I saw this over on Icarus Always blog and didn't expect too much from it, so clicked on the play button and watched Tom Fletcher's wedding speech.
Aint love grand? I have to admit that more than a single tear fell down my cheeks as the video rolled on, oh ok, alright, you dragged it out of me, I cried like a girl!
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Post from Shaun at Footloose Traveller.
© 2013 Copyright to Jason Shaw
If there was ever a nation dedicatedly carved for adventure enthusiasts, something inside tells me that it wouldn't have been much different from Costa Rica. With every inch of nature calling you to its confines, the diverse land of beautiful beaches, volcanoes, mountains and wildlife would certainly set your adrenaline rushing. Aptly nicknamed Switzerland of Central America, Costa Rica contains more than 3.5% of entire world's marine life and boasts of about 3% of entire planet's biodiversity. So if flying across a jungle on a zip line or trekking on an active volcano is your style of adventure, then Costa Rica is where your heart should be.
The high point of Costa Rica is that it has something exciting in store for everyone. From hiking and rafting expeditions for the hardcore adventure lovers to snorkeling and scuba diving adventures for those in love with marine life, Costa Rica certainly offers a diverse palette to its guests. Another aspect that will lure you deep into its adventurous world is the cost of living a dream in Costa Rica. Being a prominent adventure and eco travel destination, many prominent carriers like Bangkok Airways offer cheap flights to Costa Rica provided you book your deals well in advance. So brace yourself for some big time adventure that comes at an economical price! These are some of the best adventure travel destinations in the mesmerizing world of Costa Rica.
Arenal Volcano: How about trekking on one of the world's most active volcanoes, the Arenal Volcano. Apart from enjoying the views of majestic hot springs and experiencing the thrill of lava gushing down, the trek also challenges you in terms of the complexity and challenges that it presents.
Manuel Antonio National Park: With four beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife and exciting snorkeling opportunities, Manuel Antonio National Park offers the perfect blend of adventure and natural beauty. Laze off on a serene beach with your loved one or explore rare marine life underwater, the choice is totally yours.
Sarapiqui River: If riding the rapids and rafting in white waters is your idea of rejuvenation, then waste no time and head to the divine Sarapiqui River. From rapids designed for both amateurs and professionals and chance of some exotic wildlife viewing, a picnic across the shores of Sarapiqui River won't be a bad idea at all.
So whether you want to enjoy your honeymoon on a beautiful beach or plan an adventurous trip inside a rainforest, Costa Rica welcomes you to dive into its world of divine beauty.
© 2013 Copyright to Jason Shaw
Here's an article of mine written exclusively for Footloose Traveller site.
Travel Sydney on a Budget.
Travelling all the way to Australia can be a daunting and expensive prospect, however there are some wonderful and creative ways to make the most of your explorations downunder without breaking the bank and costing you a fortune. Instead of taking a cab from the airport, opt for one of the low cast transfer operators or even the very reasonable and surprisingly clean city buses. Sure, you wont have the vehicle all to yourself, but you’ll also not spend a small fortune either.
A cab from Sydney main international airport will almost certainly cost you more than $65 to get to the city centre and even more to some outer suburbs, yet taking the bus from the airport would cost you just $24 and that’s return! The city bus system in Sydney is fast, clean and reliable and perhaps envy of many cities around the world that wish they could have such a good bus system. Not only are the buses very reliable, they are also very reasonable, for example some fares start as low as $2.40. There are also a number government sponsored bus routes which allow you to hop on and hop off along the route that are entirely free. One of these free bus routes includes the central business district, running during the morning and early afternoon on weekdays and all day at the weekend, making getting around the city centre a real breeze and not costing a single cent!
