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Travel Favorites

Published June 15, 2012 by xubobo

Stargazing at Mono Lake, California

A tufa rock formation juts out of Mono Lake, brilliant under a starry sky. Mono Lake sunrises and sunsets are famous because of the colors reflected in the tranquil water, Travel Favorites submitter shreenivasanm says. “If one has the will to venture to the lake shore during the night, you could experience a visual spectacle of … billions of stars.”

Cherry Blossoms at Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Spring brings bright blooms to Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Temple. “Cherry blossoms last only a short while—a week to ten days at peak,” Travel Favorites submitter hirowadausa says. “[You] must be aware of weather conditions and temperature when you go out there to take a shot.”

Coastal Walk in Cornwall, England

This section of England’s famed South West Coast Path offers views of dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, and lighthouses, says Travel Favorite submitter Atul_kshirsagar. “This walk is almost four or five miles long, but worth each meter.”

San Gregorio Magno Church in Majayjay, Philippines

Travel Favorite submitter xylo17m snapped this photo of San Gregorio Magno Church in Majayjay, Philippines. Majayjay is in Laguna province

Geek Shopping on Apliu Street, Hong Kong

“Visit Apliu Street to ‘geek out’ and find all kind of electronic components in this huge flea market,” says Travel Favorite submitter (and National Geographic staff member) robertmurray. “A shopper can find both new and used merchandise in the area.”

Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Travel Favorite submitter—and Good Traveler blogger—aricqueen has a word of advice for visitors to this spot in Petra, an ancient Nabataean city in Jordan: “Hold on to your camera tightly. Jaws—as well as things in hands—have been known to drop.”

Night Sky Over Crater Lake, Oregon

Stars dot the vast sky above Crater Lake in Oregon, a favorite of submitter shreenivasanm. “This lake wears the bluest of blue color on a clear summer day. Due to its remoteness, gazing at the night sky [is] an amazing experience for tourists.”

Sa Sartiglia Carnival, Oristano, Italy

The Sa Sartiglia in Oristano is one of the most famous and spectacular equestrian events in Italy,” writes Travel Favorite submitter MariaPaolaLoi. “It takes place on Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival.”

The Blue City, Jodhpur, India

This view of Jodhpur from the Mehrangarh Fort, taken by Travel Favorite submitter Kristian Bertel, explains the origins of the city’s colorful nickname

Old Post Office, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

A foggy night made this shot possible for Travel Favorite submitter hirowadausa. “It was such an experience, as if somebody [used] stage effects to make it look like old Quebec 400 years ago.”

Tso Moriri Lake, Ladakh, India

“Indian Himalaya is one of the best photographic destinations,” says Travel Favorite submitter Neloy Bandyopadhyay. “There are many high-altitude lakes hidden inside the Himalaya mountain range. Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful among these.”

 

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SALAD BREAD +FRESH JUICE

Published June 14, 2012 by xubobo

  • NGREDIENTS

 Chinese cucumber, 1/2 cooked carrot, 1 cooked potato, 1 boiled egg, 1/2c.
mayonnaise, 4 pieces toasts, 1/2T. salt

  • METHODS

 Wash and dice cucumber, marinate with salt for 5 minutes, then rinse under cold water. Drain.
Dice the cooked carrot, potato and egg, mix with cucumber dices, then add some mayonnaise to stir and make the filling.
Place the toast, spread some filling on top, cover with another toast, using a bowl to shape the toast as round, then cut off the rim of the toast. Ready to serve.

MUNG BEAN CONGEE + FRIED BUNS

Published June 7, 2012 by xubobo

INGREDIENTS

1c. mung beans

2c.rice

METHODS

1. Rinse the mung beans, soak in water for 1 hour.

Rinse the rice and soak in water for 20 minutes.

2. Put the mung beans and rice altogether into the pot, add enough water, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low,cook until the mung beans and rice get softened. Serve.

 

 

 

Published June 7, 2012 by xubobo

The black dot of Venus punctuates the setting sun in a picture of the 2012 transit of Venus taken near Salt Lake City, Utah, on Tuesday.

Transits happen when a planet crosses between Earth and the sun. Only Mercury and Venus, which are closer to the sun than Earth, undergo this unusual alignment.

Due to the planet’s tilted orbit, Venus transits are so rare that only six have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago. (See a telescope time line.)

The 2012 transit of Venus saw the planet glide across the sun’s face for the last time for 105 years. Some countries saw the transit on Tuesday, while others saw it Wednesday morning.

The planet Venus sits near the edge of the solar disk on Wednesday in a high-definition picture of the sun taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The orbiting telescope snapped the shot in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, capturing solar activity such as bright coronal loops—coils of electrified gas—in addition to the planetary silhouette.

Children wait in line to use binoculars set up at Science Center Singapore for viewing the 2012 Venus transit.

