Namibia From The Air

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Last October I joined the Schoeman family on one of the fly-in safaris they have been operating in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast region since the 1970s. Words won’t do justice to what was a real adventure, but hopefully this provides just a taster of the experience.

These incredible safaris began when Windhoek based lawyer, Louw Schoeman, realised the potential in this wilderness area for flying in small numbers of guests and giving them a ‘desert experience’. Over the years, his name became synonymous with the Skeleton Coast and his safaris became known in the international travel circles as a   unique  wilderness experience. In the late 1980s his sons Andre and Bertus became part of the team as pilot guides. They have now been joined by youngest brother, Henk, and latterly by Bertus’ wife Helga.

Today the family members take groups of up to eight guests into this beautiful and remote region. My three night, four day trip was hosted by husband and wife team Bertus and Helga, and even though John had raved about a similar trip a couple of years ago, I had no inkling of the experience to come.

Having already seen the majestic Sossusvlei Dunes and had a quick look around the Wolwedans Nature reserve which is also pretty special, I wasn’t sure the scenery could get any better. I was wrong – very wrong!

Our two planes set off from Wolwedans heading towards the coast with Helga and Bertus giving a running commentary on what was unfolding below us. We flew over the Sossusvlei dunes – almost more spectacular from the air than the ground – before turning north to fly along the Atlantic shoreline. Dropping down onto a deserted beach for lunch we had a chance to experience at first hand the howling wind and wild sea that caused misery to many ships in the past. Flying further up the coast during the afternoon was wonderful – just sitting back and watching the sea whiz past about 100 feet beneath us. Every now and then we’d swoop inland to look at a shipwreck, abandoned mining post or a seal colony before heading back out to skim the clear blue sea.

Around mid-afternoon we turned inland, flying over the spectacular grey/brown Ugab formations. After a couple of exhilarating circuits flying just above the peaks, we landed on a makeshift runway on a valley floor. After a brief walk to examine the extraordinary geology of the region we set off again for the short hop to the first night’s camp, leaving the planes parked for the night like two very lost large birds. After 20 minutes drive through a remote desert landscape we rounded a corner to be greeted by a small thatched mess tent with sundowners all ready. The camp was simple, but given the logistics of getting things to these remote wilderness areas this was not surprising, and the twin-bedded tents were perfectly comfortable with everything you need for the night.

Early morning coastal fog means flying tends to start around lunchtime, so our second morning was vehicle based, exploring the strange moonscape features of the area. Round each corner there was something different to look at, from ancient cave paintings and weirdly wonderful rock formations to welwitschia plants, a distant relative of the fir tree that lives for up to 2,000 years. Fascinating, and unlike anything I’ve seen before.

The highlight of the second afternoon’s flight was flamingo spotting. With no warning – the Schoemans love to surprise their guests – we flew over some man made salt pans and startled huge flocks of flamingos into the air with us. With cameras clicking like crazy, it was spectacular watching these graceful birds flying just below.

After another beach landing we set off into the coastal dunes of the Skeleton Coast National Park which were every bit as spectacular as Sossusvlei and far better for the fact that there was no one else around. We spent a wonderful couple of hours revelling in the sand but I can’t say more as it would spoil the surprises for anyone intending to do the trip themselves!

We arrived at Purros, the second night’s camp, as the sun was setting. Situated in the heart of the Kaokoland region – one of the last strongholds of the Himba tribes and home to the elusive desert elephant – the camp is idyllically located in a pretty, tree-lined sandy river bed with stunning views to the distant mountains.

There is more game in this area, but we got off to a shaky start the next morning when Bertus and his team had to add a large stone and a stick to the components under the bonnet of our game vehicle. The logistics of keeping mechanical things working in this environment must be enormous but they are all first-class mechanics, so we were soon moving again.

Among the things that really stick in my mind from this morning – apart from more glorious scenery – were the enormous flocks of ostrich we saw: 40, 50 and more, just wandering across the vast empty planes. Bertus knows the whole area like the back of his hand and was determined to find desert elephant: after some searching, he succeeded. A lone bull to begin with and then a few females. Taller and thinner than their non-desert counterparts, they have evolved over the years so that they can scratch out a living in this arid area. They don’t get many visitors but seemed quite content for us to sit and watch for a while.

Back in the planes, we landed briefly on the beach to search for multicoloured agate stones. This seriously challenged my 10kg baggage allowance but the stones still look every bit as lovely in their new home back in the UK. Then it was on up to Namibia’s northern border with Angola, where we turned inland to follow the Kunene River. As the coastal dunes gradually disappeared behind us we started to see the occasional crocodile in the water below.

Vehicles were waiting at the landing strip and we set off for the final camp of our trip. Just as it seemed we couldn’t be surprised by anything else, we dropped into the huge Hartmann Valley. What the early explorers must have felt when they reached this bit of land is anyone’s guess. Vast, empty, hostile and yet spectacularly beautiful. After winding along the valley floor, we climbed a hill to stop and look back. I was entranced by the seemingly endless orange/red landscape dotted with a few lone oryx, and perfectly framed by the distant Angolan mountains. Words could never do it justice, and sadly, nor do my photographs.

