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Recipe: hearty pulse and beef soup

Mogwai @ Cactus
Source: Flickr


Hearty Pulse and Beef Soup (Maushawa ?
Afghanistan)
6 cups water
1/2 cup dried red kidney beans
1/2 cup dried green split peas
1/3 cup uncooked regular rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound beef boneless round steak, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes (with liquid)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
1 tablespoon minced dill weed

Heat water and beans to boiling in Dutch oven; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Heat beans and water to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour, being careful not to boil so that beans will not burst. Add peas. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in rice. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans and rice are tender, about 20 minutes.

Cook and stir onion in oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until tender; remove with slotted spoon. Add beef to skillet; cook and stir until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, red pepper and onions; break up tomatoes with fork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir beef mixture, yogurt and dill weed into bean mixture. Cook uncovered over low heat until hot, adding more water, if necessary, until of soup consistency. Garnish with dollops of yogurt topped with sprigs of dill weed.Serve with Indian Flat Bread if desired.

countries, list of countries

Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao: ABC’s of the Caribbean

Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao: ABC’s of the Caribbean

St. George Island. Cyprus
Source: Flickr

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao or collectively called the “ABC” islands, is also known as the “Dutch Leewards”. If you will look at a map of the Caribbean, you will notice that there are three dots just off the coast of Venezuela. The three islands, namely Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, share the same culture and influence from Spain, Portugal and West Indies. The official language of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao is Dutch while Papiamento is their local language.

The three islands are famous for their beach, diving spots and of course… lots and lots of sunshine. Like most of the islands in the Caribbean, the ABC islands have a hot and dry climate. Yet unlike their neighbors, the landscape is arid and flat. Their coastline boasts with white sands, crystal clear waters, and they have an offshore coral reef that is teeming with marine life; making the three islands a haven for divers, water sports enthusiast and tourist who would just love to lay back on the beach. Each island has its own well-funded national park.

The best time of the year to go to the Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao is within mid-December to mid-April where the weather is at its finest. That’s also the peak of its tourist season. Though the three islands seldom experiences rain and have very little rainfall, mild showers usually occur between October and March. Steady trade winds help keep the temperature at the average of 28ºC or 82ºF.

Curacao is the largest of the three, both in terms of population and size. The capital of Curacao is Willemstad. Aruba has a population of 80,000 and a land mass of 20 miles long, 6 miles across. It comes in second in terms of population. The capital is Oranjestad. Bonaire is somewhat larger than Aruba, with a width of 4-7 miles and 24 miles long. Its population is only about 15,000 people. Kralendijk is its capital.

Tourism is the main industry of the three islands. Aruba and Curacao have oil refineries while Bonaire has a storage facility and produces rice. The busiest economy of the three islands is Curacao, which has one of the largest dry docks in the world.

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao have good watersports opportunities. If you want to go diving, Bonaire has the best diving spots because of its immaculate coral reefs around the island. Aruba is more known for its beaches than diving, though it has some good diving spots. While Curacao has lots and lots of watersports opportunities, its diving spots are spread across the southern coast.

The next time you want to go on a vacation, just think of the first three letters in the alphabet, and you’ll be guaranteed to have a great time.

