My Sister Needed Cheering Up

When my sister got divorced, I was really worried about her. All of us could tell she was better off without her husband, but she thought that she was still in love with him. She fell into a depression that I was bound and determined to make sure she crawled out of. When I saw her making her first jokes, I knew that she was finally seeing the daylight. I wanted to do something really special for her so I looked into Toronto party bus rentals. I figured that if a group of her friends could show her a fun night on the town, she would be on her way to finding herself again.

I wanted to get a party bus because I knew that it would be a night where no one would want to take responsibility for driving. We were planning on having as many drinks as it took to make her realize she no longer needed him. I really didn’t want to go clubbing or even go to one of our houses, because it had to be neutral territory. Continue reading “My Sister Needed Cheering Up”

A Boost in Motivation with a Promise

The local kids hockey team had been on a losing streak for a while, and they were feeling pretty down about it. I thought that a little motivation would help them win, so I promised the kids that if they won the next game, they would get a pizza party and a ride on the Toronto party bus limo. As soon as they heard this, the kids went to the rink to practice their shots. It was like one of those inspirational sports movies where the kids go through a training montage and get ready for the big game against the opposing team.

The kids worked so hard that they didn’t want to leave. Continue reading “A Boost in Motivation with a Promise”

The Nokia C5 is a Perfect Choice For Business Users

Mobile phone giant Nokia has recently released the C5. This handset cleverly combined Smartphone Technology with an understated appearance of everyday handset. Whilst many Smartphones a manufactured simply to offer aesthetic appeal, the Nokia C5 provides comprehensive technology which ticks all the boxes.

In order to connect to the Internet, the Nokia C5 relies on 3G coverage, in which an HSDPA connection provides access to the Internet at speeds of up to 10.2 mega bytes per second (along with HSUPA at 2 MB per second). EDGE & GPRS provide the Nokia C5 with its initial method of network connectivity, both of which and class 32 versions. In order to connect to compatible handsets in the same vicinity, Bluetooth is provided as standard which allows a number of tasks to be carried out ranging from sharing contact information to swapping media files. In order to connect to computers, a micro USB Port is provided which allows users to back up contact information or manage media files along with a number of other tasks.

A long list of features and applications means the Nokia C5 is an effective productivity tool and entertainment device. Entertainment wise, the versatile internal media player supports most of the common file formats of both music and video files whilst a stereo FM radio player is also provided along with the number of pre-installed games (along with access to a number of downloadable games). Social networking is a growing trend which Nokia has not overlooked with the C5. Dedicated applications to a number of popular websites such as Facebook and MySpace are provided so that users can share their thoughts with friends and family in a matter of seconds when out and about. Business users are sure to appreciate a document viewer which is compatible with word, excel, PowerPoint and PDF files meaning they can stay productive whilst out of the office.

The screen on the Nokia C5 is ideally setup for viewing photos and video files thanks to the ability to display up to 16M colours within a pixel setup of 240x 320 pixels within the 2.2 inch TFT screen. This provides an excellent level of clarity and detail within onscreen imagery. The Nokia C5 is both compact and lightweight, and weighing in at just 89.3 g making it pocket friendly and comfortable to hold and use on the move.

The handset is equipped with a 3.15 mega pixel digital camera. The pixel resolution of 2048x 1536 pixels results in high quality snapshots, which can even be taken in dark lighting conditions thanks to the inbuilt LED flash. As an alternative method of image capture, the camera can also shoot video in VGA quality at a rate of 15 frames per second.

In order to store data such as media files, 50 MB of internal storage is provided as standard. Additionally, the micro SD slot comes with a pre-installed 2 GB memory card. When this becomes four, users can then upgrade is a memory card to up to 16 GB offering ample storage for a larger number of files.

Article Source:

Samsung I8000 Omnia – Perfect For Gadget Lovers

Samsung 18000 Omnia is a perfect handset for the people who want nothing but the best. There are several exceptional features available in this handset which is attracting lots of users. It has almost all the features that a perfect handset should have. It is one of the gorgeous handsets launched by Samsung and already been gaining much hype from all over the world. Here are some of the fine features which should be well known by everyone.

The very first thing to consider is its physical dimensions. It has fine dimensions which measure 118 x 59.6 x 12.3 mm and it weighs just 123 grams. Due to its slim dimensions it can be fitted into any type of outfits. It has large display screen of 3.7 inches which provide the amazing viewing experience to the users.

The AMOLED resistive display screen supports 16 million colors which look beautiful at first glance. The display screen of Samsung Omnia supports the resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It has other additional features like TouchWiz 2.0 UI, proximity sensor, accelerometer sensor and ambient light sensor. It also acquires hand writing recognition feature which means no one can access the mobile without the owner’s permission.

