Punta Cana: The city in the Dominican Republic with three-and-a-half Indians

Punta Cana: The city in the Dominican Republic with three-and-a-half Indians

Home / Beaches / Punta Cana: The city in the Dominican Republic with three-and-a-half Indians Punta Cana: The city in the Dominican Republic with three-and-a-half Indians Beaches
After 20 hours of flight, 17 hours in transit and a four-hour drive from the capital, Santo Domingo, I reached a picturesque paradise city called Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of Dominican Republic .
The Dominican Republic , not to be confused with Dominica in West Indies, is a Caribbean nation which forms an island called Hispaniola with its neighbouring country, Haiti. These are part of a series of islands known as the Greater Antilles. Area-wise it is the second largest Caribbean nation after Cuba. The capital, Santo Domingo, named after patron Saint Dominic, has a population of about 30 lakhs.
Punta Cana abuts the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its 32-km-stretch of beaches and clear waters. The Bávaro area and Punta Cana combine to form the Coconut Coast — an area of lavish, all-inclusive resorts. It is popular for zip-lining, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.
I spent a few hours at the J W Marriott Hotel in Santo Domingo. This hotel was awarded the best luxury city hotel in the Americas by Trip Advisor’s 2017 Traveller’s Choice Awards.
This was the first time I visited the Dominican Republic and my main agenda was to attend the 42nd WFUNA Plenary Assembly being hosted in Punta Cana in October. Every three years WFUNA Plenary Assembly brings together representatives from over 70 United Nations Associations from all over the world. The plenary session was preceded by a seminar on “Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies” as well as capacity-building sessions on a variety of topics.
At the plenary, Leonel Fernandez, a former President of the Dominican Republic , was elected the new WFUNA president. Ambassador Park Soo-Gil of Korea passed on the baton to Mr Fernandez after serving as president .It was nice to meet them both in person during the sessions. I had a meeting with the new president of WFUNA and presented him with a portrait of Mother Teresa. I did met him before when he visited India as the President of the Dominic Republic few years back.
The Third WFUNA Global Youth Forum was also held in conjunction with the plenary assembly at the Palms Beach Hotel of Punta Cana. The hotel brags a gorgeous convention centre and 500 rooms and suites with stunning views.
The Dominican Republic was under Spanish rule for 300 years and declared independence in 1821. It was occupied by the US between 1916 and 1924 (for eight years). Since 1996, the Dominican Republic moved towards representative democracy. In the past 20 years, the country has had one of the fastest growing economies in the Americas. Recent growth has been due to construction, manufacturing, tourism and mining.
I visited an Indian restaurant , Pranama, located at Bavaro in Punta Cana. Pranama, owned and run by Krishna and Maria, is the only restaurant in the Dominican Republic serving authentic Indian cuisine. It was a pleasure to meet Maria, with whom I was in touch with before my trip over email and phone. I was very touched during our email correspondence, only that as she had very kindly offered that if I had a problem finding time to go to her restaurant , she will be happy to send my dal/roti to the resort as well.
In my overseas visits, I come across many Indians whose Indianism and love and care for Indians has touched my heart, Maria’s husband, Krishna is, of course, one of them.
Pranama restaurant in Punta Cana
Maria and Krishna met each other in Switzerland while studying Hospitality Management in a well-known school and they were good friends. After completing their studies, Krishna came back to his hometown in Hyderabad and then visited Punta Cana to meet Maria for his holidays. Krishna has fallen in love with this place. When he visited Maria for his holidays they both decided to get married. Krishna loved Punta Cana so much that he decided to stay there and that gave birth to this beautiful Indian restaurant “Pranama”. I have not only enjoyed the food at “Pranama” but also was impressed with the décor of the restaurant .
The credit for the interior décor goes to Maria’s mother, who did all the paintings herself. The décor of the restaurant is a reflection of Indian art and culture. Indian motifs and pictures of Indian gods and goddesses further enhanced the Indianness of the place.
Krishna always had a special touch and feeling for cooking and he further honed his skills working for almost 10 years in the Swiss restaurant industry. He very well knows how to balance the flavours for non- Indians . The couple, together cook vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The Pranama restaurant has a real tandoor where they make all kinds of tandoori dishes, including naans. Apart from the restaurant , the couple also runs catering services, especially for Indian weddings in the hotels nearby.
I was very impressed by Maria’s knowledge about India and Indian cuisine. Maria also took me around to show me Punta Cana and I never felt that this was the first time I was meeting her.
As far as the Indian community in Punta Cana is concerned, apart from Krishna , there are two other Indians , one has a tour operator agency and the other is a chef working for a five-star hotel.
As Punta Cana is also emerging as a marriage destination for NRIs settled in North America , I am sure in a couple of years Punta Cana will host many big fat Indian weddings.
Before coming to Punta Cana, on the way I met Amit Shah, who is one of the very few Indians to come and settle at Juan Dolio, a small beach town located an hour’s drive from the capital city of Santo Domingo, some 18 years ago. Juan Dolio, with a 10-km white sand beach , is a weekender’s throng.
I had quite a few meetings notably with Fernando Gonzales Nicholas, the first honorary consul of India in the Dominican Republic and the newly appointed honorary consul of India , Antonio Lama.
During my evening with Maria, I told her that you have an Indian restaurant in a city of three-and-a-half Indians ; as there are three Indians in the city and since she is married to an Indian, she is half-Indian as well.
The Dominican Republic is a tropical paradise, all sun, sand and sea. An ideal place to unwind and host events.
The writer is a social and cultural activist based in Kolkata, and a frequent international traveller
end-of Google News: Carribean Beaches site-asianage.com

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1. Costa Rica. It’s been a long time since I was there but I did not find the cities very interesting. For wildlife and a variety of ecosystems, it was excellent.
2. Yes, Altitude sickness is an issue but you can acclimate in 2-3 days. Also, not much in the way of wildlife; llamas and guinea pigs and perhaps a few birds. The Native Andean culture is magnificent, however. Macchu Pichu is at a lower altitude that Cusco, BTW, so once you are acclimated to Cusco, MP is not too bad. The train ride thru the Urubamba Valley is probably the most beautiful I have experienced anywhere.
3. Have seen only a little of S.A. long ago. Have you considered Botswana?
I will pass over the ones you’ve excluded, but encourage you to visit Galapagos sometime. I loved it and so has everyone else I know who has been. Mexico is also wonderful. It’s huge country, so there are many experiences from lovely colonial cities with Spanish-style architecture and ancient pre-Columbian ruins, to great cuisine. There are even some wildlife parks. Parts of Mexico are dangerous due to drug trafficking and driving yourself around country roads could get you killed, so be careful with any planning.
It’s a long time since I was in India. That was a hard trip; it’s huge, the traffic is heavy and at the time, anyway, we had to do a lot of early-morning flying between cities. We went to Kathmandu and Tiger-Tops in Nepal at the end. Put that one on your list. Didn’t get to see a tiger ;-( but did ride on elephants, see Indian rhinos and wild peacocks in the trees.
Cuba is very interesting as a culture and a social experiment. There is some wonderful architecture and it’s very colorful. The food isn’t all that good; the best stuff is exported for hard currency. Also not much for wildlife, except birds. The roads are in bad shape.
One thing to bear in mind: some of those tropical countries will require vaccinations against diseases like cholera and yellow fever. Also pills as a preventive for malaria. That should not deter you from going but should be part of the planning process. And of course zika, if you are planning on getting pregnant soon.
A tour operator, or at least a travel agent, could make things so much easier. Here’s one based in London that was recommended to me on another TA Forum (I haven’t used it yet, tho, so have no personal experience):
https://www.tribes.co.uk
Edited: 7:39 am, today

