The Incomparable Kecak Fire Dance In Bali, Indonesia

Kecak Fire Dance

Photograph courtesy of Angeli C. Picazo (October 04, 2013)

Keyak is the adaptation of the ancient ceremony called Sanghiyang that was used to purify a village when there was an epidemic. The Balinese dance used to be performed by male dancers until 2006 when women kayak dancers were allowed. The nightly performance brings a lot of tourists from the resorts in Bali to the southern tip of the island in time for the show.

All of us, locals and tourists alike were seated in a circle as we waited for the Fire Dance. It started at about 5 PM when there was still enough light. Everybody was eager to watch the fire dance and we could hear shutters clicking as the ancient ceremony started. Surprisingly, there were no musical instruments that typically accompanied cultural dances. A chorus of 70 men told the story and provided the sound effects through chattering cak-cak sounds.

I loved the performance that was filled with spirituality. It was a combination of humor, dance, chanting and drama which was really amazing. The cultural dance has a complicated plot with twists and turns that are associated with our favorite TV series. From what I understand, a woman is stolen by the devil from the husband. The husband and the brother face all sorts of challenges to rescue the woman. As the sun sets, the story is build to a climax wherein the monkey king sets the castle on fire. It is a very dramatic moment with the orange flames and the embers in the middle of the stage.


Photograph courtesy of Angeli C. Picazo (October 04, 2013)

The Kecak Fire Dance is a traditional Balinese ritual but it was actually created by a German, Walter Spies in the 1930’s and was based on the popular Hindu story of Ramayana. The cultural dance is now internationally popular because of the tours that have been arranged for the Balinese groups. However what makes the Fire Dance extra special and different is the chorus of human voice composed of men that sways, sits, stands up and lies prone on the ground as the story develops.

Gift Giving Made Easy Through Christmas Hampers

Gift Giving Made Easy Through Christmas Hampers

Choosing a gift nowadays can be daunting because of the number of choices available in retail stores. A better option for the budget conscious is the gift basket that is flexible enough to contain different items that will please the recipient. Gift baskets can be conveniently personalized to suit various tastes and preferences. For example, for a coffee lover, the gift basket can contain different coffee blends including a pretty mug for the early morning coffee fix.

An ideal gift basket is customized according to the objective of the giver, the preferences of the recipient, the occasion and available budget. For some people, creating a gift basket is a challenge to their creativity and artistry. Different items can be gathered together to deliver a unique pleasure to the recipient. For example, items can range from a bottle of wine, chocolates, a box of cookies, fruits in season, various confectionaries and sweet treats suitable for the holiday season. The choices are endless and you can place just about anything into the basket to give happiness to an individual and his family.

The market for personalized gift baskets is no longer limited to a few individuals because it has expanded to corporate clients. In fact, corporate clients are the best customers of gift baskets because they have a long list of recipients for different occasions particularly the holidays. Corporate clients usually order the gift baskets because they do not have enough time to choose individual gifts for their employees and business partners. Besides that, the different contents of the Christmas basket can bring cheer to the whole family.

Providers of gift baskets serve as the shopper for the corporate client that usually makes a call to order the gift according to an allocated budget. There are standard basket offerings but it can be customized to create a special gift. Most gift baskets for Christmas include edible foods as well as non-perishable items. It is common to have a list of the items available for the Christmas basket. After the client has made a choice, the items are assembled quickly to create an attractive and pleasing presentation.

Recharge Through A Solitary Vacation In Thailand

Recharge Through A Solitary Vacation In Thailand

If you are looking for a place to spend a solitary vacation, one of your best options is Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia that is very popular among tourists. Even with mass tourism, there are places in Thailand where you can spend a few days in utter peace and tranquility. There are health retreats located in places with amazing sceneries that can help you improve your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

How a tropical paradise can enhance your fitness

The beautiful and relaxing environment of Thailand can encourage you to do a lot of training and relaxation outdoors. Physical exercises like swimming and jogging will help tone your muscles and strengthen the body. Thailand offers its visitors a lot of opportunities to be healthier and stronger than when you first arrived in the place. Retreat houses have expert trainers who will guide you through the workouts as well as prepare a special nutritious diet that will complement the training.