When it comes to camera and sound quality, it has some unique features which provide it a competitive edge from other handsets. It has 5 mega pixels camera which supports the resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels along with some additional features like auto focus, geo tagging, smile detection, mobile blogging and dual LED flash. Yes, it also acquires secondary camera which is also used for video calling.

It has huge internal memory but it also acquires micro SD memory card through which the memory can be increased depending upon the user’s choice and interest. One can store unlimited contacts in the phone book along with photo calling option.

It is well equipped with mobile windows operating system along with high performance processor. It supports different types of browsers to enjoy uninterrupted browsing speed. It is also packed with GPS system which is used to locate any direction easily.

Article Source:

LG Mobile Phones – The Perfect Combination of Elegant Style and Superior Performance

The LG mobile phones are the most appreciated handsets in terms of their ultra-modern looks and user-friendly features. These devices are integrated with superb multimedia and business features. These handsets have manufactures by focusing on your requirements, interests and budget. An individual can purchase these handsets at very reasonable prices. There are a wide range of mobile phones by LG. A person can choose the right model according to his budget and requirements. Some of the famous mobile phone series, that are manufactured by LG are, the Chocolate series, LG Viewty, LG Prada and LG shine.

All these devices from LG are pre-loaded with the latest technologies, such as Bluetooth, GSM network compatibility, an outstanding camera, FM radio and many more features. The phones under LG chocolate series come with the sophisticated multimedia options which can be accessed easily. The LG KG800 chocolate, the latest phone from this series, comes with an unique and exquisite design. The gadget is also integrated with the great specifications such as a fantastic camera with flash, tri-band network and also enhanced with the Java technology. A hidden heat sensitive touch pad allows you to use this gadget with supreme ease. The screen of this product supports 256K colours along with high resolution of 176 x 220 pixels. This feature enables you to view the videos and images with supreme clarity.

The LG Viewty phones come with 5 mega pixels camera with the high resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. These handsets are available in various colours in the market. You can choose his favourite widget from a wide range of colours. These handsets are also equipped with a music player which provides high quality sound output. LG KU990 is one of the latest mobile phones from the LG Viewty. This phone also has 5 mega pixels camera which is capable to capture supreme-quality pictures. One can record videos at the rate of 120 frames per second. It has a large 3.0 resistive touch-screen that enables you to view the high quality pictures on the device.

There is another most popular series named LG Prada from LG. LG has introduced a touch-screen mobile phone into these phones. LG Prada handsets are well known for their designer and stylish phones. The main features of these phones are a powerful camera, music player, built-in FM radio and several more features. This gadget also allows you to share images and videos with other persons through Bluetooth and other connectivity technologies.

On the other hand, LG shine phones are power-packed with a combination of fascinated features and gorgeous design. They have an user-friendly keypad that allows the users to work with it in an easy way. The LG KE970, the fantastic phone from the LG Shine, has a built-in 2 mega pixels camera with Schneider-Kreuznach lens. This camera phone enables you to take excellent photos with the help of auto-focus and flash features. One can also listen his favourite audio tracks with the help of music player that supports MP3, AAC and AAC+formats of files. This phone has a multi-function scroll key which would be highly useful for accessing the various applications, such as contacts, images, videos, messages etc.

Finally, we can conclude that LG Mobile phones are empowered with hi-tech features and latest advanced features. These gadgets can grab the interest of every person, just because of their exceptional qualities. These handsets are enriched with 3G network compatibility, GPRS, Bluetooth, USB and several additional functionalities. Every person can use these features without any hassles.

Article Source:

Astral Travel Techniques and Lucid Dreams

Astral travel is the method of leaving one’s physical body and making a journey to the astral planes by his or her astral body. The astral plane is a dimension of much higher vibration than the earth plane. According to experts, astral projection is one of our natural qualities which we all had during our childhood and which we lose as we grow up. Still, every adult is making astral voyages while sleeping. But the person is unaware of it at most times as at that time, our physical body is simply resting.

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dream, on the other hand, is the incident where one becomes aware that he/she is sleeping and dreaming. It is just a play of our logical and subconscious minds where we often cannot tell the differences between being awake and sleeping. For example, a lucid dreamer may wake up in the morning, get ready for work and actually leave for his office only to wake up in the bed later. Lucid dreaming is a scientific process and does not really need the dreamer to sleep to occur. Thus there are 2 kinds of lucid dreams: Dream initiated lucid dreaming (DILD) and wake initiated lucid dreaming (WILD).

Differences between Astral voyage & Lucid Dreaming

Both of these incidents are ways where one can one can gain access to the astral realm, though lucid dreaming is not the same out of body experience (OBE) as astral travelling. In case of lucid dream, one is in control and in charge of how the experience is going to be, but in the case of the other, people are not controlling their own experience; but just merely exploring the details of the new world. So in astral projection, one is bound by himself, while in the other one if totally free and is at his creative best.

