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Auschwitz (Repost)"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George SantayanaAuschwitz I - The Main Camp
In 1940 Himmler, the head of SS ordered a former garrison site in the town of Oswiecin (Auschwitz in German) to be taken over and held as a concentration camp. The camp has been left almost untouched, just like it was when the Nazi left in January 1945.

Like most visitors to Auschwitz, I joined an organized tour group. After meeting our guide and collecting our audio set, we headed to the gate, the main entrance to the camp. The mood was subdued as we entered the main gate that read “Arbeit Macht Frei” which means “Work will make you free.” Our guide’s voice began to tremble as she described how the prisoners thought they were going to labor camps, but in reality, the camp was designed for mass extermination.

We walked through the tree-lined street between rows of brick buildings reminiscent of a college campus to see the original barrack buildings t…

The Real Cost of Cruises

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I've been consuming a lot of bad news to stay up-to-date on this pandemic and it has taken its toll on my mental health. Yet, in the midst of all the bad news, we see lots of motivational posts talking about taking this time to have faith, recharge, reset, and stay positive including a fake letter claiming to share Bill Gates’ thoughts on the coronavirus crisis. The so-called ‘open letter’ that was circulating on social media claimed to show that Bill Gates believes there is a ‘spiritual purpose behind everything that happens.”

I know that there’s a lot of misinformation out there including the US president touting the mainstream media as fake news. I just find it ironic that the real fake news like John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” and cartoonish editorials like “A Closer Look” by Seth Meyers open my eyes to the honest truth. One take away for me is that this health crisis exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly like our dishonest leaders, weak health system, inequality in America…

Phuket and Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

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Phuket is the largest island province in Thailand. It consists of the island of Phuket, the country’s largest island, and 32 smaller islands off its coast. It's renowned for its magnificent mountains/karst covered with tropical vegetation, and surrounding azure blue sea and stretches of powdery-white sandy beaches.  I came to Phuket looking to explore the incredible scenery I saw in movies and to relax in the idyllic paradise. Much to my surprise on arriving in Phuket, I found a bustling coastal city and a popular cruise port. Tourism has taken over much of its coast. On our first day in Phuket, we skipped the beach scene and headed to Phang Nga Bay National Park. 
Phang Nga Bay National ParkWe drove to the island’s north end and crossed the mainland via the Thep Krasette Causeway and boarded a motorboat to reach Phang Nga Bay, Established in 1981, Phang Nga Bay National Park lies in the sheltered pale milky-green waters northeast of Phuket Island and is the location of more than 8…

Maldives

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I have always dreamed of traveling the world's most exotic beaches, so I couldn't have been more excited when we finally arrived in Maldives.  Located in the Indian Ocean, with a population of 400,000 people, Maldives is the smallest country in Asia. It’s made up of 1190 islands and basically all water: 26 atolls, rings of formed islands, and reefs of varying shapes, depths, and sizes with hues of blue, turquoise to indigo. It is also the world’s lowest country, there are no hiking trails and mountainous national parks to explore. 

Maldives is not one of those island countries where you can backpack through. It's one of those places that would take effort and expensive to visit. It's famous for luxury resorts on their own private island.



We dropped anchor in Male, Maldives capital city, and took the dhoni to a private island luxury resort, Vadoo. It was encircled with powdery white sand beach, and clear blue waters, few connecting cottages floating on the water. It had…

Penang, Malaysia

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I was standing at the famous Marina Bay Sands Sky Park Observation Deck in Singapore when I overheard someone say, “You can see Malaysia from here, but there’s nothing much to see there”. That was seven years ago. I returned to Asia on a few occasions, but never visited Malaysia until recently. Malaysia flew by my travel radar probably because its tourism industry is not heavily promoted or not as developed as Thailand its neighbor in the North or its southern neighbor, Indonesia. With the oil and rubber industry, and port of Malacca, Malaysia does not depend upon its tourism.

On a recent trip to Malaysia, I decided to go to Penang first. What a better way to learn about the country’s history than a visit to Georgetown, Penang’s capital city. It is a historic city included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The city is a living example of the multi-cultural heritage (Malay, Chinese, Indian) and tradition of Asia and European colonial influences. Its mélange of culture is expresse…

Colorful Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Pretty in PinkYou may have gleaned from reading my blog or following me on Instagram that I like photographing nature. On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I had the chance to spend time at the elephant sanctuary but I made a conscious effort to make my trip to Sri Lanka cultural. I spent my time in Colombo, the commercial capital and the largest city of Sri Lanka. I thought visiting the Sri Landa National Museum first would be a good way to know the country. Approaching the museum, I could not escape nature and not focus my camera on the sea of pink in front of me - flower petals that had fallen from a huge tree. I did not know the name of the tree/flower so I showed the photo I took to the museum staff to find out what it was called, but they did not know it either. I found out through the 'image search' app that it was called the "pink powder puff".


Sri Lanka National Museum The National Museum of Colombo also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is the largest m…

Scenic Musandam, Oman

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Musandam is the Northernmost part of Oman that borders the straits of Hormuz, which is the entrance to the Arabian Gulf and one of the most important waterways in the world. At their narrowest, the straits are approximately 30 kilometers separating Oman and Iran. Most visitors arrive in Khasab, Musandam's capital city, by ferry from Muscat or by cruise ship.

The Musandam Peninsula is a great place for nature lovers. You can take the traditional Omani Dhow boat and sail towards Masandam longest fjord with calm turquoise water that contrasts with the creamy white limestone cliffs and enjoy the breathtaking view of mountains rising from a distance or you can enjoy the same breathtaking scenery from the beach.



Take a short trip from Khasab to Bhuka and experience one of the most dramatic coastal roads in Oman. It's pretty amazing. You will skirt through the narrow road between the mountains and the sea. Massive rock formations seemingly growing out of the waters with all sorts of g…