When you do training, the body will require nutritious and healthy foods which are abundant in Thailand. There are detox diets that will help cleanse your body and make you feel refreshed. A mixture of good exercise and nutrition will not only benefit your body but your mind as well. When you are on holiday in a tropical location, you learn to leave all stresses behind in order to feel more energized. Indulging in massages and spa treatments will help you achieve relaxation something you missed from the busy lifestyle.

When you have a strong body and mind, you become more self confident and emotionally stronger. You will feel an inner peace that helps make sense of your life and where you are going. You will look forward to the normal life when you get back home because you are now more confident of your abilities.

It is a fact that many visitors are looking forward to health retreat in Thailand that have gained a good reputation because of the improvements they have managed in a short period of time. Health retreats have personalized programs that will support you in your quest for health and fitness.

How To Tell The Difference Between Marble And Travertine

How To Tell The Difference Between Marble And Travertine

If you are planning to buy a sink basin for the bathroom or install tiles on the floor and countertop, there are different options for stone tiles. You can choose from the most popular stones like marble and travertine that can enhance aesthetics and functionality. However, can you pinpoint the differences between marble and travertine when you buy a sink basin from the home improvement store?

How to distinguish marble from travertine?

Marble is a very popular material for kitchens and bathrooms because of its hardness and distinct color patterns and designs. Normally, a sheet of marble for a countertop comes in a single solid color with streaks of another color running through it. The most common colors of marble you can find the market includes white with gray or black veins, black, pink, blue and green. The texture of marble is very smooth because it is usually manufactured with satiny polished finished or high gloss polished finish.

Travertine has a more natural textured look with visible pores. However, some manufacturers sands down and seals the stone to make it smooth and suitable as material for sink basins and countertops. Sealant is used on travertine to prevent debris from penetrating the smoothness and softness of the stone. Travertine stone usually comes in warm colors from the lightest white or cream to beige, gold, brown and sometimes red. You will notice slight variations in color and pattern that keeps them from looking too identical.

Natural travertine stone costs more than cultured marble but it is more cost effective than natural marble. However, the price of the beautiful stone tiles also depends on its quality and the initial seal placed by the manufacturer to ensure its resistance to wear and tear, stains and scratching. If you are going for stone in your wash basin, choose travertine because it is easy to clean by wiping with a damp cloth.

Pre-fabricated Travertine Bathroom Basin on Oak Vanity Unit Set is offered through bathroom stores so that you will have reliable and beautiful furniture to enhance the beauty and elegance of your bathroom. The vanity set is expertly crafted with quality so that you will gain the most value from your money.

How To Own Property In Pattaya, Thailand

How To Own Property In Pattaya, Thailand

Long term environmental improvements are making Pattaya as an attractive prospect for real estate development. Tourism in Pattaya also has great potential to grow because of the mountainous countryside and the sandy white beaches that are very attractive to foreign visitors. A 2007 report revealed that Pattaya was visited by 14.5 million foreigners because it is a family-oriented destination.

If you are planning to invest in real estate in Pattaya property trends and customs can be quite different from your country. At present, non-Thais are allowed to own property although the laws are quite restrictive. A foreigner can own at least 49% of units in a condominium building; however, non-Thais are not allowed to own freehold land. Ownership of a freehold land means you own both the building and the land where it stands.

Non-Thais are allowed to borrow money to be able to buy property in Pattaya. Foreign investors are also allowed to bring in capital from their own country to be invested in Thai property. However, there are certain restrictions: the total cash must be the equivalent of more than 40 million baht and will be used to purchase residence that is not greater than 1 rai or 1,600 square meters (17,222 square feet) in size.

Local banks are willing to provide overseas foreign currency loans to foreigners but there are restrictions that include age, income and location of the property. Unlike other Western countries that provide a set fee for the services of property lawyers, legal fees in Thailand are negotiable. Although the presence of a lawyer is not mandatory in real estate transactions, foreigners are advised to hire one for their own protection.  Apart from legal fees, property investors are also required to pay taxes that are as follows: transfer fees, stamp duty, specific business tax and withholding tax.

To Find Thai Property, it is suggested to seek professional assistance because real estate agents are more familiar with the place and they are knowledgeable with the various real estate laws particularly those that apply to foreign buyers. Fees for real estate agents vary according to the agreement made with the client.

