Why the Africans Live in Huts

Whenever one sees a picture of a hut, one thoughts of Africa. Indeed, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, and through the continent, they have been the preferred building style.

Huts are a form of living space. Huts are usually round, with a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, with a wooden structure to support the building, and a single wooden pole in the center, which supports the grass-thatched roof.

Many critics of Africa claim that Africa can boast no great cultures south of Egypt. By that, they often mean that there is no architectural evidence of greatness south of the Pyramids. Indeed, architecture or architectural remains are the accepted calling card of the so-called 'great cultures'.

While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is reason to believe that the architectural choices made by the Africans that far are either as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.

For one, most of Africa is warm to hot through the year, without an extended winter period. The most uncomfortable climatic period is the long rains, during which it rains a lot, mostly every day. However, in most of Africa, it showers, rather than rains. That means a quick and voluminous period of precipitation, unlike rain in Europe for example, which may be a slight but continuous precipitation. In addition, most of Africa, which lies at the equator, experiences nearly equal twelve-hour periods each for night and day. This is in contrast to for example Europe, where in winter, darkness may be up eighteen hours long.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived outside. A shelter is needed only for the night, against the cold and as shelter from wild animals. There has never been a need to invest as heavily in shelter as has been done in Europe for example. Strictly speaking, there was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of Shelter would have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers were often away from home for long periods without having shelter.

Huts are often small, and made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials and labor. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the that of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is referred to as a manyatta.

Because of this relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans were not enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is often the case in the modern world. In today's globalized world, buying one's home is a lifetime liability that forces one to live chained to a mortgage, under the Damocles sword of a foreclosure. The exploitation of this fear in the USA contributed to the current worldwide financial crisis.

It is also worthy of note that almost all the famous architectural monuments of the great cultures were built by employing slave labor, forced and semi-forced labor. That has never been necessary in Africa south of the pyramids. In fact, shelter was so inexpensive that the nomads could walk away from their huts at a moment's notice and walk off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.

It also meant that no family was ever without shelter because shelter was unaffordable, unlike in today's world where many families become homeless if they experience a financial upset midway through their mortgage.

In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated and renewed once a year, after the harvest season and before the next rains. This was the period with the least work and was like a holiday. The harvest was in, and next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering with a new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-colored river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside and outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities that had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung and mud, or ash.

A good African housewife took this duty as seriously as caring for her own body. A capable wife could have been identified by her embarrassingly-kept hut (s). The regular renovation also served an important hygienic function: river clay is a very clean and wholesome material that discourages the breeding of insects and other pests. Both clay and dried cow dung are similar to ash in this respect. Cooking-fire ash from non-poisonous burnt wood is pure enough to be used as an alternative for toothpaste.

Renovation also cave the woman a creative outlet: she could paint whatever motifs on her walls that she wished. The men re-thatched the hut (s), using grass, such as elephant grass which was mostly cut by the women. Among the Masaai, the women did the renovation work as the men were often occupied with the full-time job of protecting the tribe from lions and other dangers lurking in the savannah.

A very satisfying effect of this annually renewal was the psychological effect. There was an atmosphere of renewal every year; Of new life, of a fresh start, of soul cleansing and a doing away with the past. Every year. This is a very healthy psychological perspective. Festivals featuring dancing and experiencing also accompanied this period.

In today's world, acquiring a home has such a finality to it. A sense of being rooted and captured by one building for one's lifetime.

Because they were low-cost, huts were also very flexible. One could build a homestead of huts: one for cooking, another for sleeping, another for receiving visitors, and so on. Every time one needed a new hut, one simply built one. Adolescent boys were given a piece of land where they could build their own huts, a distance away from the rest of the family. Their privacy was assured, and their activities within their huts were nobody's concern. A lot of adolescents today would appreciate the idea of ​​having one's own hut.

Huts are very comfortable and exactly right for many parts of Africa. This is mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay and grass are good insulators, but they are porous, and so allow a free flow of air. It is often very hot during the afternoon in Africa. The hut remains cool and is a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inmates warm.

Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day with a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.

Recently, an architectural team in Switzerland has 'discovered' the qualities of clay as a building material. Clay is a strong, durable material that is easy to work with. Applied correctly, it can be used to build structures that are stable, durable and aesthetic without necessitating the use of paint and cement. Most important of all, clay is healthy. It has now been proven that clay filters out toxins from the environment. Modern building materials like cements, paint, fillers and metals release toxins that violate human health and well-being. A building made of clay or mud is completely eco-friendly, provided the initial source was safe.

The Africans knew that a long time ago. Huts, made of natural 'earth' materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, and only in the amounts that were needed. For example, calabashes and gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.

Water stored in a clay pot has a pleasant, natural coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an additional woody flavor. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven from rushes. Women wrought jewelry made from bone, horn, wood, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs were transported or stored in woven rush baskets or clay pots.

This philosophy of living in harmony with the bounty of nature led to zero garbage, since everything was biodegradable. Indeed, until the advent of modernity and urbanization, Africa was a continent of natural beauty preserved in its entity.

Sadly, present-day Africans are jumping wholesale onto the bandwagon of expensive homes built of derived materials, which require a lifetime to pay for and a fortune to repair and maintain. The materials used in modern buildings trap heat, smells and moisture and are often derived using procedures that harm the environment. The houses lack the wellness effect of sitting in a hut built entirely out of the earth. They are in keeping with the modern day trends of inflated consumerism, self-definition through possession and a careless disregard for the planet.

Happily, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They have been re-designed in some cases to be much larger, with large windows, or combined in intersecting or interconnecting structures. A famous hotel in Nairobi, Kenya is built using this concept, with treated straw used for this.

Indeed, more and more people are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.

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How To Become A Traditionally Published, Best Selling Author

If you've got some killer ideas for some stories, which I'm sure you do, there's no reason why you can not become a best selling author. If you've got the patience, and the determination, you can make it happen. And in this article, you are going to learn how. It will be simple, but it will not be easy. It will take time, it will not happen over night. But if you truly have a strong goal of becoming a traditionally published, best selling author you can do it.

First, you've got to write your first book. This is not the one that's going to make you rich or famous. This is just to get your name out there. Write as good a book as you can. Make sure it's at least 200 pages. Then put it on Kindle, and sell it for 99 cents. Then promote it like there's no tomorrow.

Study all the best selling Kindle fiction books and learn how they promote themselves. Give away plenty of copies of your book in exchange for an honest review. The more reviews you've got, the better. Promote your book wherever you can. Social medial, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, here. Everywhere.