The following morning a gentle boat ride down the Kunene River, spotting birds and drinking in the river scenery, was the perfect way to wind down, before a final bit of excitement: prospecting for diamonds on the Angolan river shore. I felt as if I’d been away for weeks, not a couple of days, and had seen almost more than I could take in.

This doesn’t even begin to describe the adventure that is a Schoeman trip. It is by no means a luxury holiday. Accommodation and food are simple, and the packed itinerary is, at times, quite demanding. But I feel privileged to have experienced the guiding and knowledge imparted by Bertus and Helga. Bertus grew up here and his passion for all that we saw was infectious. I would be amazed if I experience another assault on my senses quite like these four days – but then I doubt there is anywhere else on earth quite like the Skeleton Coast.



http://www.aardvarksafaris.com/articles-namibia-fromtheair.htm

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How to Do the Marseille Turn

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The Marseille Turn is a beautiful 360 soccer turn trick, unique to the game of soccer, which involves the player spinning 360 degrees on the field while trying to avoid an opponent and retaining control of the ball.

The trick is sometimes referred to as the Zidane Spin or the 360 turn. The trick was popularized by Diego Maradona and perfected by Zinadine Zidane, although it has been used by many other soccer players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Laudrup, Franck Ribry, Lionel Messi, and Ronaldinho.

The Marseille Turn is the most effective when the opposing player is approaching head on first or from the side of the trick performers master foot.

Before starting to practice this move, you will either need another player or a box on the ground to simulate another player. This will help you visualize the trick easier, than trying to practice against thin air.

Step 1: Push the ball in front of you, about one step in front of you.

Step 2: Try to lure your opponent to go after the ball.

Step 3: When the ball is just outside your opponent’s reach, you stop it by putting your left foot on the ball.

Step 4: Pull the ball backward and turn your body 90 degrees to the right simultaneously.

Step 5: You should receive the ball with your right foot and your back to your opponent. Place your right foot on the ball and continue your rotation to the right.

Step 6: Place you right foot over the ball and slide it past your opponent.

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Information Technology Schools in Atlanta

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The demand for technically skilled workers is growing rapidly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Technology is the fastest growing industry with a 68% increase, in output growth rate, projected between 2002 and 2012.

Finding an Information Technology School or university can be an overwhelming task with so much on offer.
For a qualification to have any value, it needs to be obtained from a properly accredited and state licensed Technical School or College. Once the credentials are in place, other factors such as technical courses on offer, financial aid, flexibility of courses and other   unique  features can become qualifying factors.

This article will look at the  unique  and flexible features of some of the schools in Atlanta, offering Information Technology courses.

Brown Mackie College has a  unique  feature in offering one month courses where the focus is on one subject per month. This allows for very flexible study time to be integrated with a job or other time demand factors. There is no need to wait for “fall” enrollment as courses continue each month. This Information Technology School is located within minutes from downtown Atlanta. A shuttle bus from the train station takes students to the campus. Technical programs focus mainly on Computer Technology with courses in Information Technology, Database Technology, Networking and Software Technology.

De Very University comes highly recommended and offers a variety of technical courses in their College of Engineering and Information Science as well as the College of Media Arts and Technology. The university is  unique  in allowing students to take courses at any of the other Atlanta campuses. Students are further allowed to do part of their studies online. More than 85% of De Vry students receive financial aid in one or other form. A 90% career success rate and a dedicated career service team ensure that students at this school will get the help they need to become successful in the demanding job market.

At Westwood College working professionals, in their specific technical fields, are employed as instructors. The aim is to not only tutor but for students to get hands on technical experience while learning. Classes can be taken during the day, evening or online. A  unique  and valuable feature of this College is their alumni tuition program. To keep up to date with the rapidly changing world of technology they offer free courses to their alumni students. Definitely something to consider for years to come.

The Art Institute of Atlanta is a Technical School that uniquely caters for the creatively inclined. Media Arts focus on the artistic side of Computer Technology. Film making, Animation, Game and Web Design are only a few of the courses they have to offer. This school makes it possible for those students that can not study full time to achieve their goals by enrolling in an evening or weekend program.

All these schools have  unique  and versatile features to cater for the needs of all prospective students and the growing Information Technology market.

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What is Reseller Hosting?

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To have a website, you need web space on a server. A web host provides this space so you are the proud owner of active online real estate. But what is reseller hosting and how can it mean profits for you?

As an online entrepreneur, you realize Internet businesses are constantly opening, growing and changing. A resellers is a person who sells web space on someone else’s server. In essence, you are a middle person. With so many people creating websites, there are serious profits to be made with reseller hosting.

