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Eyeing Dubai’s skyline: From wind-towers to architectural wonders

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Dubai is where the schism of the east and west combines in a perfect architectural juxtaposition. For a city having buildings hardly hundred years old, Dubai has magnificently remodelled itself faster than any other on Earth. The multicultural environment, lifestyle, ideas and traditional Arabian architecture takes on heavy influence from the caravans sailing across the Gulf, India, East Africa, Iraq and Oman conducting trade.

This bygone fusion of the European and Asian influence stirred Dubai’s adventurous tone into bizarre, stunning and totally futuristic architectural styles. Skyscrapers that tears through the clouds complement to the majestic transformation and rather overpower the traditional low courtyard houses and their elegant wind-towers. Here’s what to see in Dubai for a burst of multicultural fusion!

The traditional architecture

Opulent courtyard houses with old-fashioned wind-towers forms a maze of slim alleyways in Al-Fahidi Historic District of Bur Dubai. It’s among the oldest and most captivating heritage sites in Dubai, dating back to early 1900s in the era of wealthy textile and pearl merchants.

They belonged to the Bastak region from Iran having interest in free trade policy of Dubai and willing to settle in the area. And as you wander the narrow streets, note how they all bend towards the creek and feeding on the cool breeze!

Climate played a crucial role in development of early settlements, especially long harsh summers. While the houses seem to pin into each other unnecessarily, the tall residential walls provide a cool shade throughout the day.

The Barasti huts were cool and made from palm fronds that can be assembled conveniently. Once common and occupied most of the creek, only few are left other than those preserved perfectly in the Al-Fahidi Historic District and the Dubai Museum. Back then, Persian merchants and well-off residents build their houses using gypsum and coral.

Yet another example of traditional architecture is the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House constructed in 1896 from coral and gypsum, comprising a courtyard in the centre and four wind-towers. These resourceful towers were open from all four sides catches wind and funnel it in the room through a central shaft. It is believed that when traders sailed into the creek, wind-towers of Bastakiya welcomed them safely to the port with their raised hands or fans.

The contemporary & bold

During the 1970s, the oil boom led to imminent growth and development of the infrastructure with introduction of Dubai’s first skyscraper; Dubai World Trade Centre boasting 39-floors. However, the true adventurous and futuristic designs emerged in the late 90s bringing the iconic Burj Al Arab with its dhow-shaped construct.

Since then, the entire cityscape represents jaw-dropping marvels including the world’s tallest building; Burj Khalifa. A casual ride down the Sheikh Zayed Road packs a punch of glass and steel architectures in many different designs from sail boats to curved towers and petal domes; innovation is endless!

Conclusion

Dubai’s eclectic skyline is nothing short of stunning that represents sleek and shiny glass edifices, cutting-edge eco-friendly materials and sturdiest metals glorifying true Arabian style.

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7 Things that you need to do in Portland, Oregon

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Things that you need to do in Portland, Oregon

The largest city in the state of Oregon in the United States sure has a lot on offer for you to do.

With that thought in mind, we have zeroed in on what we think are 7 key things that you surely MUST do while in Portland, Oregon.

Visit Portland Japanese Garden

The inspiration to setup a Japanese Garden in the city came once Sapporo in Japan and Portland became sister cities. Today, this is a sprawling area spread over 12 acres with truly well-maintained and beautifully laid out gardens that are pleasing to both the eyes and the mind.

Once here, you will enjoy visiting each of the 8 gardens within the entire Garden complex as well as the Cultural Village that has been made within it.

Check Out Pittock Mansion

A trip to Portland, Oregon will simply be incomplete if you fail to check out Pittock Mansion. Almost a century old Victorian Mansion, the charm here lays in the way the building has retained its old world charm, complete with original artworks and furniture dating from way back in time.

If a trip down memory lane is what you seek, then checking out Pittock Mansion has to be on your Portland itinerary.

