Unique Hotels in Africa

Africa is such a splendid place to travel to and it may be the perfect destination for an adventurous holiday. But it is very important to plan your stay correctly to enjoy your holiday to the full! There are various unique hotels in Africa and below you may find a few of a large selection of hotels which are available in Africa!

Some of which are:

The Palace of the Lost City which is situated in South Africa. This is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels. Its ceilings were hand-painted and show South Africa’s wildlife and culture. The interior features exquisite mosaics and frescoes.

The Palace of the Lost City has 338 rooms and this number includes four suites.

Staying in this hotel affords you the opportunity to enjoy life in your very own palace! All standard rooms at The Palace of the Lost City consist of an entrance foyer, en-suite bathroom, lounge and seating area, amenities include air-conditioning, TV, radio, safe, telephone, mini-bar and butler station. This hotel also has a large pool and this pool is intricately decorated with mosaics and sculpture.

If you prefer to stay in the heart of Cairo, then Cairo Marriott Hotel is the hotel for you!

Cairo Marriott Hotel is located in Zamalek, in the heart of Cairo.

One can see magnificent views of the Nile or six acres of palace gardens from this hotel. It has 977 rooms, 112 suites, 15 dining outlets, casino and over 35,500 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

In this hotel one can make meetings, conventions, events and weddings. A stay at this hotel ensures that you enjoy the best of everything Cairo has to offer, with area attractions such as the Pyramids of Giza, Khan el Khalili, Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Cairo Opera House, the sights of old Cairo and several dining options just minutes away. To unwind, relax by the side of one of the largest pools in Cairo or at ‘CafĂ© Promenade’ and watch history pass you by.

Cairo Marriott Hotel has a 24 hour business center, laundry, gym and pool for all residents, high-speed internet and more than 60 TV channels available. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a mini-bar, tea and coffee makers. All rooms have luxurious bedding and the 71 suites have kitchenettes which make them ideal for long term stays and families.

CapeGraceHotel

Cape Grace Hotel is situated in Cape Town. The hotel’s interiors combine engaging artifacts and original antiques with a rich tapestry of local history.

Cape Grace Hotel provides

– Luxury private transfers within a 10 kilometre radius, including town and local beaches
– Use of the hot spa area with sauna, steam room, mineral spa bath, rain shower and body shower
– Daily Cape orientation and wine presentation
– 24 hour complimentary internet access in the state-of-the-art communication centre
– Lavish full breakfast in ‘Signal’, which is one of the best breakfast venues in town
– Morning tea and coffee with a wake-up call
– Transfers and access to the nearby health club, with fitness classes, squash and tennis courts and a 25 metre indoor heated pool
– Secure parking in private, underground car park

The hotel’s rooms are elegant in style and are of a good size. This hotel has 121 guest rooms. Every hotel room has views of the marina or the working harbour, fresh flowers and personally selected books, ‘Charlotte Rhys’ toiletries, velour robes and slippers, fully stocked mini-bar, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, guest link television system: satellite television channels and selected radio stations, international plug points, fax/Internet modem lines, private room safe, separate bath, shower and toilet, irons and ironing boards.

One can dine at ‘Signal Restaurant’ which is found at Cape Grace Hotel.

There is also a wine and cocktail bar at this hotel and guests can choose from the largest collection of whiskeys south of the equator or enjoy a delicious cocktail.

This hotel also has a spa. It is located on the top floor of the hotel, with panoramas of ‘Table Mountain’, the city and yacht marina.

Within this hotel one also can find a library. This library has rich tapestry of colours, well-stocked bookshelves and historic works of art. One also may find a very large pool to refresh and enjoy a relaxed day in the sun.

Another great hotel in Africa is the Thornybush Game Lodge.

This hotel is in the Mpumalanga region and lies in the heart of big 5 country adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park, with a huge diversity of mammal and bird species. Thornybush Game Lodge boasts 18 stylish air-conditioned luxury suites and 2 family suites, all with extensive living areas overlooking the seasonal Monwana River. One will enjoy exciting dawn and dusk safaris in open Land Rovers.

Guest facilities of this hotel include:

– Secure open parking
– Baby sitters
– Bar/pubs and restaurants
– Same day laundry & valet library
– Personal game ranger
– Non-smoking rooms
– Children activity programme
– Safety deposit box

The hotel also provides various sports facilities which include:

– Swimming pool
– Bird watching
– Walking safaris
– Botanical interests

The hotel also has standard swimming pool masseurs, Curio shop and a wellness centre. The hotel enjoys a direct dial phone service and internet service.

Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa

Le Franschhoek Hotel is splendidly surrounded by the world famous vineyards of the Western Cape, overlooking the ‘Franschhoek Mountains’; the perfect setting to explore the Cape wine route. This hotel also has meeting facilities, three restaurants, including the ‘Le Vergeroutdoor’ dining venue and the on site spa. This hotel is a family hotel but can also be ideal for any conferential purposes.

This hotel provides:

– 24 hour room service
– Secure open parking
– 24 hour reception
– Disabled facilities
– Baby sitters
– Bar/pubs and restaurants
– Same day laundry & valet
– Non-smoking rooms
– Cocktail lounge
– Tea garden
– Children activity programme

Sports facilities include: playing tennis, swimming pool, fishing, hiking, bird watching and mountain biking. There is also a wellness centre, gymnasium and standard swimming pool.

So start planning your holiday to Africa, such a great adventurous experience that you will never forget!

Looking at the Wooden Log Cabin Preserved in The Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Various artifacts, stories and a 12 minute film trace America’s struggle from the earliest beginnings of slavery through the Civil War unto reconstruction after the attainment of freedom at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

One of the most memorable exhibits is the wooden log cabin preserved and restored within the center to represent a principal instrument of dehumanizing the black race with more than 75 slaves usually stacked on the limited floor space and above in special racks to which they were shackled and chained thus forced to eat and defecate right there.

This structure was an actual one found on a Kentucky farm in Mason County which was moved from there and rebuilt in the Freedom Center. It now dominates the second-floor atrium where visitors encounter it again and again while traversing the other exhibits. It could also be seen through the Center’s large windows from the downtown street outside.

Slaves were temporarily housed there on their way south to be resold.This 21 by 30 foot (6 by 9m), two-story log slave pen built in 1830 was used to house slaves being shipped to be auctioned.

An original feature of the Slave Pen is a shackle ring in the second floor joist, which was being used to secure male slaves.

The pen is said to have been originally owned by Captain John Anderson, a Revolutionary War soldier who became a slave trader. He was particularly known for his keen business sense watching time.and other conditions that could enhance or ruin his chances for a good profit. He would always appraise the potential market, his investments and deal-making and the intricacies of gathering, holding, transporting and selling slaves at the slave markets in Natchez, Mississippi before making a plunge.

Slaves waiting to be transported from Dover, Kentucky to slave markets in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana were imprisoned in this barn for a few days or several months, waiting for favorable market conditions and higher selling prices to prevail.

The barn has eight small windows, the original stone floor from a large chimney and a fireplace. There is a row of wrought iron rings through which a central chain ran, tethering men on either side of the chain. Male slaves were held on the second floor, while women remained on the first floor where they used the fireplace for cooking.

“The pen is powerful,” Carl B. Westmoreland, curator and senior adviser to the museum said. “It has the feeling of hallowed ground. When people stand inside, they speak in whispers. It is a sacred place. I believe it is here to tell a story – the story of the internal slave trade to future generations.” Visitors to the museum walk through the holding pen and touch its walls, as we did when 17 of us from different parts of the world visited it.. Taken from records kept by slave traders in the area who used the pen, the first names of some of the slaves believed to have been held in the pen are listed on a wooden slab in the pen’s interior.

Westmoreland spent three and a half years uncovering the story of the slave jail. “We’re just beginning to remember. There is a hidden history right below the surface, part of the unspoken vocabulary of the American historic landscape. It’s nothing but a pile of logs, yet it is everything.”

Other prominent features of the Center include:

o The “Suite for Freedom” Theater where three animated films address the fragile nature of freedom throughout human history, particularly as related to the Underground Railroad and the institution of slavery in the United States.

o The “ESCAPE! Freedom Seekers” presentation and interactive display about the Underground Railroad where school groups and families with young children are presented with choices on an imaginary escape attempt. The gallery features information about figures like abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman. and orator Frederick Douglass ~Escape Freedom Seekers and ~The Underground Railroad is an intriguing and inviting hands-on interactive experience designed particularly for children and families encouraging them to explore this troubled period of American history. The center is almost transformed to a school as stories of people and families involved in fighting against slavery are being told.

o The film, “Brothers of the Borderland,” highlighting the story of the Underground Railroad in Ripley, Ohio along the Ohio River and the roles of conductors John Parker and Reverend John Rankin.

o Information about the history of slavery and those who opposed it, including John Brown, Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

o “The Struggle Continues,” an exhibit depicting the ongoing challenges confronted by African-Americans since the end of slavery, ongoing struggles for freedom in today’s world, and ways that the Underground Railroad has inspired groups in India, Poland and South Africa.

o The John Parker Library which houses a collection of multimedia materials about the Underground Railroad and freedom-related issues.

o The FamilySearch Center where visitors can investigate their own roots.