If it's a decent book, which it is since you're destined to be a world famous, best selling author, people will pick it up. It will start selling like hot cakes. While all this is happening, you've got to write another book. Make it even better than the first one. Do the same thing. Put it on Kindle for 99 cents. Your goal is to sell at least 10,000 copies of each book. Not nearly as hard as you think. After all, it's less than a buck!

Now you write your third book. This is the one that will make you rich and famous. You've already got twenty thousand sales under your belt. This book, you do not put on Kindle. This book, you shop around to an agent. When agents hear from authors, they are worried about two reasons:

One is that they've never published, and nobody knows who they are.

Two is because they are not sure if they can write more than one book.

By putting your first two books on Kindle, and selling 20,000 copies, you've effectively taken away these fears. The agent will see you as a book writing machine, that's already got plenty of fans. From a business standpoint, this is a no brainer.

They'll pick you up, as will a traditional publisher. They'll throw lots of marketing behind your new book and you'll be famous.

Like I said, this is not easy, and it is not quick. But if your ultimate goal is to become a New York Times Best Selling author, this is the way to do it.

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Traditional Dances Of Kenya

The traditional dances of Kenya are some of the most diverse and popular in Africa. The various types of folk music are based on different ethnic groups that are found in the country. The culture, language, dance and music of every tribe is different from each other. The drum is the most popular musical instrument used in many dances performed around the country. Other famous instruments include; bells, horns, guitar, flutes and whistles.

The music and dance is from the rich culture of Kenya and it can be categorized into folk, traditional and international. Isikuti, a Luhya name for drum is the traditional dance for the Luhya people in Western Kenya. Paired men and women sway to the rhythm of the drums, bells, whistles and horns in their dance style.

The Masai communities have structured dances performed in different occasions. For example, the Masai Jumping Dance which is also called “Adamu” in the Masai language is a dance performed by Masai warriors. They show their strength and stamina by leaping into the air one after the other as the rest of the warriors stand in a circle while they sing. The Masai community do not use any musical instruments when performing their folk songs. Instead, women wear bells and rattles which create jiggling sound as they sing.

Both the Kamba and Chuka people are famous for their acrobatic style of dancing. They have a unique drumming style in which a long drum leans forward between the thighs. Taarab is another for of traditional music in Mombasa. It consists of African and Arabian influence. In this dance style, men, women and the Youth dance in a rhythmic way as they sing poems in Swahili. The people of Mombasa have a unique way of dressing and majority of the people talk in Swahili. Today, Taarab is still popular in the coastal region.

Traditional dance of Kenya has become more modern due to the western and foreign influence. The guitar is the most famous instrument used in the international music. Many modern forms of music have evolved such as reggae, hip-hop, jazz, rap, Afro-Fusion and the Congolese pop. All the modern form of music is very popular to the Kenyan youth especially in urban cities. Some famous modern musicians include Mighty King Kong, Eric Wainaina and Maji Maji. The spread of Christianity in Kenya has also given birth to another form of dance called gospel music, which have spread throughout all the churches.

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Top Ten Places to Visit in Egypt

There’s no other place in the world that holds more mystery than the country of Egypt. The smell of the mysticism of the ancient Egyptians still lingers over the place. This ancient atmosphere seems to fill its every nook and cranny with secrets yet untold.

1.) Pyramids of Giza

And perhaps there is nothing more mysterious, and more worthy of seeing in Egypt than the esteemed Great Pyramids of Giza. These are the pyramids of Khufu, Kafhre, and Menkaura. These perfectly shaped structures leaves everyone in awe and in wonder about how exactly they were made, considering that the ancient Egyptians had no advanced technology to work with.

2.) Sphinx

And of course, if you’re going to go to the Great Pyramids, then you might as well go to the Sphinx. This is one of the most mysterious structures in Egypt. Even now, archaeologists are still arguing about its origin and its purpose, making it the subject of the famous phrase, “the Riddle of the Sphinx.”

3.) Abu Simbel

These two temples were built by Pharaoh Ramesses II to commemorate himself and his wife, Nefertari. It’s a breathtaking place, and its temples are hailed as one of the most beautiful in Egypt. What’s even more interesting about the Abu Simbel is the amount of effort put into relocating and preserving it.

4.) Cairo

And of course, if you really want to immerse yourself in Egyptian culture, it would be best for you to go to the capital city, Cairo. The place is teeming with bazaars and restaurants where you can buy your taste of Egyptian culture. It’s surely not a place to miss.

5.) Temples of Karnak

What better way to experience ancient Egypt than to visit the very place where they worshipped their gods. The Temples of Karnak is the biggest site for Egyptian worship. It has a monument to just about every god in the Theban religion.

6.) The Nile River

And of course, you can’t miss out on the famous Nile River. It is, after all, what nourished Egypt and turned it into the place of wonder that it is. In fact, what’s great about visiting the Nile is that you can take a Felucca and sail down the legendary river, taking in the sights of the city and the sunset.

7.) Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings or Biban El Moluk is the place where Egypt’s most esteemed pharaohs were buried. This place is teeming with mummies and undiscovered treasures. In fact, this is the place where archaeologists found one of the most famous mummies of all time – Tutankhamun.

8.) Egyptian Museum

Of course, since it would be unwise to leave the Egyptian treasures in the tombs they were found in, the archeologists put them in the Egyptian museum where they would be put under high security. If you want to learn about Egypt, this is the best place to start. There’s no other place with a higher concentration of Egyptian artifacts, and you can even follow the tour so that you can be oriented with the history of each of the artifacts.

9.) Siwa Oasis

Egypt isn’t all about temples and pyramids, there’s a place where you can just let loose and have fun – the Siwa Oasis. Here, you can take a swim in the cool waters to ward off the desert heat. It is rumored that Alexander stopped here during his great conquest.

10.) Necropolis of Sakkarah

And indeed, you can’t miss something as intriguing as a ‘Necropolis’ or, if translated, a City of the Dead. Here, you will find the less popular pyramids of Egypt, the step pyramids. However, though they are less popular than the great pyramids, they’re still suffused with great history and culture.

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Using Digital Printing to Promote Your Business

Promoting your business may not be as hard as you first think. If well thought out, the daily running of your business can have a major impact on your marketing. Business people travel around on a day to day basis doing business. Customers also travel around and will take note of a well positioned advert, maybe on your building, on an employee, on a vehicle or by a local attraction.

There is a recession going on. Businesses can not afford to stop promoting themselves. Astute businesses will be looking for ways to market themselves at lower cost. One very effective technique is to create an offer, discount or enhanced service to promote your business to new customers and promote this using mobile advertising. Clever advertising has a call to action, for example a website or telephone number.