Visit Portland Art Museum

Portland Art Museum is privy to one of the finest art collections you are likely to come across among cities on the US Pacific Coast. Besides its permanent collection of artworks from around the world, a fascinating feature of this particular art museum is the manner in which temporary showcases of artworks from various parts of the world are featured periodically.

As an arts buff, you simply cannot afford missing out on a trip to Portland Art Museum.

Go to Oregon Jewish Museum

This is the only museum of its kind on the Pacific Northwest. It serves as a memorial to one of the foremost immigrant groups that came to settle down in the city. Once at the museum, you will be able to trace the journey of Jews to Portland, including the arduous efforts many of them made to escape persecution back in Europe.

If an insight into Jewish life in Portland – both past and future, is what you are after, then a trip to Oregon Jewish Museum should definitely be on the cards.

Making the Most of Visa Free Travel to the United States

While on the subject of traveling to Portland, Oregon and making the most of things to do there, it would only be appropriate that we bring the aspect of ESTAinto the picture.

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This is a special privilege granted to citizens and eligible nationals of select countries, mostly in Europe along with a few others in Asia-Pacific. Chile is the only Latin American country that finds prominence on the list.

The conditions to avail ESTA are fairly basic; besides being from one of the nations on the list, you need to ensure:

  • You do not have a visitor’s visa already
  • The duration of your planned trip is up to 90 days
  • You intend to travel to the United States for either leisure or business

Typically, once you go through the ESTA application process successfully and pay the requisite $14 fee that applies, you will get a confirmation on your status quite quickly.

Yet, there are many applicants who seek frequent confirmations along the lines of, “Is my ETA still valid”? Well, the answer to that is really simple; once successfully granted, your ESTA is valid for two years or till your passport itself is valid, whichever happens first.

Therefore, once you have ESTA approval in place, you do not have much reason to constantly reconfirm as to “Is my ETA still valid” or not.

See Portlandia

Continuing with our listing of 7 things that you need to do in Portland, Oregon, Number 5 on our list would be seeing Portlandia, which is a statue quite similar to Statue of Liberty in New York. The lady in this statue clearly comes across as warmly welcoming visitors to Portland.

When it comes to hammer-crafted copper statues in the United States, Portlandia is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty, further accentuating its prominence.

Go to Portland Rose Festival

Held in early June, this festival is an apt tribute to the city’s stature as “Rose City”, given the ease with which roses grow in Portland. As the largest festival in Portland, and with a large number of events planned during this time, make this a “must do” on your list.

Eat and Drink!

Last on our list, we highly recommend checking out the vibrant food and drink scene in Portland, especially its numerous microbreweries frequently coming out with delicious beer, its numerous food carts that dish out cuisine from just about all parts of the world, as well as its plentiful specialty coffee offerings.

Conclusion

There is clearly so much to see and do in Portland. As an international visitor from an eligible nation, you will enjoy hassle-free travel thanks to ESTA. Moreover, once granted, you will not have to frequently wonder, “Is my ETA still valid”!

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Indian Railways: Why Should You Be Proud of This Transportation?

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Indian Railways

The way you keep on working you and improve yourself with time, so does Indian Railways. Many folks have an impression that Indian railways are stuck and no growth is taking place in that area. If you think that way then your thought process is certainly conventional and information is outdated.

You have no idea that there have been tremendous progresses that have taken place in the domain of railways in India. Plenty of facilities, new trains, features and schemes came into existence for the ease and comfort of passengers.  Just because you have no idea about these lately provided facilities or emerging options; you cannot blame the Indian railways.

An important role to play

You know Indian Railways in the present time play a significant role for the entire lower and upper middle class sectoral travel section.  The medium serves as the most low-cost mode of transport among the chief travel modes in the country.  With a humble beginning in India since 1853, the Indian Railways has emerged in the present time as the main vehicle for socio-economic development of the nation.