The Freedom Center’s Executive Director and CEO, Spencer Crew, was previously the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Cape Town – A Look at Africa’s Most Beautiful City

As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, summer beckons in the south. This is the time to take a few days off and follow the sun! The best place to catch the sun in the end of year holiday season is without doubt Cape Town. Cape Town’s claim to being the most beautiful city in South Africa is undisputed. And seasoned travel writers readily accept the merit of Cape Town’s claim that is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The city is blessed with unrivalled gifts of nature. The mighty kilometer high flat top Table Mountain dwarfs even the most ambitious skyscrapers in the business district. The city is surrounded by glorious landscapes, stunning beaches and a bounty of unique vegetation. Where else do you have a choice of the cool Atlantic Ocean and the warmer Indian Ocean?

But Cape Town offers much more. It is reputed to be the most open-minded and relaxed city in South Africa and is one of the safest cities in Africa for visitors. Action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme visited the city in 2003 to shoot an action thriller and declared: “I love waking up in this city with the sea around me and the fresh air. The people are young with fresh and warm personalities and are friendly and it’s a country full of hope.”

The movie was shot in the city and around the harbour and some local funs got to see Van Damme at the waterfront. This is the same country that has produced some of the most inspiring people of our times. Desmond Tutu – the Nobel Peace Prize winner and past leader of the Anglican flock in Cape Town, for example. And of course Nelson Mandela.

Take a boat trip to Robben Island, one of the hottest destinations for overseas visitors. This is where Nelson Mandela nearly lost his sight quarrying lime during his long imprisonment. Make sure to get to the summit of Table Mountain by cable where you will enjoy some unforgettable views.

Northwards of the city center is the Victoria and Albert waterfront- a trendy shopping and entertainment complex. It is packed with art galleries, art and craft shops, restaurants, taverns, cinemas, theatres and an aquarium. It is easy to see why many beautiful people converge here. It is when in Cape Town that you will understand why Desmond Tutu named the country as the “Rainbow Nation”. The peoples here have roots in the four corners of the planet and together give the city its vivid colours.

Cape Town is well connected to one of the most popular travel destinations in South Africa: the Garden Route. The Garden Route is the southern coastal area starting west of Cape Town at Swellendam and ending at Humansdorp just before Port Elizabeth. The Garden Route is probably the most scenic journey you will ever make. You encounter soaring cliffs, wide beaches, semi desert, rocky coves, rain forests, tranquil lakes and rugged mountains.

The area is good for watersports and the weather allows this year round. A visit to the wine producing regions can also be staged from Cape Town. If you are short of time, head for picturesque Stellenbosch just a 45-minute drive away.

The Garden Route tour usually starts from Cape Town with a stop at Mossel Bay. This otherwise uninspiring town is famous for its Post Office Tree, where sailors would leave letters hanging in a boot to be picked up by those headed towards the country where the letters were addressed. Then to Oudtshoorn and George, a transport hub for the area.

Afterwards, Wilderness National Park a good place for birding and canoeing on your way to the artist colony of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Plettenberg Bay, the “millionaires’ playground” is South Africa’s trendiest resort. Then to Tsitsikamma National Park known for its nature trails, giant trees and caves. A little ahead of Humansdorp is Jeffrey’s Bay, reputed to have one of the world’s best surfing beaches.

Water sports are big in South Africa. Whale watching and shark-cage diving (with great white sharks) is possible in the Cape area. The best time to spot these sea giants is from June to September. In the last week of September the annual Whale Festival is held at Walker Bay. Diving facilities are good in the area and wreck diving in particular is widespread around the Cape. For fishing enthusiasts, the Cape of Good Hope has one the world’s richest fishing grounds.

At the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean currents is to be found large shoals of tuna and swordfish. For those brave souls seeking hair-raising adventure, there is an excellent opportunity for bungee jumping at the bridge over Blaukrans River. This has one of the world’s highest drops.

There are also many beautiful golf courses in the Cape Town and Garden Route area. The best time to play is the cooler months of May to September. The President’s Cup of 2003 was held at the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club at George right on the Garden Route. This event is a match play competition with the world’s best international players.

The best period to visit the Cape region is over the summer months November-February. The rest of the year is usually cool, rainy and windy. Most people then find it quite challenging to engage in swimming and water sports. There is a wide range of hotels in Cape Town and the Garden Route area. Top range 5 star hotels and other rated hotels are found throughout the region.

Other accommodation options include motels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, farm holidays, beach cottages, holiday flats and bungalows. The Cape region is now a much sought after destination and advance booking is necessary during the summer season (October-April). With prior planning it is possible to get good value and affordable holiday stay.