You simply create your own website to offer web hosting services. Clients can get a domain name and start websites on your hosting service. You are not responsible for maintaining servers because you are reselling web hosting services. As a reseller, you appreciate profits without having to deal with the detailed technical issues.

Hosting resellers can sign up as an enom reseller to receive domain registrations at a discounted price. You can then offer domain registrations to your own customers through a master billing system or by creating your own domain registration turnkey website.

So how can you begin your own reseller hosting business? Here is a simple guide to get started:

– Select an easy-to-use platform and control panel for your hosting accounts.

– Choose a reliable web hosting company with outstanding support for your reseller account.

– Set up your own hosting plan and determine the prices you want to charge based on services you offer and the prices charged by the competition.

– Create a business website with a navigable design featuring your new web hosting enterprise.

– Make sure your website is ready for business with a merchant account, payment gateway and SSL certificate for complete security.

– Set up customer service options such as a help desk.

– Set up a billing system.

– Create a welcome email that will be sent to all new web hosting clients to confirm their user name and password along with a confirmation of the plan details.

– Advertise your new reseller hosting business so you can make profits.

The reseller hosting business is one of the hottest, most profitable industries on the Internet today.

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The Attractive Power of a Book Well-Written: Love & Erotic Novel Which Engulfs Us All

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Falling in Love

Have you ever fallen in love with someone much older than you and from the same sex? Well, it happened to Rivi, a 14 year old girl falling in love with Michaela, her literature teacher at school. And, surprising or not, Michaela has fallen in love with Rivi, and their mutual erotic love has continued for years…

This, apparently, is the core of Judith Katzir’s “Dearest Anne” (the Feminist Press, 2008) who has devoted pages on pages to describe, in much detail, the erotic love between the two; their longings for each other; their “sexual games”; their adductive, forbidden love. Written in beautiful, aesthetic language, as you read the book you can’t put it aside; you are attracted to whatever happens between the two, at time wishing you could have been a fly on their wall…

The power of attraction

The reason for the readers’ “attraction” is simple. The sexual descriptions are written elegantly and beautifully, and as much as the two women never “gotten tired” of each other and never had enough, so does the reader never feels he has read enough. Part of it is due to the beautiful, artistic language of Judith Katzir, which makes the book not only a page-turner but an aesthetic experience in its depiction of places, characters, love and sexual attraction.

But the reader’s attraction to the book is due not only to the erotic descriptions, but also for another crucial point: As much as the love story between the 14 year old girl and her 27 year old teacher is “unique” for the two of them, it echoes universal love stories of people throughout history (not necessarily between two people of the same sex and of different age groups) and very possible echoes some of your own experiences with love and eroticism.

Existential, universal daily-life issues

Yet another reason for the attractive power of the book is the broadness of issues it brings before us: the novel circles around existential issues such as: where is the balance – or the border – between love and passion, between giving and abuse?

What motivates people to do what they do and behave in the way they behave? Is there “pure love” or is love actually often based on neediness, on the need to be loved and accepted?

In addition to these – and other – questions, the novel deals, among other, with issues of existential love, sickness and death, girlhood and womanhood, aspirations, disappointments, forgiving and missing opportunities (such as: If I had to live my life all over again, what would I have done differently?).

Our personal life vis-à-vis “Dearest Anne”

By raising such important, universal issues, Katzir’s book prompts us, the readers, in addition to experiencing pure pleasure in reading her book, to delve into our own life, our own fantasies and aspirations, our own love (or lack of), our own life-experiences, sorrows and/or joyful moments. It also drives us – consciously or unconsciously – to bring up questions regarding our self-awareness, as well as our understanding – or lack of – of the way we “do” life; the way we communicate with our loved ones; the way we hurt ourselves and others and last, but not least, the fears and needs which drive us to behave the way we do.

Self-Awareness

This issue of being aware to one self is dealt with elegantly yet hesitantly throughout the book. Is Rivi – as 14 year old girl – aware of what she does? Is she aware of the dangers which might be posed on her way? Is she aware of what motivates her to fall in love, lie to her mother, and become obsessed with her love for Michaela? Is she aware of the (bad) relationships she has with her mother and understands how these might have driven her to fall in love with Michaela?

Once again, these questions motivate us, the readers, to think and contemplate about our own parental qualities – or lack of – if we have children and about the relationships – of lack of – that we have developed with them.

Pleasure in reading as an inspirational board to developing our own awareness

Katzir’s “Dearest Anne” not only gives us pleasure in reading a well-crafted, aesthetically written courageous “love-story” (could we have had the courage to actualize our own love or other desires we might have had?), but in addition it raises in us a whole bunch of existential-philosophical questions regarding life in general. Then, if we wish (and have to courage to delve into) – the book encourages us to deal with questions regarding our own life, encouraging us to view and observe, in retrospect, our own accomplishments and missed opportunities (whether love-related or otherwise).

“Dearest Anne” can become an inspirational board for us to develop our self-awareness regarding our own life, vis-à-vis the universal issues the book presents in front of us.

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