Digital printing is a very broad term, which covers a variety of products. The main point for business owners to bear in mind is that digital printing generally means that marketing activities can be undertaken in much smaller campaigns and at lower cost than at any other time in the past.

Magnetic Signs
Magnetic signs come in all shapes and sizes. Magnetic signs are very versatile; You can have several graphics and messages to enable you to choose different messages for different jobs.

Foamex Printing
A foamex display is like mobile exhibition stand that can be put up at any opportunity to promote your business in a useful context. This need not be restricted to work related opportunities, why not have a really eye catching board made up for your car window so that your car can promote your business while you are doing your shopping? This will not appeal to everyone but there are certain products and services for which it may be an excellent strategy.

Window Manifestation
Having an eye catching window graphic is a technique often overlooked by business owners. This is particularly the case if your business is positioned in a busy thoroughfare or junction. Window displays work in the same way that television adverts do and people who regularly pass will start to register the message given by your window manifestation in a subliminal way. This is very powerful.

The initial outlay to have a window professionally covered is not as expensive as you may think and considered over the many years that it will serve your business it can only be a great investment.

Exhibition Graphics
You may be surprised to see exhibition graphics included in a list of low cost ways to promote your business. Large exhibitions may well be an excellent forum for promoting a business but we all know that they are not a small financial commitment.

A business can create a small portable exhibition stand which can be taken to locations such as leisure centers, hotel receptions and golf clubs to create a smaller exhibition scenario at a fraction of the cost.

Everyday will give the determined business owner an opportunity to promote his business at relatively low cost utilizing fundamental day to day things that would need to be paid for anyway. Maximize your impact, utilize your assets, let your business do some marketing for you.

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In Search of the Top Fitness Franchise

As a professional businesswoman, living half my life on the road, I have to say that I am excited at the prospects for my fitness future. I am an avid exerciser, and prefer to workout in an environment for women. This preference is one that I have developed from years of working out, the co-ed gyms just don’t do it for me. Too much stuff, too much sweat, too much noise. I have really learned to appreciate and enjoy my workouts, and like the environment of a gym for women. That being said, there is a real gap in the offerings for women, which is one of the reasons I began to research opening my own franchise, just for women, in my town.

About a year ago, my husband and I set out to research buying fitness franchises for women. Although I had a great business background, I really believe aligning with a franchise and an experienced team is the right way to go. Its not a small investment, and to me this is the best way I know to protect my investment and set the business up for success.

That being said, there can be a wide difference in quality in terms of concepts and the type of support given, and I wanted to be sure to select the best one. I spent so much time on the road, it was easy for me to visit locations and meet other franchisees. I thought it would be useful to share my findings with other potential franchisees on the same journey, especially since I had the opportunity to actually visit and workout in so many locations. By this point I feel like I am becoming an expert, although I am close I still haven’t made my final choice. I do however feel more confident in my decision that this is the right business for me, and the right time to get into the industry.

I have multiple opportunities to visit Curves. They are fairly ubiquitous with 4,000 locations. I had discovered that Curves had closed over 6,000 location over the past few years, which was slightly disturbing, but it seemed like they now have new owners and have “shaken the trees” so to speak. For me the 1,500 sq ft model was a little too small. Curves is based upon a circuit workout, and a no-frills atmosphere. My business mind tells me it might be a nice place for a beginner to join, but what after that? How many times can you go around a circuit? My goal is to open a full service facility, and one that can really service members and build for the long haul. Although its certainly popular, I decided to pass on Curves.

When I was in New York, I was able to visit and workout at a Lucille Roberts. I could tell they had been around for a while, which was a good thing. I could also tell they hadn’t renovated in a while, which wasn’t as good. During that week I bought a pass and worked out in three of their clubs, all were about the same condition. I began to believe that they were busy only because the name was so well known in the area, everything was pink and really the equipment was in need of overhaul. On their website it said they were franchising, but after seeing a few of their suburban locations as well as some marketing pieces and ads with low price come-on’s, I knew this wasn’t the brand for me.

About 2 weeks later, I was working in the Boston area and was able to experience two great clubs… truly great. Healthworks was a full-service gym for women with great classes and luxury amenities. Very clean and upbeat with new equipment, you could tell this place was well taken care of, and well liked by the members. They have a full range of classes and some amazing Pilates instructors – some of the best I have seen. I decided to splurge for a private lesson while I was there, at their Copley Place location, it was well worth it and I gained knowledge which will stick with me for a long time. I also liked the fact that the gym was very well rounded, and offered a juice bar after my workout. I enjoyed three great workouts here, and wished they had a location closer to my home in Virginia. After researching, I found out that the company operates clubs only in Mass, and does not franchise. They would have definitely been one of my top choices.

Leaving Boston, I really felt that my Healthworks experience wouldn’t be topped. I have made some workout friends there, and asked them if they knew of any other great places to workout in my travels. One of the women recommended to me elements for women. I had heard of elements before, but didn’t know much about them except that they had gyms in South Beach and a pretty popular lifestyle magazine.

Imagine my surprise when I located an elements club in a smaller suburb of Boston (close to Cape Cod). elements was located in a great center with other stores that I loved such as Ann Taylor, JC Penney, Target, and GNC. I was surprised to see a gym in such a retail-type center, but after stepping inside I realized why. elements brilliantly blends retail and fitness together… I was immediately impressed. I could tell that behind this brand was a very forward-thinking team. I had an opportunity to meet the owner of the club, who was very welcoming and happy to speak to me about her experience. Like me, she was a businessperson turned franchisee. She told me she was looking for a business which helped others, and would also be profitable to own, and was attracted to the community nature of the elements fitness brand. I was only able to stay at her club for a few hours, but did enjoy an excellent workout in a lovely facility. I was immediately a fan of elements fitness and was looking forward to explore some of their other locations.

The next month, I was sent on assignment in South Florida, which gave me the opportunity to enjoy some warm weather, as well as discover some new clubs. The bar had been set high from my recent experiences at Healthworks and elements, so I was expecting a lot from my next visit, I assumed that South Florida would boast some great showplace clubs. I began with a visit to Lady of America, and felt like I stepped in a time machine back to 1985. The fact that “ladies” was still in the name, and the teal and pink interior made me want to don some leggings and flashdance. The clientele here was older, but I was in Boca Raton. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that this wasn’t a star location, and ventured south to Broward County. I visited a second Lady of America club, and was equally unimpressed. The girl working the front desk was more concerned with her text messages than any questions I might have had. I asked her for a tour and she pointed “locker rooms are back there and this is the workout floor… you’re welcome to walk around.” Thanks, I thought and explored for a few minutes. It didn’t seem very well run to me, and again – what’s with the pink and teal?? I think for an older clientele with lower expectations this might not be a bad choice, but it was clearly not the brand for me. Looks like they peaked quite a few years ago.

