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Cerebral Palsy, a Typewriter and the Magic of Creativity

Enjoy this incredible story of victory over disability. It’s amazing what we can do when we explore our hidden talents.


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Eating with the Fish

If you love aquariums, you might want to check out the Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World in China. Visitors here can dine by candlelight in an underwater tunnel while watching fish, sea turtles and others swimming above them.

They can also be serenaded by underwater musicians during the meal. The Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World opened in the city of Tianjin in 2010 and has over 30,000 polar and sea creatures including sharks, jellyfish, seals, penguins, sea lions and beluga whales.

But from these pictures, the best part of the aquarium is definitely the chance to eat while watching the fish from below.








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Taking in the Sites in Azerbaijan

gobustan-mountainFor those traveling to Azerbaijan, there are many tourist attractions to cover. Individuals like Elchin Djavadov and Nasib Hasanov are experienced in this field and have been taking foreigners to local hotspots for many years. The country is home to the naphthalene – the only oil field treatment in the world which is used mainly as a precursor to other chemicals. But for tourists, what is probably of most interest is the country’s unique culture and ancient architecture. Both Djavadov and Hasanov have been leading tour groups around the region to give tourists a true sense of this.

Check out the country’s nature. Home to preserved forests that are a monument of the Cenozoic era, reservations like Gizilagach, Shirvan and Zagatala have garnered global recognition. Indeed the region is home to 13 nature reservations and 18 wildlife sanctuaries. Also when one is there, it is imperative to check out the Justif and Momine-Khatun mausoleums as well as the Absheron Peninsula. Indeed, these are the particular favorites of tour guide Nasib Hasanov. Aserbaijan is home to the Gobustan mountains and with Kichikdash, Shihgai, Shongardag and others, one can truly learn about the Azerbaijani people historically, beginning from the Stone Age, through tombs, burial places, rock fortresses and more.

For a more modern feel of the country, check out the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpets and Folk Applied Arts, featuring over 10 thousand artifacts. This includes pieces from the Bronze Age up until today, featuring modern artists from the region as well.
Azerbaijan has a lot to offer tourists.  And both Elchin Djavadov and Nasib Hasanov can show foreigners the region from beginning to end.

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How To Get that Novel Published..and Become a Famous Author


Here is an unusual idea to make your millions. Today with the advent of the e-book, you don’t need a publicist and a book deal in order to get your first great novel up and running. Fifty Shades of Grey actually started this way, snowballing into a multi-million dollar bestselling franchise.

The book is now about to be turned into a Hollywood film directed by English filmmaker Sam Tayor-Wood and the trilogy made the author £33million just last year.
And you don’t even have to be the biggest hit of the year to make some great money. Andy Leeks, 34, from Headcorn in Kent, has sold more than 40,000 of his ebooks and he is close to becoming an Amazon Top 100 bestseller. Last year he wrote the book called As They Slept: The Comical Tales Of A London Commuter. As he explains, “I was just sitting on the train going to work one day and I looked around – everyone else was fast asleep. It seemed an incredible waste of good time so there and then I decided to start writing about commuter experiences. It was easy to publish as an ebook and fortunately many readers seemed to like it and before long I was selling 500 copies a day with lots of people downloading it on to tablets and book reading devices such as the Kindle.”

At a store like Amazon, you can click on the “Independently Publish with Us” link and then sign up to Kindle Direct Publishing. There are other choices for self publishing as well, including Kobo.

Damien Fahy, who runs money saving website MoneytotheMasses and is author of ebook 30 Day Money Plan, offers some advice. He says that people should put aside money for a graphic designer who can create great cover, for an editor to edit the book and for other expenses. He also recommends setting up a Facebook page as a forum for sharing thoughts on the novel and having someone review it at Amazon.

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The Business of Beauty: Zilin Luo, Zhuo Ling & Others

Zilin Luo

Zilin Luo

Many people are familiar with the Miss America pageant and other well known pageants, but far fewer know about the Miss Universe China pageant. The Miss Universe China Organization was first established in 2001 and the first titleholder, Zhuo Ling, was selected in Guangdong province in March of 2002.

In 2011, the Miss Universe Organization designated that Yue-Sai Kan would be the official licensee for the People’s Republic of China. In her first year, Yue-Sai Kan set up a major pageant, flying in celebrities such as Petra Nemcova, Fadil Berisha and Riyo Mori to headline the event. That year Zilin Luo was crowned as Miss Universe China, and she went on to become the 4th runner up out of 89 countries in the Miss Universe Organization Pageant that was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 12, 2011.

Yue-Sai has stated that the goal of the Miss Universe organization is to “Celebrating Chinese Women and to use the power of beauty to do good in the world.” Certainly, this has been true, as the pageant has raised millions of dollars for China’s national charities and for the Kan’s China Beauty Charity Foundation. Participants in the pageants have included Paris Hilton and Charles Aznavour. The former Harper’s Bazaar chief Lizzette Kattan has offered the styling for the candidates each year like Zilin Luo.

Winners of the Miss Universe China pageant receive a valuable crown that has a diamond and ruby-encrusted tiara from Luk Fook valued at over $430,000. They also get wardrobes supplied by Shanghai Tang, Sherri Hill, LOVA and Guo Pei.

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Bhutan: Get Away to Luxury with the Aman Hotels and Vladislav Doronin


Anyone hoping to add a fantastic place to his bucket list will not want to overlook Bhutan. This landlocked country bordered by China and India is rich in history, lush in landscape and captivating in culture. In 2013, they welcomed nearly 120,000 visitors, which was the highest in their history.

Bhutan has been turning to tourism for revenue, but is certainly hoping to keep its rich spiritual and religious life intact. They are careful as they try to balance growth and modernization with their heritage.

The rise in tourism has certainly helped to provide more jobs, and the government is hoping that this can help to keep so many from migrating to India or Thailand. There are more than 1000 travel operators in the country and the industry employs close to 30,000. As one Bhutanese man who operates a travel agency for filmmakers and documentarians, Tashi Tshering, said, “the promotion done by high end resorts have benefited us a lot. More people are aware of us.”

Vladislav Doronin

Vladislav Doronin

Those interested in coming to Bhutan will have many options. Aman Resorts, with majority owner Vladislav Doronin, offers incredibly luxurious hotel accommodations in remote locations. They have five properties in the country and they were the first foreign hotel operator allowed to build in Bhutan in 2004.

John Reed, the managing director for Aman’s hotels in Bhutan said that their resorts create a feel of “rustic luxury” and that they support the local community. As he said, “We get our vegetables from local farmers. We buy Bhutanese handicraft pieces. We hire locals. We dress them in local attire, not uniforms. We want the local economy to benefit.”

They give back to the community as well. As Reed explains, “We help whitewash monasteries, rebuild structures, and teach English and math in classrooms.”

Other great hotel choices include Taj Tashi and Uma. Mukesh Cupta, who operates the oldest travel agency for Bhutan, Bhutan Travels, also recommends Zhiwa Ling in Paro. The hotel has a temple on the second floor with rescued wood from the 400 year old Gangtey Monastery and is decorated with all local décor.

Certainly, everyone from the Aman Group with Vladislav Doronin to Zhiwa Ling balances their desire for tourists with the sanctity of the holy sites and the environmental issues in the area. Last year’s gross revenues from tourism exceeded $63 million and are the highest to date.

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