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Restaurant Review – The Sanam, Alfreton

0 0 0 Choosing a place to take the grandkids for a meal can generally be quite a challenge for many of us. So when I said “we will go to the Sanam on King Street, Alfreton at 6pm for an early doors meal”, I’m not sure it was what they were expecting. It’s an Indian restaurant I explained. But they knew that, under normal circumstances their mum and dad regularly had an Indian takeaway and the grandkids usually had a pizza from across the road!
Now I know they love their pizzas, pastas, chicken and roasties but how would this change of culture go down with them? When it came to ordering each one was asked by Iqbal “What do you like? Do you like fish, or chicken?”
To our surprise the 8 year old opted for salmon. But she told us she wasn’t keen on Popadoms or naan bread. We encouraged them both to just try a little bite and from there on we didn’t get a look in.
There was lots of “Can I try your chicken tikka and your korma?” and they went down well too. They did opt for some fries this time. All in all it was a resounding success and subsequent takeaways have now been embraced with great excitement and experimenting. The fries haven’t been mentioned since as the cheese Nan’s have gone down a treat and the salmon, in particular, has become the favourite choice.
For us adults it was great to see that, whilst we know pizza, pasta and other foods will still be enjoyed by them, there’s a whole world of flavour out there to be tried and enjoyed; plus I get to go the Sanam, a popular place for the last 28 years for me, and have my traditional karahi chicken packed with succulent chicken, peppers and onions along with a cheese and garlic nan all washed down with a pint of Mongoose.
There’s everything on the menu you’d expect but straying onto the ‘chef’s specials’ section if you fancy something a little more exciting will really tickle your taste buds. The sauces at the Sanam are rich in flavour and there’s plenty of substance to them.
Our thanks to Iqbal and his friendly staff for continuing to make us welcome as a family and introducing the grandkids to a different cuisine. All in all a successful night out is assured. Advanced booking is always a good idea. Call 01773 830690 Related posts:

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How potatoes and chillies conquered Indian cuisine

India Anil Paralkar Mar 26, 2019 14:43:33 IST Firstpost print Edition
Can you imagine Indian food without chillies or tomatoes? Or dosas and samosas bereft of potatoes? Only 500 years ago, this is what Indian food looked like. Dosas in 16th-century Karnataka were filled with a mixture of plantains, salt, pepper, curry and coriander leaves, and ghee, and not with the famous masala potato mix. According to the Ni’matnama Manuscript of the Sultans of Mandu , which contains recipes from the 15th century Malwa Sultanate, the royals enjoyed samosas stuffed with a combination of minced meat and aubergine, perfumed with saffron and rosewater. Half a millennium ago, ingredients such as potatoes, maize, chillies, peanuts, cashews, papayas and pineapples featured nowhere in Indian cuisine. They were yet to make their journey to the subcontinent from the Americas. Image: Shutterstock
At the end of the 15th century, two famous Iberian expeditions set sail to explore a sea route that would take them straight to the realm of spices — India. During the Middle Ages, spices had been a luxury food in Europe, imported via intermediaries in the Middle East from India and Southeast Asia. The Europeans, however, did not know how to get to the source of these precious spices and were keen to change the status quo. One of the expeditions seeking to find a sea route to the land of spices was that of Christopher Columbus. Instead of India, this expedition landed in the Caribbean in 1492. As there had not been any exchange between the ‘Old World’ and the ‘New World’ for hundreds of years, the vegetation of the Americas was quite different to what had developed in Europe, Africa, or Asia. When the Spanish colonised large parts of South America during the 16th century, they brought back some indigenous American plants to Europe, including the now-beloved tomato and potato.
In 1497, another expedition left the Iberian Peninsula, looking for the sea route to India. The fleet, headed by Vasco da Gama, sailed under the Portuguese flag and reached Calicut (Kozhikode) in 1498. In the subsequent decades, the Portuguese strived to establish a foothold in India, and by the 1530s they had consolidated their rule over Goa. With them, the Portuguese brought some of the plants that they had themselves just acquired from the Americas via the Spanish and their own colony in contemporary Brazil. The Mughal emperor Akbar, a connoisseur of fruits, showed great interest in some of the new delicacies and made pineapples and guavas mainstays of the imperial kitchens. So much did he enjoy the pineapple that the sweet fruit was procured for ten times the price of a mango at the market. By the time of Jahangir, the emperor’s gardens in Agra already grew thousands of pineapples.
Not all of the new plants became popular immediately, though. One late starter was the chilli. Black pepper remained an important source for heat in northern Indian food until the 18th century, which was when chillies slowly started to make an appearance in the cuisine of the nobility. Pepper had been cultivated in Bengal and on the Malabar Coast in the preceding centuries and had been an important and valuable trade good. After the Portuguese arrival in India, chillies were first introduced to Goa, from where they spread to South India. When the army of the Maratha king Shivaji moved north to challenge the Mughal Empire during the 17th century, the chilli was also introduced to north India. According to legend, the Mughal army could only be defeated because the Marathas’ consumption of chillies turned them into particularly fiery adversaries. At first, chillies were used to prepare pickles and chutneys, adding another layer of flavour to the pungent relishes that were immensely popular in the 16th century, and were then incorporated into various other preparations. Today, India is the largest producer of red dried chilli in the world.
A second wave of adopting plants originating in the Americas occurred with a push from the British. While starchy vegetables such as the potato, sweet potato, and cassava were cultivated in India by the 16th century, they were far from staples. Indeed, according to records, when the British governor of Bombay received ‘a very acceptable present’ of a dozen pounds of potatoes in the late 18th century, he was so delighted that he organised a high society dinner party to share this ‘rare vegetable’. Then, in the 19th century, the British started a campaign to grow South American food plants in India. Utsa Ray in her book Culinary Culture in Colonial India explains that while the colonial government of Bengal claimed it was promoting ‘scientific’ and ‘modern’ agriculture, its efforts were informed by racist ideas of Indian inferiority. They sought to ‘civilise’ the Bengalis by advocating for the cultivation of plants that were purportedly superior to local crops. The results were mixed: while the attempt to replace Indian rice varieties with American types failed spectacularly, the cultivation of potatoes flourished and the vegetable became an everyday starch. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, by 2013 the average consumption of potatoes per capita reached 24 kg per year in India, with a rising trend.
The potato was not the only ingredient to get a boost from the British attempt to ‘modernise’ agriculture. Cauliflower, okra, and tomato also proliferated. Today, Indian cuisine would be almost unrecognisable without these ingredients. Of course, the native population did not just adopt the new ingredients as instructed by the British authorities. Rather, they responded with a mixture of curiosity and adherence to tradition. The new foods found favour during the 19th century via an emerging scene of British-style hotels and restaurants, where the middle classes could try out unfamiliar dishes. Eventually, these ingredients found their way to domestic Indian kitchens, where cooks adapted British recipes to suit the Indian palate.
When British colonial officers returned home after their service in India, they brought back a taste for anglicised Indian food to Europe. Nowadays, various styles and adaptations of Indian food are beloved in Europe and all over the world. Many popular preparations heavily rely on ingredients incorporated into Indian cookery in the last 500 years, particularly potatoes, chillies, and tomatoes. From this brief history, we can see how Indian cuisine has had a global flavour throughout history, constantly changing by absorbing new ingredients and cooking styles in a truly multicultural way.
( Anil Paralkar is a PhD candidate at Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and specialises in food history)
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Updated Date: Mar 26, 2019 14:43:33 IST Tags : Chillies , Cuisine , Culture , Food , Indian Cuisine , Issue 9 , Volume-1 Welcome 1. If you are in certain parts of Delhi NCR or Mumbai you can subscribe for doorstep delivery. Digital subscription comes free with it. 2. If you are outside this distribution zone you can access the full bouquet of Firstpost Print content online for a limited period. 3. You may sample up to five stories, following which you will need to sign up for continued access. Please choose one of the options…