From “Just History” to Student-Centered Time Travel

Graduate work in history was all that was needed when I began teaching at a university in 1968. Education courses were not essential because standing in front of students and lecturing was what any successful graduate student could do, or so we thought.

My perspective changed as I taught about one hundred students the first term. Making a point of getting to know each student, I saw that many of them lacked writing and study skills needed to succeed in a history course. Colleagues noticed when I handed out reading and writing tips and then counseled struggling students. My office-mate expressed concern, saying my job was to teach history, not other subjects. When my radical behavior persisted, the head of the department said I was hired to “teach history, just history.”

Today, my students at Georgia Gwinnett College have tutoring and counseling services free of charge. Each fall semester, faculty must adjust to upgrades in classroom technology and to the learning management system. Through a Center for Teaching Excellence, we learn about new educational practices for improving student engagement and can seek help using classroom technology. While keeping up with scholarship in history, I am also expected to uphold institution-wide goals for engaging and retaining students who also must achieve high performance standards.

This college teaching environment, as I approach the end of a professional career, is the most invigorating and enjoyable of my life. The belief in teaching “just history” has yielded to revolutionary innovations in teaching and in the field of history itself – both of which are personally satisfying.

I share with colleagues of all disciplines many values based on the educational environment of our institution. However, my approach to teaching “more than history” takes a direction somewhat different from many of them by emphasizing skills expected of professionals today. Among historians there are also varying opinions on the best approaches for studying history. I differ from some colleagues by viewing all history as both contemporary and world history; and arguing that science and history should be taught in combination by interdisciplinary teams to ground students in a more holistic view of life.

Professional Skills

Survey history courses that orient students to fundamental knowledge need to also develop essential skills for citizenship and the demands of most professions. Students today need to seek and interpret reliable evidence, a skill which the election of 2016 made even more imperative for those who get their news from social media. They also must learn basic habits and proficiencies required of professionals today.

Contrary to the expectation of many students, history is not just committing important dates, events, and people to memory. Learning the importance of evidence and how it should be interpreted is essential for building values and skills of citizenship. Understanding that historical accounts take many forms (books, newspapers, magazines, websites, and social media), and to look for documented evidence (valid primary and secondary sources) with accurate and responsible interpretations, is an increasingly important skill. Students today live in a world deluged with audio, video, graphic, and written content over the Internet, some of which comes from tainted sources such as terrorist groups or foreign powers wanting to destabilize our government. Using rational analysis to filter out unreliable information is becoming ever more difficult. The Internet is a great educational tool – but it is equally useful for radicalizing people vulnerable to emotion, propaganda, and misinformation.

For me, an enjoyable part of being a historian is recognizing the role played by interpretation. Specialists in a field differ on fine points of interpretation because of the evidence they select and how they arrange it. The same kind of debate occurs in political media.

When I was in college in the 1960s, televised news coverage shaped national opinions. The outlets were relatively few and news coverage rarely lasted more than three hours a day. Variations in opinion, such as those in the north and south over civil rights, were aired; yet the differences in interpretation between news outlets was less obvious than today.

Cable channels brought important changes to the way people gained news before social media arrived. Competing outlets segmented the public based on political leanings, making it possible to shop for a news provider that caters to specific points of view, consistently presenting interpretations along certain lines and being selective in the evidence and range of stories they show. Internet sites and social media have magnified the segmentation of interpretations to fit even smaller audiences. But size of the audience is not insignificant when a radicalized terror group uses the Internet to recruit worldwide.

My point is that accurate use of evidence and skeptical consideration of interpretations need to be taught in history courses as citizenship skills. This also makes discussion of current issues important, a point that will be discussed presently.

On the first day of class, as we review the syllabus, I emphasize the importance of professional behavior and skills as objectives of the course. The days when a student need only show up for exams and turn in a paper are gone. My courses now build in team-based activities counting 20% of the grade.

Rules of the course emphasize concentrating on the business of the class for the entire period. Temptations are many when students use laptops, tablets, and smart phones in class. They are not allowed to make or receive phone calls, check or send texts and email, surf the Internet, or work on anything except the class assignment – but students will always test to see how vigorously rules are enforced.

Students often resist the rules for team work. Many say they like group work because, in practice, good students often carry the load for weaker students to protect their own grade. Having been a team-building consultant, I insist they follow rules for full participation by making consensus decisions for which all members take responsibility. Assignments must undergo thorough team review so that the product, such as a presentation, looks as if it were prepared by a single person. The team grade on these assignments is also the grade for each team member. As in military basic training, failure of one person in team performance drags down the grade for everyone.

