Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Words you should know from my country: India

First of all, I am in a dilema and in great pride about my country since there are so many languages in my country, yet we have a great feeling of unity and patriotism being a language uniting all us. Lets see some words you should know in my county.

Namaste- wishes.. It is used to wish people. It is a Hindi word.
Vanakkam is the tamil equivalent of this word. Namaskaram is another word which can be also used for wishes

then I will give you the Hindi words frequently used in my country.

Chalo- meaning go.

Bharat- another name for my country.

paisa meaning money.

rupees is the currency in India and every transaction will be in rupees and paise.

and if I continue with all, then it would be very tedious. Also I want all you to know about the language named Tamil, which the central government of India along with Sanskrit gave a special status,

Vanakkam, as described earlier means wishes.

Kaasu- meaning money.

Vaa- come

Po- go

Padam- film, movie

And so much words in use. Also I ve to tell abt Telegu, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati, Sindi, Assamese, Sanskrit, which already form a list of words.

Sorry, this time the post was like this from the next post, I ll try to give you exact large details, since this time the topic was more tedious and vast.

Meet you in the next post.

Regards,
Ravi

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Words you should know in my country – Norway

By the time you have finished reading this, your entry into Norwegian social life should be a smooth one, as I will give you a basic understanding of our culture and warn you against some common semantic pitfalls.

For instance, my Pakistani-Norwegian boss still cracks up every time a shop keeper asks if he needs a “pose” (bag), which means “fart” in Punjabi. My Somali friend was for a long time appalled at what he thought was Norwegian hostility: People kept asking him to “get lost.” Little did he know that when they said “takk,” they actually meant “thank you.” Numerous exchange students have been tricked into ordering “morrabrød,” an expression that translates logically as “morning bread,” but that unfortunately instead means “morning woody”.

Another thing one should be wary of is the importance of pronouncing “kj” and “skj” correctly. Say that you want to talk about a chain of some sorts, a necklace for instance. You want to pay a compliment and say: -I like your “kjede.” Now, if you pronounce your “kj” sloppily, as kids these days increasingly do - causing hysteria and claims of phonetic decay from the adult population - you end up saying “skjede,” which at best means “sheath”, but more commonly refers to something completely different, and as a result you compliment her vagina.

Embarrassments aside, what is typical Norwegian? Well, for one thing we spend fortunes on refurnishing and decorating our homes. I read somewhere that at any given time 20% of Oslo’s inhabitants are “på flyttefot” (on the move) - restlessly searching for the next upgrade in comfort level, however minuscule. I think the reason for this is that we are forced to spend so much time indoors, and thus like our homes to be “koselig.” There is no word in English that “koselig” adequately translates to, but imagine cozy times ten: Snuggling up under the blankets with a cup of hot cinnamon/vanilla chocolate and freshly baked brownies, the room illuminated by scented candle lights, and Nick Drake playing in the background. That’s the definition of “koselig.”

When someone has fed you, the minute you put down your fork you MUST say “takk for maten” (thanks for the food). Saying “takk for meg” (thanks for having me) as you leave is not quite as crucial, but still a sign of appreciation. I myself yearn desperately for the English language to incorporate these phrases. I tend to get so confused that I end up saying nothing at all and spend the night ruminating over my lack of manners. Sometimes I have to fight the urge to run back and finish my duties as the courteous guest.

Along with our Scandinavian neighbors we drink tons of “kaffe” (coffee) and the average Norwegian reads more “aviser” (newspapers) than anybody else. Admittedly, Norwegian newspapers are crappy, so one should not be misled into thinking we are an intellectual people.

Norwegians wear more thongs than any other women on this planet. According to statistics, Norwegians also have more one night stands than people of any other country. So, I guess a useful phrase for visitors would be: ”Vil du pule?” (wanna’ copulate?) Luckily, Norway has a very low HIV prevalence. We do, however, have what can almost be described as an epidemic of Chlamydia, but this is a disease that is easily cured. A couple of pills and you’re good to go.

No country donates as much foreign aid per capita as Norway does. Every year we glow patriotically as the Nobel Peace Prize puts us in the spotlight. We are eager to market ourselves as the world’s primary exporter of peace. At the same time, Norway is the sixth largest arms dealer of the world, top-ranking per capita. Norway has sold weapons to Turkey and contributed to the escalation of the Iraq invasion by supplying the US, Great Britain and Australia. Parts of weapons produced in Norway have indirectly ended up in Israeli hands. Thus, another word you should know in my language is “hykler” (hypocrite).