Differences between Astral Travel & Remote Viewing

Remote viewing is the process of seeing another place and time while being at his own place and time. The difference with astral voyage is here one does not need to leave his/her physical body as opposed to other. Remote viewers are on the same ‘earth’ plane while astral travelers are on the ‘astral’ plane.

Techniques for Astral projection

Astral traveling is best accomplished by some techniques, which are useful because sometimes it is too hard to experience it without any of them. Although anyone can learn this skill, like any other skills it is easier for some than other. Astral silver cord is the most popular technique where one has to visualize (not the cord) that he/she is climbing it to get into higher places with their imaginary hands.

Other astral travel techniques include roll out technique (imagining that one is being pulled out from his/her physical body), anchor technique (imagining a familiar object to be at any place and to move it with your thoughts). All these techniques are to be done while relaxed.

It helps to practise these techniques while in bed in dark. It is mandatory to let go of your fear and anxiety and be relaxed. Having patience is another tip from the astral travel guide.

Article Source:

Best Thailand Travel Guide

This Best Thailand Travel Guide combines useful information about Thailand in many aspects in order for travelers who wish to experience this country to have a brief view of the nation. The Guide will first explain about the country in general before describing what it has in each region so that travelers can decide where they want to go to make the most out of their trips.

One of the distinctive points about Thailand is the Thais. Many people know this nation as the Land of Smiles as the Thais are easy-going and always smiling. Thai people are normally kind, warm and welcoming to foreigners. Tourists can feel quite comfortable asking for directions or helps from Thai strangers during their trips. Some believe that this is the influence of Buddhism, which is the religion that approximately 90% of the population is believed in.

Besides the friendly people, the country has a great combination of unique culture, interesting long history, amazing cuisine and beautiful nature. As a result, Thailand has a vast variety of holiday destinations and activities for tourists to enjoy. Tourists can choose to experience many things in this territory from thick jungles, all-night parties, stunning beaches or something else that would appeal to everyone. Besides the tourist attractions, Thailand is also an excellent place to shop due to the incredibly low price items available. To make this article the easy and the best Thailand travel guide, the content in terms of attractions will be divided into regions, North, Central and South; due to the distinctive characteristics of each part of the country.

As mentioned, each part of Thailand has different characteristics and cultures. To the north of Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, you will find some beautiful mountain landscape with many orchid farms and elephant training camps which would give visitors some unique experience that hard to find elsewhere. Up To Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle area, travelers can visit the hill-tribe people that still have strong native culture and rituals. With the extremely different way of living for these hill tribes, travelers can experience another world on this same planet. In addition in this area, tourists can have a chance to see nice view of Me Kong river, one of the World’s greatest rivers originated from Tibet area and divide Thailand territory from Laos. Moreover, if ones wish to enjoy camping in the greenish forests up the hills, this can also be done in the northern region due to plentiful of the green areas that still beautifully exist in this part of the land.

Next is the best Thailand Travel Guide in the central part of the country. In this part, there are still a lot of natural attractions in boundless national parks with some stunning waterfalls. Additionally, there are more of the ancient cities with the existed ruins in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai that can say a lot about the long history of the nation. Last but not least, the capital city, Bangkok, is also located in this region.

To introduce Bangkok separately as it is the place where most visitors begin their journey in this country due to that Bangkok International Airport is the major arrival spot from flights around the world. Bangkok is one of the most crowded cities in the world with lots of traffic congestion, large amount of population and high-rise buildings; yet, it is the city with complete facilities, convenient transportation systems and large shopping malls and streets.

Finally for this best Thailand Travel Guide is the southern region, the slimmest and longest area of Thailand. This region is the land in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea so that beaches are the highlights of this area. Tourists are guaranteed to experience amazing beaches, stunning beautiful tropical islands and sparkling blue water. Moreover, many alternative western-standard accommodations are available from world-class hotels to backpacker places that can be matched with every taste and budget. Due to the existed beautiful reefs and underwater creatures, Scuba diving and snorkeling are normal activities visitors often choose to enjoy in this area.

There is a Thai joke saying that there are 3 seasons in Thailand: hot, hotter and hottest. Normally, most Thailand travel guides would say that the most recommended season to come to Thailand is during November to February as it is the least hot period, yet, the sun still shines beautifully. March to May is considered too hot as it is the hottest period, which could be less tolerable for visitors especially westerners. And as the rain would then arrive during June to October, it is considered as too wet in the monsoon season of Thailand. However, this Best Thailand Travel Guide would choose to also recommend travelers to consider this wet season because this would be less crowded time to visit many attractions such as well-known beaches, ancient cities or temples. The best thing is that during this time with occasional rains, travelers can pay for much less for air fares and accommodations. Well-known hotels can reduce their rates up to 50-60% so that visitors can enjoy superior facilities at minimal expenses.