countries, list of countries

Making the Choice – Finding Your Perfect Caribbean Vacation Spot

Making the Choice – Finding Your Perfect Caribbean Vacation Spot

2017July_Bahamas-2489
Source: Flickr

Close your eyes and imagine a Caribbean vacation. Done? The images you called to mind probably contained pristine white beaches, aquamarine waters, and plenty of palm trees. Fortunately, the Caribbean is full of enough beautiful beaches to satisfy every traveler, but there’s much more to the islands than just beaches, something vacationers who would like their trip to be more than just a day at the beach can enjoy.
While some islands are, indeed, known for their beaches, others, like Saba, hardly have any. There’s a whole world of activities in the Caribbean, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Learning a bit about some of the islands can help you get a feel for the many differences you’ll find.
Basic Island Differences
Weather, surprisingly, can be different from island to island, as mountains, the trade winds, and even their geographic location can cause some subtle and not-so-subtle changes. Islands such as Aruba are seemingly an anomaly – cacti and aloe grow more readily than fragrant hibiscus in its desert climate. Meanwhile islands like Puerto Rico can offer mountain hikes to adventure seekers, as well as a cooler temperatures high in its ranges.
Another important difference between the islands can be cultural. If you’re looking for a taste of Paris alongside a bit of tropical sunshine, turn to Martinique and the other French West Indies. However, travelers can also enjoy islands where Dutch colonial style still reigns in the Netherlands Antilles, or take tea in the British West Indies. Some islands have been territories of many nations throughout their history, and the mix can be delightful.
Activities, though, can make or break a vacation. There are plenty of natural sights to see, both above and below the waves; mountainous peaks rise high into the sky, and historic buildings attract many visitors. Cultural festivals like the famous Carnival are also popular draws to these islands. However, when you’re looking for activities, it’s important to make the right choices.
Place-by-Place
Jamaica attracts many visitors each year to its popular resort towns and beaches. Whether you’re heading to Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Kingston, or somewhere else entirely, Jamaica has plenty of culture to offer. Golf on the grounds of a former plantation, or explore its famous Blue Mountains, there’s plenty to see and do on land. And, of course, who can forget the food and crafts? Still, avid snorkelers and divers may leave this island feeling a little disappointed.
Cancún is the ubiquitous spring break vacation spot for most college students, but what many people don’t know is that the surrounding areas have plenty to offer as well. Cancún may have gorgeous beaches and plenty of nightlife, but Cozumel offers incredible underwater sights to dazzle intrepid divers. The area known as the Mayan Riviera includes secluded spots like Playa del Carmen, which many families love, while Tulum hosts larger than life Mayan ruins.
A popular spot for cruising as much as any other kind of travel, The Bahamas has plenty of popular ports and beaches, but crowds in the cities can be too much for some travelers. The Out Islands, however, are some of the most popular areas for vacationers looking to escape the crowds. Whether you’re off to see Ernest Hemingway’s Bimini, enjoying the hustle and bustle of popular cities like Freeport, or sailing and fishing between any of the islands, The Bahamas provide a great opportunity for a unique vacation without going far from the Florida coast.
Puerto Rico has plenty of advocates as well, since it offers travelers everything from mountain vistas to a bit of diving and snorkeling. It’s best known for its history – while Old San Juan is popular, visit Ponce on the southern coast for a touch of something a little different – and its rainforest, El Yunque, is the only rainforest in the U.S. National Parks system. Shopping, casinos, and nightlife are all important aspects of San Juan’s popularity, and don’t forget to spend a bit of time at one of their beaches as well.
Island Groups
Get ready to sail when visiting the Virgin Islands. Whether you’re planning to stop in at the U.S. or the British islands, you’ll find crystalline waters and plenty of places to see. St. Thomas offers shopping, St. Croix features historic Dutch buildings, and St. John is home to a wildlife preserve. Snorkelers and divers will find beautiful sights in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands are much more secluded, and welcome vacationers with warm smiles and British hospitality.
Travelers feeling like another taste of something British can stop in at Barbados and have afternoon tea with the Bajan locals. Visitors stopping in on Bermuda can also explore some of the cultural heritage this island retains, and stick around for a game of golf. Despite Bermuda’s distinctly non-Caribbean location, it is still considered to be a popular tropical location, and is often grouped with other Caribbean islands. The sister islands of Antigua and Barbuda are also known for beautiful beaches and rich British history, as well as incredible sailing.
Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, known as the ABC Islands, are three of the Netherlands Antilles located just north of Venezuela’s coast. With the added distinction of being outside the Caribbean’s “Hurricane Belt,” this trio of islands offers some unusual desert climates, but fascinating history, and nature unlike what you’ll find in the rest of the Caribbean.
Other Isles
The Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Saba, Belize, and Dominica are known for their natural beauty. With mountains, rivers, tropical forests, and underwater scenes to explore, these relatively untouched locales provide ecologically-oriented travelers an especially rich and diverse set of Caribbean spots to explore. Each of these has different cultures and draws to the island, whether you’re curious about The Dominican Republic’s popular surfing beaches, or St. Lucia’s famous volcanic peaks, there’s sure to be something that is perfect for island explorers.
While it may be easy to visualize what some would consider to be typically Caribbean, it may take a little more effort to really pick an island that is perfect for your stay. Every traveler has his or her own idea of what makes up a great getaway, and building that trip is easy in the Caribbean. With just a bit of discernment everyone can be satisfied on their vacation to the Caribbean.