Other ways to make the most of travelling round the jewel of Australia’s New South Wales state, would be to take advantage of the superb Bondi and Sydney Explorer brightly coloured double decker buses. These jolly vehicles operate on a hop on and hop off bases on a circular route when encompasses all the most major tourist attractions and key destinations. On board these entertaining and modern double decker buses you’ll find comfortable seats, panoramic windows and open top decks, usually they have a full and informative commentary to help guide you through Australia’s most visited city. Some services also have the commentary available in as many as seven different languages, indicating the truly global appeal of this vibrant and exciting city. With both the Bondi and Sydney explorer’s you can stay on for as long as you want and do a complete circuit or hop on and off as and when you wish in order to explore the city streets and popular hot spots. The buses run all day, every day and with tickets starting at just $35 for a 24 hour ticket and $50 for a 48 hour ticket represent a great deal and a vast saving on taxi prices or tour guides.
This article also appears on Footloose Traveller website.
© 2013 Copyright to Jason Shaw
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
A while ago I posted a couple of my own photos of the now derelict convent at the bottom of my road, I've since discovered that part of the grounds and some of the buildings, including the old chapel of the convent are used by a Catholic English language summer school for a few months each year.
|The main gateway.|
I was able to locate some of their photos which indicate the beauty of the buildings that stand proud at the end of the road and always conjuring thoughts of times long since forgotten. I'm not sure who designed and built convent buildings with its Gothic or Gothic revival architecture, however are a little research I now can say that the chapel, next to and attached to the convent was designed by Augustus Pugin around 1850 and completed by son Edward around 1868. It is possible that Pugin also designed the convent, at least in part, for according to some sources I've found point to the architect William Wilkinson Wardell who studied under AP for a long time before leaving for Australia. It is currently a listed building and according to some of the listing, it was most probably built as a school for poor girls and a convent around 1840-1842. For most of its life, it seems to have been a school and convent along with a period as a training college, some of the building's on the site continue to be used, albeit for only a couple of months each year as a residential language in summer, sadly the main convent /school building is not one of them and is slowly decaying.
|Convent on the left, Pugin designed chapel to the right.|
|The listed chapel from inside the grounds.|
|Used for just two months of the year!|
|Historic view of the convent from inside the grounds.|
|The impressive convent building acts as an atmospheric backdrop to summer students learning English|
|Up hill view|
|Down hill view to the sea.|
|View to the sea, showing the outside pool|
One of the earliest photos I can find, taken circa 1920 from the air shows the school, convent and impressive grounds, oh and yes, just there by the chapel on the other side of the road is the building in which I now live.
St Mary's Magdalen, 1920 - Britain from Above
|The old gateway.|
|View from the sports field behind the grounds|
|One side of the historic chapel painted white and red!|
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Raymond Buys looked a picture of health and vitality before being sent by his parents to The Echo Wild Game Rangers training course, to “Make him a better man, to give him a better future” on 12th January 2011. Less than ten weeks later the 15 year old was in hospital, severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were cigarette burns and wounds all over his body.
He was put on life support in intensive care just two months into the three-month course at the bush camp an hour away from Johannesburg, South Africa. He was so badly injured his mother was told by the doctors the chances of his survival were ‘Virtually Zero’. Raymond Buys lay for four weeks in intensive care before he died.
‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Raymond’s mother, Wilma told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I trusted Alex de Koker with his life.’ Mrs Buys explained how her son had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was struggling at school and that the course run by Alex de Koker, had been recommended to her by a friend. Mr de Koker, promised her he could help, that he could find her son a job in the wildlife trade.
During the first two months of her son’s placement at the camp, she says she spoke to Raymond just three times - and was told by Mr de Koker that he was self-harming. "Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone," she said. "When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me 'Mum, I'm not doing it to myself'."
Mr de Koker called Mrs Buys on 23rd March and informed her that Raymond had been admitted to hospital for tests. When she arrived at the hospital, she found that he was dying.
Alex de Koker, 49, The Echo Wild Game Rangers ‘General’ and employee Michael Erasmus, 20, are on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect, along with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Raymond Buys' death.
Last week, the Vereeniging District Court heard the harrowing testimony of a boy who had shared a tent with Raymond Buys. Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own faeces. On another occasion Oosthuizen said, that after Mr Buys tipped over a container of washing powder, he was forced to eat what he had spilled and vomited foam.
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