On a lighter note we also have fun words like “navlelo” (belly-button lint), and a descriptive term from my dialect, “hjælimillom,” which refers to the cold spot on the mid-torso when your sweater slides out of your pants.

If you’re still not tired of the language lesson, try saying this tongue twister:

Takpapp, veggpapp, papp og papir

(Roof cardboard, wall cardboard, cardboard and paper)

Takk for i dag.

(Class dismissed) 

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Words you should know in my country - Brazil

Brazilian has a language that it´s not so easy to pronouce, because a lot of words are "nasal", and needs to be speaken with a nasal sounds.
Words like "não" (no) and "coração" (heart) are very hard to be correclty speaken because of this.

Some words that you should know when coming here to visit me and my country:

Oi - Hi
Obrigado - Thanks
Por favor - Please
Onde fica a casa do Jock? - Where is the Jock´s house?
Desculpa or desculpe - Sorry
Quanto custa - How much


Oh, there´s a real beautiful word that only exist in portuguese, and there´s no PERFECT translation in any other language in the world: saudade.

It can be poorly translated as:

Inglês - "Homesickness" (but it´s only used when you miss the city where you were born), or you can say "I miss you" when you feel "saudade".
Alemão - "Homesickness";
Espanhol - "Nostalgia" or something like "echado(a) de meno".
Frances - "Nostalgie";
Árabe - "حنين للوطن";
Grego - "νοσταλγία για την πατρίδα";

This words doesn´t have a correct meaning of "saudade", but it´s something like that.


And the last word that I must comment, which I won´t translate here, has a great sound when pronounced. It´s very famous all over the world because of the brazilian women stereotype: BUNDA. :)

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Places you should know - Brazil

Brazil is a huge country, one of the biggest countries in the world in territorial area. And because of its continental proportions it has all kinds of places, from very cold to extremely hot.


On the north-east of the country, in a state called Bahia, at Salvador, we have a great place called Pelourinho. Pelourinho is cited as part of the national historic patrimony and named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Pelourinho means "place to lash the slavors". During many years the slavors used to be lashed in this place. In the end of the slavery in Brazil in 1835, Pelourinho started to call attention of all sort of artists, specially regarding cinema, music and painting, what turned the place into a rich cultural centre. It´s a fantastic place to know. In 1991 started a great restoration of Pelourinho.

Bellow we have a place called "Mercado Modelo" (yellow building), it was a place to sell slaves. We´re pretty glad that this place is still there, so we can study, view, analises to don´t do all this barbaries anymore.





The other great and famous place in Brazil is Brasília, the capital of our country. Brasilia is the result of a modern urban project designed by Lúcio Costa. If seen from above, the city’s pilot plan resembles the shape of an airplane – many prefer to refer to it as a bird with open wings –, although the architect’s original urban concept appointed to the shape of a cross, to symbolize possession.


Cathedral of Brasília, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.


Parliament Building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer


For who is catholic, located in the valley of the Paraíba River, in the East of the State of São Paulo, on Aparecida do Norte town, the "Our Lady of Conception Aparecida" is the second biggest Catholic Church in the world, 2 inch less than Saint Peter Basilic in Vatican City. It attracts millions of pilgrims from all corners of the country all year round. Brazil is the country with bigger number of catholic in the world.
It´s 15 minutes to the city where my mother and brother lives! :)

Picture from www.trekearth.com




Another great place, which is where my girlfriend came from, is called Belém. Situated in the Guajará bay, on the estuary of the Rivers Tocantins and Pará, the city began as a river port in 1616, immediately after the French were driven out of São Luís, the capital of the state of Maranhão.
Belém's historic buildings reflect cultural traces of the seventeenth century.These buildings include the City Market for meat and the Iron Market for fish. Around the markets is the quayside Ver-o-Peso market. The name "Ver-O-Peso" means "Check Out the Weight"; this is because a few decades ago all products sold were weighted on the spot, in manual balances, and the buyer wanted to check out the weight, to avoid frauds.
Belém market Tied up at the quay are picturesque fishing boats and canoes that unload a variety of products each day, from indigenous ceramic articles to herbs and aromatic roots from Amazonia.

When the second Sunday of October arrives, we can witness a true act of love and faith. At the Círio de Nazaré you can be enchanted with the people´s devotion, something that touches the whole world.




More than one million people participate in the Our Lady of Nazareth procession, considered to be one of the largest in the Catholic world. More information here.