Article Source:

It Disappears Into Clouds – South West Australia’s Most Terrifying Adventure Travel Experience

Climbing the north face of the Eiger has always been a challenge for experienced mountaineers. If you are looking for a similar gut wrenching challenge in Australia, look no further than the South West corner of Australia.

Only it’s not a mountain, it’s a tree. A frightening monster, one of the tallest in Australia with a summit sometimes disappearing into the clouds. Even on a clear day, those on the platform at the top disappear from view.

The rewards and the fears.

If you manage to tame the 75 metre beast and reach the summit, you will be rewarded with some of the finest views in Australia. The South West corner of Australia spreads before you like a map, from the pristine rain forests below, to the majestic Southern Ocean in the distance.

But you have to climb to the summit first and when you reach the top, the hard part starts. The return journey to the ground can be even more difficult.

Therein lies the challenge. Your open air staircase is 130 thin steel bolts winding around the trunk and the only protection you have from plummeting to the ground, is a thin wire cage.

Only the brave and intrepid reach the summit. Many succumb to fear and the sheer physical challenge. On a windy day, the tree actually sways and on a wet day, the steel rungs are cold and as slippery as ice.

Have I climbed it?

Yes and no. On the first occasion, at the age of 18, I was challenged by my mates and the 3 of us reached the summit to enjoy the amazing views. But when I reached the ground, my legs were like jelly.

On the second occasion, I was on my honeymoon. It was cold and rainy and despite my bride’s protests, started the climb. Then common sense prevailed and I abandoned the attempt, reasoning that I had done it before, so had nothing to prove. As my wife said, “At the age of 30, you’re too old for that sort of stuff”.

Three backpackers in front of me also gave up after climbing a short distance. Sarah, aged 22 from Oxford described it as “Scary beyond belief.”

Where is this terrifying tree?

The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is on the outskirts of Pemberton, an easy 5 hour drive south of Perth. The town was once the centre of the forestry industry, but is now a thriving tourist hub with much to offer the visitor.

The wineries in this district produce cool climate wines and are surrounded by magnificent Jarrah and Karri forests. They are tucked away in the high rainfall region of the lower South West. Pemberton is the coolest wine region in the state. The climate is ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties with a distinct regional flavour.


The town offers a variety of hotel and motel accommodation as well as a youth hostel just a short distance from the town centre.

Looking for something a little less challenging?

If you are overcome with vertigo at the very thought of climbing this monster and leaving your comfort zone, here is a great alternative.

The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk is an award winning tourist attraction in the Nornalup National Park near Walpole, just a short distance from Pemberton. The walk is made of six bridges and you actually walk through the forest canopy. How cool is that?


The prestigious travel Guide Lonely Planet has chosen Australia’s South West as one of the World’s top 10 regions for 2010. It is the only Australian destination to make it into the list.

Article Source:

Panoramic Los Angeles Routes by Travel Agencies in Los Angeles

Travel agencies in Los Angeles put remarkable value on the panoramic roads of it’s surrounding cities. Some people says that this journey is so scenic that it is part of the experience when traveling to your destination. I think that most people would choose to drive than fly because of this. The great combination of the scenery of the mountains and the ocean is breath taking and you will remember it forever.

Travel agencies in Los Angeles provide guided panoramic drives so guests will not miss out on the “must sees” of the place. It’s pretty amazing how pleasurable a leisurely drive could be. It’s like experiencing a live film reel of nature. It is best to pick weekends or school holidays for a long drive. The early start is recommended so that there will hardly be any traffic. Leave on a later time and chances are you will be moving slow because of the heavy traffic. The Malibu Beach, for example, is worth visiting for land adventurers as it provides a great view of the Pacific. Keep on northbound and you will see the Santa Monica Mountain tops rise out of the sea.

If you begin the day early, do not miss on the chance to take a side trip to Will Rogers State Historical Park. It is the ideal place for a picnic and also to watch polo on weekends. There are trekking trails and great landscapes with just a 40 minute walk. You could be in the LA neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. Along the way, you will find Gladstone’s, probably the most popular dining places in Malibu. Travel agencies in Los Angeles certainly understand where this spot is because of food lovers who wish to give this place a try. It’s definitely a place you shouldn’t miss out on since it is an “institution” in Malibu. It’s part of the entire driving experience.

As you keep on down that path, seashores, private and public are everywhere. You may want to stop and relish the breeze, grab a bite, take photos and get a dip. This is the superb prize following a hectic day’s trip. It’s something you shouldn’t miss out on since it’s not everyday that you will get to drive without the time pressure of getting late either for work or for an appointment. Driving is something that most vacationers fail to do due to their crammed itinerary when they go to LA. What they do not realize is that it’s completely worth it. Call travel agencies in Los Angeles and inquire about driving tour choices. It is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

Scenic drive tours that travel agencies in Los Angeles offer aren’t generally availed by visitors. Perhaps they think that driving is a waste of time and flying is the fastest way to move from one point to another. Although this is correct, they miss out on viewing the beauty of nature on the way. One thing is for certain, the few that avail of panoramic tours experience far more than those who decide to rush from one place to the next.