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How To Find The Right Real Estate Agent In Cyprus

How To Find The Right Real Estate Agent In Cyprus

1DM38546
Source: Flickr

If you are looking to buy property overseas, the process can be fraught with uncertainties and worries as you look for that dream house in an area in which, to be frank, you’re not all that familiar. Here, Cyprus is no different. So, how do you go about finding the right real estate agent in Cyprus?
First off, authorised real estate agents in Cyprus need to be both licensed and registered. However, not speaking the same language as you do, and having their fees paid for by the seller, may give you serious cause to wonder whether they have your best interests at heart or the seller’s! If this is the case, then your first port-of-call should be the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association (“Association”). While the Association may not be able to give you conclusive evidence that your chosen real estate agent is either the best or worst in the business, they should speak English and should be able to give you some reassurance towards calming your worries. Also, with the European Confederation of Real Estate Agents trying to harmonise the standards of real estate agents across Europe (which these days includes Cyprus), the Association should be able to give you the name of some reputable real estate agents in the area where you are looking.
Besides checking the details of any real estate agent with the Association, if you know anyone in Cyprus, you might also want to ask them if they have any recommendations. In fairness, there is rarely anything as good as a good recommendation given by word-of-mouth.
Finally, if you are still in the UK looking for property in Cyprus before you go, then the Internet has a wide selection of Cyprus real estate agents advertising their wares. In most cases, the sites also have a good selection of pictures of properties, which, if nothing else, will give you some idea of the types of property that the agent commonly deals with. But, keep in mind that although many Brits do use the services of English-speaking real estate agents they found on the Internet, the Internet itself is no assurance that the real estate agent is going to be good – so if you do find an agent this way, try to get testimony from someone who has used them before or ask for proof that they’re a member of the Association.

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Surfing in Sydney Australia

Surfing in Sydney Australia

Looking out to the sun
Source: Flickr


Vivacious, lively, accessible, and blended with breathtaking natural beauty, Sydney truly is a magnificent city.
Nestled on a charming harbor, Sydney boasts of marvelous beaches just fifteen minutes away from the city. Surfing is one of the first-rate exhilarating water activities in Sydney, and it’s no wonder that some of the famous surfing competitions are often held here.

Surfing in Sydney Australia is as superb as the place; spectacular beaches with great waves to catch, the entire coastline of the south gets a lot of swell produced by the deep low pressure paths across the bottom. For surfers seeking awesome surfing sites, the beaches and the waves of Sydney will absolutely leave you in trance.

Cronulla Beach is one of the most popular spots for surfing in Sydney Australia, which boasts of outstanding range of surfing breaks offering both the beginners and the experts a chance to catch their wave. The beach extends more than a few kilometers from the center of the city to Voodoo Reef Break, and the southern end of the beach has an extensive array of reef breaks such as the world renowned Cronulla Point and Shark Island.

The beach also offers trainings from local surfing companies, and surfers can also rent surf boards and wetsuits. The water temperatures in Cronulla Beach are hardly ever below fourteen degrees centigrade even during winters, so using wetsuits while surfing is still quite comfortable. Summer surfing in Sydney Australia is taken pleasure with laid-back Sydney surf beach lifestyle dressed in as little as possible.

An outstanding level of water safety is also provided by the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club, which maintains watched beaches all through the summer months. Surfers may also want to join or witness surfing events at Cronulla Beach such as the Quicksilver Airshow Cronulla during December, Human Shark Island Challenge and Billabong Pro Junior in July. Yearly events from the Cronulla Beach Surf Club are also held, which receive local, state, and Australia wide competitions all through summer months.

Manly Beach is another brilliant site for surfing in Sydney Australia. The beach is the first of among the eighteen northern beaches of Sydney, and is a falcate of yellow sand that stretches about a mile long with the center facing the northeast. The center of the beach is called North Steyne; the northern most-end is Queenscliff, and the southern corner is South Steyne. The most excellent surf occurs between April and October when the offshore winds arrive. The core beach is a shore crack and so quality surfing can be dependent on the shape of the banks, if the banks are great then it holds a swell of up to ten feet.

Surfing in Sydney Australia is all about choosing the profusion of outstanding coastline, and catching some of the greatest waves on the planet. So get those surf boards ready and indulge that surf fever in one of Sydney Australia’s splendid beaches.