Beautiful Island Getaways

Island destinations offer beautiful beaches, exotic food and interesting tales of history and culture. Such islands are present all across the world. Iconic beaches, striking landscapes and coral reefs will make one fall in love with these beautiful islands. Most travellers would keep such destinations in their travelling bucket list. Some of these iconic travel destinations are mentioned here – 

Santorini – The iconic island city of Greece, is a very popular travel destination which is a must visit in every traveller’s list. The turquoise waters, aromatic Mediterranean flavours and historical tales will surely make you admire and fall in love with the island. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, which has shaped its rugged landscape. The two principal towns Fira and Oia are situated along cliffs above an underwater crater. The unique red and black sand beaches due to the volcanic setting of the island makes some picturesque sites. Visitors can walk around the lanes of white washed villages and find some great restaurants and shops.  

Photo by Valdemaras D. on Pexels.com

Cyprus – This Mediterranean island is a home to both Greek and Turkish descendants which makes it a rich cultural amalgamation. The honey coloured beaches, ancient ruins will appeal to every traveler. It is known as the jewel of the Meditteranean. History enthusiasts can admire the Hala Sultan mosque while beach lovers will love the vibrant waters of Nissi Beach. While in Cyprus, one can also visit the city of Paphos which is the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient Goddess of love and beauty. The traditional food include grilled meat kababs, pork marinated in coriander, fried halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread, lamb, rabbit stews, root vegetables, chickpeas and artichokes. 

Maldives – Situated in the Indian Ocean, this island is a paradise for all beach lovers. It consists of a chain of about 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks (some 200 of which are inhabited), grouped in clusters. The archipelago was inhabited as early as the 5th century BC by Buddhist peoples, from Sri Lanka and southern India. It has striking beaches and exceptional diving spots. You can also try activities like snorkeling at Hulhumale beach, or take a pleasant evening stroll at Cocoa Island during the sunset. The Grand Friday Mosque and Male’ Fish Market are also some popular spots. 

Phuket – This dreamy Thai island in the Andaman Sea with its dreamy white beaches with mountainous rain-forests will give you the best views. The towns are full of ornate Buddhist temples like Wat Chalong. The southernmost tip of the island, Promthep Cape, is something which you wouldn’t want to miss. You can also enjoy shopping and dining in Patong. Phuket has a tropical climate and it is usually warm, cool or rainy. It can however get quite hot in April and May. The tourist season is from November to February when it has a cool and dry weather. It is famous for a number of things like exotic beaches, vibrant nightlife, colourful night markets, delicious seafood, white marble Big Buddha and scuba diving.

Travel in 2020

The struggle was real. The itch to travel was as strong as it has ever been. From avid travellers to amateurs, taking a lesson of the nature of human life, on a thesis that life gives no certainties.

Also to be reminded that you don’t always get what you want. The average one went during the pandemic was surely to the kitchen and back, mostly till the front yard and rarely to the grocery nearby.

Standing by the gates and wondering what’s in store for us. The uncertainties raising a brow to two.

The joy of travelling is something that’s unparalleled, it brushes away all the worries of the past and halts the thoughts of the future, often making us live in the present. Just thoughtful about the moment and nothing else.

To Embrace the absolute joy of being alive. Teaching us a lesson on how to live. More Wandering, Less Wondering. Carefree & Ecstatic.

Now sadly the tables have turned; More Wondering, Less Wandering. Careful & Miserable.

To be among a crowd unknown, to munch on cuisines alien, trying to speak in their lingual, failing desperately but still having a laugh over it later on, and most importantly capturing all the beauties of this world.

Take that deep breath, we’ll definitely get to do it all over again.

The earliest fondest memories on being on the move for many, would definitely be the field trips we were taken on in elementary school. It was just a day away from the normal schooling routine and probably to a park quite nearby. But the time with the mates will always be cherished. These moments will live on forever, if it’s not for moments like these, what is life all about then.

A true testament that it’s never about the destination but the very moments, that’ll fill our hearts than anything else.

The masters of different trades and industries have always had common ground, when it came down to advocating the need for it. To get a firsthand experience of all the places we’ve seen through the books we read and the places that flashed across the screens, mostly in songs of Bollywood movies.