Detroit Travel – A Bicycle Tour Through Corktown and Mexicantown

My discoveries of Detroit were slowly but surely coming to an end, and I had seen so many interesting places already in my whirlwind tour over the last four days. Just before I was ready to hop across the border to Windsor again, I had one more adventure on my schedule: a biking tour of Southwest Detroit to cover Corktown and Mexicantown.

After a filling breakfast at the Inn on Ferry Street I took their complimentary shuttle downtown to Rivard Plaza, right next to the Detroit Riverwalk. At 10 am I met Kelly Kavanaugh, co-owner of Wheelhouse Detroit, Downtown Detroit’s first bike rental facility for more than 30 years. Wheelhouse also provides bicycle repairs and service and offers a variety of tours of different Detroit neighbourhoods.

Wheelhouse Detroit was founded by friends Kelli Kavanaugh and Karen Gage, two young women who have been active in the Detroit non-profit and urban planning scene for years. Equipped with advice from fellow entrepreneurs, start-up funding from the city’s micro-credit program and their own savings they embarked on their entrepreneurial venture and bought 30 bicycles which includes comfortable cruisers, city mountain bikes, kids bikes, trailers and even a tandem.

Their bikes are made by Kona, a philanthropically inclined manufacturer that donates bicycles to non-profit organizations in Africa. Along with other people I have met over the last four days, Kelli and Karen are an example of the new breed of Detroit entrepreneurs who combine their love for the city with hard work and entrepreneurial creativity.

On a brilliant but rather cool and windy October day Kelli and I headed off westwards along the the Detroit Riverwalk and quickly passed the General Motor Renaissance Centre and Hart Plaza, the civic centre of Detroit. The Detroit International Riverfront covers an area stretching from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle and encompasses numerous parks, restaurants, retail shops, skyscrapers and residential areas along the Detroit River. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised in the last few years to revitalize this extensive area.

The Detroit Riverwalk is a recreational multipurpose path that stretches 5.5 miles (almost 9 km) along Detroit’s riverfront and provides separate lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists or inline skaters. Wheelhouse Detroit is located inside Rivard Plaza, an outdoor space that features the Cullen Family Carousel, an inlaid granite map of the Detroit River, fountains and gardens. Rivard Plaza was opened in June of 2007 and also features the Riverwalk Cafe.

Cycling west on the Riverwalk, Kelli started to tell me about her venture and about her passion for cycling in Detroit. As the city is quite spread out and a lot of the traffic concentrates on the city’s characteristic sunken expressways, the downtown area is surprisingly free of traffic congestion and cycling-friendly. In my past four days in Detroit I did not encounter any traffic jams downtown, a surprising experience when you come from a congested place like Toronto.

As we pedaled against the wind we passed by several more Detroit landmarks – Cobo Arena, the Cobo Convention Centre and the Joe Louis Arena – home of the Detroit Red Wings. Leaving the downtown area behind we headed into southwest Detroit.

The first neighbourhood that greeted us was Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighbourhood, so named after the Irish immigrants from County Cork that settled here. The houses in this area date back to 1834 and feature nicely restored Victorian homes, many of them brightly painted. Corktown also has many cool gathering spots and eateries, including the funky Zeitgeist Gallery, a bar called Nemo’s which was voted No. 3 “perfect sports bar in the US by Sports Illustrated, and LJ.’s – a hip karaoke place, as well as a wide range of other diverse restaurants.

We snaked our way through this pleasant neighbourhood and crossed over a railway bridge that provided a perfect view of one of Detroit’s most stunning architectural structures: the Michigan Central Depot, also called the Michigan Central Station. Although now abandoned and in poor condition, the Michigan Central Station is a railroad station that was built in 1913 for the Michigan Central Railroad. Its main Beaux-Arts train station is flanked by an 18 storey office tower, a monumental building whose outline dominates South-West Detroit’s skyline. Due to its sheer size and its magnificent architectural detailing, the Michigan Central Depot is still one of Detroit’s most impressive buildings, despite its sad current state.

Past the railroad bridge we arrived in Mexicantown, a vibrant neighbourhood that has undergone significant economic growth in the last few years. Kelly showed me the Michigan International Welcome Centre, a brand-new commercial development in close proximity to the Ambassador Bridge. 85 businesses will welcome visitors in The Mercado, and they will cater to locals and out-of-towners alike with a broad assortment of merchandise.