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Odette in Singapore Claims No.1 Spot at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 Awards

Odette is the first Singapore restaurant to take the top spot in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list MACAU, CHINA – Media OutReach – 26 March 2019 – The 2019 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants , sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced at an awards ceremony at Wynn Palace, Macao.
The winning chefs and restaurateurs celebrate at the seventh annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, at Wynn Palace, Macau.
Odette in Singapore has taken top honours, succeeding four-time winner Gaggan in the No.1 spot. Serving Asian-inspired modern French cuisine, chef Julien Royer’s Odette claims the coveted titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in Singapore.
The 2019 list features 10 new restaurants, including a debut entry from Malaysia ( Dewakan, No.46) and a new restaurant in the Philippines ( Toyo Eatery , No.43) . Host destination Macao counts Jade Dragon, rising eight places to No.27, and Wing Lei Palace debuting at No.36.
Individual Country Awards :
Japan
Japan leads the 2019 list with 12 entries while Den (No.3) earns the title of The Best Restaurant in Japan for a second consecutive year. Den’s chef, Zaiyu Hasegawa, was also named the 2019 recipient of the Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm, the only award voted for by the chefs of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list to recognise a peer making a positive impact on the restaurant scene.
Thailand
After holding the No.1 spot for four consecutive years, Gaggan in Bangkok moves to No.2 while retaining the title of The Best Restaurant in Thailand. Entering the list at No.16, Gaa in Bangkok claims the Highest New Entry Award while the restaurant’s executive chef, Garima Arora, is named elit™ Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2019. Among the remaining six Thailand entries, Sorn , specialising in Southern Thai cuisine, is a new entry at No.48.
Singapore
Singapore claims seven entries on the list, including newcomer Nouri making a bow at No.39 and longtime favourites Burnt Ends and Jaan rising to No.10 and No.32 respectively.
Greater China
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (No.6) in Shanghai is named The Best Restaurant in China. Hong Kong counts nine restaurants, including first-time entries Vea (No.34) and Seventh Son (No.44). Soaring 25 places to No.15, modern French bistro Belon is crowned with this year’s Highest Climber Award.
Ascending 11 places to No.7, Mume in Taipei clinches the title of The Best Restaurant in Taiwan , besting two-time winner, Raw (No.30).
Regional
Locavore (No.42) in Bali holds the title of The Best Restaurant in Indonesia and wins the Sustainable Restaurant Award in Asia, presented to the restaurant with the highest environmental and social responsibility rating, as determined by audit partner Food Made Good.
Indian Accent (No. 17) returns as The Best Restaurant in India for a fifth successive year. Ministry of Crab in Colombo (No.35) is named The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka for a fourth time while Toyo Eatery, the 2018 recipient of the Miele One To Watch Award, enters the list at No.43, claiming the honour of The Best Restaurant in Philippines . Popular Seoul restaurant Mingles (No.13) retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Korea.
Other award winners announced include:
Asia’s Best Pastry Chef Award, sponsored by Valrhona: Fabrizio Fiorani from Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
Italian chef Fabrizio Fiorani developed his pastry skills in the kitchens of such acclaimed restaurants as La Pergola in his native Rome. His desserts seamlessly complement chef Luca Fantin’s contemporary Italian tasting menu.
Art of Hospitality Award: 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana’s outstanding hospitality, led by General Manager Marino Braccu, creates a highly refined but warm atmosphere in which diners can enjoy Chef Bombana’s creations.
Other award recipients include JL Studio in Taichung, Taiwan, earning the Miele One To Watch Award and celebrated chef Seiji Yamamoto, of Nihonryori RyuGin in Japan, who is the inaugural winner of the American Express Icon Award .
How the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled
The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.
To see more details on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit
http://www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/our-manifesto.html
Note to media: For further information, images and media assets from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, please register at our online media centre at
https://www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/media-centre-registration.html
Online Media Centre Website: https://mediacentre.theworlds50best.com

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My Take on White Nationalism 3

Ethnostates existing in America failed idea, America is a multicultural society and nearly every american you guys would call is a race traitor, even the economical powerhouse of the US are multi racial cities that sucks up the talents and brains from all regions of the world, this is globalisation for you. New york is a multiracial city has more GDP than the whole of Russia. even ancient prosperous cities existed as multi ethnic cities Greece, Egypt, Rome where all different colour people trade and ideas flew freely. even countries and cities who were 99% white once (London France) only outsource their multiracial societies to the colonies they once owned and now natives of the colonies migrate to the Empires capital
i agree with most points of the OP but not all,
I support the existence of a white supremacy Ethno state but the Technicalities of it are difficult, here are the issues that arises
Any Ethno state existing would have to be run like north Korea with a dictator, if any WS has any alternative governing plans please let me know.
using Japanese template for an ethnostate is really inaccurate because japan is not an ethnostate they have many different colour people living and working there which would go against what you believe in.
The media would have to be heavily control and censored as to prevent polluting ideas (Eg : no more Brazilian and Japanese ethnic porn, Rap or hip hop Music, only mozart and opera would be played)
Food would be restricted no Indian curries or Chinese Food or Mexican food, Japanese sushi, Turkish Kebabs, Lebanese grills, and Jamaican jerk chicken.
as for possible location of Ethnostate since US is out of the question and WS should look to Europe in places like Siberia which is sparsely populated and only inhabited by Whites (i think) Siberia is a huge and mostly uninhabited landmass which would provide space for population increase
another possible location is Chechnya or any other pure white only inhabited places in Caucasus region in Europe, the possible problem that might arise migrating here is that you might need to integrate into Chechen society or conflict will arise, in that case nearly uninhabited Siberia would be a better option Today, 03:41 PM # 22 Roo “Friend of Stormfront”
Sustaining Member
Join Date: Feb 2016 Posts: 8,769 Re: My Take on White Nationalism Quote: : Power I support the existence of a white supremacy Ethno state but the Technicalities of it are difficult, here are the issues that arises
Any Ethno state existing would have to be run like north Korea with a dictator, if any WS has any alternative governing plans please let me know. I waited to see if anyone else would comment on your post before saying anything, especially to this particular point. But since nobody did, I’ll just give you my thoughts.
Yes, we’ll probably need a dictatorship of some kind just to get everything organized, etc. I can’t really say whether or not it would follow along the lines of N. Korea’s, but we certainly wouldn’t be starving our own people. The point of having our own state would be for our people to have a place to thrive, not a place to die.
Historically there have been benevolent dictators, I can see it being run by one of those.
Quote: : using Japanese template for an ethnostate is really inaccurate because japan is not an ethnostate they have many different colour people living and working there which would go against what you believe in.
Oh… I was under the impression that Japan was largely under the control of Japanese people, and had limited immigration?
Quote: : The media would have to be heavily control and censored as to prevent polluting ideas (Eg : no more Brazilian and Japanese ethnic porn, Rap or hip hop Music, only mozart and opera would be played) Definitely. I can’t wait for the day!
Quote: : Food would be restricted no Indian curries or Chinese Food or Mexican food, Japanese sushi, Turkish Kebabs, Lebanese grills, and Jamaican jerk chicken. Not that I like half the food on your list, but I’m not sure why we couldn’t eat whatever we like as long as we can prepare it, ourselves?
But okay, even if we can’t eat ethnic cuisine, that would be worth it to me. I love bolognese, borscht, and quiche probably more than anything else, anyway.
Quote: : as for possible location of Ethnostate since US is out of the question and WS should look to Europe in places like Siberia which is sparsely populated and only inhabited by Whites (i think) Siberia is a huge and mostly uninhabited landmass which would provide space for population increase I’m not sure if those folks would appreciate a bunch of Americans moving in with them, and I don’t think it will be necessary, trust me. The Mexicans coming in here are not going to want to live with the Negroes, they’re already killing each other throughout southern California right now. The Asians are not going to want to live with either of them. They’re all very likely going to have their own states because they will not be able to stand each other. They already can’t stand each other!
And whites are going to flee from all of it because by then we’ll have absolutely had ENOUGH of the failed multicultural project.