The wisest of people are the ones that travel, to be a part of history and to marvel the marvellous world and to be humbled by reminded how small we’re in the vastness of the universe.

People who have got a taste of it has never been able to digest a life otherwise. It’s amazing how one such activity of mankind strikes a cord with many.

If all the terrorists of the world got a taste of this fine taste of travelling life, then the only bombing they’d be doing would be ‘photobombing’. (Pun intended)

We say people are different, we stand divided on different grounds, but the thirst to travel unites us.

All these musings about travel, brings to mind a saying I heard vaguely, somewhere, which went like: “if the creator wanted us to stay someplace throughout life, we’d have been grounded with roots running deep into the ground.”

Hangovers

A hangover is the unpleasant feeling that can develop after drinking too much alcohol. A general rule of thumb is that consumption is directly proportional to the hangover, i.e. more booze you consume, more likely you are to experience hangover you are going to feel the following day. But there is no magic formula to tell how much you can safely drink and not have a hangover. Alcohol seems to be the obvious culprit here, rather its diuretic effects are. Congeners are responsible for more intensive hangovers. Congeners are substances other than desired alcohol, ethanol, produced during fermentation. Congeners include a small amount of undesired substances like methanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, and aldehydes. They are responsible for the taste and odor of distilled alcoholic beverages. Whiskey, tequila has a high amount of congeners whereas colorless drinks like vodka, gin rum have low levels of congeners. Bourbon whiskey has an exceptionally high amount of congeners preset while vodka contains almost none. Alcohol contributes to hangovers through following ways-

  • Diuretic- Alcohol is diuretic and therefore makes you pee often, thus getting dehydrated after a drink is highly likely. Dehydration is the reason behind dizziness, headaches.
  • Electrolyte imbalance- ALcohol causes an imbalance of electrolytes in the body due to excess fluid loss causing headaches, irritability, weakness.
  • Hypoglycemia- Alcohol limits the production of glucose production in the body, causing fatigue, dizziness, and irritability.
  • Difficulty sleeping- Although alcohol induces sleeping but hinders high-quality sleep and thus making you drowsier the following day.

These symptoms differ from person to person. Most hangovers go on their own within 24 hours no matter how unpleasant they may seem. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do nothing to alleviate yourself from the post-party symptoms.

  • Eggs- Eggs are a 5-star brunch for some reason. Full of Vitamin B-12 and amino acids like cysteine and taurine. Cysteine helps flush acetaldehyde from the body, one of the congener. While taurin helps bolster your liver keeping you energized.
  • Potassium- Foods rich in potassium help you get energized since potassium is a vulnerable electrolyte when you are getting a booze. Bananas, avocados, dates are rich source of potassium.
  • Carbs- Need instant energy? What’s good than carbs. They raise blood sugar without roiling up your stomach helping relieve hangover.
  • Cereals- Packed with essential nutrients like VitaminsB, calcium, magnesium that help you perk you up.
  • Water- Since alcohol is diuretic, therefore replenishing the water before bed or in the morning can prevent hangover. Take slow sips or nibble an ice cube.
  • Tea- Ginger or Peppermint along with herbal tea could help your stomach to soothe.
  • Soda- Grab a soda as soda breaks down acetaldehyde and other nausea causing byproducts formed after liver metabolizes ethanol.

Unfortunately no scientific cure is present to cure hangover. But some foods might certainly help you mitigate its effects. Also since every person is unique and therefore cures too. Use your intuition and hear your gut.

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India announces $500 million infra project, $250 million financial aid for Maldives

With its eye on China, India on Thursday committed to Maldives a five-pronged package including infrastructure worth $500 million, a direct cargo ferry service, creation of an air travel bubble, uninterrupted supply of essential commodities and additional financial aid of $250 million to help the cash-strapped economy.

These were among the key takeaways as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a detailed meeting with Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently Speaker of Majlis (Maldives’ parliament), took a dig at China for their debt-trap diplomacy. “The super low cost development assistance announced by @DrSJaishankar today is exactly what Maldives needs. Genuine help from a friend, to help us build critical infrastructure. Rather than eye-wateringly expensive commercial loans that leaves the nation mired in debt. @PMOIndia,” he tweeted, referring to Chinese loans to the previous Yameen government.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih called it a “landmark moment”, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Our special friendship is, and will always remain, as deep as the waters of the Indian Ocean.”