Further west we cycled by a long strip of Mexican restaurants that include popular eateries such as Mexican Village, El Zocalo, Evie’s Tamales, Lupita’s and Xochimilco. A ride through this neighbourhood revealed an extensive collection of late Victorian homes fronted by large trees. The main streets in the area are Bagley Street and Vernor Street which are flanked by numerous storefronts and eateries.

Away from the main thoroughfares and tucked into the neighbourhood is St. Anne De Detroit Catholic Church, the eighth church in this location whose cornerstone was laid in 1886. The church was originally founded on July 26, 1701, two days after Antoine Mothe de la Cadillac (the founder of Detroit) and his French settlers arrived. Today it is the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the United States. Nowadays the congregation includes many Hispanic parishioners who come together to worship in this impressive Gothic Revival structure.

One stop on our bicycling tour included the Hotel Yorba, which inspired the hit single by Detroit garage rock band “The White Stripes”. Today this former hotel provides subsidized housing. We started cycling back to the main road and passed by Clark Park, a large public park on Detroit’s southwest side. Cycling back east on Vernor we saw another strip of Mexican-owned businesses.

On the way back we made a stop in front of the Michigan Central Station where Kelly explained that this is the departure point for the annual “Tour de Troit” event, a 40-mile cycling tour of Detroit that has been attracting biking enthusiasts since 2001. Both Kelli and her business partner Karen have been actively involved in helping to organize this popular biking event. Attendance increased from 650 participants in 2007 to 1100 participants in 2008. Kelly explained that biking is definitely taking off in Detroit. The Tour de Troit event also raises funds for dedicated bicycle trails.

We now turned onto Michigan Avenue, one of Detroit’s main thoroughfares. Stopping regularly we had a look at various bars, cafes and galleries that populate this stretch of the road. One of our final stops was at the Old Tiger Stadium, the former home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. The stadium was originally opened in 1912 and unfortunately partially demolished in 2008. A group of dedicated local citizens is fighting to keep the remaining portions of the stadium intact.

Our tour concluded with a ride through Detroit’s downtown business district and ended back at Wheelhouse’s location on Rivard Plaza. Given that I am an avid bicycling enthusiast myself, exploring Detroit on two wheels was a real highlight of my five-day stint in this city. Bicycling is simply the best way of discovering a city – allowing you to cover great ground at manageable speeds while getting much needed exercise. Being able to easily stop anywhere is a great added benefit for an avid travel photographer like me.

Now thoroughly invigorated I thanked Kelli for introducing me to a completely different side of Detroit and set off to have lunch in the open outdoor space in front of the Wintergarden at the Renaissance Centre. The “RenCen”, the international headquarters of General Motors, consists of seven skyscrapers centered around the 73-story central tower that holds the Detroit Marriot Hotel. This structure has also been the highest building in Michigan since 1977.

The top of the hotel holds Coach Insignia, a fine dining restaurant with the most fabulous views of the city. In 2003 GM renovated the entire complex at a cost of $500 million which added the five-story Wintergarden, a light-flooded glass-enclosed atrium that overlooks the Detroit River. I grabbed my lunch, went outside and enjoyed the fall sun and the magnificent view across the river to Windsor while reflecting on my five action-packed days in Detroit.

Shortly after I called the shuttle service of the Inn on Ferry Street and minutes later I got whisked away. I made a final stop in Greektown, one of Detroit’s most popular entertainment districts. Most of the houses along Monroe Street date back to the Victorian era and today feature restaurants and cafes on the main level. The Greektown Casino is a major attraction in the area.

This exciting morning had concluded my visit to Detroit. I picked up my suitcase, hopped in my car and took the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel back to Canada. On the way back to Toronto I reflected on what an exciting and fascinating destination Detroit had been. During these past few days I got to see so many different facets of Detroit, and I had a chance to meet several people who are truly passionate about their city. It’s always great to get to know a city from the perspective of an insider.

Detroit Travel – An Architectural Walking Tour of Detroit and a Visit to the Eastern Market

On my second day in Detroit I got a great start to the day with a scrumptious breakfast at the just reopened Cadillac Hotel: a strawberry waffle with whipped cream. That’s one menu item I can’t resist. I was enjoying the sleek decor and pleasant ambience of the Boulevard Room restaurant of this historic hotel which has just been restored to glory after being shuttered for 24 years.

Shortly after 8 am I was joined by Bob Goldsmith of Detroit Tour Connections who was about to take me on an architectural walking tour of Detroit. Bob is a Detroit native and a true enthusiast of the Motor City. In addition to his full-time profession as a lawyer, Bob dedicates his time to providing scheduled weekend walking tours, regular Wednesday walks as well as customized walking and bus tours for groups. Many of his tours are centered around specific themes, such as downtown churches, historic hotels, cool bars, places with unique art etc. His bus tours focus on such topics as Detroit’s ethnic enclaves, the city’s sports history, or the recent revitalization that has been taking place in Detroit.