Also in Broward County I was able to pass by a Shapes Express gym for women, which I had heard about. It was located in a nice but hidden shopping center off a main road. I had used my GPS to locate the club, I am not sure if I even would have seen it from the road. Once I found it, it was a very nice building and very well kept. There weren’t too many Shapes Express locations, but I liked the concept and wanted to see a facility. I had already exercised this day, but I did take a tour and met with the manager, who was very pleasant. The facility had nice equipment and offered some classes, but it seemed to lack any real identity. I even saw a couple come in to ask about rates, not understanding it was a gym for women. I wasn’t really sure what the benefits would be to me by aligning with this franchise. It didn’t seem very crowded and there were not too many of these clubs yet, although the staff was very nice and physically the location was very clean and new. I took a copy of their class schedule with me, and was on my way.

The next day, in Miami, I used Yelp! on my phone to find the best local gyms. I knew Miami would not disappoint me. I was positively giddy when I saw there was another elements gym just a few miles from me. I had such a great experience at elements fitness in Massachusetts, I was curious to see if it would be consistent at this elements gym also. I arrived to this club at 4:00pm, into a very full parking lot. It took me a moment to even find a parking space, but as I was parking I noticed several women in workout gear heading in the same direction, I knew a group class was about to start. When I arrived at elements in Miami, the gym was full. Lots of energy, music and people! I was surprised to see so many personal trainers, I counted 16 and there may have been more. My business mind quickly kicked in, and I did the math… this was a club that was generating some serious revenue. The manager was very busy and I didn’t want to bother her, but I did have an opportunity to meet the fitness director, who explained to me elements personal training programs. I liked what I heard, their model is a very affordable platform, a really great value for members which was clearly well received by members. elements moved to the top of my short list for a franchise to open… I was hopeful that they would have a territory available in Virginia. The club I was at was a little busy for me being a first time user, so I decided to head to Miami Beach to check out a yoga concept that I had my eye on.

Green Monkey. Not a name I would have expected from a chain yoga studio. But the classes were innovative, and I could tell it was a very well run operations. They had branded apparel and mats, everything I would have expected. The prices were high, but not outrageously so. As I expected the instructor was amazing. One of the better yoga experiences, in my book. The class was filled with avid yogies, and more were waiting outside for the next session. I could tell this place was popular, and profitable. I like the idea of owning a yoga studio, but am concerned about direct and indirect competition. The more expensive a business is to launch, the fewer direct competitors (logically) that will come into a market. Yoga studios are comparatively inexpensive to open, and highly dependent on the instructors. If you lose your instructors, you can lose your following. This is scary to me as a business owner. At least with a health club I have members on contract, and many amenities to attract and retain clients. As much as I love yoga, I think the best idea is to incorporate into my gym.

In August, I will have a much earned 2 week vacation, and plan to take that time to make my final decision. My ultimate goal was to have my new business open for January, which is the busiest period of the year for health club. If I select my franchise and buy a territory in August, that should give me enough time to select my location and get my club open for the New Year. I am very excited about this endeavor, and very satisfied that I invested the time to do the visits. I hope the information I shared was useful to someone who is also looking to get into this wonderful industry.

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Travel Oahu – Experience Hawaii Like A Local

Every year millions of visitors from Japan, mainland USA and beyond land at
Honolulu International Airport ready to begin their vacation in paradise. Soon after
Landing, most visitors hop in a cab or bus sent from the hotel and begin the journey
Past downtown Honolulu and on to their reservation at a Waikiki hotel.

The allure of Waikiki is immediate. The packed streets, sounds of the beach, and
Exotic histories call to the traveler who soon hits the streets. Venturing out in
Waikiki can be quite exciting. The streets are filled with foreign languages, throngs
Of tourists are dressed in their beach best, and the beginning of surf history can be
Seen at the end of the street. Waikiki can be so exciting that many visitors never
Escape its imaginary borders. Approximately 6 million of these visitors miss the very
Sites that locals find so endearing, remaining within the two square miles of Waikiki.

For those travelers interested in seeing Oahu through its residents' eyes, please
Read on.

Magic Island Beach Park – This popular park is located just west of
Waikiki, across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The park includes
Two beaches, a three mile jogging path, tennis courts, and more. A walk around the
Park will expose the center of Hawaiian culture – the family. Large extended families
Gather around hibachis, spending the day together with a good food and plenty of
Sun. The beaches are significantly less crowded, so for a great day, grab a barbecue
And head down to the beach at Magic Island!

The Contemporary Museum Honolulu – This small museum is located
High on a ridge at Makiki Heights Drive. The drive up the ridge offers amazing vistas
That would otherwise be missed by most Oahu visitors. The relatively small museum
Offers changing exhibitions in its five galleries. After traversing the galleries, visitors
Can wander out onto the sculpture gardens. This is where the true glory of the
Museum is revealed. The 3.5 acres of sculpture and meditative gardens are open to
The public and offer some of the most amazing views of Honolulu.

Leong's Cafe – Many visitors look to a lu'au for more than entertainment;
They are after some great Hawaiian food. However, if you're interested in real local
Style Hawaiian food, you can not beat Leong's Cafe located at 2343 North King Street.
As a favorite for plate lunches, kalua pig, lu'au stew, lomi lomi, and more, locales
Have been visiting this cafe for over 50 years!

Champion Malasadas – The local treat called Malasadas are so popular
That Fat Tuesday has been re-christened Malasada Day throughout the Hawaiian
Islands. One of the best and most famous bakeries is Champion Malasadas located
At 1926 South Beretania Street. These light portuguese hole-less donuts come with
And without filling and are absolutely worth the effort in getting them!

Honolulu Chinatown – A walk through the streets of Chinatown in like a
Walk into another time and place. Whatever you are looking for dim sum, fresh
Produce, handmade leis, or the new hip lounge, you are sure to find it in Chinatown.
The streets and shops are exotic, offering items not found in a typical american
Grocery. Guided walking tours are available for this historic district, but often the
Best way is to simply meander through the streets, stopping whenever your interest
Has been piqued.

If you are interested in seeing Oahu through a local's eyes, be sure to spend some
Time outside of Waikiki. Stop by some or all of the spots listed above and see some
Of what truly makes Hawaii special.

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Is Graffiti Art?