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‘Fats are back’, says Vital Farms on launching its pasture-raised ghee

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter Subscribe ‘Fats are back’, says Vital Farms on launching its pasture-raised ghee By Kacey Culliney Related tags: ghee Pasture-raised egg and butter specialist Vital Farms has branched out into ghee – a category that has benefited from changing consumer attitudes towards fat – and saturated fat in particular.
Ghee, a class of clarified butter, originates from India and is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisine. Made by skimming and straining milk solids and water out of melted butter, ghee is free of lactose (milk sugar) and casein proteins and has a higher smoke point than butter. It also contains more short- and medium-chain fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and butyrates.
Vital Farms launched two ghee variants earlier this month – original and Himalayan pink salt – that are now available nationwide.
Shep Kowalski, brand manager at Vital Farms, said amidst a growing interest in ghee, the company saw an opportunity to bring a pasture-raised variant to consumers.
“Fats are back,” ​Kowalski told FoodNavigator-USA. “There is a growing trend for healthy fats and elevated cooking experiences in the home and ghee fits within both of those trends.” ​
Vital Farms’ ghee products would primarily be stocked alongside its regular butter, he said, to help consumers discover the versatility of ghee, that can be used in frying and sautéing, for spreading on toast or even putting in coffee.
“We believe that ghee is a trend that has staying power. Ghee is versatile, delicious and simple – that’s why it has been around for thousands of years,” ​Kowalski said. ‘Fertile ground’ for ghee innovation ​
Tom Vierhile, a Fairport New York-based new products expert, said consumer curiosity around ghee was certainly on the rise.
“According to Google Trends, the number of searches on ‘ghee’ in America rose by over 49% for the year period ended March 10, 2019 versus the year period ended March 12, 2017. Consumers are curious about how to use ghee and are adding it to coffee; trying to make it themselves in newish cooking devices like the Instant Pot; and are finding that it may complement the Keto Diet,” ​ Vierhile said.
“…How to use ghee is kind of a blank slate. The good news there is that ghee can be used in place of traditional butter, so the range of potential usage applications is broad.” ​Although, he said its place in coffee – to make so-called ‘bulletproof coffee’ that is claimed to help focus, energy and satiety – was the application that had really “put ghee on the map”. ​ This rising tide is lifting a lot of animal fat boats
Vierhile said the specialty fat was also one of “the beneficiaries” ​of a shift in consumer thinking.
“It was not that long ago when most Americans would not even think about using an animal fat like lard, but lard is having a renaissance in America of late and this rising tide is lifting a lot of animal fat boats, including ghee. ​
“…Ghee is benefitting as the fear of fat has faded in some parts of the food industry. This, combined with growth in low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets like the Ketogenic Diet, have helped create fertile ground for ghee product innovation,” ​he said.
However, Vierhile said given the ghee trend had only recently garnered pace and consumer awareness remained mixed, “only time will tell how long and far the trend goes”. ​ Ghee – a ‘clarified butter’ produced by boiling butter and pouring off the butterfat, leaving milk sugar (lactose) and protein (casein and whey) behind – is very high in saturated fat, but it’s gaining traction among shoppers looking for something new in the butters and spreads aisle Beyond a niche? ‘Ghee has a mystique few other fats and oils have’ ​
For the time being, he said ghee sat in a “specialty fat niche” ​ that would take a fair bit of work to get out of.
Could it become the next coconut butter? “To some extent, I think that ghee does look like the next coconut butter, though it is tough to tell at this point how high the ceiling may be for ghee. The fat does have some unique properties, including a higher smoke point than most other fats, but the health story for ghee is less clear.” ​
While ghee enthusiasts often tout its health credentials, however, like coconut oil, ghee is high in saturated fat, something the Dietary Guidelines for Americans still advise consumers to watch carefully. Ghee may be a mystery to the average consumer
Consumer education would therefore be “a crucial factor” ​in determining ghee’s success, Vierhile said, and manufacturers should also consider playing up the background story.
“Because of its prominence in Asia – especially India – and its roots in Ayurvedic medicine, ghee has a mystique that few other fats and oils have. Unlike most other types of fats and oils, ghee has a compelling story from a cultural perspective.” ​
The indulgent aspect of the product with its rich, nutty and caramel-like flavor also set it apart, he said.
“While [ghee] is a market that is growing, companies should understand that we are still at a stage where ghee may be a mystery to the average consumer and that consumer education is likely to be important going forward. There may be short-cuts to the process. Getting ghee into the hands of key influencers on social media or in the restaurant industry may speed up the education process,” ​Vierhile said.
Kowalski said for Vital Farms, its pasture-raised message would be a key driver behind the push of its ghee, along with the product’s subsequent high butterfat content that made it great for baking and ensured a rich flavor profile.

