they are a rare rock formation not found in many places on the earth. The red comes from the high iron content in the rock formations.

• I love the hiking trails located in all directions. People travel from around the world to hike these trails. A hike is a good way to get out among the rocks and soak in the views.Hiking Trails, Sedona

• The hiking trails are both easy and challenging and give you as much of a workout as you wish to set up for yourself. Oak Creek Canyon being one of the most beautiful and sought after trails—and one of my favorites.

• I love the sunrises and the sunsets. We have some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the world. When the time comes for sunset you find standing room only on Airport Mesa lookout point.

• Our sunsets are quoted as being one of the most breathSunsets from Sedona Airports taking sites in the world. Arizona’s spectacular sunsets reach their pinnacle here. If you don’t like the crowds at the airport lookout, try on the patio at Canyon Breeze restaurant. Another less-crowded alternative is the first turnout going up the hill on Schnebly Road.

• I love the vortex sites. Another natural wonder of the world. Because of the high iron content and the high crystalline content of the limestone white rocks the combination of rock formations forma natural magnetic vortex energy.

• The energy of the sites, are easy for me, as I have been a practicing energy healer for over twenty five years. Some people feel the energy and others consider it new age woo-woo. But most agree that they feel a special peace in Sedona that they have not experienced anywhere else. The beauty along with the peaceful feeling have a large percentage of the people who visit Sedona considering making it their home.

Put Sedona on your wish board as your next spiritual vacation. Imagine surrounding yourself in the beauty of Sedona and returning to your life refreshed with your body, mind and spirit renewed.

A dream destination for many, Zurich

Monday, June 9th, 2008

A dream destination for many- Switzerland captures the mind and memories of its visitors with the beautiful aura it creates. The entire region of the Western Europe attracts tourists on vacations and Switzerland ranks on the top of that list. The Tourism department of the country needs to be acknowledged for its efforts over the years that have made Switzerland on the top of the tourism chart. The country is the most preferable destination and high standard of Switzerland hotels enhances the country’s worth.

Switzerland is a very clean and organized place with only a few other cities to give competition. It is a beautiful land with its majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes, stunning snow capped fields, amazingly beautiful gardens and parks, friendly people, and elegant Switzerland hotels. A skiing paradise has the most favorable and pleasant climate all through the year. With the Alps receiving snowfall all the year round, the country enjoys a cool climate, with the best seasons being spring, summer and autumn. Summer season sees a maddening rush of tourists to Switzerland.

The country has a lot to offer and especially for the outdoor enthusiasts there is no dearth of opportunities.

Of the many cultural and beautiful cities, Zurich Switzerland is the largest city of the country. The variety of leisure activities, treasured attractions, and the multicultural elegance all make it one of the finest Swiss cities. Located in the heart of Europe and in the center of Switzerland, attracts a lot many visitors. By the side of the Lake Zurich, it is not only a beautiful tourist center but also the country’s economic and cultural hub. The most populated of the Swiss cities has a long time relationship with banking, business and chocolate. Sometimes called, as the ‘little big city’, Zurich is the commercial, financial and engineering capital of the country, with over a million visitors of all kinds visiting it.

Visitors who love to enjoy fine things in life, the sophisticated travelers who are looking for a holiday that can savor their tastes Zurich is the place. From the fabulous, picturesque Swiss Alps, to some of the most beautiful, charming, and interesting places the city has it all. For a holiday in Zurich Switzerland holiday, the summer months of July and August are perfect. It is the time when the summers are at their peak and the city experiences the best weather. Spring and autumn seasons are also good but winters are too cold and remain overcast. Switzerland’s popular and largest city is known for its vast range of cultural attractions and finest hotels in Switzerland.

A metropolis city it has on offer an exceptional combination of attractions. On a tour to the city one will come across over 50 museums and more than 100 art galleries. There is more with the city home to international fashion labels and designs, and a colorful lively nightlife scene. The city’s old town has its pedestrian streets lined up with most of the major sights, such as the zigzag alleyways, historic century houses, guildhalls and courtyards, and fountains. Getting a peek at the city’s rich history, treasure full of architecture and culture, leaves one in awe and certainly longing for another visit here.