You can travel almost anywhere in the world, and you will probably see graffiti. Although graffiti art is usually more common in big cities, the reality is that it can occur in almost any community, big or small.

The problem with graffiti art is the question of whether it’s really art, or just plain vandalism. This isn’t always an easy question to answer, simply because there are so many different types of graffiti. Some is simply a monochrome collection of letters, known as a tag, with little artistic merit. Because it’s quick to produce and small, it is one of the most widespread and prevalent forms of graffiti.

Although tagging is the most common type of graffiti, there are bigger, more accomplished examples that appear on larger spaces, such as walls. These are often multicolored and complex in design, and so start to push the boundary of whether they should really be defined as graffiti art.

If it wasn’t for the fact that most graffiti is placed on private property without the owner’s permission, then it might be more recognized as a legitimate form of art. Most graffiti art, however, is only an annoyance to the property owner, who is more likely to paint over it or remove it than applaud its artistic merit.

Many solutions have been put into practice around the world, with varying degrees of success. Paints have been developed that basically cause graffiti paint to dissolve when applied, or else make it quick and easy to remove. Community groups and government departments coordinate graffiti removal teams.

In some places you can’t buy spray paint unless you’re over 18. Cans of spray paint are locked away in display cases. In a nearby area the local council employs someone to go around and repaint any fences defaced by graffiti. A friend of mine has had his fence repainted 7 times at least, and it took him a while to find out why it was happening! Certainly the amount of graffiti in my local area has dropped substantially in the last year or two, so it appears these methods are working to a great extent.

But is removing the graffiti doing a disservice to the artistic community? Maybe if some of the people behind the graffiti art were taken in hand and trained, they could use their artistic skills in more productive ways. It hardly makes sense to encourage these artists to deface public property, and so commit a crime. But perhaps there are other ways to cooperate with the graffiti artists rather than just opposing them. Graffiti artists can create sanctioned murals for private property owners and get paid for it.

Maybe we need to start at a very basic level, and find a way to encourage the creation of graffiti art on paper or canvas, rather than walls. After all, who would remember Monet or Picasso if they’d created their masterpieces on walls, only to have them painted over the next day? Finding a solution to such a complex situation is never going to be easy, but as more graffiti art is being recognized in galleries around the world, we do need to try.

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Electronic Music History and Today’s Best Modern Proponents!

Electronic music history pre-dates the rock and roll era by decades. Most of us were not even on this planet when it began its often obscure, under-appreciated and misunderstood development. Today, this ‘other worldly’ body of sound which began close to a century ago, may no longer appear strange and unique as new generations have accepted much of it as mainstream, but it’s had a bumpy road and, in finding mass audience acceptance, a slow one.

Many musicians – the modern proponents of electronic music – developed a passion for analogue synthesizers in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s with signature songs like Gary Numan’s breakthrough, ‘Are Friends Electric?’. It was in this era that these devices became smaller, more accessible, more user friendly and more affordable for many of us. In this article I will attempt to trace this history in easily digestible chapters and offer examples of today’s best modern proponents.

To my mind, this was the beginning of a new epoch. To create electronic music, it was no longer necessary to have access to a roomful of technology in a studio or live. Hitherto, this was solely the domain of artists the likes of Kraftwerk, whose arsenal of electronic instruments and custom built gadgetry the rest of us could only have dreamed of, even if we could understand the logistics of their functioning. Having said this, at the time I was growing up in the 60′s & 70′s, I nevertheless had little knowledge of the complexity of work that had set a standard in previous decades to arrive at this point.

The history of electronic music owes much to Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007). Stockhausen was a German Avante Garde composer and a pioneering figurehead in electronic music from the 1950′s onwards, influencing a movement that would eventually have a powerful impact upon names such as Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Brain Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode, not to mention the experimental work of the Beatles’ and others in the 1960′s. His face is seen on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the Beatles’ 1967 master Opus. Let’s start, however, by traveling a little further back in time.

The Turn of the 20th Century

Time stood still for this stargazer when I originally discovered that the first documented, exclusively electronic, concerts were not in the 1970′s or 1980′s but in the 1920′s!

The first purely electronic instrument, the Theremin, which is played without touch, was invented by Russian scientist and cellist, Lev Termen (1896-1993), circa 1919.

In 1924, the Theremin made its concert debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic. Interest generated by the theremin drew audiences to concerts staged across Europe and Britain. In 1930, the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, experienced a performance of classical music using nothing but a series of ten theremins. Watching a number of skilled musicians playing this eerie sounding instrument by waving their hands around its antennae must have been so exhilarating, surreal and alien for a pre-tech audience!

For those interested, check out the recordings of Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (1911-1998). Lithuanian born Rockmore (Reisenberg) worked with its inventor in New York to perfect the instrument during its early years and became its most acclaimed, brilliant and recognized performer and representative throughout her life.

In retrospect Clara, was the first celebrated ‘star’ of genuine electronic music. You are unlikely to find more eerie, yet beautiful performances of classical music on the Theremin. She’s definitely a favorite of mine!

Electronic Music in Sci-Fi, Cinema and Television

Unfortunately, and due mainly to difficulty in skill mastering, the Theremin’s future as a musical instrument was short lived. Eventually, it found a niche in 1950′s Sci-Fi films. The 1951 cinema classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, with a soundtrack by influential American film music composer Bernard Hermann (known for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, etc.), is rich with an ‘extraterrestrial’ score using two Theremins and other electronic devices melded with acoustic instrumentation.

Using the vacuum-tube oscillator technology of the Theremin, French cellist and radio telegraphist, Maurice Martenot (1898-1980), began developing the Ondes Martenot (in French, known as the Martenot Wave) in 1928.

Employing a standard and familiar keyboard which could be more easily mastered by a musician, Martenot’s instrument succeeded where the Theremin failed in being user-friendly. In fact, it became the first successful electronic instrument to be used by composers and orchestras of its period until the present day.

It is featured on the theme to the original 1960′s TV series “Star Trek”, and can be heard on contemporary recordings by the likes of Radiohead and Brian Ferry.

The expressive multi-timbral Ondes Martenot, although monophonic, is the closest instrument of its generation I have heard which approaches the sound of modern synthesis.

“Forbidden Planet”, released in 1956, was the first major commercial studio film to feature an exclusively electronic soundtrack… aside from introducing Robbie the Robot and the stunning Anne Francis! The ground-breaking score was produced by husband and wife team Louis and Bebe Barron who, in the late 1940′s, established the first privately owned recording studio in the USA recording electronic experimental artists such as the iconic John Cage (whose own Avante Garde work challenged the definition of music itself!).