How To Be An Expert In Gift Giving

How To Be An Expert In Gift Giving

Giving a gift is not just as simple as giving something to someone. It is another means of communication and the gift is the message you want the recipient to receive. To ensure that someone will enjoy the gift, a lot of thought must be put into gift giving in order to come up with something meaningful. If you give just any gift, it might give the wrong message and rather than making the recipient happy, make him or her disappointed or angry. Here are some tips to make you an expert in gift giving.

  • Use your observation skill. If you are planning to give something they will surely appreciate, pay attention to their conversations as well as their interests. It will give you an idea on what to give them. Out of nowhere, people would usually say what they like and don’t like. If you want to be a thoughtful giver, you must give more attention to the situation the recipient is in. It is not common for people to voice out what they want or need but by paying enough attention you will be able to know.
  • Base on the personality. The gift you are sending must a perfect match to the recipient’s personality. It will let them know that you know them and you put a lot of effort in the gift. If you know someone who is into fashion, giving the latest trend will excite them but a bookworm would surely love the latest bestselling novels.
  • Send a gift to wish someone good luck. You may not be a fan of superstitions and myths but giving a gift for good luck will make the recipient happy. Whether it is a gift for a new house or to wish someone success in life after graduating. Ask professionals when it comes to giving good luck items such as gems and house decorations.
  • Support someone’s cause. If you don’t know what to give someone or that someone has almost everything then the best way would be to support their cause. Give donations to their chosen charity.

Gift giving is one thing, wrapping is another thing. For a sure fire way of surprising the recipient, buy unique gift boxes and wrapping supplies at Paper Mart.

Guide In Buying A Waterfront Property

Guide In Buying A Waterfront Property

Whether you are a first time home buyer or not, the process will always be complicated. There are various steps involved such as pre-approval and paying points. The process gets even more complicated if you are planning to purchase a waterfront property. Here are some tips on what to expect when planning to buy your future place by the water.

  • You don’t hire just any real estate agent if you are planning to buy a waterfront property. In order to have the best listing and to get the best service, hire a specialist in waterfront properties in the area that you desire. This is to make sure that you get the best deal as well as a property that will match what you are looking for. A cheap price is not a great deal until you have found out that there are some issues with the property and the neighboring water.
  • Prioritize the property over the structure of the house. Most homebuyers will jump at the first chance of seeing a well built house or a new structure that they find to be a good deal only to find out that there are problems with other aspects. As you have a waterfront property, make sure that the water is clean and safe for swimming. If you aim for privacy then make sure that the property is private and you have a good view all around. Remember that you can fix up a house but the property will be harder to change and in some cases not possible at all.
  • Your lifestyle must match the property that you are choosing. Take into consideration the hobbies and activities you love and make sure that the location of the property will be a perfect fit to it.
  • Compared to other properties, houses by the water are more expensive. If you do not have enough savings or money sources then it is best to look into loans as early as you can. The process is longer thus it should be given enough time before looking got a waterfront property for sale in Krabi.
Guide On How To Find Vacation Rentals

Guide On How To Find Vacation Rentals

If you are on the process of finding a vacation home then you know by now that it is not an easy task. One of the major reasons is that there are a lot of places where you could find a vacation home online as well as hundreds upon hundreds of options. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find that vacation home for you:

  • The most important thing is that you know what you want in a vacation rental. You should know how to prioritize this want. There are instances wherein you will have to pay a lot for one thing compared to another one so prioritization is crucial. If you are going somewhere with ocean then be prepared to pay more for homes that are right by the beach. If you want to save a few hundred bucks then you will have to stay in a place a few blocks from the beach. Follow your budget or you will end up with no food before your vacation is over.
  • Timing is everything when you are planning to book a vacation rental. Book as early as you can if you are going to a place that will have a special event at that time since everything will be book as fast as possible. It is a lot harder to find vacation homes compared to hotels. If it is not the peak season then there will be no hurry in booking.
  • Research the property you are renting. Some renters will have all their time focused on making negotiations without even knowing what they are renting. It is important to get as much information about the place as possible and even to perform measures to ensure that the place is authentic.
  • Last but not the leasts, get to know not only the vacation home but the owners as well. This is important when booking vacation rentals in Hua Hin. This is to make sure that you are making a deal with someone trustworthy and will not cheat on you.