Zurich is an ideal tourist destination and is blessed with a wide-ranging accommodation. There is a wide range of hotels in Switzerland meeting all the tourist needs. With the accommodation the key to any vacation or trip, the hotels in the city are numerous. One can chose from a budget, cheap to the higher end luxury hotel. Whether it is a business trip or leisure trip Zurich accommodation facilities matches up to all the expectations.

Seven Wonders of the Industrial World

Thursday, May 1st, 2008
by Sue

British author Deborah Cadbury wrote Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, a book telling the stories of seven great feats of engineering of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2003 the BBC made a seven-part documentary series on the book, with each episode dramatising the construction one of the wonders. The seven industrial wonders are:
SS Great Eastern

The SS Great Eastern was an iron sailing steam ship designed by Isambard
Kingdom Brunel. She was
the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch, and had the capacity to carry 4,000 passengers around the world without refueling. She would only be surpassed in length in 1899 (by the RMS Oceanic, 705 feet (215 m) and 17,274 gross tons) and in tonnage in 1901 (by the RMS Celtic, 700 feet (210 m) and 21,035 gross tons). Brunel knew her affectionately as the “great babe”. He died shortly after her launch in 1858.

Bell Rock Lighthouse

Bell Rock Lighthouse is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse and was
built on Bell Rock (also known as Inchcape) in the North Sea, 12 miles (18 km) off the
coast of Angus, Scotland, east of the Firth of Tay (56°26.052′N, 2°23.236′W). The
rock was the scene of many shipwrecks as it lies just below the surface of the sea
for all but a few hours at low tide.
The masonry work on which the light house rests was constructed to such a high standard that it has not been replaced or adapted in almost 200 years.
The lamps and reflectors were replaced in 1843, with the original equipment being used in the lighthouse at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland where they are currently on display.
According to legend, the rock is called Bell Rock because of a 14th century attempt by the abbot from Arbroath to install a warning bell on it. The bell lasted only one year before it was removed by a Dutch pirate. This story is immortalised in The
Inchcape Rock, a famous poem by 19th century poet Robert Southey.
Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States,
tretches 5,989 feet (1825 m). Over the East River connecting the New York City
boroughs of Manhattan
and Brooklyn. On completion, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in an 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline. In 1964 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

London sewerage system

In the early 19th century the River Thames was practically an open sewer,
with disastrous consequences for public health in London, including numerous
cholera epidemics. Proposals to modernise the sewerage system had been
put forward in 1856, but were shelved due to lack of funds. However, after The Great Stink of 1858, Parliament realised the urgency of the problem and resolved to create a modern sewerage system.
The London sewerage system is part of the water infrastructure serving London. The modern roots of the system were first developed during the late 19th century, but as London has grown the system has been expanded and needs further investment.
First Transcontinental Railroad

The First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States was built across
North America in the 1860s, linking the railway network of the Eastern
United States with California on the Pacific coast. Ceremonially completed
on May 10, 1869, at the famous “golden spike” event at Promontory Summit, Utah, it created a nation-wide mechanized transportation network that revolutionized the population and economy of the American West. This network caused the wagon trains of previous decades to become obsolete, exchanging it for a modern transportation system.
Authorized by the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 and heavily backed by the federal government, it was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line and was one of the crowning achievements of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, completed four years after his death. The building of the railway
required enormous feats of engineering and labor in the crossing of plains and
high mountains by the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad, the
two privately chartered federally backed enterprises that built the line westward
and eastward respectively.
Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a man-made canal in Central America which joins the
Pacific and Atlantic oceans. One of the largest and most difficult engineering
projects ever undertaken, it had an enormous impact on shipping between
the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (6,000 miles), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 mi) route around Cape Horn.[1] Although the concept of a canal near Panama dates back to the early 16th century, the first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. After this attempt failed and saw
21,900 workers die, the project of building a canal was attempted and completed by the United States
in the early 1900s, with the canal opening in1914. The building of the 77 km (51 mi) canal was plagued by problems,including disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever) and landslides. By the timethe canal was completed, a total of 27,500 workers are estimated to have died in the
and American efforts.
Since opening, the canal has been enormously successful, and continues to be
a key conduit for international shipping. Each year more than 14,000 ships pass
through the canal, carrying more than 205 million tons of cargo. By 2002 about
800,000 ships had used the canal altogether.
Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado
River, on the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada,also known
as Boulder Dam. It was both the world’s largest electric power producing facility
and the world’s largest concrete structure,when completed in 1935. It was
exceeded both respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945. It is currently the world’s 34th largest hydroelectric generating station.