Weather permitting, the transit was visible even to the naked eye—although astronomers caution that people should never look directly at the sun without proper protection.

Towatch any sun event safely, observers should always use special “eclipse glasses” or telescopes and binoculars equipped with solar filters.

A jetliner seems ready to fly over Venus in a picture of the 2012 transit taken through a telescope with a solar filter from Colorado. Partially cloudy skies give the sun a mottled appearance.

Astronomers first used telescopes to observe a transit of Venus in 1639.

But it wasn’t until 1769 that dozens of scientists scattered across the globe to make detailed measurements of the event, including the famous voyage of British lieutenant James Cook, who had astronomers collecting transit data from the island of Tahiti during his South Pacific expedition.

Seen close up, a thin ring around the edge of Venus shows sunlight being refracted, or bent, in the planet’s upper atmosphere, as revealed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode spacecraft.

Astronomers planned to use the 2012 Venus transit to collect data on the planet’s atmosphere. Later they’ll compare their findings to measurements from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express orbiter.

The orbiter has returned information on intriguing weather patterns in Venus’s dense atmosphere, but at close range the craft can see only one region at a time. (See “Venus Craft Reveals Lightning, Supports Watery Past.”)

The transit, meanwhile, should have allowed astronomers to get a broader picture of Venuvian weather in the planet’s upper atmosphere and see how different regions interact.

Using cardboard eclipse glasses, Hindu holy men watch the 2012 Venus transit from the banks of the Ganges River in India.

Transits of Venus are so rare because the planet’s orbit is tilted just over three degrees from the plane of the solar system. This means that most of the time Venus passes above or below the sun’s disk, as seen from Earth.

On average, we see four transits of Venus within 243 years. The events occur in pairs, with each of the two transits spaced eight years apart.

Clouds create a gentle blur in a picture of the rising sun, plus Venus, taken from Sweden on Wednesday.

Based on the 1769 transit of Venus, astronomers calculated that the sun is 95 million miles (153 million kilometers) away—only slightly off from the true Earth-sun distance of 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

Perhaps the safest way to watch the transit of Venus is to make a pinhole camera. This usually involves cutting a hole about a quarter-inch (0.6-centimeter) wide in a piece of thick paper and using the hole to project an image of the sun onto a flat surface, such as a wall or sidewalk.

The effect can also be achieved with binoculars, as pictured above. Here, a pair of binoculars gives a dual projection of the Venus transit on a white envelope outside Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Venus’s silhouette stands out against the deep red and vibrant yellow of the sun’s chromosphere—its middle atmospheric layer—in a high-definition picture from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory taken Tuesday.

The bright yellow patch on the sun is a region of heightened magnetic activity.

The 2012 transit of Venus serves as a backdrop to the Kansas City skyline on Tuesday.

Scientists using the NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope used the transit to watch for the slight drop in reflected sunlight on the moon. The hope is that Hubble’s activity will be a good parallel to observations currently being carried out by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which looks for dips in starlight caused by planets transiting their host stars, as seen from Earth.

 

 

EGG PANCAKE

Published June 6, 2012 by xubobo

INGREDIENTS
1c. all-purpose flour, 1 egg, 2 scallions, a dash of salt
METHODS
One. Pour the flour into a big bowl,add 1/2 c.boiling water, mix well and then add 2T. oil and some cold water, knead to make a dough, and
place for 10 minutes.
Tuo. Divide the dough into 5 portions, roll out into a pancake about 6
inches in diameter. Heat a frying pan, add a litte oil, fry pancake until opaque. Remove from heat.
Three. Beat egg, add some chopped scallions and salt, mix well and fry
the egg mixture with some oil, cover with a pancake,then flip over
and roll up, cut into several pieces,then serve

Talking clock

Published June 6, 2012 by xubobo

While proudly showing off his new apartment to friends, a college student led the way into the den. “What is the big brass gong and hammer for?” one of his friends asked. “That is the talking clock,” the man replied. “How’s it work?”

“Watch,” the man said and proceeded to give the gong an ear shattering pound with the hammer. Suddenly, someone screamed from the other side of the wall, “Knock it off, you idiot! It’s two o’clock in the morning!

Top Ten Beaches of 2012 Named .

Published June 6, 2012 by xubobo

1. Coronado Beach, California

an Diego’s Hotel del Coronado is the cornerstone of Coronado Beach, which tops a list of the top ten U.S. beaches for 2012, as chosen by coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach.
Leatherman’s annual ranking rates 650 public beaches on 50 criteria that include the presence of native plants, water quality, and overcrowding. Most of the 2012 beaches were also listed in the best beaches of 2011.
(See National Geographic Traveler’s best summer trips of 2012.)
A 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) stretch of flat, sandy shore, Coronado Beach is great for skim-boarding and walking-plus, the mineral mica lends the sand a silvery sheen, according to the Dr. Beach website.
“Dr. Leatherman’s annual list does a service by providing an incentive to keep American beaches clean and enjoyable for all,” Jonathan Tourtellot, the geotourism editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine, said by email.