The Barrons are generally credited for having widening the application of electronic music in cinema. A soldering iron in one hand, Louis built circuitry which he manipulated to create a plethora of bizarre, ‘unearthly’ effects and motifs for the movie. Once performed, these sounds could not be replicated as the circuit would purposely overload, smoke and burn out to produce the desired sound result.

Consequently, they were all recorded to tape and Bebe sifted through hours of reels edited what was deemed usable, then re-manipulated these with delay and reverberation and creatively dubbed the end product using multiple tape decks.

In addition to this laborious work method, I feel compelled to include that which is, arguably, the most enduring and influential electronic Television signature ever: the theme to the long running 1963 British Sci-Fi adventure series, “Dr. Who”. It was the first time a Television series featured a solely electronic theme. The theme to “Dr. Who” was created at the legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop using tape loops and test oscillators to run through effects, record these to tape, then were re-manipulated and edited by another Electro pioneer, Delia Derbyshire, interpreting the composition of Ron Grainer.

As you can see, electronic music’s prevalent usage in vintage Sci-Fi was the principle source of the general public’s perception of this music as being ‘other worldly’ and ‘alien-bizarre sounding’. This remained the case till at least 1968 with the release of the hit album “Switched-On Bach” performed entirely on a Moog modular synthesizer by Walter Carlos (who, with a few surgical nips and tucks, subsequently became Wendy Carlos).

The 1970′s expanded electronic music’s profile with the break through of bands like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, and especially the 1980′s when it found more mainstream acceptance.

The Mid 1900′s: Musique Concrete

In its development through the 1900′s, electronic music was not solely confined to electronic circuitry being manipulated to produce sound. Back in the 1940′s, a relatively new German invention – the reel-to-reel tape recorder developed in the 1930′s – became the subject of interest to a number of Avante Garde European composers, most notably the French radio broadcaster and composer Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1995) who developed a montage technique he called Musique Concrete.

Musique Concrete (meaning ‘real world’ existing sounds as opposed to artificial or acoustic ones produced by musical instruments) broadly involved the splicing together of recorded segments of tape containing ‘found’ sounds – natural, environmental, industrial and human – and manipulating these with effects such as delay, reverb, distortion, speeding up or slowing down of tape-speed (varispeed), reversing, etc.

Stockhausen actually held concerts utilizing his Musique Concrete works as backing tapes (by this stage electronic as well as ‘real world’ sounds were used on the recordings) on top of which live instruments would be performed by classical players responding to the mood and motifs they were hearing!

Musique Concrete had a wide impact not only on Avante Garde and effects libraries, but also on the contemporary music of the 1960′s and 1970′s. Important works to check are the Beatles’ use of this method in ground-breaking tracks like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, ‘Revolution No. 9′ and ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’, as well as Pink Floyd albums “Umma Gumma”, “Dark Side of the Moon” and Frank Zappa’s “Lumpy Gravy”. All used tape cut-ups and home-made tape loops often fed live into the main mixdown.

Today this can be performed with simplicity using digital sampling, but yesterday’s heroes labored hours, days and even weeks to perhaps complete a four minute piece! For those of us who are contemporary musicians, understanding the history of electronic music helps in appreciating the quantum leap technology has taken in the recent period. But these early innovators, these pioneers – of which there are many more down the line – and the important figures they influenced that came before us, created the revolutionary groundwork that has become our electronic musical heritage today and for this I pay them homage!

1950′s: The First Computer and Synth Play Music

Moving forward a few years to 1957 and enter the first computer into the electronic mix. As you can imagine, it wasn’t exactly a portable laptop device but consumed a whole room and user friendly wasn’t even a concept. Nonetheless creative people kept pushing the boundaries. One of these was Max Mathews (1926 -) from Bell Telephone Laboratories, New Jersey, who developed Music 1, the original music program for computers upon which all subsequent digital synthesis has its roots based. Mathews, dubbed the ‘Father of Computer Music’, using a digital IBM Mainframe, was the first to synthesize music on a computer.

In the climax of Stanley Kubrik’s 1968 movie ’2001: A Space Odyssey’, use is made of a 1961 Mathews’ electronic rendition of the late 1800′s song ‘Daisy Bell’. Here the musical accompaniment is performed by his programmed mainframe together with a computer-synthesized human ‘singing’ voice technique pioneered in the early 60′s. In the movie, as HAL the computer regresses, ‘he’ reverts to this song, an homage to ‘his’ own origins.

1957 also witnessed the first advanced synth, the RCA Mk II Sound Synthesizer (an improvement on the 1955 original). It also featured an electronic sequencer to program music performance playback. This massive RCA Synth was installed, and still remains, at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, New York, where the legendary Robert Moog worked for a while. Universities and Tech laboratories were the main home for synth and computer music experimentation in that early era.

1960′s: The Dawning of The Age of Moog

The logistics and complexity of composing and even having access to what were, until then, musician unfriendly synthesizers, led to a demand for more portable playable instruments. One of the first to respond, and definitely the most successful, was Robert Moog (1934-2005). His playable synth employed the familiar piano style keyboard.

Moog’s bulky telephone-operators’ cable plug-in type of modular synth was not one to be transported and set up with any amount of ease or speed! But it received an enormous boost in popularity with the success of Walter Carlos, as previously mentioned, in 1968. His LP (Long Player) best seller record “Switched-On Bach” was unprecedented because it was the first time an album appeared of fully synthesized music, as opposed to experimental sound pieces.

The album was a complex classical music performance with various multi-tracks and overdubs necessary, as the synthesizer was only monophonic! Carlos also created the electronic score for “A Clockwork Orange”, Stanley Kubrik’s disturbing 1972 futuristic film.

From this point, the Moog synth is prevalent on a number of late 1960′s contemporary albums. In 1967 the Monkees’ “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd” became the first commercial pop album release to feature the modular Moog. In fact, singer/drummer Mickey Dolenz purchased one of the very first units sold.

It wasn’t until the early 1970′s, however, when the first Minimoog appeared that interest seriously developed amongst musicians. This portable little unit with a fat sound had a significant impact becoming part of live music kit for many touring musicians for years to come. Other companies such as Sequential Circuits, Roland and Korg began producing their own synths, giving birth to a music subculture.

I cannot close the chapter on the 1960′s, however, without reference to the Mellotron. This electronic-mechanical instrument is often viewed as the primitive precursor to the modern digital sampler.

Developed in early 1960′s Britain and based on the Chamberlin (a cumbersome US-designed instrument from the previous decade), the Mellotron keyboard triggered pre-recorded tapes, each key corresponding to the equivalent note and pitch of the pre-loaded acoustic instrument.

