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Lottery Syndicates – Should You Participate?

There are times when you’ve got to look up to the power of “One” and there are times when you just have to say “Team”. When talking of lotteries, you increase your chances of winning manifold when you participate in an e-lottery syndicate.

An online syndicate harnesses the power of the internet to enable people participating in a lottery to win more frequently. This happens because when you purchase a lottery via a syndicate, you automatically make yourself eligible for the winnings of other members. In essence you are entering a given lottery draw multiple times at no extra cost. Thus, your chances of winning increase exponentially. Of course, the winnings are split between the participants. So, an e-lottery syndicate is basically a trade-off between a potentially huge lottery win against better chances of winning a smaller packet

Syndicates can span many countries; for example Virtual World Direct (VWD), which runs a syndicated effort for the Euro Millions lottery, is available to citizens from Belgium, France, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. The vast player population along with the combined lotteries of different nations makes Euro Millions the biggest bumper lottery system out there.

By becoming a member of an e-lottery syndicate you get access to some of the largest tax-free lotteries in the world. Membership is easy; all that is required is a computer with an internet connection and a credit card. With an e-lottery syndicate you do not need to keep purchasing tickets every week and visit your lottery seller for checking results. The whole system is computerized and when you win you are intimated by email. You do not have to go anywhere to collect your winnings, they are sent to your house.

There are several online resources which review e-lottery syndicates. You can refer these before you decide upon the syndicate most suited to your style and pocket. Membership fees may vary and the number of participants in a group can also differ. You should also check for member reviews on different online forums, inputs from your countrymen can be especially revealing. Check for the kind of customer service and back-office support offered by the syndicate. Of course, scams abound and you should be alert and not fall prey to anything that sounds too good to be true.

Two popular lottery syndicates are the UK National Lottery syndicate and Euro Millions syndicate run by VWD. The UK National Lottery syndicate consists of multiple groups with 49 members in each group. So, the winnings in a group are shared by 49 members. With just £5, you make yourself eligible to winning against 88 lines that open every week. The money is to be paid 4 weeks in advance. The draw occurs twice a week. The VWU Euro Millions syndicate has 39 members to a group and there are 36 lines in each draw.

Finally, you could also take a look at the range of software available for lottery and gaming enthusiasts. This includes syndicate management software for syndicates, entry management software, and lottery analysis software for the players.

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The Shark Dive at Nassau, Bahamas

The Shark Dive at Nassau, Bahamas

Beaked hakea/Hakea rostrata
Source: Flickr

One of the most interesting dives for any certified scuba diver is the shark dive. During most dives in the Caribbean, seeing a shark is actually a rare occurrence and considered a bonus since they don’t tend to stay around very long if they are sighted anyway. One quick glimpse and they are gone in the distance. This is why the shark dives in the Bahamas were developed. It’s a way to give daring scuba divers a chance to see many sharks up close. These shark dives are available in both Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. I had an opportunity to do one of these shark dives during a dive trip to Nassau in the island of Providence.

I went with the scuba operator Dive Dive Dive although Stuart Cove’s also offers shark dives. It was a two tank dive and when we got to the first dive site called Williams Wreck, there were already a few Caribbean reef sharks circling underneath the boat. The music from the movie Jaws started to play in my head. The first dive was a reef site with a small wreck with ample marine life including the sharks that were nearby. They came close to the divers but not too close, much like barracudas. Deepest depth here was 69 feet and the duration of the dive was 36 minutes. The ascent was interesting because at the 15 feet safety stop, the sharks were there checking us out. At one point, there was a shark in between myself and the boat. I was wondering how I was going to get back with the shark in the way but it eventually moved out of the way.

After the first dive, we went over to the dive site close by that would be the location for the actual shark feeding. This dive site was appropriately named Shark Alley. We were told to use a little more weight than usual since we were to spend most of our time during our second dive at the bottom. So I added three more pounds to my weight belt. Again, we could see the sharks in the water during the surface interval but this time, there were more of them. We were instructed to descend to the bottom as quickly as possible and once at the bottom about 50 feet down, we were huddled by one of the divemasters into a single line semi-circle in a sandy open area. Once we were in formation, another divemaster descended from the boat. This was the one who would do the feeding and he was carrying a bucket of treats for the sharks. Almost immediately, over 20 sharks came out of nowhere. My heart started to pound with excitement at this point.