To admire some of Detroit’s outstanding architecture we did not have to go far since the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue offers a great view of many historic buildings. To the north of the hotel are the 13-story Book Building from 1917 and the 36-story Book Tower from 1926, which were both designed by famous Detroit architect Louis Kamper.

The 47-story Penobscot Building was Detroit’s highest building until the construction of the Renaissance Centre in 1977. Designed by renowned architect Wirt Rowland and opened in 1928, it features an H-shaped design to allow light into the offices. The Penobscott Building is connected to two earlier Penobscot Buildings dating to 1905 and 1916 with a shared lobby and shared access to restaurants and various stories on the lower levels. Looking east of Michigan Avenue we got a great view of this famous setback skyscraper which also was an inspiration for the Empire State Building, opened three years later and built by many of the same construction workers that also worked on the Penobscot.

Walking down on Washington Boulevard, we had a good look at some of Detroit’s architectural landmarks: the 1923 Lafayette Building sits east at the intersection of Lafayette and Washington and has been empty for many years. A building next to the Lafayette Building holds two famous Detroit landmarks: the Lafayette Coney Island and the American Coney Island, both offering Coney Island style hotdogs. In Detroit and other parts of Michigan, the term “Coney Island” is not only used for the hot dog but also for the diner-like food establishments that serve this popular food.

We walked by the austere Federal Court Building, or more properly named the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse, a sleek moderne style structure which sits next to the Detroit Free Press Building, an Art Deco design by Albert Kahn which opened in 1925. Then we headed east on Griswold Street where we admired the imposing entrance of the Penobscot Building.

On the other side of the Street is the Guardian Building, originally called the Union Trust Building, one of the most stunning examples of Art Deco design. Featuring abundant Aztec-style decoration, amazing mosaic and tilework, this 1929 masterpiece used to be referred to as the “Cathedral of Finance.”

The exterior domes of the Guardian Building feature decorations made by the famous Pewabic Pottery Company, and tile, limestone and terra cotta adorn the outside brickwork which consists of 1.8 million red bricks, an unusual cladding material for a skyscraper. The granite base features carvings by renowned architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci whose magnificent work also adorns the Buhl Building, the Penobscot Building, the Masonic Temple and many other landmarks in Detroit.

The interior of the Guardian Building is stunning, particularly the former banking hall with its three-storey vaulted ceiling adorned by multi-colour Aztec ornamentation and Rockwood pottery. The building is accented by different types of marble, and for the particularly rare Numidian marble architect Wirt Rowland went to Africa to reopen a quarry that had been closed for 30 years.

The southern end of the cathedral-like space features an oversize mural with a map of Michigan. Today this space is used as a retail space as the current owners decided that it was important to turn this area back into publicly accessible space. What a great move for architecture lovers! I am glad they did; as you can probably tell, the Guardian Building had quickly became my favourite. A coffee shop anchors the centre of the former banking hall, and we ended up chatting to Shawn Santo, the caf’s proprietor who also owns the Pure Detroit retail store on the east side of the building.

Leaving the Guardian Building behind, we strolled south to Hart Plaza, Detroit’s Civic Centre, also the location of the 1701 landing of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. This French explorer played an important role in the history of New France when he landed on the shores of the Detroit River and founded a settlement by the name of Fort Ponchartrain du Dtroit. The word “Detroit” itself is derived from the phrase “le dtroit du Lac rie – the strait of Lake Erie”. By 1765 Detroit was the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. Detroit changed hands from the French to the British in 1760, and then from the British to the United States in 1796. Lots of history unfolded right here, in the area of today’s Hart Plaza.

Approaching this space I was impressed by a giant suspended fist – the Joe Louis Fist Sculpture, created by artist Robert Graham to honour Detroit’s legendary boxer Joe Louis. The hard-surface open area of Hart Plaza holds a number of outdoor installations: a giant circle-shaped monument to the labour movement features quotes by famous labour and human rights leaders including Nelson Mandela as well as a fountain dedicated to Horace E. Dodge.

Sitting next to the walking path on the river’s edge is the Underground Railroad Memorial, “Gateway to Freedom”, designed by sculptor Ed Dwight and dedicated in October of 2001. Ed Dwight himself is an interesting story: a former Air Force Test Pilot, he is also America’s first African American Astronaut Trainee as well as a successful entrepreneur. Dwight’s sculpture highlights that Detroit was an important site in the Underground Railroad, the network of secret routes and safe houses that took 19th century African-American slaves to freedom. A similar statue by the same artist is located on the other side of the Detroit River, in Windsor, Canada. Detroit was an important point of debarcatation for thousands of enslaved Africans in their quest to escape to safety and freedom.

