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Medium 9789814423335

The Hanoi Sword Swindle

Richard Lord Monsoon Books Pte. Ltd. ePub
"The Hanoi Sword Swindle" by William L. Gibson

A crime fiction short story set in Vietnam, first published in "Crime Scene Asia, Vol. 1" (Monsoon Books, Singapore)

The last time I was in Southeast Asia, I suddenly found myself without a dime to my name. I planned to make my way to Kuala Lumpur, to the only person in the region I thought would do me a favour. As the bus rolled along the highway through the seemingly infinite serried lines of the palm plantations, I counted at least three dead monitor lizards, their prehistoric bodies mangled and pulped in the road from the weight of the massive trucks carrying the palm fruit to the processing plants that manufacture the oil that cooks the food of more than a third of the world’s population. I remember seeing a dead monkey in the road, a large male with his skull split and the brain matter, chunky and bright red, spilling onto the asphalt. His little body was prostrate, spread-eagled face down, like the corpse of a wizened old man. I was heading through this landscape of repetition and road kill to see a woman I knew as Koko Goh, whose beauty was as famous as the ferocity of her temper. Older now, she had settled down in her native land after knocking about Asia for the better part of her life – first as a Triad gangster’s moll, then as the head of that unfortunate man’s network. (They never did find the rest of his corpse.) Along the way, she had assumed a legendary status as the underworld equivalent of Pol Pot … See All Chapters
Medium 9781628870268

16 Favorite Moments

Joseph Fullman FrommerMedia ePub

You can explore the wonders of science, history, and nature at world-class museums, eat yourself to a bigger dress size at top-notch restaurants, marvel at just how much gold and jewelry fill the royal palaces and castles, and say you’ve “done” London. But to get to know London, you need to experience the special moments that reveal the city’s true character. Here are some of the best:

 

Race to the top of the Shard. Two super-speedy elevators whisk you to the top of Western Europe’s tallest building for views that seem to stretch on forever in all directions. It’s a great experience at any time—particularly on the topmost viewing platform, which is exposed to the elements—but for a truly breathtaking photo opportunity, go in the evening when the sun starts sinking and the lights come on across the city. Go to page, .

Take an inter-art cruise aboard the Tate-to-Tate boat. Running between the sister galleries of Tate Britain and Tate Modern every 40 minutes, the boat allows you to instantly swap an eyeful of paintings and installations for views of some of the Thames’ most iconic sights, including the London Eye and Big Ben. The boat itself is a work of art with a colorful spotted livery by Damien Hirst. Go to page.

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Medium 9781786573353

Manitoba

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

The two prominent stars of Manitoba are Winnipeg, with its big-city sophistication, and Churchill, with its profusion of natural wonders. But it's what lies between that truly defines this often misunderstood prairie province. Open spaces seem to stretch forever – gently rolling fields of grain and sunflowers and wildflowers reach all the way north to Arctic tundra.

The magnitude of this land is only fully appreciated while standing on the edge of a vivid yellow canola field counting three different storms on the horizon, or on the edge of Hudson Bay's rugged coastline counting polar bears while belugas play in the distance. Wander its empty roads, stop in its evocative little towns, find the subtle dramas in the land and expect surprises, whether it's a moose looming in front of you on the road or a future pop legend performing on stage.

AMay Wildflowers spring up along the roads and signal the end of a long winter.

AJun–Aug Days can be balmy but cool nights rule; at Churchill, 18°C is considered hot.

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Medium 9781786573230

Central Bhutan

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Central Bhutan's evergreen mountains and neatly cultivated valleys comprise the country's cultural heartland, accented by several of Bhutan's oldest and most significant temples and monasteries. Spectacular festivals celebrate tradition and there are dozens of great day hikes throughout the region.

Across the 3420m-high Pele La and the Black Mountains is the magnificent and historically important Trongsa Dzong, commanding the junction of three major roads. From Trongsa, a short, steep drive over the Yotong La (3425m) leads to the four valleys of Bumthang, a magical region of saints and treasure-seekers, great demon-subduing struggles and fabulous miracles, rich with relics, hermitages and sacred sites from the visits of Guru Rinpoche and Pema Lingpa.

Central Bhutan sees fewer tourists than western Bhutan, though Bumthang's airport makes travelling here easier than ever. To really get off the beaten track, head south to visit remote village lhakhangs and the wildlife-filled jungles of Royal Manas National Park.

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Medium 9781743210093

St Charles Avenue Streetcar

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

The clang and swoosh of the St Charles Ave streetcar is as essential to Uptown and the Garden District as live oaks and mansions. New Orleanians are justifiably proud of their moving monument, which began life as the nation’s second horse-drawn streetcar line, the New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad, in 1835.

In 1893 the line was among the first streetcar systems in the country to be electrified. Now it is one of the few streetcars in the USA to have survived the automobile era. Millions of passengers utilize the streetcar every day despite the fact the city's bus service tends to be faster. In many ways, the streetcar is the quintessential vehicle for New Orleans public transportation: slow, pretty, and if not entirely efficient, extremely atmospheric.