I don´t think I need to explain where this one is! :)


There´s a lot more in our country. Ecological tourism, we have Amazonia, a lot of State Parks, big cities, etc. More information on the Brazilian Site of Tourism.
Please take a look!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Words you should know in my country: Scotland

English is the official language in Scotland but Scots Gaelic is still spoken in some areas of the north west highlands and we have lots of Scottish words which can be very descriptive.

Wee - small
Braw - lovely

A dinna ken – I don’t know
Crabbit – grumpy
Blether – to have a good blether is to chat or gossip
A weegie – someone from the city of Glasgow
A teuchter is someone from the Scottish highlands
High heid yin - someone of importance eg company boss or government minister. Often said ironically
Dreich – describes a particular type of Scottish weather when it is dull, cold, damp and wet
Sea haar is a cold wet mist that comes in off the sea and very common on the east coast
Eejit – idiot
Bampot - idiot
Tumshie – turnip
Hence – tumshie heid – turnip head or idiot
Futtock - ferret - I just love the sound of this one
Hey, Jimmie - excuse me
Ceilidh - Gaelic word for an evening of Scottish dancing

Lots of our words describe our rather unhealthy diet and liking for deep fried food:

A fish supper – deep fried fish and chips
You can also get a black pudding supper or a haggis supper
A bridie is a bit like a Cornish pastie
A roll ‘n’ sausage is a piece of sliced sausage in a roll or bap and is different from a sausage roll (meat in pastry)
A piece ‘n’ jam or a jammie piece is a jam sandwich

A few choice phrases:

Gauny no dae that – please don’t do that
Gauny gie’s a haun – could you help me please
Gie’s a wee swally – could I sample some of your alcoholic beverage please
Pure dead brilliant - means that something is awesome or really good

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Words you should know in my country: Sweden

I think that the people in Sweden is seen as very stressful, uninpressed and correct, but also as very polite, independent and pleasant. The most of the swedes is also very fashion conscious, liberated and aware of the importance of equality.

When you go to my country there is a lots of words and phrases that you shold know! The blue words are typical everyday phrases, the green words are typical swedish words or of great impostance and the purple words are a little bit dirty or bad... Here are my examples of swedish words:

Hej! = Hello!

Tack så mycket. = Thank you very much.

Hur mår du? = How are you doing?

Bra/dåligt = Good/bad

Vilket busväder! = Such an awful weather!

Vilket strålande väder! = Such a beautiful weather!

Hej då. = Good bye.

Vardagspussel = the everyday puzzle (A nanny makes the pieces of the everyday puzzle fit together for a big family with hardworking parents.)

GI-banta = GI-diet (He lost much weight with the GI-diet. GI= Glycemic Index)

Hålfotsinlägg = arch support (Her feet where hurting and for that reason she bought arch supports.)

Korvgubbe = hot-dog vendor

Arbetslöshet = unemployment

Tacobuffé = taco buffet

Friluftsliv = outdoor life

Jag skiter i det. = I don't give a shit.

Jäklar! = damn it!

Du är sexig = You are sexy

Jag är kåt = I am horny

Vill du älska? = Do you wanna make love?

Jag älskar dig = I love you

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Words you should know in my country - Australia

I remember once I went to a trivia night at a pub with a foreign friend of mine. Each team has to have a team name and one team was called "Cor Blimey Streuth". My friend, who had been in the country for a little while, said she didn't know any of those words!

I laughed and said they all mean the same thing it is an interjection of surprise and amazement, like "wow, amazing!"

"Cor" originates from the 1930s. I don't know where it comes from.

"Blimey" is an old English expression. It is a shortened form of "God blind me!"

"Streuth" is an Australian expression. It's short for "God's truth!"

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Words you should know in my country: England

People laugh at the English for talking about the weather. Our climate is temperate so it is quite gentle -- we don't get violent storms, typhoons, long dry seasons, monsoons or blizzards. But throughout the year, one day can be beautiful sunshine, the next can be pouring with rain. No-one knows what the weather will do next, so we talk about it.

Here are some phrases you can use to talk about the weather:

'It's raining cats and dogs' -- this means it's raining hard. No-one knows why we say this.
'It's throwing / tipping / pissing it down.' -- it's raining.
'It's brass monkeys.' -- it's cold. It's short for a phrase which might be rude but probably isn't. Learn more here.
'It's a bit parky.' -- it's a damp, foggy, cold day.
'It's a bit nippy.' -- it's very cold indeed with a nasty wind that goes through your clothes.
'It's a real pea souper.' -- it's foggy and I can't see much.
'It's a bit muggy.' -- it's humid.
'What a lovely crisp day. -- it's still, dry and sunny with a bit of frost (this is only in our winter).
'What a beautiful day. -- it's not raining; the sun is shining and it's unseasonably warm (in winter) or not as hot as it was yesterday.
'Mother Carey's plucking her chickens / shaking her pillows.' -- it's snowing.

