Brazil’s Very Hungry Caterpillars

While the rest of us are enjoying the transition from winter to spring, Brazilian farmers are fretting over the rather problematic animal: Helicoverpa Armigera, a type of caterpillar currently destroying valuable crops all over the country.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

 

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The Beginning: Mumbai

Mission: Fly to Mumbai, visit Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, then come back on ourselves to fly back to England through Saudi Arabia from Mumbai. 

Fire on the platform, advice for night layovers in Riyadh, two scatterbrained girls begin their adventure.

I turned to my partner in crime on our flight to Riyadh, where we would have a layover for 10 hours before getting to Mumbai: “What are we actually doing?” She gave me a wry, knowing smile and burst out laughing. We had planned as little as possible, just the bare bones of a few connecting flights and a hotel here and there. We mused self-mockingly on the aeroplane, suddenly free to contemplate for a number of hours what we might be letting ourselves in for. We booked these flights on a whim, without really considering things much. Apart from a few guides and people I’d consulted briefly (most of which told me, very firmly, that you simply can’t back-pack in India and that trying to cover that amount of distance in such a short period of time would only attract bad vibes) we hadn’t a clue. Time constraints were an issue – back home we didn’t have time to plan properly, and a 6 week window was all that we could afford due to work and studying commitments.

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A Long Return to Bali

It had been seven months since I had left the UK and I was finally beginning to feel like I was on more of a holiday. After spending time in the USA, New Zealand and Australia flitting between working and travelling around on a packed schedule, I was very much enjoying the time to take things slowly in South East Asia.

I had settled in comfortably to the Gili Island lifestyle of relaxing, eating and sleeping and I was fully embracing the beautiful atmosphere that Gili Trawangan had to offer. What I hadn’t expected was to be staying longer than originally planned!

Rumours spread quite quickly around the little island. Since mostly everybody used the same fast boat company to get between the Gili Islands, Lombok and Bali, everybody was in the same boat (excuse the pun) when we found out that weather on the other shores had not been good. When you looked out to sea you could see how rough the water was; we’d been told that a ferry had sunk off of Lombok just the day before. Due to this, all fast boats were suspended until further notice. For me, this wasn’t such a big deal; I was more than happy to spend a few more days on Gili T and definitely had space to accommodate a few more cocktails. However, the others I was travelling with at the time had a flight just three days away.

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A Tourist’s Almanac part 2

Nicola takes us through the next set of advice for every type of tourist.

4. DON’T TAKE GUIDED TOURS

It may seem like the easiest way to get information, especially if you’re somewhere large and complicated like a chateau or museum. In the middle of an average tour group you’d be lucky to see the frescos on the ceiling, let alone whatever tiny painting the guide is mentioning. You will struggle to hear the guide over the echoes, the other people around and the whinging of bored. It’s best to avoid these places if you actually want to admire the attraction. Most places will provide a guide-book in a number of languages or an audio-tour via a handheld phone that allows you to walk at your own pace and study what you want, for as long as you want.  You’ll also avoid looking like a herd of animals shuffling after the young lady in the fluorescent yellow jacket.

GuidedTours_Hero(Hello at the back. Can you hear me? Can you see the artefact I’m talking about? constitutioncenter.org)

5. DRESS LIKE THE REST

You are on holiday, but that doesn’t mean you’re invisible. If you wouldn’t wear something in England, it won’t become more flattering or acceptable because you’ve put a few hundred miles between yourself and your friends. Most people have a mental “on holiday” section of their wardrobe, involving anything they consider just that bit too skimpy or Hawaiian to be acceptable at home on even the hottest day. When you go abroad, everyone there is already at home. They will be wearing the sort of thing you would wear at home, and you will therefore stick out like a tourist, if you are wearing your “on holiday” wardrobe. I don’t mean wear jeans when it’s 35°C, be comfortable, just remember tiny shorts, Hawaiian shirts and silly hats are the same the world over. Also, be culturally sensitive. If you are going somewhere where the locals cover up for religious or cultural reasons, you should consider covering up yourself. Exposing most of your flesh when surrounded by people in shawls and long skirts demonstrates your lack of awareness and sensitivity.

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Literary Landmarks – The World in Words

From the ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ to Anne Frank’s diary, Europe has been the centre of the world’s most critically acclaimed and most reprinted texts of all time. For those who can’t travel, reading is a great way to experience Europe, and for those who can travel, Europe is a great way to immerse yourself in what you’re reading.

2737599604_921fa6419b_o(Today’s Shakespearean Globe is an exact replica of the old Renaissance theatre, right down to the open air and tiers of seating. www.flickr.com)

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE, LONDON

A first stop for any literary fanatic is Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Whilst the original Globe theatre has been both burned down and destroyed at multiple times in history, visitors now have the chance to visit a reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse. The Globe stages Shakespeare’s plays throughout the summer, providing a rich opportunity to engage with not only the plays, but also the Early Modern world. With its close resemblance to the original, The Globe has the power to take you back in time and watch a Shakespearean play in the way that he himself intended.

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