Another streetcar line plies Canal St and you should ride it, but if we're honest, the route isn't as pretty as the St Charles line. There are plans to build a new line from Canal St, up Rampart St to Elysian Fields Ave.

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Medium 9781742208053

Nile Valley: Esna to Abu Simbel

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

The Nile south of Luxor is increasingly hemmed in by the Eastern Desert, its banks lined with grand, well-preserved Graeco-Roman temples at Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo, and its lush fields punctuated by palm-backed villages – it’s the ideal place to sail through on a Nile boat. The once-great city of Al-Kab provides the perfect contrast to the grandeur of the temples, while at Gebel Silsila the river passes through a gorge sacred to the ancients, who used the quarry to build the temples in Luxor. Aswan, the ancient ivory-trading post, has a laid-back atmosphere and plenty of things to see.

South of Aswan, the land is dominated by Lake Nasser, the world’s largest artificial lake. On its shores is one of ancient Egypt’s most awesome structures: the Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.

AMay–mid-Oct The long summers are unbearably hot in Aswan – temperatures soar well above 45ºC.

AOct–Nov & Mar–Apr The best months to visit, with warm days and cooler nights.

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Medium 9781743210130

Circular Quay & The Rocks

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

The birthplace of both the city and the nation, this compact area seamlessly combines the historic with the exuberantly modern. Circular Quay’s promenade serves as a backdrop for buskers of mixed merit and locals disgorging from harbour ferries. Join the tourist pilgrimage to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, then grab a pint at a convict-era pub in The Rocks.

MStart at Circular Quay and head directly to the Sydney Opera House. Follow the shoreline into the Royal Botanic Garden, then continue to Mrs Macquaries Point. When you've seen enough, backtrack to Circular Quay and call in to the Customs House. Continue around Circular Quay and pop up to Sailors Thai Canteen for lunch.

RSpend the afternoon exploring the Rocks. Start at the Museum of Contemporary Art and then head up into the network of narrow lanes to the Rocks Discovery Museum and Susannah Place. Continue through the Argyle Cut to Millers Point and wander up the hill to Sydney Observatory. Pop into one of Sydney's oldest pubs, perhaps the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, and then cut down to Walsh Bay and double back under the Harbour Bridge.

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Medium 9781742207780

Antananarivo

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Pop 1.37 million

Tana, as the capital is universally known, is all about eating, shopping, history and day trips. The town centre itself, with its pollution and dreadful traffic, puts off many travellers from staying, but bypassing the capital altogether would be a mistake: Tana has been the home of Malagasy power for three centuries and there is a huge amount of history and culture to discover, as well as some unexpected wildlife options.

In the city itself, the Haute-Ville, with its beautiful colonial buildings, steep streets and cool climate (average altitude in Tana is 1400m), is a great place to wander about. There are also some excellent markets and shops that stock products and crafts from across the country at very competitive prices. Finally, Tana is the place in Madagascar to treat yourself to a fine meal: some establishments rival Europe’s Michelin-starred restaurants, but without the price tag.

AJun–Aug Winter season in Tana, when night temperatures drop below 10°C.

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Medium 9781588439307

Manzanillo Region

Vivien Lougheed Hunter Publishing ePub

 

 

The mountains, covered in thick green vegetation, almost touch the ocean at Manzanillo. Between the mountains and the water are jagged rocks. Together, the three terrains give the bay a dramatic affect. The old town of Manzanillo is a port, but a very clean one. The only time that you may get an unpleasant impression of the city is if you arrive by bus. If that happens, you will see the grottiest section of town before you see the splendor. However, to rectify this, the city is building a new station close to a green strip of mangrove that is rich in bird life.

There are a few hotels in the old town; most are dingy, but the Colonial and the Bahai are worth considering. There is not much in the way of beaches in town. To hit the sand, you must travel about four miles/seven km to the hotel area. The term hotel area is a bit of a misnomer because it looks more like a middle-class suburb with shopping malls, gas stations, dress shops and car dealerships than it does a resort area. The hotels, for the most part, arent even visible from the main streets.

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Medium 9781588438553

Penobscot Bay

Robert and Patricia Foulke Hunter Publishing ePub
Medium 9781786570277

The West Coast

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Hemmed in by the wild Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the West Coast is like nowhere else in New Zealand.

The far extremities of the coast have a remote, end-of-the-road feel, from sleepy Karamea surrounded by farms butting up against Kahurangi National Park, to the southern end of State Hwy 6, gateway to NZ's World Heritage areas. In between is an alluring combination of wild coastline, rich wilderness, and history in spades.

Built on the wavering fortunes of gold, coal and timber, the stories of Coast settlers are hair-raising. A hardy and individual breed, they make up less than 1% of NZ’s population, scattered around almost 9% of its land area.

Travellers tend to tick off the ‘must see’ sights of Punakaiki, and Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, but sights such as Oparara Basin, Okarito Lagoon and the Coast's many lakes will amaze in equal measure.

ADecember through February is peak season, so book accommodation ahead during this period.

AThe shoulder months of October/November and March/April are increasingly busy, particularly around Punakaiki, Hokitika and the Glaciers.