Responding to a request from the Maldives government, New Delhi decided to support the implementation of Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP) through a financial package consisting of a grant of $100 million and a new line of credit of $400 million.

This will be the largest civilian infrastructure project in Maldives, connecting Malé (the capital) with three neighbouring islands — Villingili, Gulhifalhu (where a port is being built under Indian line of credit) and Thilafushi (new industrial zone) – by construction of a bridge-and-causeway link spanning 6.7 km.

“Once completed, this landmark project will streamline connectivity between the four islands, thereby boosting economic activity, generating employment and promoting holistic urban development in the Malé region,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

On the direct cargo ferry service between India and Maldives, Jaishankar told his Maldivian counterpart that it will commence shortly. The service is expected to enhance sea connectivity and provide predictability in supplies for importers in Maldives and exporters in India. Shahid tweeted, “The cargo ferry service between Cochin-Kulhudhuffushi-Male will also bring immense development to the north of the Maldives.”

The air travel bubble between India and Maldives is expected to facilitate movement of people for employment, tourism and medical emergencies. Maldives is the first neighbouring country with which an air bubble is being operationalised.

“The air bubble symbolizes India’s support to shore up tourism arrivals and revenues in the Maldives. Health protocols in both countries will be strictly followed,” the MEA statement said. The first flight under the air bubble is expected on August 18.

Jaishankar also conveyed the decision to renew quotas for supply of essential commodities to Maldives for 2020-21. The commodities include food items as well as river sand and stone aggregates. “The quotas assure food security, and supply of essential construction items, and thereby provide certainty and price stability for such essential items in the Maldives,” the statement said.

Given the challenges faced by Maldives due to the Covid-19 situation and India’s commitment to assist Maldives in its economic recovery, Jaishankar told Shahid that New Delhi has decided to extend in-principle urgent financial assistance to the Government of Maldives by way of a soft loan arrangement.

Jaishankar tweeted, “Warm and fruitful discussion with FM @abdulla_shahid of #Maldives. Agreed that the #COVID19 pandemic has brought the two nations even closer. We will be reliable partners in meeting both aspirations and challenges.”

Shahid tweeted, “Connecting for Connectivity! A warm, fruitful, extremely productive meeting with EAM @DrSJaishankar today! The already robust and dynamic #MaldivesIndia-Partnership continues to strengthen, even during the pandemic! Agreement on several key initiatives moving forward.”

The interaction was part of regular high-level exchanges between India and Maldives.

According to MEA, Shahid conveyed gratitude for the financial assistance of $250 million being extended by India. He said this would help revive the Maldivian economy which is grappling with the impact of the pandemic.

Bipartisan resolution introduced in US senate China on aggression against India

A bipartisan resolution was introduced in US Senate Thursday that seeks to condemn China’s use of military aggression to change the Line of Actual Control with India and calls for a diplomatic solution.

Senators John Cornyn (Republican) and Mark Warner (Democrat) moved the resolution that “condemns the People’s Republic of China’s use of military force to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control, as well as its refusal to de- demarcate that Line in accordance with past bilateral agreements with India.”

And it calls for a “ diplomatic solution that rapidly restores the April 2020 status quo at the Line of Actual Control”.

Without specifically mentioning the Indian ban on Chinese apps, the resolution seeks to “commend India for taking steps to secure its telecommunications infrastructure from Chinese security threats and seeks a commitment to to “deepening defense, intelligence and economic ties” between the United States and India and supports bilateral and multilateral partnerships such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, “to promote a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific”.

“The June 15 conflict between China and India, resulting in the deaths of approximately 20 Indian soldiers, should set off alarm bells regarding the PRC’s provocative actions in disputed territory,” Warner said in a statement.

He added: “This resolution condemns PRC’s actions to change the Line of Actual Control, especially in the midst of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries; and encourages the two nations to find a diplomatic resolution that restores the April 2020 status quo at the LAC.”

“I commend India’s commitment to standing up to China and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Cornyn. “It is more important than ever that we support our Indian partners as they defend against Chinese aggression.”