The dam, located 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, is named after Herbert Hoover, who played an instrumental role in its construction, first as Secretary of Commerce and then later as President of the United States. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1935, more than two years ahead of schedule. The Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the
Interior operates the dam and the power plant.Register of Historic Places in
1981, Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985

Forts in Gujarat,India

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Champaner The historical town of Champaner is a city in the Gujarat state of western India. It is located in Panchmahal District, 47 kilometers from the city of Vadodara. The city was briefly the capital of Gujarat.  It was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Kingdom, in the 8th century. He named it after the name of his friend and general Champa, also known later as Champaraj. By the later 15th century, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs held Pavagadh fort above the town of Champaner. The young Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada, captured the fort on 21 November 1484, after a siege of 20 months. He then spent 23 years rebuilding and embellishing Champaner, which he renamed Muhammadabad, after which he moved the capital there from Ahmedabad. The town finally succumbed to attacks from the Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1535. Champaner is today the site of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site in 2004, and is situated about 47 km from the city of Vadodara.  Sultan Begada also built a magnificent Jama Masjid in Champaner, which ranks amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mihrabs, and carved entrance gates with fine stone jalis.   

Dabhoi  It was established in the early 6th century AD. Its foundation and fortification is ascribed to the great King of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh (1093-1143 AD), who made this his frontier fortress. The architectural style and the exquisite stone carving and iconography on the fort walls and gates suggests that it was conceived and constructed in the same period as Rudra Mahalaya and Zinzuwada Fort. It is mentioned as an important city in the Jain inscriptions of Girnar (VS 1288). It came under the control of Muslim rulers in 1300 AD after the fall of Patan. The fort of Dabhoi is one of the rare surviving examples of Hindu military architecture, based on the shastri traditions described in various Vaastu scriptures. There are four gates in the town, one in each cardinal direction, having indirect entry, located in the middle of each side of the fort wall. It was altered during the time of Visaldev and the Muslim rule. Hira Bhagol (named after the architect, Hiradhar), the most exquisitely carved gate, is in the east, with Vadodara Gate in the west, Champaner Gate in the north and Nandod Gate in the south. Dabhoi has many Jain and Hindu temples, devoted to different gods and goddesses. Dabhoi is the birth place of the great Gujarati poet, Raskavi Dayaram, composer of many garbas (devotional songs) and a devotee of Ranchhodraiji of Dakor. Many Jain scholars also stayed here in the past and enriched the Jain Granth Bhandar, which has a collection of ancient Jain manuscripts.dabhoi is also known for late shree indubhai sheth who has build temples for untouchable,build a school and a hospital,his sons are running many charities named after him,he passed away in july 2006.dabhoi municipality is building a giant gate of his name at the enterance of dadhoi.he is remembered as BHAMASHA OF DABHOI.  

Pavagadh It is said that the king Vanaraj Chavada established Champaner at the foot of Pavagadh in fond memory of his wise minister Champa. Later, the Patai Raval family ruled it and took care of the boundary. The folk tales say that Mahakali assumed the form of a woman and danced in a Garba during Navaratri. The last Patai Jaisinh watched her with dirty looks. The deity became angry at Jaisinh and cursed him. As a result, the emperor of Gujarat, Muhammad Begda assaulted Pavagadh and won the hill on the boundary. Patai was defeated and killed. Muhammad Begda shifted his capital from Ahmedabad to Champaner for some time for reasons of diplomacy. He developed the town by constructing buildings such as the fort of Champaner, Uohra mosque, Mandavi, Kirtistambh, the temple of Shalkh, Jama Masjid, Nagina Mosque and Kevda Mosque. The remains of the Palace of Begda are still found near Vad Talav (Banyan Pond) two kilometers (1.25 miles) away from Champaner. 

Background Pavagadh is the gateway to Panchmahal. It is the area of the tribals. The government has granted many concessions and offered subsidies to the new industries coming up in this area. As a result of it, Halol and Kaalol districts near Pavagadh have turned into virtual industrial estates. The locations of hilly areas around Halol provide a very good sight. A film studio at Halol has this added advantage. On the eastern side, the Rangpur Ashram run by Mr. Harivallahh Parikh works towards the upliftment of the local tribals.  




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