The divemaster with the food was wearing a chain mesh suit and gloves over his wetsuit. He settled at the bottom about ten feet or so in front of us. For the next 30 minutes, he orchestrated a feeding frenzy as the sharks averaging about 12 feet in length came to him from all angles. He used a steel rod to feed the sharks. Sometimes he would actually tease the sharks with the rod before feeding them. The sharks darted around like torpedoes. I was impressed by how fast and agile they were. Meanwhile, a third divemaster was nearby videotaping the entire scene.

We were told to keep our arms folded in front of us in order not to confuse any shark who might mistake our limbs as lunch. The sharks came so close to us that sometimes they bumped and made contact with a few divers. One shark actually came into the feeding area from behind me and its belly brushed the top of my head. Now that was certainly an experience I’ll never forget! We were told that these sharks were only interested in the food that the divemaster had rather than us. These sharks have been conditioned to these feedings twice per day all week long so they were quite used to the routine now. We all hoped that this was true. A few sharks circled right in front of our semi-circle and when their tails were out in front of us, some divers including myself couldn’t resist reaching out to touch them even though we were not suppose to.

In addition to the sharks, there were also these two groupers who parked themselves in front of our semi-circle as they watched all the activity. They didn’t seem to have any fear of the sharks or divers at all and at one point, one of these groupers actually darted in and took the food from the divemaster’s rod before any of the sharks did.

When the divemaster ran out of food, he tipped the bucket over on its side and almost on cue, all the sharks swam off. It’s like they knew that the feeding had ended and therefore had no more interest in sticking around. When they all left, we still had some time left to search the sand bottom for any shark teeth before returning back to the boat. Of course, most of us eventually did buy the video of our shark dive when we got back to the dive shop. I have played this video to many of my non-diving friends who just watched in horror and disbelief. They just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to jump into the water with sharks around. Of course, experienced scuba divers have a better understanding of shark behavior than the average person but it’s always fun to entertain my non-diving friends with this video. The shark dive is certainly one of the most exciting and memorable dives a scuba diver will ever do.

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The Top All Inclusive Aruba Resorts

The Top All Inclusive Aruba Resorts

Blessed with turquoise blue waters and white sand beaches, Aruba is a perfect haven for a perfect vacation.
Thousands of tourists come to the island every year just to feel and enjoy everything that Aruba has to offer, and many of these tourists are delighted with the luxury and comfort that the all inclusive resorts in Aruba have shown and provided.

There are a number of all inclusive resorts in Aruba nowadays. These Aruba resorts are named “all inclusive” for the reason that they offer everything in one place. There are the fine dining, complimentary accommodations, water and land sports, and even transfers from and to the airport. All of these are available, making the all inclusive Aruba resorts the perfect place to stay at one and play at all.

Numerous surveys have revealed three of the top rated all inclusive Aruba resorts. The list includes the Divi Aruba and Tamarijn Aruba. If you want to know more about these Aruba resorts, then continue reading.

Divi Aruba All Inclusive Resort

Nestled five minutes away from Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital city and ten minutes away from Queen Beatrix International Airport, the Divi Aruba all inclusive resort is known primarily for its white sandy beaches. However, its fine beaches are just the start. There are more to this Aruba resort than being a beach. The truth is Aruba has everything in place, from the beaches, to the water sports, biking or tennis. You can even watch the beautiful sunset while enjoying a tropical drink, and if you want to eat, you can go to its beachside restaurants or grill for that great food you’ve never tasted before. If you want some forms of entertainment before you retire to bed, Divi Aruba presents a sort of island entertainment at night. Perhaps what’s nicer to know about this resort is that it allows you to use the amenities of Tamarijn resort, which is located just right next door.

Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusibe Resort

As mentioned, Tamarijn Aruba is just located right next door of Divi Aruba. What’s interesting to know about this one of the top rated all inclusive Aruba resorts is that it is first class with a mega atmosphere. It offers everything you’ll need for a great vacation, and since it is one of the all inclusive Aruba resorts, everything from the snacks to unlimited beverages are included. The guests will even enjoy a wide selection of recreational activities, including tennis, spas, and non-motorized water sports. Windsurfing is highly popular at this place, so if you want to experience how it feels like to windsurf, then it’s now your chance to do it by yourself. And, if you want to relax after a tiring day on the Aruba water, then you can take your repose at one of Tamarijn great suites. The rooms of this Aruba resort is housed in two storey buildings and is complete with the necessary amenities, including large patios that gives you the chance to witness and enjoy the ocean views.

Since the above mentioned top rated all inclusive Aruba resorts are just located closely, it’s no wonder that you will enjoy the best of two worlds.

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Culinary Traditions Of The Caribbean Islands

Source: Flickr

Authentic Caribbean cuisine is truly an excellent representation of all the cultural influences the Caribbean Islands have experienced since Christopher Columbus’ landing in the late 1400’s.
With a fine mixture of French Island and African recipes, Caribbean cuisine is widely prepared and enjoyed by people of all nationalities, in many areas of the United States and the world.

Caribbean food and culture was forever changed when the European traders brought African slaves into the region. The slaves ate mostly the scrap leftovers of the slave owners, so not unlike the slaves in the United States they had to make do with what they had. This was the birth of the more contemporary Caribbean Cuisine. The African slaves blended the knowledge of spices and vegetables they had brought from their homeland and incorporated them with the precious fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean Islands, as well as other staples to be found in the area. This created many one-of-a-kind dishes, because many of the produce on the islands at the time was too fragile to make it through the exportation process. Fruits most often found in Caribbean cuisine include yams, yucca, mangos and papaya fruits. Among the produce that is too fragile to be exported is the tamarind fruit and plantains (a fruit grown on a tree that is similar to the banana).

Caribbean food, while spicy, is one of the healthier options among culinary traditions from different regions. As discussed, the lush Caribbean islands are chock full of vegetables and fruits for healthy living. In addition to that, America introduced beans, corn, chile peppers, potatoes and tomatoes to the islands, broadening their palate.

When slavery was abolished on the islands, slave owners had to look else where for help. Bringing in labor from India and China, different types of dishes using rice or curry were introduced and blended into mainstream Caribbean cuisine. This is how the Caribbean favorite curry goat was born.

The Caribbean islands are in a prime location for one of their specialties–seafood. Salted codfish is a specialty on the Caribbean islands. It is usually served in a salad or stew, or at breakfast in scrambled eggs. Lobster, sea turtle, shrimp, crab, and sea urchins are also specialties on the islands. They are used to make such exotic, spicy Caribbean dishes as Antillean crab pilaf and curried coconut shrimp.

Desserts are an integral part of the Caribbean culinary experience. Sugar cane is one of the area’s chief products, so there are always an abundance of cakes, pies, and dumplings. Caribbean natives incorporate dessert into almost every meal. At Caribbean restaurants you may notice the emphasis they put on their desserts; in their culture, dessert is just as important as the main course.

Caribbean cuisine incorporates flavors from all of the different cultures that have ever graced the shores of the islands, from Africa to China to India. The flavoring in Caribbean cuisine is intense and rich, strikingly similar African and Creole food.

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Recipe: chicken breasts with sour cream and jalapenos

Chicken Breasts with Sour Cream and Jalapenos

Servings: 8

1 fresh jalapeno or 1 (4 ounce can diced chiles)
1/4 pound Monterey jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
4 whole boneless chicken breasts
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pound chicken breast to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

If using fresh jalapeno, wash and pat dry; seed and remove ribs, if desired. If using canned green chilies, rinse, seed and pat dry. Chop chile. Shred enough cheese to measure 1/4 cup.

In small bowl, combine cheese with chile, chopped cilantro and sour cream. Set aside.

Preheat broiler. Line broiler tray with aluminum foil and set aside. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine butter and oil in large heavy-gauge skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken breasts, 2 at a time, about 5 minutes per side, or until brown. Transfer to broiler tray. Top each chicken breast with a generous spoonful of sour-cream mixture. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heating element about 5 minutes, or until topping bubbles. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.