Heading back into the city from the waterfront we passed by the “Spirit of Detroit”, a large bronze statue that was dedicated in 1958. This statue is often dressed up in sports jerseys when Detroit’s professional sports teams make it into the playoffs. Up the street on Woodward Avenue is Campus Martius Park, one of Detroit’s most popular outdoor spaces since its opening in 2004. Local residents had expressed a strong desire for a greenspace in downtown Detroit, particularly since Hart Plaza is a primarily hard-surfaced area.

A Michigan Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument anchors the south side of Campus Martius Park; the centre holds a caf, outdoor seating and a green space that is used as a skating rink in the winter. The north side of Campus Martius Park is highlighted by the new Compuware Headquarters which opened in 2003. Compuware, one the USA’s most important software firms, relocated its head office to its new location, a successful example of business relocation into the downtown financial district.

From here we headed to the lobby of the David Stott Building, another Art Deco skyscraper dating from 1929. Designed by Donaldson and Meier, its 37 stories feature a reddish granite base, brick, marble and limestone as well as sculptures by Corrado Parducci. We then crossed over to Washington Boulevard where we walked north past several historic buildings, including the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Detroit and a Catholic church built in 1930.

At the north end of Washington we saw a grouping of historic skyscrapers including the recently renovated Kales Building, the David Broderick Tower and the David Whitney Building, many of which have been converted into apartments. This area also used to be the home of the renowned Statler Hotel and the Hotel Tuller which were demolished in 2006 and 1992 respectively. Because of its many abandoned and demolished buildings this area is often referred to as “skyscraper graveyard”.

After concluding our downtown tour Bob and I drove a few minutes east to the Eastern Market, Detroit’s historic market near Gratiot and Mack Avenues. The first farmer’s market in Detroit was opened in 1841 downtown, and additional markets were opened in the 1850s, including one on the site of the current Eastern Market. The current outdoor sales sheds date back all the way to 1891 while the surrounding brick Victorian buildings house many additional food and other retailers. Today, the Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States.

This Saturday morning the Eastern Market was hustling and bustling, and all sorts of produce, meat, spices and other products were on sale. On average the market attracts 45,000 locals and out-of-towners every Saturday. A cooking demonstration was underway and several musicians were performing live for the crowds. Halloween pumpkins, gourds and chrysanthemums were on display everywhere, providing a colourful reminder of the fall season.

Following our brief visit to the market Bob dropped us off at the Bucharest Deli where we had a delicious lunch with chicken and bean soups and vegetarian shawarmas. Appropriate strengthened after a tasty meal, we were ready for our next adventure: a walking tour of Brush Park, a historic neighbourhood in transition.

Rewarding Employees With Extraordinary Incentive Travel

Nothing provides pure bliss like getting to see an extraordinary worldly location; however, the opportunity can be very difficult for individuals to obtain. Incentive programs provide organizations a way to encourage employees to perform better and meet stated goals. Travel awards have become a common method for keeping employee spirits up as well as supplying enough motivation for improved results. Numerous destinations may be chosen when implementing this type of program within an organization. A company can offer an once-in-a-lifetime trip with a “wow factor” everyone will strive hard to receive. Employees do not have to plan the trip, worry about the expense, and have something to look forward to after they have accomplished company goals. Staff members not only get to visit an extraordinary incentive travel location, but also have the chance to gain memories they carry with them for a lifetime. This motivational factor has made travel programs one of the top choices among organizations desiring something dependable when desiring to motivate their workforce to excel.

Incentive Travel: What Makes a Destination Compelling and Motivational?

What type of locations may be chosen when putting together incentive travel programs? A destination must offer something individuals have never had the opportunity to see or experience before in order to be considered as an extraordinary location. The idea is to take someone out of the norm and put them in an area so opposite of their everyday life that they come back with completely new experiences and forever changed. This may be hard to do on a budget but is very possible with the right incentive service company. A provider researches the interests of employees, works within a set budget, and ensures everything is order for an out of the ordinary reward. Ireland, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Asia, Australia, and Africa are good examples of ultimate getaway destinations. Incentive travel programs offer something more than a simple trip to a common travel area. Successful employees obtain the experience of visiting locations on continents throughout the world.

Seeing the Sahara desert, riding on camelback and feeling gusts of wind is an experience not found in a backyard or even on this continent. These locations are not simply sand, they also offer rich mountain views along with beach like resort areas meaning everyone who succeeds can find something truly appealing. Who hasn’t wanted to be taken away from modern civilization for the opportunity to see the pyramids in Egypt? Exotic destinations give people the chance to experience new culture, see unfathomable sights, and to come back with a whole new perspective of their worldly counterparts. This promising experience encourages increased participation as new opportunities are offered by later reward programs. Extraordinary incentive travel locations do not have to be full of desert scenery, but these examples provide a good insight on the long lasting impact provided for an employee’s hard work. Organizations have multiple other options such as France, Germany, Fiji, or Italy. A travel company can help in choosing the best location for set goals to ensure the created program achieves the success desired by an organization.