It might add on to your knowledge that railway in India is a labour intensive industry and it has a workforce of more than 13.6 lakhs staffs. Indian railway is one of the hugest employment providers in the nation. Employment generation has been one of the chief purposes of development planning   in the nation.  Indian railway is contributing significantly to employment generation. Speaking of its facilities and features like Pnr check, ticket availability facilities, tracking system and toll free numbers and so on; these features have emerged as assets to Indian Railway. Even if you want to get fresh food while you travel, you can get it from Railway Restaurant. You can order the food of your choice and it gets delivered to you while you are travelling.

Why to choose railways over road in India?

It is true that rail transportation has some positive characteristics when compared to road transportation. Railway is six times much more energy-efficient if you compare it to road and four times much more low-cost. The social price in terms of environment injury or any kind of degradation is absolutely lower in rail. The costs of railway construction are nearly six times lower than compared to road for comparable degrees of traffic. It is the only chief transport mode that is proficient of using any type of main energy. It might also come as a surprise to you that Indian railways are not just generating formal employment but also a large scale of informal employment through its forward and backward links. And you cannot deny the fact that Indian railways transfer lakhs of passengers every single day. Whether you speak of a simple slow train, super-fast trains such as Rajdhani express or any other kind of train; passengers are all over the place. 

Conclusion

Thus, the bottom line is that Indian railways are a great mode of transportation. You not just feel comfortable in trains but you should also be proud of the train facilities by Indian Railways.

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Make The Most of a Trip to Grapevine Texas

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Trip to Grapevine Texas

Grapevine is a timeless Texas city that has a reputation for historic structures. These structures have been in existence since the 1800s and 1900s. If you’re looking forward to an upcoming Grapevine getaway, then you should prepare meticulously for the trip because the community has so much in store for you! It’s near both Fort Worth and Dallas. If you’re anticipating spending time in Grapevine, then you have the opportunity to see the best that Texas has to offer..

Places to Visit 

Grapevine trips can be fulfilling for many reasons. If you’re fond of learning about aquatic life, you may want to think about going to the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. This aquarium is part of Grapevine Mills and gives visitors access to countless sea animals. If you want to get caught up in rays, sharks, seals, sea turtles and even seahorses, you won’t be able to refuse a trip to this renowned destination.

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad is another gem in the community. If you want to gaze at trains that were in operation in the twenties, then there’s no Grapevine spot that can please you like this one can. If you’re in the mood to go on an authentic steam locomotive journey, you should head downtown to the Main Street station without any hesitation whatsoever.

Grapevine Mills can be a pleasure for eager shoppers. It’s a vibrant shopping center that presents people with many options. If you visit this mall, you can go to Banana Republic Factory, Express Factory Outlet, Papaya, Guess Factory Store, Gap, J. Crew Factory, and H&M. Grapevine Mills is optimal for people who want to save a lot without sacrificing style through outlet shopping. It has many dining establishments as well. People who visit this mall can eat at Ruby Thai Kitchen, Kelly’s Cajun Grill, Kimu Sushi, Rainforest café, and Steak ‘n Shake.

Picking a Hotel

Picking a fantastic hotel in Grapevine is all about putting in a bit of time for research. Since there are so many options in the area, be certain to comb online reviews, read local tour guides, or get suggestions from people who are familiar with the area. One of the most widely-recommended hotels is the Hyatt Place Dallas/Grapevine. This hotel is just a couple of miles away from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Guests at Hyatt Place can get to the airport using a complimentary shuttle service. Some of the many amenities that are offered by this hotel are complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, 42-inch televisions, irons, sofas, coffee machines and even small refrigerators. People can dine without worries at the hotel as well. Breakfast is made up of tasty items such as Greek yogurt, sausages, bacon, oatmeal, and eggs.

If you’re trying to reserve a room at a budget-friendly Grapevine hotel, you can look to the Comfort Inn. This Capitol Street option makes guests feel terrific with complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, complimentary parking and even complimentary breakfast. The morning meal is nice and hot, too. The units all have flat-panel televisions, desks, coffee machines, refrigerators and microwave ovens. The hotel is also within close proximity to the Delaney Vineyards.

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