And if you don't know the right words to describe what's happening, try 'I can't believe this weather.' -- whatever it's doing, it will have surprised an English person.

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Places you should know - Venezuela

My country is certainly not one of the largest in the planet but it's still pretty big and one of our better qualities is the variety of our geography. Even when most of the people find it awfully expensive to travel, we have a few places I'd like to show you.

First, Los Roques. It's a set of 50 islands at the north of the country, in the Caribbean Sea, you can't find water more clear anywhere else in the planet, just picture yourself walking along side the beach or just being lazy in a boat, floating above blue water and under Caribbean sun, enjoying life as God wanted it to be, and what better way to end your day than a candle light lobster dinner with your significant other in Los Roques. Most of the people take 2 or 3 days tour and stay in one of the small hotels they have there... but I wouldn't know, because it'd cost about a month of my salary to spend 2 days there, so if you go, show me the pictures.

Speaking about expensive places, enter La Gran Sabana and Angel Falls. That'd be south of the country, close to a small place people call Brazil. This is the region for you if you are into rain forest because it's made of 75.000 Km2 of nature at its best, with all those rivers and the tepuis you will feel the greatness of Mother Nature and you will be fascinated with the stories and leyends about its creation, since it's one of the oldest formations in the planet. No wonder why the highest fall in the world is there. With 979 meters high, Angel Falls was discovered by Jimmy Angel in 1933, and just like that monster fall was a secret to the world until not so long ago, it's accepted that this jungle still has many secrets such as undiscovered species of animals and plants. But don't worry, you don't have to be Tarzan to survive here, all you need is call a travel agency, book a room and a guided tour and after experiencing a boat travel through the river and a walk in the rain forest, you can head back to the hotel, sip some booze and sleep in your air conditioned room.

Again, too expensive for me... or maybe I'm just broke. Anyways, moving on.
If you were here I'd take you to Morrocoy National Park, which is another set of islands with clear blue water, white sands and almost no waves. There you can sleep in a tent, stay at one of the many hotels and play casino at night, or just spend the day and head back home as many people do, since it's a lot of fun to drink some beers by the beach while you check the girls out (or guys, if you are into that) and soak the old bones in salty water.

Whatever you like, we probably have a spot for you here, so if you feel curious about coming over, just let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.

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Words you should know in my country : Denmark

"Hej" is pronounced like hi and is used for saying hello - "Hej" and good bye - "Hej hej". Along with "Tak" for thank you and a smile you should now be ready to meet the Danes. Simple, right?


Photo by: AllWork

The Danish language is said to be one of the more difficult to learn and close to impossible to master for non-natives, but hey, on with lecture.

Next sentence is "Jeg vil gerne have to øl" (I would like two beers). I wont try to transcribe this phonetically because I have no idea of how to do that. To celebrate the new acquisition of liquid a loud and firm "Skål" (cheers) is appropriate.

After having exchanged the previous line a couple of times along with some hejs and taks you might need to ask "Hvor er toilettet?" to go relieve yourself.

To take your Danish vocabulary further into the night I refer to ThePrint who has done a very nice job with his recorded Danish Lessons - Learn how to say:


My Swedish friends say Danish sounds like a drunken Swede, some claim that Danish sounds harsh and rusty and others say we speak like we have a potato in our mouth. I will let you be the judge. But before you give your verdict try and say this Danish tongue twister "Rødgrød med fløde" (Red pudding with creme) here is a video of attempts made by a Swede, Irish and American:

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Words you should know in my country : Malaysia

Malaysia is a multiracial country. Even though our official religion is Islam, and official language is Malay Language, we are free to practice our own religion and our own language/dialect. I dare to say that all Malaysians are multi-lingual. We tend to mix words from different languages/dialects in our daily conversation and it's still understood by all. However the habit is hard to break and sometimes one can unintentionally make mistake. Singapore and Malaysia share the same unique way of conversation. Due to this, currently our government even wanted to set up a law to prosecute whoever that mix our national language with other languages/dialects. Heck! Don't think it will work anyway since they themselves can't even stick to the rules. Ok... Enough of that. Let me share some words or phrase with you when you are in Malaysia. Well... I can only share what I know since there are so many dialects and languages here, it's impossible for me to know every single one of them.