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2. Kahanamoku Beach, Hawaii

Located on Oahu, Hawaii, Kahanamoku Beach (pictured) is named for Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, an Olympic-gold swimmer who is “credited with introducing surfing to the outside world,” Leatherman said on his website.
Thanks to a shallow offshore reef that protects against big waves, Kahanamoku Beach is a “great swimming area” for families with children, he added.
Leatherman measures each of the 50 beach-quality criteria on a sliding scale from one to five. Though primarily designed for swimming beaches, the criteria also help determine the nicest beaches for walking, scenery, sports, and other activities.

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3. Main Beach, New York

Lifeguards beach their rescue boat at Main Beach in East Hampton, New York, in 2007.

Providing “the perfect blend of nature and built environment,” Main Beach is protected by a conservation easement that dates back more than 300 years, according to Leatherman.

Frequented by many celebrities, the quartz-sand beach boasts towering sand dunes and clear blue water, and is set alongside an “idyllic” village, he said.

“The best way to get around this beach is on bicycle in order to avoid parking and to take in the beautiful vista.”

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4. St. George Island State Park, Florida

Though neighboring Florida Panhandle beaches were hit hard by the 2010 Gulf oil spill, St. George Island State Park (pictured) was mostly unscathed.

The island’s “brilliant white sands and clear waters” attract many a birder and fisher—but visitors should take care to shuffle their feet when entering the water, as stingrays are often underfoot, Leatherman said.

Asked about what stood out in the 2012 survey, Leatherman noted the absence of major coastal natural disasters, “except for Hurricane Irene, [which] cut several inlets through the Outer Banks of North Carolina last September.”

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5. Hamoa Beach, Hawaii

Already dubbed the world’s best beach by Ernest Hemingway, the crescent-shaped Hamoa Beach (pictured) is one of the more famous in Maui, according to Leatherman.

“To get to Hamoa Beach, one has to take the Road to Hana, the treacherous road with dropoffs of over 1,000 feet [300 meters] and sporadic guardrails, which can be an adventure in itself!” said Leatherman, who’s also the author of the National Geographic Society’s Field Guide to the Water’s Edge. (National Geographic News is a division of the Society.)

“Taking it slow on this road, with over 50 one-way bridges, is probably the safest bet.”

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6. Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts

Accessible by bicycle or via shuttle bus, Massachusetts’s Coast Guard Beach (pictured) formed when a sand spit attached to glacial cliffs.

 

A former Coast Guard station—now an environmental education center—still stands sentry atop the bluffs, “allowing for a spectacular view down upon the Nauset Spit barrier [island] system and bay,” Leatherman said.

This year’s top beach, Coronado Beach, will be retired from further consideration, Leatherman added. The other nine beaches—as well as dozens of others that are close in ranking—will be reevaluated this year for the 2013 list.

“It is a tough job,” he said, “but somebody has got to do it.”

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.7 Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Hawaii

Though not as “stunning” as other beaches, Oahu’s Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is safe, thanks to lifeguards and few big waves or dangerous currents, Leatherman said.

Traveler’s Tourtellot noted that the smaller Hawaiian islands took “a disproportionate three of the top ten” on the 2012 list.

“Mainland destinations might do well to ask why they are not measuring up.”

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8. Cape Florida State Park, Florida

The Cape Florida Lighthouse (pictured) “allows for a breathtaking view” of the “beautiful” beaches of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Leatherman said.

Waves are knocked down by a large shoal, making the white coral-sand beach great for swimming, he said.

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9. Beachwalker Park, South Carolina

Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park (pictured) is part of a “nature lovers’ coast,” attracting birders, boaters, and cyclists to the 10-mile-long (16-kilometer-long) barrier island, according to Leatherman.

Golf is also a popular pastime on the South Carolina island. “Usually golf courses and shoreline habitat don’t mix well—too much chemical and fertilizer pollution from runoff,” said Traveler’s Tourtellot.

 

“But the Kiawah Island Golf Resort has earned kudos for environmental responsibility and its support for nature sanctuaries,” Tourtellot said

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10. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

The first U.S. national seashore, North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras offers “some of the best board surfing along the East Coast, as well as the most famous lighthouse [pictured] in the United States,” according to Leatherman.

But, Traveler’s Tourtellot said, “Hatteras beachgoers should be aware that there is an ongoing debate about vehicular access to beaches.

“Some sections are open to ORVs [off-road vehicles], popular with the surf-fishing crowd—gotta

have those tailgates!—but not so great if you want to sunbathe in the sand or walk wilder sands rich in seabirds.”

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