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Medium 9781628870664

15. ZION

Eric Peterson FrommerMedia ePub

15

ZION

by Don & Barbara Laine

It’s fairly easy to conjure up a single defining image of most national parks, but Zion, a collage of images and secrets, is impossible to pin down. Zion National Park comprises an entire smorgasbord of experiences, sights, sounds, and even smells. Gaze upon Zion’s sheer multicolored walls of sandstone, explore its narrow canyons, hunt for hanging gardens of wildflowers, and listen to the roar of the churning, tumbling Virgin River.

Millions of years ago, a shallow sea covered the sand dunes here. It caused minerals, including lime from the shells of sea creatures, to glue sand particles together, forming sandstone. Later, movements in the earth’s crust lifted the land, draining away the sea but leaving rivers that gradually carved the soft sandstone into the spectacular shapes we see today.

But where do the marvelous colors of the rocks come from? Essentially, rust. Most of the rocks at Zion are colored by iron or hematite (iron oxide). Although iron often creates red and pink hues, seen in many of Zion’s sandstone faces, it can also result in blacks, browns, yellows, and even greens. Sometimes the iron seeps into the rock, coloring it through, but often it just stains the surface in vertical streaks. Rocks are also colored by bacteria that live on their surfaces. The bacteria ingest dust and expel iron, manganese, and other minerals, which stick to the rock and produce a shiny black, brown, or reddish surface called “desert varnish.”

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Medium 9780892725854

Portland Breakwater Light

Caldwell, Bill Down East Books ePub

Spring Point Light and the Portland Breakwater may be the unsung heroes of Casco Bay lighthouses compared to their more beautiful, powerful, and admired elder sisters—Two Lights and Portland Head Light. They have been admired and loved by mariners who have steered to safety thanks to these two guardians of Portland’s inner harbor.

Portland Breakwater Light, conceived as the consequence of a devastating storm in 1831, was twenty-four long years getting born and built. Now affectionately nicknamed the “Bug Light,” its lantern first shone in 1855. The first keeper, W.A. Dyer, lit the fixed red light atop the tiny white tower on August 1 and began earning his pay of $400 a year. This is the senior sister. Spring Point Light, one mile southeast, was not in service until forty-two years later. William A. Lane, the first head keeper, lit this light on May 24, 1897.

The storm that triggered the eventual creation of Portland Breakwater was the northeaster of November 22, 1831. Ships in the harbor were torn from their moorings, warehouses and wharves were splintered, part of Vaughan’s Bridge was destroyed, and floodwaters undermined the banks of the important Cumberland & Oxford Canal. Portland marine interests demanded that the federal government provide some protection, and their voices were heard.

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Medium 9782067182042

Albany

Michelin Michelin ePub

The Willamette’s loamy soil gives rise to a feast of foods that enrich the plates of the finest restaurants in Portland. The climate and soil are ideal for vineyards, and more than 500 wineries, mostly west of Interstate 5, draw visitors from around the world to wine-country tasting rooms. Charming small towns, bucolic countryside and farm stands provide additional reasons to stop and savor Oregon’s wine country.

A string of cities, including the state capital of Salem and the free-spirited town of Eugene, are situated along I-5, which runs north to south through the center of the valley. To the west, the forested Coast Range cradles the valley, and 30mi to the east, waterfalls plummet down mossy Cascade Range hillsides alongside wooded hiking trails whose vine maple trees turn crimson and orange in the fall.

SALEMa

The capital of Oregon is the state’s third-largest city (pop. 156,000). Salem traces its founding to 1840, when Jason Lee moved the headquarters of his Methodist mission to this mid-Willamette Valley location. Lee’s house and other early buildings still stand at the Willamette Heritage Center at the Millaa (1313 Mill St.; t 503-585-7012; www.willametteheritage.org; open year-round Mon–Sat 10am–5pm ;$6), a five-acre historical park that includes the 1889 Thomas Kay Woolen Mill. A millstream courses beneath the main mill building, and inside, massive looms operate with water-powered turbines. Four buildings, filled with period furnishings, were moved to this site, and are considered the oldest in the Northwest, dating to the 1840s.

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Medium 9781743214695

Denmark

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Denmark is the bridge between Scandinavia and northern Europe. To the rest of Scandinavia, the Danes are chilled, frivolous party animals, with relatively liberal, progressive attitudes. Their culture, food, architecture and appetite for conspicuous consumption owe as much, if not more, to their German neighbours to the south than to their former colonies (Sweden, Norway and Iceland) to the north.

Packed with intriguing museums, shops, bars, nightlife and award-winning restaurants, Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is one of the hippest, most accessible cities in Europe. And while Danish cities such as Odense and Aarhus harbour their own urbane drawcards, Denmark’s other chief appeal lies in its photogenic countryside, sweeping coastline and historic sights.

AJun & Jul Long days, buzzing beachside towns, Copenhagen Jazz and A-list rock fest Roskilde.

ASep & Oct Fewer crowds, golden landscapes and snug nights by crackling open fires.

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