The Chinese likes to ask this when they meet each other instead of "hello" or
"hi":
"Lu jiak ba boi?" (Hokkien dialect)
"Ni zhi bao mei?" (Mandarin)
"Sudah Makan?"[sue-dah ma-kan] (Malay) *LOL* This is the best I can do tell you how it's pronounced.
These mean, "Had you eaten?", in English.

"How are you?", "Fine. Thank you." in different languages/dialects:
"Ni hao ma?", "Hen hao. Xie xie."(Mandarin)
"Lu ho bo?", "Ho. Kam sia." (Hokkien dialect)
"Nei hou ma?", "Hou. Dou Chay." (Cantonese dialect)
"Apa khabar?"[Ah-pa car-bar], "Khabar baik. Terima Kasih."[Car-bar ba-ik. Te-ri-ma ka-sih] (Malay)
OK... from here, I had included another useful word, "Thank you" at the end of the sentence. Killing two birds with one stone :P

"Welcome" in different languages/dialects:
"Huan yin" (Mandarin)
"Selamat Datang" [se-la-mat da-tongue] (Malay)

"Goodbye" in different languages/dialects:
"Zai jien" (Chinese)
"Selamat Tinggal"[Se-la-mat ting-gal] (Malay)
"Joi kin" (Cantonese)
But... no matter who they are, "bye" is the most common one to use. Hahahaha...

If you want to buy something and want to know the price, you can ask this,"How much is this?":
"Duo sao qien?" (Chinese)
"Berapa?"[Bur-ra-pa] (Malay)
"Kuduh?"[Ku-dooh] (Bidayuh)
"Gei dou qin/lui?" (Cantonese dialect)
"Gui lui?" (Hokkine dialect)
The classic one--->"How Much Ah?"

This would be fun :P the similar expression to "OH MY GOSSSHHH!!!", "OH NO!!!", "DEAD MEAT!" in different languages/dialects:
"ALAMAK!!!" [ah-la-mak] (Malay)
"CHAM LO!!", "SI LO" (Hokkien dialect)
"CHAN LO!!!", "YAO SI LO!!!" (Mandarin)
"SEI GAN LO!!" (Cantonese dialect)
The classic one--->"DIE LIAU LA!!!"

By the way, this is what you should know... Malaysians tend to add "la", "lo" to the end of their conversation, it doesn't matter what language/dialect they are speaking :P They mean nothing in particular, it's just an expression just like some countries they will have "eh" at the end of their sentence.

**UPDATE: Thanks to prismwater for bringing this up. It's so classic!
This is one word that will make you more "local", it's understandable by everyone in Malaysia, it doesn't belong to any language/dialect/race. Anyone one, just anyone in Malaysia will know this "GOSTAN"[go-stunt], *CHUCKLE* it means "reverse", when people wanted to reverse their car, the one and only word that will pop up no matter who they are, is "GOSTAN"!!
How it ended up here? I really have no idea. Anyone?


I guess that's all. It's Ok if you don't get or remember any of them becasue as long that you know English, you can come here and will be able to survive even if you are lost. Even if you have problem understanding some people's English, anyone on the street will be helpful enough to help you with it. There's no language barrier here as long that you know English.


Posted by, Sweet Surrender

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Words you should know in my country : Lithuania


The word you should know in my country is LABAS (Hi)

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Places you should know: Lithuania

Have a look and link to us

The Baltic See looks as a tiny spot on a world map and Lithuania that nestled up to its shore looks as a tiny newborn at the chest of his mother. It is so according to dry stats, but everything looks differently in the reality. Now Lithuania is preparing to celebrate a millenary in commemoration of her name’s appearance in world’s history documents. Just few years are remaining. In the light of that fact Lithuanian littleness obtains a smell of heady mystery and lots of legends awake and the archeology laughs at scientists who edit their words according to political demands of a day.
The conformation of Lithuania is also amazing. All geographical forms are present in this footprint. There are lots of lakes and rivers. There are heady uplands and mysterious everglades, lots of forests and the mysterious mounds as well as the eloquent silence of the infinite churchyards.
I would say that we can recognize the tracks of all styles of world architecture in Lithuania and can literally taste the culture of whole world here.