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Spinach Day: Now, what is this day all about?

| Updated: 14:22 [IST]
New Delhi, Mar 26: Spinach is nutritious, it is good for health, but did you know that a day is dedicated to this dark, leafy green vegetable, and what’s more, that day is today (March 26). March 26 is observed as Spinach Day in many countries, especially in the United States. Spinach is nutritious
The day is aimed at giving this green veggie some well-deserved attention. Why? Well, Spinach, known as “palak” in Hindi, is virtually free of fat, sugar and cholesterol, the mischevious trio against whom health experts and doctors warn us.
Not only can Spinach be found year-round, it can be incorporated in our daily diets in more ways than you can think of. Spinach can go with all kinds of food, adding flavour and nutrition to a variety of dishes.
Spinach can provide with a variety of healthy nutrition. It provides a substantial portion of daily requirement for multiple vitamins, including Vitamins A, B, B6, E, C, and K, as well as being an incredible source of folate, potassium, and most notably iron.
A recent research shows that spinach can prevent cancer and keep your mind young and agile. It can help prevent diabetes too.
There are innumerable ways to incorporate spinach in every meal of the day. It can be added to sandwiches, as pizza topping, to soups and salads. Spinach puree along with cottage cheese is a delicacy in the Indian cuisine and eaten with Indian bread made of whole wheat flour. [India doesn’t define ‘Junk Food’, invites manipulation]
It is important to know that there is a difference in nutrition with cooked and raw spinaches. Some nutrients that are lost in the cooking process. The great thing about spinach is that it is a green, which means it is low in calorie with 1 serving of spinach (28g) just being 7 calories. Just in a 100 grams of spinach, you can find 50% of protein, 20.8% carbohydrate and 29.2% all of 24 calories, according to website stopmycraving.com .
So go hog on Spinach and rest assured it won’t do you any harm!

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Online food ordering market to touch $17.02 bn by 2023: Study

COMMENT Likely to grow at over 16%
The online food ordering market in India is likely to grow at over 16 per cent annually to touch $ 17.02 billion by 2023, according to a study by business consultancy firm Market Research Future.
The study, titled ‘Digital Platforms Reign in the Food Ordering Market’, said the growth in online food ordering market has been attributed to the rising number of women in working population in most of the metro cities.
“The Indian online food ordering market is slated to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 16.2 per cent at $ 17.02 billion by 2023,” it said.
According to the study, 95 per cent of the respondents surveyed order food online, owing to promotional offers and discounts, while 84 per cent individuals said its hassle-free and time-saving.
It added that 78 per cent of the individuals order food online because its convenient. And 73 per cent order food online because of a wide variety of cuisines on a single-click.
“Lunch is the most preferred meal to be ordered online and card payment is the most preferred mode of payment,” it added.
Bengaluru gets the highest number of online orders as compared to other cities with 20 per cent of the market share acquired by the southern city, the report said.
It is followed by Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad with a share of 18 per cent, 17 per cent, 15 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, while other cities accounted for 18 per cent of the market share.
“The rising number of logistics providers has also enabled food delivery companies to optimise their fleet, thereby reducing delivery time. Online food delivery platforms are focused towards acquisitions and are collaborating with logistics companies to manage delivery operations in the dedicated region,” it added. Published on

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CNN Travel’s 19 best places to visit in 2019 | World News | Travel Wire News

