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Author: John

The Jewel of Burma – Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago

The Jewel of Burma – Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago

  Next, we go completely in the opposite direction and explore one of the least visited places on earth – Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. This group of about 800 islands in the Andaman Sea, off the southernmost coast of Myanmar has been called ‘earth’s last paradise’, ‘the lost world’ and ‘the jewel of Burma’. Mergui is the name the islands were known under during British colonial rule, and is generally the name used when referring to the islands. Myeik is the…

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Wrinkled Potatoes, Old Vines and the Cafe Tropical – The Food and Drink of the Canary Islands

Wrinkled Potatoes, Old Vines and the Cafe Tropical – The Food and Drink of the Canary Islands

The foods of the Canary Islands include typical Spanish dishes, but with noticeable influence from the early Guanche inhabitants, North Africa and, due to migration in the early 20th century, Latin America. The Canaries were usually the first stop on return voyages from the Americas and therefore were introduced to items such as potatoes, beans, corn, cocoa and tobacco. It may be due to their previous isolation from the rest of the world that the traditional cuisine is fairly simple,…

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Two Provinces, Eight Islands and an Endless Array of Sights and Activities-What to See and Do in the Canary Islands

Two Provinces, Eight Islands and an Endless Array of Sights and Activities-What to See and Do in the Canary Islands

Tourism has been a major part of the Canary Islands’ economy since the 1960s. As many as 10 million tourists come to the islands for the perfect vacation weather, endless beaches and the diverse and beautiful landscapes. There is an endless lineup of attractions and activities to explore, which ensures that there is something here for everyone. The Province of Las Palmas Gran Canaria The island of Gran Canaria has such a diversity of climates and landscapes, that it is…

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Conquistadors, Pirates, Insects and Lots of Tourists- A Brief History of the Canary Islands

Conquistadors, Pirates, Insects and Lots of Tourists- A Brief History of the Canary Islands

Very little is known about the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands. The Guanches, who share a common origin with the Berber of North Africa, were established on the islands at the time of the Europeans’ arrival. Archeological evidence shows that people were living on Tenerife as early as 600BC, yet, interestingly, in 50BC, an expedition found ruins of buildings, but no people, perhaps indicating that the Guanches were not the only early inhabitants. There are indications of a visit by…

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The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands

Our next destination at Island Profiles is a group of  seven islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa. Sometimes called just ‘The Canaries’, the Canary Islands are a self governing region of Spain which boasts some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. The amazing natural beauty of these islands is displayed in a variety of landscapes, ranging from desert, to verdant green forests, to volcanic landscapes that are nothing short of otherworldly. There are four national parks…

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Key Items – Things to See, Buy, Eat and Drink in the Florida Keys

Key Items – Things to See, Buy, Eat and Drink in the Florida Keys

Now that we have explored the activities, sights and experiences to be found in the amazing Florida Keys, it’s time to talk about the food, drink and other things unique to the Keys. Most famous in the food category is the Key lime. Also known as West Indian or Mexican limes, the Key lime is thin skinned, yellowish and smaller than other limes and contains more seeds. It is generally more tart and aromatic than a regular lime. The Key…

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Underwater Statues, Hemingway Lookalikes and Sunset Celebrations – What to see and do in the Florida Keys

Underwater Statues, Hemingway Lookalikes and Sunset Celebrations – What to see and do in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have much to offer to those who visit. Key West, which is both a town and an island, is the southern most point in the continental US. Therefore, you will want to visit the Southernmost Point, which is identified by a concrete marker. It is a great photo op and from here, it is just 90 miles to Cuba. Of course, you can visit the southernmost everything else. The Southernmost House, for instance, is a huge Victorian…

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The Fountain of Youth, Black Caesar and the Conch Republic – Some Florida Keys History

The Fountain of Youth, Black Caesar and the Conch Republic – Some Florida Keys History

The Florida Keys were sighted by Spanish explorers Ponce de Leon and Antonio de Herrera on Sunday, May 15, 1513. De Leon was searching for treasure and the fountain of youth. Tales of this elusive fountain had circulated for thousands of years and were especially prominent at the time. He had recently been replaced as governor of Puerto Rico by Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus. He took the opportunity to explore more of the Caribbean, spurred on by Native…

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The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

Our next destination at Island Profiles is the Florida Keys. Stretching 120 miles from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, there are 1,700 islands overall, but only 43 are connected by the 42 bridges of the Overseas Highway, one of the longest over water roads on the planet. The word key comes from the Spanish word cayo, meaning ‘small island’. There are numerous other keys along the Florida coastline, but our focus will be the group of islands stretching from…

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Bougna, Blue Prawns, Coconut Crab and a Cocktail- The Cuisine of New Caledonia

Bougna, Blue Prawns, Coconut Crab and a Cocktail- The Cuisine of New Caledonia

The cuisine of New Caledonia is heavily influenced by its French ties. The French cooking influence is evident in the many good restaurants to be found in  and around Nouméa and includes a significant emphasis on wine and coffee. An abundance of seafood is to be found, finding its way into unforgettable gourmet creations or deliciously simple island fare. The New Caledonia blue prawn is a rare delicacy with a worldwide reputation. Other local seafood specialties include small and succulent…

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