In short, you have to choose. You can either glimpse at encyclopedias that are in plentitude on a web and grasp a little or come to my country and eyewitness the story that is reported in fairy tales. As you recall, noble knights lay down on the earth of precious homeland for recovering of wounds and retrieving the magical power of a smile

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Words you should know in my country

There will always be a chance for us to go visit one of our fellow One-at-all members and not know how to speak her/his language, and with so many places to go, we're not going to waste any time learning grammar rules or the perfect past tense, we want to take the easiest road and learn just enough words to help us live a day away from home.

Even if we all spoke the same language, there would be different words to name the same things. If we were in your country, which words would you teach us? Would you teach us bad words? Food names? Maybe a particular expression... Whatever it is, we just want to go around and pretend we can talk like you.
____________________________________

Results of the poll:

Words you should know in my country 57%
Healthcare system 7%
The one thing my country doesn't have is... 14%
The most important fact in my country's history 7%
The worst thing in my country is... 14%

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Places you should know: Denmark

Denmark is a very small country that consists of one peninsula and a number of islands.

Let me take you on a trip through Denmark, we'll start up north. Skagen the northernmost town in Denmark is a very cosy place. One of the attractions up here is the sand-engulfed Buried Church. This church got buried by the massive migrating dunes that roamed in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Photo by: Malene Thyssen

Moving further south takes us right by the land of creativity - LegoLand. This is a great playground for kids of all ages and a magnificent show-off of what you can create if you have the imagination. The picture below depicts Nyhavn a place to hang out in the summer which we will visit once we get to Copenhagen.


Photo by: Hans S

From Billund we take a short trip to Jelling. Here is the burial mound and a rune stone raised by Harald Bluetooth in the 10th century. The rune stone declares Harold as the king who made the Danes christians and united the country.

The Jelling Stone
Photo by: LadyLong

Now, however it's time to get to the beach. Since Denmark is surrounded by water the beach is never far away. My favorite is at the island Rømø where the sand beach stretches about 10km long and 1km wide.

Sunset over the beach
Photo by: Mogello

Back in the car we head straight east cross the island were Hans Christian Andersen was born and continue to Copenhagen, the capital. Just in time time to get out in the night life.

A cop of black coffee and a what is some places known as a danish is a good start of the day. In Denmark we call this kind of pastry "Vienna Bread".

A Danish danish

After this it is time to let out the inner hippie so we go to the Freetown Christiania. Let's grab a beer or a smoke here. Close to downtown Copenhagen this little haven is a self-governing society were the alternative thrive.

Concert in front of the Woodstock bar at Christiania

After we've sobered up we'll head for Rosenborg - one of the royal castles in the Copenhagen area.

Lion and Rosenborg Castle

Late afternoon we can finish of the day by going to Nyhavn (the place we saw at Legoland) for a tour of the canals or just for a nice stroll along the water.

Nyhavn

There is of course a lot of other place to go in Denmark, but this was my little tour. Here is a video tour of Copenhagen I made this summer.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Places you should know – Norway

First of all, thanks for inviting me to this exciting project. I’m not sure Norway would choose me for ambassador, but when I think about it, maybe they should. What I lack in diplomacy and etiquette I more than make up for in spirits and sass.



There are plenty of places in this country that both natives and visitors consider worthwhile pastimes: Trying to figure out what the sculptures in the Vigeland Park are thinking; suffering insomnia in Lofoten’s magnificent midnight sun; searching for Santa in the Christmassy streets of Lillehammer by winter. You can lose your breath to the fjords, get a glimpse of the ancient history of stave churches, or take a look at more modern impressions in the street art of Oslo.

These activities are all swell. But frankly, you don’t need me for this information. Any travel book you pick up would guide you there. What I want to share with you is a better kept secret. Now, if someone I cared for came visiting, I would take them to…

My hometown



With a population density of one square kilometer per person Lesja should have enough room for all the people I care for and a couple of those I don’t like so much, too. If I wanted to, I could stretch to my full length 555 times in either direction of my personal square kilometer without risking bodily contact with another person. My hometown is nothing like Monaco, where I’d have to fight with 23660 other fools for leg room.

In the 1823 Encyclopediae Britannica article on Norway, the natives of my valley are described along these lines: They grow so tremendously old that they become sick with life and in the hope of dying sooner they move to areas with less healthy climates. A long standing joke says that we are very impulsive people, as long as we get some time to think it over. This is surely an attitude that keeps us out of danger, hence the long life spans.