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Many people only associate with Christchurch with its most tragic event — the 2011 earthquake that leveled much of the city and resulted in 185 deaths. But it isn’t the natural disaster that defines a city — it’s the way they choose to regroup and rebuild.
Several years later, Christchurch has been reconstructed to be respectful of locals and to be more thoughtful of the environment, creating a city that feels at once hopeful and dynamic. Vendors who once sold out of a pop-up mall of containers are now moving to brick-and-mortar locations, followed by loyal locals. Colorful street art about hope and resilience has appeared all over the city. Music performances are often held in rotating venues around the city instead of a single opera house or concert hall so more people have a chance to attend. Don’t miss: Kakano , a Maori-owned and -operated cooking school and cafe that aims to heal people through food and the Christchurch Art Gallery, which served as home base for post-quake first responders and is now a gorgeous centerpiece for a city on the move. Lilit Marcus
The ancient Egyptian temple of Abu Simbel stands on the shores of Lake Nasser.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
The land of the Pharaohs has been welcoming tourists for so long, it’s a wonder that archeologists haven’t discovered hieroglyphics depicting backpackers.
Sadly, the country’s tourist trade has taken a battering in recent times with security concerns and political upheaval keeping many visitors away. A December 28, 2018 attack that killed four people near the Pyramids of Giza shows that there are still serious security issues.
While that may deter some, others will continue returning to a country that appears to be taking faltering steps back on to the mainstream tourism circuit. So what’s different in 2019? Well, while the sand has been settling on deserted classic monuments, Egyptologists have been brushing it gently aside elsewhere to discover a litany of exciting finds, many of which are now being opened to the public .
Mummies, sphinxes, tombs and fresh pyramid mysteries have all been unearthed over the past year, as Egypt proves time and again it has many more secrets yet to be revealed.
And while safety concerns persist, hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings take place without incident each year. Likewise, Egypt’s main Red Sea resorts are considered safe. Expect a major tourism drive by Egypt in coming months as it gears up to 2020’s expected opening of its highly anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum . Until then, there’s a perfect opportunity to beat the crowds. Don’t miss: If you can find someone to let you in, the recently opened Tomb of Mehu is a spine-tingling 4,000 years old. Nearby, the ancient Saqqara necropolis complex is where ancient Egypt’s penchant for pyramid building began. Barry Neild Fukuoka, Japan
Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu is just one of many places to explore off the beaten path in Fukuoka.
Alamy
Fascinating history. Incredible eats. Natural beauty. If the Japanese seaside city of Fukuoka isn’t already on your radar, it’s time to recalibrate your Japan travel plans. Capital of the prefecture of the same name and one of several host cities for the 2019 Rugby World Cup , Fukuoka is the gateway to the island of Kyushu.
It’s the perfect destination for those looking to go beyond the well-trodden destinations like Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto and see a new corner of Japan. Highlights of this city and its surrounding area include the ruins of the 17th-century Fukuoka Castle, the beautiful Kyushu National Museum and Dazaifu Tenmangu , a Shinto shrine that’s home to over 6,000 plum trees that blossom in stunning fashion each spring. And while we’re on the subject of blooms, another famed destination is the tunnel of wisterias at Kawachi Fuji-en Garden in Kitakyushu, about an hour’s drive from the city. Another worthy day trip is Yanagawa, an hour outside of the Fukuoka, famed for its picturesque canals.
But we’ve saved the best for last: The food. Due to its seaside position on Japan’s east coast, Fukuoka is a seafood lover’s dream destination and considered one of Japan’s top foodie cities. Just head for the Nagahama Fish Market . The commercial market floor only opens to the public once a month but you can still visit its restaurants, which are open seven days a week. We do recommend saving space for a bowl of Hakata ramen though. A local specialty, it’s the original tonkotsu ramen and prized for its deliciously fatty pork broth. Try it at Ichiran , a restaurant chain found throughout Japan that originated in Hakata, Fukuoka. Don’t miss: The impressive Fukuoka Art Museum is reopening in March 2019 following extensive renovations that kicked off back in 2016. It offers a wide range of works from celebrated Japanese and global artists including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Marc Chagall. Karla Cripps
Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle is where many slaves were held before being deported.
Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket/Getty Images
West Africa’s poster nation for economic success and political stability is hoping to trade up its tourism status for 2019, with a campaign targeting the African diaspora whose ancestors were victims of the brutal slave trade of centuries gone by. The country’s Year of Return marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in North America. It’s a somber recognition of the evil that befell Ghana’s past inhabitants and their descendants — and the strength with which they’ve faced it.
Legacies of the slave trade are unavoidable. Cape Coast Castle, one of many historic coastal forts, was where slaves were held before being dispatched to America and the Caribbean. This brutal and fascinating reminder was visited by the Obamas in 2009 and Melania Trump in 2018.
For all the sobriety of this anniversary, what also awaits visitors to Ghana is the warm, intoxicating embrace of country completely at ease with its identity rushing headlong toward a bright future.
The capital, Accra, crackles with the dynamism of a city on the upswing, with a nightlife scene to match. For those wanting to escape its relentless excitement, Ghana’s 335-mile coastline boasts empty surfing spots like Cape Three Points, while its many protected wildlife zones, including Mole National Park, are home to wild elephants, Nolan warthogs and spotted hyenas.
Don’t miss: Tongo, a village in the Tengzug Hills of northeastern Ghana, is home to the Whistling Rocks — dramatic arrangements of giant granite slabs that produce strange sounds when winds blow down from the Sahara. Barry Neild
The Grand Canyon is marking 100 years as a national park.
Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto/Getty Images One of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Canyon National Park is marking its centennial anniversary in 2019.
Never mind that the canyon is actually about five or six million years old, give or take a few years, with rocks at the canyon bottom dating back some 2,000 million years.
There are human artifacts dating back nearly 12,000 years to the Paleo-Indian period, and the area has been continuously occupied up to the present day.
It was first protected by the US government in 1893, and it became Grand Canyon National Park on February 26, 1919, offering the 1.2 million-acre park the most US government protection possible.
About 277 miles long and a mile deep from rim to river at various points, the park attracted more than 6 million visitors for the first time ever in 2017.
Yet most people view the Grand Canyon by the magnificent South Rim, while some visit the North Rim in season (it closes for the winter).
More adventurous sorts can take two days to hike to the canyon bottom. (Riding a mule is an easier option.) Hikers who trek from rim to rim could take three days one-way, while rafters might take two weeks or more. Don’t miss: Hiking the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden or even just part way down, suggests award-winning photographer Pete McBride, author of “Grand Canyon: Between River and Rim.” Hiking even a little bit gives people a perspective of the size of the place, he says. “But remember, hiking in is easy. Hiking out is harder. And always bring water and electrolytes.” Katia Hetter
Kilauea Volcano’s Halemaumau crater is back to being a tourist attraction.
C. Parcheta/U.S. Geological Survey/AP
After a few shaky months, Hawaii Island is back, warmly welcoming visitors to its slice of paradise.
Following the devastating volcanic eruption of Kilauea in May 2018 that impacted air quality, destroyed homes and put a damper on tourism, the island of Hawaii (locals ask that you not call it “the Big Island”) is once again primed to show off its magnificent beauty, astonishingly diverse landscape and relaxed island pace. Although two-thirds of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed during the Kilauea eruption, much of it reopened in late September, and trails and attractions continue to attract visitors. Volcano House , located in the park, reopened in early November and boasts top-notch star-gazing along with unparalleled volcano views.
While there are still some closures on the island and within the park, the number of new offerings is impressive enough to please even the most ambitious travelers. For locally-inspired brews, head to Ola Brew Co . Go for the Kona Gold Pineapple Cider or the Watermelon Double IPA, and stay to soak up the community vibe. Resort aficionados, who long for breathtaking sunsets over the water, may wish to stay at the recently renovated Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection, while boutique hotel seekers looking for something a little more rustic and down-to-earth can’t go wrong at the Kamuela Inn , located in Waimea, an area of the island known for its ranching history. Don’t miss: Hawaii Forest & Trail’s new Volcano Unveiled tour takes guests on an off-road adventure to explore changes to Halemaumau crater. Stacey Lastoe
The Callanish Standing Stones: A Hebrides mystery dating back 5,000 years.
Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/UIG/Getty Images You might have heard stories about Scotland’s fine white sand dunes, turquoise waters, rugged mountains, crumbling castles — but nothing can prepare you for seeing the Hebridean islands .
The most famous of the lot, the Isle of Skye, makes it onto many travelers’ must-see lists, but the lesser-visited Lewis and Harris, the most northerly Outer Hebridean Island, also deserves to be there.
The birthplace of Harris Tweed, the famous cloth that’s been woven, dyed and spun by the islanders for centuries, is also home to its own Stonehenge-style mystery in the Callanish Standing Stones.
Unlike Stonehenge, visitors can get up close to the standing circle of boulders at Callanish, which is believed to have been erected about 5,000 years ago.
For this and Lewis and Harris’ other wonders, it’s worth the drive to Ullapool, close to the northern tip of the Scottish mainland, and the 2.5-hour ferry across a choppy stretch of the Atlantic to explore these islands. Alternatively, there’s the plane from Glasgow straight to Stornoway, the island’s capital.
Each Hebridean island has its own distinctive vibe, but they’re all grounded in a similar small-town community spirit. Islay, the southernmost Hebridean isle, known for its whisky distilleries and incredible beaches, offers a true sense of island life. Driving around, visitors might be more likely to encounter cows than people, but any meeting with an islander will likely earn an “Islay wave”— a friendly acknowledgment from a fellow driver. Don’t miss: On Islay, head to atmospheric Loch Finlaggan, the late medieval meeting place of the Lords of the Isles, the former rulers of the Hebrides. Ferry provider Caledonian MacBride (CalMac) offers cheap travel between each Hebridean island, but the ride to the Isle of Barra by plane is worth it to experience one of the world’s most picturesque plane landings, descending onto a stunning sandy beach. Francesca Street
Jaffa’s narrow streets are packed with jewelers, sculptors, antique dealers, candlemakers and painters.
noamarmonn / Pixabay
Tel Aviv-Yafo is often lumped together as one unit for the convenience of an airport and Google Maps, but 4,000-year-old Yafo (often spelled Jaffa in English) is as different from Tel Aviv as Brooklyn is from Manhattan. The artsier sister, Jaffa has traditionally been home to narrow streets packed with jewelers, sculptors, antique dealers, candlemakers, painters and more displaying and selling their work. Also making the case for Jaffa as much more than a day trip are the three boutique hotels that opened in 2018 — The Jaffa , The Setai and The Drisco. How to spend a perfect day there? Have hummus and pita at the jam-packed communal tables at Abu Hassan followed by sweets at Abulafia bakery. Experience the world’s first deaf-blind theater company, Nalaga’at (there’s a cafe next door where all the baristas are deaf and you can learn Israeli Sign Language signs for words like “coffee”), and don’t forget to pick up banana-scented soaps and orange-blossom perfume from Zielinski & Rosen.
Don’t Miss: Jaffa is home to the first whisky distillery in all of Israel, the aptly named Milk + Honey. And before you have to ask — yes, it’s kosher. Lilit Marcus
The backwaters of Kerala are an idyllic place to stay on a houseboat.
Mike Hewitt/FIFA/Getty Images This area of India has it all: sun, sea, sand, good food, houseboats, culture and wildlife. Its spectacular natural landscapes — think palm trees and sprawling backwaters — lend the region the nickname “God’s Own Country.”
Severe floods during the summer of 2018 wreaked havoc across this southwestern state, but many of its top tourist destinations escaped unscathed.
Visitors will likely land at Kochi International, an airport powered entirely by solar panels. The ancient port city of Kochi, once occupied by the Portuguese, is a multicultural hub offering plenty to do and see. It’s a great place to check out traditional Kathakali dance, the storytelling dance form known for its colorful and intricate costumes and masks that hails from Kerala.
Kerala is also great for beaches, particularly in the southern part of the state. Postcard-perfect Kovalam is a surfing hotspot, while Varkala is good for just relaxing.
Kerala’s backwaters are famous for a reason: a nexus of waterways linking the regions’ villages and best explored via kettuvallam — a traditional wooden houseboat. It’s worth spending anywhere from a single afternoon to a week on one of the many rental houseboats on offer, enjoying the sights and sounds drifting by.
Other top trips include Munnar to see the tea plantations, and Periyar National Park, a wildlife haven offering guided jungle treks.
Don’t miss: The food — from the spice shops of Munnar to the coconut, which is everywhere in Kerala and used to make one of the state’s signature dishes: Kerala prawn curry. Francesca Street
Liechtenstein marks its tricentenary in 2019.
Prisma by Dukas/UIG/Getty Images
The world’s sixth smallest country packs a lot within its borders.
Tucked between Austria and Switzerland, the tiny principality of Liechtenstein covers just 160 square kilometers (62 square miles).
Yet castles, museums and spectacular hiking and biking trails are all draws in this sliver of alpine terrain that’s also a banking powerhouse for uber-wealthy international clients.
Liechtenstein has gone unnoticed by most of the world’s tourists during the principality’s 300 years, but the 2019 tricentennial puts the country — with its 37,000 residents — in the spotlight. Ceremonies, exhibitions and celebrations are planned throughout the year to mark Liechtenstein’s 300th anniversary as a principality. In May, the Liechtenstein Trail i s set to debut. The 75-kilometer (47-mile) trail stiches together a network of existing paths that traverse all 11 municipalities. A new app — complete with Augmented Reality — will help visitors navigate the route. Hikers looking for a thrill beyond the postcard-perfect landscapes can join a falconer and a golden eagle on a soaring 90-minute hiking adventure near Malbun.
Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz, is home to a handful of museums featuring fine art, cultural artifacts, postage stamps and more. The principality’s Treasure Chamber features valuable items belonging to the Princes of Liechtenstein.
Don’t miss: The country’s most precious treasure may be its show-stopping alpine setting, complete with strategically perched fairytale stone castles like the Gutenberg Castle in Balzers. Marnie Hunter
Lima is home to three of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
pvdberg/ Pixabay
Athletes and racing adventurers will be working up an appetite in Peru in 2019. The Pan American and Parapan American Games will be hosted in Lima (July 26-August 11), where nearly 7,000 competitors will vie for dominance in 39 sports. Well before those athletes arrive, 2019 will start full-throttle with the 2019 Dakar Rally on January 6-17.
Starting and finishing in Lima, the Dakar Rally is an 11-day odyssey that involves more than 300 participating vehicles — from motorcycles to trucks — racing along a 5,000-kilometer route in Peru.
All that exertion deserves a delicious reward, and Lima is ready to feed you. Pia León, who along with her husband chef Virgilio Martínez is behind much-lauded Central , opened Kjolle in 2018 in Lima’s trendy Barranco district. Don’t miss: Mercado 28 is a new gastronomic market in the Miraflores district. The market features an array of eateries offering tapas, Amazonian cuisine, ceviche, cocktails and more. Marnie Hunter
The skyline of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City.
Gary Hershorn/Corbis/Getty Images
Like all the world’s great cities, New York ebbs and flows in a constant state of change and progress, but it’s always a destination worth visiting. So why now? In June 2019, New York will host World Pride , the world’s biggest LGBTQ celebration, and simultaneously honor its own history with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The riots took place at an iconic Greenwich Village gay bar — now part of a federally recognized National Monument where queer and trans individuals in the community pushed back against a police raid.
The event marked a major moment for the advancement and recognition of LGBTQ rights in the United States, and its half-century mark is a reminder that New York will always be a home to those in need — as long as you don’t try to push your way onto the subway before everyone else has gotten off. Beyond the special celebrations, there’s a reason New York’s classics are classics, from the Jackson Pollocks on display at the Met to a plate full of seafood at the 42nd Street Oyster Bar inside the architectural wonder that is Grand Central Terminal. Don’t miss: The recently revamped New York City Ferry system connects the boroughs in a new, easy way — it’s the best option to get from downtown Manhattan to surfer-friendly Rockaway Beach. And no matter the weather, it’s always the right time for pizza . Lilit Marcus
Normandy American Cemetery, close to Omaha beach in Colleville-sur-Mer
Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
Idyllic Normandy on France’s northern coast has a big historical footprint for a long time. It’s the place from which a conqueror named William set sail to tame England nearly 1,000 years ago.
But in 2019, our focus will be on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the course of world history was altered because of the World War II English Channel crossing that launched the Allies’ bloody liberation of France from Nazi rule. There are more than 20 cemeteries in Normandy honoring war dead from Allied and Axis countries. The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer , on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, is seen in the opening and closing scenes of “Saving Private Ryan” and is a moving experience. The Utah Landing Beach Museum , where you can see an original B-26 bomber, is one of several you can visit to learn more about the perilous effort. The Musée du Débarquement in the lovely village of Arromanches-les-Bains is another choice. Bayeux is an excellent staging place for a vistor’s tour of Normandy. While it’s most known for the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman invasion, it’s also another excellent stop on your D-Day tour. Don’t miss: Where the Seine River meets the English Channel is Honfleur , home to a picturesque harbor and other points of interest that captured the eye of impressionist Claude Monet. Insiders advise renting a car to truly see all that Normandy has to offer. Forrest Brown