The Mellotron is legendary for its use on the Beatles’ 1966 song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. A flute tape-bank is used on the haunting introduction played by Paul McCartney.

The instrument’s popularity burgeoned and was used on many recordings of the era such as the immensely successful Moody Blues epic ‘Nights in White Satin’. The 1970′s saw it adopted more and more by progressive rock bands. Electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream featured it on their early albums.

With time and further advances in microchip technology though, this charming instrument became a relic of its period.

1970′s: The Birth of Vintage Electronic Bands

The early fluid albums of Tangerine Dream such as “Phaedra” from 1974 and Brian Eno’s work with his self-coined ‘ambient music’ and on David Bowie’s “Heroes” album, further drew interest in the synthesizer from both musicians and audience.

Kraftwerk, whose 1974 seminal album “Autobahn” achieved international commercial success, took the medium even further adding precision, pulsating electronic beats and rhythms and sublime synth melodies. Their minimalism suggested a cold, industrial and computerized-urban world. They often utilized vocoders and speech synthesis devices such as the gorgeously robotic ‘Speak and Spell’ voice emulator, the latter being a children’s learning aid!

While inspired by the experimental electronic works of Stockhausen, as artists, Kraftwerk were the first to successfully combine all the elements of electronically generated music and noise and produce an easily recognizable song format. The addition of vocals in many of their songs, both in their native German tongue and English, helped earn them universal acclaim becoming one of the most influential contemporary music pioneers and performers of the past half-century.

Kraftwerk’s 1978 gem ‘Das Modell’ hit the UK number one spot with a reissued English language version, ‘The Model’, in February 1982, making it one of the earliest Electro chart toppers!

Ironically, though, it took a movement that had no association with EM (Electronic Music) to facilitate its broader mainstream acceptance. The mid 1970′s punk movement, primarily in Britain, brought with it a unique new attitude: one that gave priority to self-expression rather than performance dexterity and formal training, as embodied by contemporary progressive rock musicians. The initial aggression of metallic punk transformed into a less abrasive form during the late 1970′s: New Wave. This, mixed with the comparative affordability of many small, easy to use synthesizers, led to the commercial synth explosion of the early 1980′s.

A new generation of young people began to explore the potential of these instruments and began to create soundscapes challenging the prevailing perspective of contemporary music. This didn’t arrive without battle scars though. The music industry establishment, especially in its media, often derided this new form of expression and presentation and was anxious to consign it to the dustbin of history.

1980′s: The First Golden Era of Electronic Music for the Masses

Gary Numan became arguably the first commercial synth megastar with the 1979 “Tubeway Army” hit ‘Are Friends Electric?’. The Sci-Fi element is not too far away once again. Some of the imagery is drawn from the Science Fiction classic, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. The 1982 hit film “Blade Runner” was also based on the same book.

Although ‘Are Friends Electric?’ featured conventional drum and bass backing, its dominant use of Polymoogs gives the song its very distinctive sound. The recording was the first synth-based release to achieve number one chart status in the UK during the post-punk years and helped usher in a new genre. No longer was electronic and/or synthesizer music consigned to the mainstream sidelines. Exciting!

Further developments in affordable electronic technology placed electronic squarely in the hands of young creators and began to transform professional studios.

Designed in Australia in 1978, the Fairlight Sampler CMI became the first commercially available polyphonic digital sampling instrument but its prohibitive cost saw it solely in use by the likes of Trevor Horn, Stevie Wonder and Peter Gabriel. By mid-decade, however, smaller, cheaper instruments entered the market such as the ubiquitous Akai and Emulator Samplers often used by musicians live to replicate their studio-recorded sounds. The Sampler revolutionized the production of music from this point on.

In most major markets, with the qualified exception of the US, the early 1980′s was commercially drawn to electro-influenced artists. This was an exciting era for many of us, myself included. I know I wasn’t alone in closeting the distorted guitar and amps and immersing myself into a new universe of musical expression – a sound world of the abstract and non traditional.

At home, Australian synth based bands Real Life (‘Send Me An Angel’, “Heartland” album), Icehouse (‘Hey Little Girl’) and Pseudo Echo (‘Funky Town’) began to chart internationally, and more experimental electronic outfits like Severed Heads and SPK also developed cult followings overseas.

But by mid-decade the first global electronic wave lost its momentum amidst resistance fomented by an unrelenting old school music media. Most of the artists that began the decade as predominantly electro-based either disintegrated or heavily hybrid their sound with traditional rock instrumentation.

The USA, the largest world market in every sense, remained in the conservative music wings for much of the 1980′s. Although synth-based records did hit the American charts, the first being Human League’s 1982 US chart topper ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby?’, on the whole it was to be a few more years before the American mainstream embraced electronic music, at which point it consolidated itself as a dominant genre for musicians and audiences alike, worldwide.

1988 was somewhat of a watershed year for electronic music in the US. Often maligned in the press in their early years, it was Depeche Mode that unintentionally – and mostly unaware – spearheaded this new assault. From cult status in America for much of the decade, their new high-play rotation on what was now termed Modern Rock radio resulted in mega stadium performances. An Electro act playing sold out arenas was not common fare in the USA at that time!

In 1990, fan pandemonium in New York to greet the members at a central record shop made TV news, and their “Violator” album outselling Madonna and Prince in the same year made them a US household name. Electronic music was here to stay, without a doubt!

1990′s Onward: The Second Golden Era of Electronic Music for the Masses

Before our ‘star music’ secured its hold on the US mainstream, and while it was losing commercial ground elsewhere throughout much of the mid 1980′s, Detroit and Chicago became unassuming laboratories for an explosion of Electronic Music which would see out much of the 1990′s and onwards. Enter Techno and House.

Detroit in the 1980′s, a post-Fordism US industrial wasteland, produced the harder European influenced Techno. In the early to mid 80′s, Detroiter Juan Atkins, an obsessive Kraftwerk fan, together with Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson – using primitive, often borrowed equipment – formed the backbone of what would become, together with House, the predominant music club-culture throughout the world. Heavily referenced artists that informed early Techno development were European pioneers such as the aforementioned Kraftwerk, as well as Yello and British Electro acts the likes of Depeche Mode, Human League, Heaven 17, New Order and Cabaret Voltaire.

Chicago, a four-hour drive away, simultaneously saw the development of House. The name is generally considered to be derived from “The Warehouse” where various DJ-Producers featured this new music amalgam. House has its roots in 1970′s disco and, unlike Techno, usually has some form of vocal. I think Giorgio Moroder’s work in the mid 70′s with Donna Summer, especially the song ‘I Feel Love’, is pivotal in appreciating the 70′s disco influences upon burgeoning Chicago House.