Neighboring Dovre is home of the Mountain king, the troll that Ibsen’s Peer Gynt parties with. In fact, this area is ripe with trolls. In folk tales it is said that only German mythical mountain Blocksberg rivals Dovrefjell as venue for the best annual troll & witch conventions. Dovrefjell represents the ancient, the eternal, the unchanging, the grounded. In 1814, when Norway wrote its constitution, the founding fathers formed a circle, held hands and proclaimed: “United and true until Dovre falls.”

So, in a place like this, what would I have my guests do? Well, if the weather was nice, meaning a notch above blizzard-level, we could sit on the veranda enjoying some of the strawberries that we proudly consider the world’s finest. The veranda is an integral institution in Norwegian culture. In the cities you can easily tell the home-owner’s ethnicity by the set-up of their verandas. If they use them as storage space, they haven’t been properly integrated into the Norwegian way of life.



From the veranda we could watch the scenery and talk about how we wonder if the snow will finally melt this year, a topic that has been highly debated ever since the first people set foot on what eventually became Norwegian soil. This practice is called sitting in the “solvegg” (sun-wall), where we drink “utepils” (outdoors beer) while we desperately work on our tans. This is a strange country, indeed. If you’re too brown by way of southern genes, they tell you. But if you’re born pigmentally challenged, like me, they make sad faces and ask if you can’t tan - like it’s a dreadful disorder.



If it is a really good summer, one of those we barely see once in a decade, we could go to the river beach and play a game of boules. But if it gets too hot we start complaining. Our houses are built to keep the heat, not to keep us cool. And the only thing we love more than our verandas and strawberries is complaining. It is considered life-affirming.



When we’re done complaining, my foreign friends could join me on a hike to a mountain lake, where we could fish for pink-fleshed trout – which, judging by the expression on my face, clearly is as much crazy fun as a person could ever hope to have.



We could wash off sleep with chilling morning baths and as night falls we could light a fire, gather round and listen to recording artist Terje Nordgarden perform a private session to no one but us and the reindeer that happen to pass by.



No museum or fjord cruise can compete with this. Welcome to Lesja.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Places You Should Know - Australia

There are many famous and beautiful places in Australia. I have put together a collection of some of these places below. I have tried to find some less common views of them to give a better sense of them, rather than just a postcard image.

Firstly, here are a few places you might know:


Ayers Rock

Bondi Beach


The Australian War Memorial

Here are the same places again, but viewed in a way you may not have seen before:

Ayers Rock


Bondi Beach (photo courtesy of bryanfpeterson.com)

The Australian War Memorial


Here are a couple more places you should know:


Sydney CBD is beautiful from any angle (well... sometimes it's hard to see the beauty from street level.) Here is a shot looking across the harbour from the North-East.


This is Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. It's a beautiful wilderness area with many walking tracks!

Here's another favourite, the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide on the South-East coast of the country. There are actually only eight... or make that seven. One fell down last year. Below is a before/after shot!



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Places You Should Know -Japan-


Hottai waterfall is one of the best sight spots to visit in my hometown. Its dynamic fall attracts people from all over Japan, and it arouses a feeling of coolness as well. In summer, people can swim at Hottai waterfall, but the water is so cold because the water is melted water from a mountain.

This majestic waterfall is constructed from first waterfall, second waterfall and third waterfall with the length of 100 meters and the drop of 57.4 meters. Third waterfall is the longest one on the photo. Hottai (法体) means Buddha, Buddha of the Pure Land, by intoning “Namu Amida Butsu” or priest. Surprisingly, the water is clear, and the color of deep place looks like emerald green which is absolutely beautiful.


The origin of the name, Hottai comes from fairy take-like story…
Once upon a time, a Buddhist priest visited the waterfall. When he was fascinated by the great waterfall, an old man with white hair appeared all of sudden. The priest asked the old man “what’s the name of this waterfall?” and the old man answered “Hottai”. The priest wondered about the old man, and asked him “where are you from?” The old man said “I live here. I am an immovable monarch for this waterfall.” The old man said like that and vanished all at once. The priest prayed 3 times for the waterfall and trained for 37 days in a cave close to the waterfall.

In fact, the Buddhist priest is considered as Kouboudaishi/Kukai who started Shingon-shu. That’s why the cave he trained is called “Koubou Douketsu (Cave for Koubou).


You can look down the water fall from an observation platform. Also, you can approach to fist and second waterfall which is really exciting and thrilling to see them. Since there is no rope, you have to be careful with their foot; otherwise, you fall easily from top of the waterfall. Here is a video I took first and second waterfall at thrilling place.