Oaxaca is home to the Monte Alban UNESCO site, a large pre-Columbian archaeological complex.
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket/Getty Images
Oaxaca, in central Mexico, may not have gotten as much attention as Mexico City or Tulum, but it doesn’t need to try hard to impress visitors, whether through its cuisine, art, ruins or mezcal.
This Mexican city, with its colorful colonial buildings and open-air marketplaces selling a seemingly infinite number of ingredients to make mole, the city’s claim to fame, is a sight to behold. And speaking of mole, a sauce made from chocolate and ground chiles and ladled generously over many Mexican specialties: Oaxaca is a food destination in its own right. Diners looking to splurge on a meal should check out Casa Oaxaca , which has duck tacos and smoked octopus as well as a small section of the menu devoted to vegan dishes.
Casual diners (and everyone else) should try Oaxaca’s other regional items: the tlayuda. A large griddled tortilla filled with beans, pork fat and cheese, it can be found in restaurants around town and in food markets, such as the Mercado 20 de Noviembre. After a day or two wandering the picturesque streets, hire a driver or join a tour group and head out of the city center to explore the ruins of Mitla or the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site , Monte Albán, a pre-Columbian architectural site. Don’t miss: Oaxaca’s bed and breakfast scene is one of the most charming parts of a visit to Oaxaca. The Cabrera Family owns three B&Bs in the area, and they are all highly recommended both for their two-course breakfasts and beautiful rooms: Casa de las Bugambilias, Los Milagros and El Secreto . Of note also is the Casa de Siete Balcones , a bed and breakfast housed in an 18th century building that has preserved many Baroque details. Stacey Lastoe Oman
Oman has epic sand dunes, mountains and some of the greenest terrain on the Arabian peninsula.
Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis/Getty Images
For golden dunes under panoramic skies, epic mountain ranges and waters teeming with dolphins and turtles, Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula, has it all.
The evocatively named Empty Quarter is the world’s largest sand desert and can be ventured into with guides for your own Lawrence of Arabia adventures. Sharqiya Sands offers resorts and camps and activities such as camel-racing, sand-skiing and 4WD dune-bashing.
The Hajar Mountains, with stunning views over steep canyons, can be explored by horseback or on foot, and can be combined with a visit to the ancient city of Nizwa, with its fort and legendary souk.
Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve is the beach where green turtles come to nest, while there are dolphin-spotting opportunities all along Oman’s generous coastline, including Muscat, the port capital. The beachside Kempinski Hotel Muscat is Oman’s newest five-star hotel, a diamond-shaped building with a striking geometric façade and a coolly beautiful lobby inspired by water lilies.
The best time to visit is October to April, to avoid the intense summer heat.
The newly expanded Muscat International Airport, with its $1.8 billion passenger terminal, is ready for an influx of visitors to this lesser-discovered Middle Eastern destination.
Don’t miss: Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscan is a spectacular example of Islamic architecture. Its prayer hall is filled by a magnificent 70 meter-by-60 meter Persian carpet, woven by 600 women over a four-year period. Maureen O’Hare Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Wander the streets of Bulgaria’s second largest city, from its Roman amphitheater to its colorful buildings. Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria, is getting ready to cement its status on the European city break circuit as one of two European capitals of culture for 2019. (The other is the rocky city of Matera , Italy.)
Known for its Roman ruins, Plovdiv was also the onetime stomping ground of Greeks and Ottomans. Its east-meet-west location means there’s a mix of cultural influences, on show at places like the approx 600-year-old Dzhumaya Mosque and the Ottoman-era Chifte Banya — a 16th century bathhouse that now houses modern art exhibits. In the summer months, Plovdiv’s cobbled streets transform into a bustling festival hub. In June and July, the Opera Open festiva l is in full swing and visitors can catch performances at the city’s incredible Roman amphitheater. In the hipster Kapana district, which translates as “the Trap,” Kapana Fest offers cultural entertainment in the summer and fall. Wandering Kapana, you’ll spot nightclubs neighboring craft shops and plenty of places to soak up the bohemian, laid-back vibe.
Don’t miss: The Roman ruins — from the Stadium, commissioned by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD to the ruins of the Roman Forum that was once Plovdiv’s administrative center. The highlight of the Roman relics is the city’s ancient theater, which was restored in the mid-20th century and is the perfect spot to watch a performance or two. Francesca Street St. Barts, French West Indies
Most of St. Barts hotels and villas are open.
Helene Valenzuela/AFP/Getty Images
Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean and parts of the southern United States in September 2017, leaving in her wake unprecedented destruction and the daunting task of reconstruction.
Islands such as Barbuda, Turks and Caicos, Tortola and St. Martin suffered extensive damage.
A French outpost and haunt for billionaires and celebrities over the past several decades, St. Barthélemy (the formal name for St Barts) was also damaged. But it’s getting closer to full recovery.
Most of the island’s hotels and villas are open, according to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, which means guests can enjoy the crystal blue waters and lush tropical greenery while spotting its world-famous regulars (walking along white sandy beaches in their swim garb, no less).
Cheval Blanc–St. Barth Isle de France, Le Sereno, Hotel Manapany and The Christopher have already re-opened, and mainstay properties such as Le Guanahani and Eden Rock — St Barth are planning to re-open in late 2019. (Eden Rock’s villas are already open.) In the spring, St. Barts — which Christopher Columbus named for his brother, Bartolomeo — hosts many events, including the Bucket Regatta on the weekend of March 21st and Les Voiles de St. Barth , a week-long regatta in April that draws over 1,000 sailors and at least 80 boats.
Don’t miss: Visiting during Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2019. A litany of boldface names (possibly Leonardo DiCaprio, Barry Diller, Ellen DeGeneres) pepper the beaches, restaurants and nightclubs with their attendant glitz, as the armada of superyachts and sail boats owned by international captains of industry and Russian oligarchs float in the distance. Locals say the best place to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks show is above Cour Vendome or on the General de Gaulle docks. Brekke Fletcher Space Coast, Florida, United States
The Kennedy Space Center offers the chance to learn all about NASA’s Apollo missions.
Alamy
Are you ready to explore outer space? While no one can promise you a tourist adventure to the moon — at least not yet — space fans can still explore the heavenly skies on a trip to the Space Coast.
The 50th anniversary of mankind’s first walk on the moon will be July 20, 2019, and Central Florida’s Atlantic shoreline is ready for the throngs who want to see where Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins rocketed off the Earth and into the history books. At Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, learn all about historic Apollo missions from 1963 to 1972. While the Apollo 11 landing will get the limelight in 2019, you can also see exhibits on the Space Shuttle program, Hubble Telescope and more. Don’t miss: Enjoy a couple of non-space outings. At pristine Sebastian Inlet State Park , surfers will like the waves on the ocean side while calmer Indian River Lagoon will appeal to kayakers. The Treetop Trek in nearby Melbourne lets you zip through and frolic in Florida’s arboreal beauty. Forrest Brown
Weimar’s Baroque Belvedere castle was built for house parties.
Alamy An exhilarating, precarious tightrope walk between two World Wars, the years of the Weimar Republic — 1918 to 1933 — were a time of enormous artistic energy and bold freedom of expression in Germany .
In what is surely one of the exciting periods in the country’s history, Weimar — a small city of 65,000 in Thuringia — was not only the birthplace of the new republic but also the seat of a modernist revolution in art and design, with repercussions that would be felt around the world.
The Bauhaus art school — now Bauhaus University — was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius and gave us artists such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. Centenary celebrations will take place nationwide this year, with the “100 Years of Bauhaus” opening festival taking place in Berlin from January 16 to 24, but to see where it all began, head to Weimar’s Bauhaus-Museum, then hit the streets to soak up the atmosphere.
For this little town is a cultural heavyweight — in the late 18th and 19th centuries, it was the birthplace of German Classicism, giving us the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.
Composers Franst Liszt and Johann Sebastian Bach also made music here.
You’ll be tripping over UNESCO World Heritage sites as you wander through the town, from the Goethe House to Belvedere Castle. Don’t miss : The Bauhaus Walking Tour , founded by students, meets at the Bauhaus Atelier café-shop in Bauhaus University. Maureen O’Hare
This story was written by CNN’s Katia Hetter, Forrest Brown, Karla Cripps, Brekke Fletcher, Marnie Hunter, Stacey Lastoe, Lilit Marcus, Barry Neild, Maureen O’Hare and Francesca Street, and was edited by Hetter. Share this:

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