A myriad of variants and sub genres have developed since – crossing the Atlantic, reworked and back again – but in many ways the popular success of these two core forms revitalized the entire Electronic landscape and its associated social culture. Techno and House helped to profoundly challenge mainstream and Alternative Rock as the preferred listening choice for a new generation: a generation who has grown up with electronic music and accepts it as a given. For them, it is music that has always been.

The history of electronic music continues to be written as technology advances and people’s expectations of where music can go continues to push it forward, increasing its vocabulary and lexicon.

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7 Things to Do and Learn on Your Palm Springs Vacation

1 Hike the canyons of Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a hiker’s paradise, which is evident by the many hiking trails mapped out in and around its numerous scenic canyons and gorges. Here the diversity of wildlife is as contrasting as the breathtaking landscape. From catching a glimpse of the rare and endangered Bighorn Sheep to watching the clever antics of the smallest desert creatures, the canyons of Palm Springs are a must see for any visitor to the area.

Tahquitz Canyon is situated on the Agua Caliente Reservation and is one of the most beautiful desert attractions to be found in Palm Springs. Boasting of a spectacular 60-foot waterfall, rock art, ancient irrigation systems, abundant native wildlife and plants, a hike through this unique and diverse canyon will not be forgotten any time soon. Palm Canyon features fifteen miles of mapped trails that gives hikers an intimate glimpse of the area’s indigenous flora and fauna situated against a contrasting, rugged landscape of rocky red and gold gorges and the barren desert lands in the distance. Here you can hike, explore, picnic and horseback ride against the breathtaking canyon backdrop.

2 Tour the oases of Palm Springs

A beautiful contrast to the barren desert landscape are the many lush oases of Palm Springs. Consisting mainly of tall Fan Palms, the oases offer more than just respite from the extreme desert temperatures, which descend upon the area daily. The oases of Palm Springs are intricate ecosystems boasting of numerous different kinds of plant and animal life including snakes, rodents, lizards and spiders.

Thousand Palms Oasis is situated on the Coachella Valley Preserve and straddles the San Andreas Fault line. Consisting of emerald green undergrowth, soaring Fan Palms and the endangered Valley Fringe-toed Lizard, the Thousand Palms Oasis is the perfect place to start your tour of the Oases of Palm Springs. The Oasis of Mara, formerly known as Twentynine Palms Oasis, is located in the Joshua Tree National Park. Once revered as an “Oasis of Fertility” by the natives, this oasis is indeed a fertile ground for many types of flora, fauna and wildlife.

3 Entertain your whole family in Palm Springs

What once has been known as a Mecca for the retired, the rich and golf enthusiasts, Palm Springs is beginning to show its inner child. From museums and amusement parks to miniature golf and arcades, there is no end to the family-friendly attractions to be found in Palm Springs.

Located on East Palm Canyon, Camelot Park boasts of activities and entertainment to keep the whole family occupied for hours. At the center of this whimsical attraction is a fantastical castle surrounded by video games, miniature golf, go-carts, bumper boats and much, much more. The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park is located on Portola Avenue, and is full of amazing wildlife and creatures that will be sure to amuse the adults and children alike. Featuring species such as coyotes, the endangered bighorn sheep, cheetahs and meerkats, the Living Desert is a must-see attraction in the Palm Springs area. The park also boats of a discovery center where children can watch demonstrations and have hands-on interactions with small creatures such as snakes, turtles and tarantulas.

4 Tour Palm Springs by bike

There is no better way to get up close and personal with an exotic destination like Palm Springs than by leisurely strolling through the many lush oases and barren landscapes typical of this desert paradise. But hoofing it through the miles and miles of desert attractions in and around Palm Springs can take a great deal of time and energy. That is why it has become very popular to tour Palm Springs by bike, and there are several mapped bike tours and guides dedicated to this popular activity.

One of the most popular bike tour agencies in Palm Springs is Big Wheel Bike Tours. They offer several different courses which range in difficulty from beginner to Advanced and can vary in length from a couple of hours to a full day. Many of the courses meander through breathtaking landscapes and popular tourist attractions.

5 Palm Springs Casinos

Boasting a handful of casinos all featuring low and high-stakes gambling, fine dining and other luxurious attractions, Palm Springs is prepared to take care of all of your gambling wants and needs. In fact, the only hindrance that you may find when it comes to Palm Springs casinos is deciding exactly in which casino you want to place your bets.

No matter what your gaming preference or budget, there is a gaming facility in Palm Springs to meet your every need. From high-stakes Poker and slot machines to Bingo and Blackjack among others, you will find plenty to keep your gambling hand occupied during your stay in Palm Springs. Some of the many casinos in the area include the Palm Springs Spa Resort Casino, the Agua Caliente Casino, the Fantasy Springs Casino and the Trump 29 Spotlight Casino.

6 The Native Americans of Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert paradise with sparkling waters, tree-lined canyons and bubbling hot springs. This rich, desert oasis has been the site of civilization for thousands of years beginning with the native inhabitants of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. For centuries, this band of Native Americans lived off of the bounty to be had in this unique desert, ecosystem.

The region was ideal for habitation, and the Agua Caliente took advantage of the resources in the area and survived by living off of the land. They used multitudes of desert plants for food, clothes, medicine and hunted game such as deer, bighorn sheep, rabbits and other small animals. They also used an elaborate irrigation system to aid in the production of crops that were brought by the Spanish including corn, squash, beans and melons.

Sadly, in 1862 a small pox epidemic brought about by the influx of whites into the area almost completely wiped out the Agua Caliente altogether. In 1925, only 50 Agua Caliente remained. Today, there are 240. They still hold the majority of the land in the Palm Springs area and run successful casinos and other tourist attractions in the area.

7 How Palm Springs was named

The first non-Native American to settle in the Palm Springs area was Judge John Guthrie McCallum. Arriving in Palm Springs in 1884 from San Francisco with family in tow, McCallum worked alongside the Native Americans to build a 19 mile stone-lined ditch from the Whitewater River Springs to irrigate the dryer parts of the area.

Continuing throughout the 19th century, numerous explorers, colonizers and soldiers came through the desert and remarked on the lush oasis to be found in the Coachella Valley, but no formal name had been given to the site. Often referred to as Palm Springs, Agua Caliente or Palm Valley, it wasn’t until 1890 when Harry McCallum wrote his address as Palm Springs that the region came to be known under those terms.

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