Hottai waterfall attracts people in every season because it has different faces. In spring, new green is beautifully much with the waterfall. In summer, people can cool down by swimming in the river and the place is crowded with tents to have BBQ. In autumn, red and yellow leaves show lovely appearance.

People can visit Hottai waterfall anytime except winter time because of massive snow. Here is an example tragedy of snow. This rest house was pushed by snow.



Here is several photos of Hottai waterfall.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Places you should know --United States

MOUNT RUSHMORE
HEARST CASTLE CA

Jamestown VA
Denali Alaska
Vail CO
Everglades FL
American Visionary Museum MD
Museum Of Natural History NYC
Las Vegas Strip
SEQUOIA TREE
SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM

Having driven across my country for 3 1/2 months when I was in my early twenties (about 10ish years ago) I am partial to the places I have been. There are many categories of destinations as my country is HUGE consisting of 50 states and Territories of Puerto Rico and The US Virgin Islands.

from Wikipedia:

The United States is the world's third largest country by land area, after Russia and Canada.[9] Its contiguous portion is bounded by the North Atlantic Ocean to the east, the North Pacific Ocean to the west, Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Canada to the north. The state of Alaska also borders Canada, with the Pacific Ocean to its south and the Arctic Ocean to its north. West of Alaska, across the narrow Bering Strait, is Russia. The state of Hawaii occupies an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of the North American mainland.

Just to give you an idea of what we are--geographically.


National Parks

1. Acadia
2. Appliachian Trail
3. Cape Cod National Seashore
4. Carlsbad Caverns
5. Death Valley
6. Denali
7. Everglades

8. Grand Canyon
9. Hawaiian Volcanoes
10. Joshua Tree
11. Petrified Forrest
12. Redwood National Forrest
13. Sequoia and Kings Canyon
14. Yellowstone
15. Yosemite

HISTORICAL SITES
1. Alcatraz Island
2. Ellis Island
3. USS Arizona Memorial
4. Gettysburg PA
5. Williamsburg, VA
6. Plimouth Planation
7. Deerefield Village
8. Fort McHenry
9. Philadelphia Liberty Bell
10. Capital Building
11. Salem MA
12. West Point NY
13. Monticello VA
14. Fort Sumter SC
15. The Alamo TX
16. Jamestown VA
17. Stur Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
18. Pioneer Courthouse Square OR
20. Rock Art Sites UT
21. Touro Synagogue National Historic Site RI
22. Historic Cold Spring Village NJ
23. Knife River Indian Villages ND

PLACES OF INTEREST
1. Hearst Castle CA
2. Statue of Liberty NY
3. Winterthur DE
4. Mount Rushmore SD
5. United States Holocaust Museum Washington DC
6. Times Square NY
7. Haight-Ashbury CA
8. Austin TX
9. Key West FL
10. Walden Woods MA
11.
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site HI
12. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum LA
13. Frederick Douglass House Washington DC
14. Harriet Tubman Home NY (but she was a Maryland lady /site of the Underground Railroad)
15. Fords Theater Washington DC
16. Chicago IL
17. Los Angles CA
18. New Orleans LA
19. Atlanta GA
20. Vail CO
21. Graceland TN
22. Las Vegas NV

MUSEUMS OF NOTE
1.Salvador Dali Museum FL
2. Smithsonian Museums (Hirshorn and Space Museum...they are ALL FREE) Washington DC
3. Baseball Hall of Fame NY
4. Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame OH
5. MOMA NY
6. Metropolitan Museum Of Art NY
7. The Scott and Zelda Museum AL
8. The Alaska Museum of Natural History AS
9. The Arizona-Sonora Museum AZ
10. American Museum of Beat Art CA
11. J. Paul Getty Museum CA
12. The Museum of Contemporary Art CA
13. Museum of Outdoor Arts CO
14. American visionary Museum MD
15. New England carousel Museum CT
16. The Kentucky Derby Museum KY
17. Antique Auto and Race Car Museum ID
18. Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House IW
19. Cherokee Heritage Center OK
20. The American Museum of Flying Fish VT
21. Natural History Museum NY
22. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum NM
23. The Contemporary Arts Museum TX
24. Walters Art Gallery MD
25. Hayden Planetarium NY


Not many Americans travel much anymore. I don't think the average family takes many or long vacations any longer. People work more and spend more money on big TV's, expensive cars and gigantic houses nic-named "McMansions". This selection is just a TINY, TINY, TINY fraction of what there is to see in my country. If you are ever here, look me up and come crash on my sofa cause that is the kind of friendly American I am.




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