Although students will say they know how to work in teams or that my rules are not new, the skills I enforce can only be learned through practice under realistic pressures to work as a unit. Students usually discover they have not experienced real teamwork and that, like babies trying to walk, it is learned only by persisting after early failures.

Presentation skills are highlighted in my courses. Teams report the results of activities in class and undergo class discussion of their work. They also make a formal presentation on an assigned topic using presentation software. For this assignment, they are provided written guidance on making effective presentations and professional-looking slides. The outcome is expected to be a ten-minute presentation on a historical topic that demonstrates competent historical and presentation skills. Since this is also a team assignment, they must demonstrate their product followed the rules for teamwork.

Individual writing skills are also developed through two short essays and a paper. Class activities involve teams in preliminary work on writing assignments. When teams come together, weaker and stronger students can form peer mentoring relationships that boost performance of the weaker student on the individual assignments.

One of the rewards of teaching is the opportunity to write recommendations for jobs or admission to graduate programs. Thus far, even though teaching primarily freshmen, I have a high success rate for those who ask for recommendations. I believe the key to success, along with the overall grades of the student, is my ability to describe how they behaved as professionals, both individually and as team members.

Contemporary and World History

Two revolutionary changes to the study of history in my lifetime modified attitudes toward contemporary and world history. My high school (1950s) and college (early 1960s) history classes usually stopped before getting to recent history. Some writers made a distinction between history as stable knowledge of the past and current events for which long-term impacts were not yet known. The German philosopher of history Georg Hegel stated this view poetically in The Philosophy of Right: “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.” Wisdom about history, in other words, is only possible in retrospect. Hegel and the historian Leopold von Ranke also expressed the traditional view of world history, which saw it as European mastery extending over the globe.

History teachers are rightly cautious about too much political discussion in class. The dilemma becomes obvious when thinking about the campaign and early presidency of Donald Trump. Opinions for and against both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were voiced in my classes. Especially important to me were the almost weekly statements and actions disrupting normal rules of American elections. Trump’s behavior and agenda overthrew normal expectations in a way not experienced since Andrew Jackson. Recognizing the occurrence of one historical precedent after another made the Trump experience an unavoidable topic, yet teachers like me needed to avoid turning classes into outbursts of opposing political speeches.

The current effort to revive American nationalism, in my view, represents opposition to loss of international dominance. The University of Chicago historian William H. McNeill was the first to describe world history in terms of interactions (such as trade, communications, epidemics) of cultures east to west and west to east across North Africa and Eurasia. Worldwide cultural interactions, now referred to as globalization, began as Europeans arrived in the Americas and then the Pacific islands. European and American assumptions of superiority have been resisted by former colonies as the planet is increasingly united by air and space travel, nearly instant communications, international trade, and danger of epidemics.

Our understanding of the importance of Columbus illustrates the joining of current events and a global view of world history. In high school and college, I learned that Columbus “discovered America” – a marvelous achievement of European superior knowledge and technology. But textbooks today recognize there were native populations in all the lands explored by Europeans who had cultures of their own and felt no need to be discovered. In fact, interaction with European powers often brought epidemics that decimated peoples not previously exposed to diseases that had long circulated in North Africa and Eurasia.

The achievements of Columbus look quite different when seen as part of the ongoing theme of human migration on planet earth. Patterns of migration are a constant issue of world history, as seen in the Trump campaign and electoral issues in European countries in 2016-17. Human beings were the first species to inhabit every continent. As they continue to move about, they disrupt old cultural patterns of religion, race, social relationships, and law.

What Columbus achieved was to inaugurate modern globalization as the Americas were brought into ongoing contact with cultures of North Africa and Eurasia. Innovative technologies keep intensifying the forces of transportation, economics, and communication that push cultures of European descent to treat other cultures equitably. These same forces are also intermixing populations as new migratory patterns keep emerging to challenge old cultural beliefs.

Even the remotest of historical events, like the first migration of humanity out of Africa or the arrival of humans in the Americas across land that is now under the Bering Strait, are still contemporary issues. There are political groupings in the United States today for whom the implications of human origin in Africa or rights of native groups in the Americas are urgent religious or constitutional issues.

Challenging students to pay attention to historical issues, no matter how ancient, as matters of ongoing importance to contemporary groups can encourage them to broaden their ideas of relevancy beyond the newest trends in their favorite technologies. Hopefully they will become better citizens as they connect present trends with the human past.

Science and History

Another revolutionary development in the study of history is narratives based on scientific evidence that probes into the deepest past and projects the most distant future.

Historians usually maintain that writing transformed pre-history into the proper study of human stories based on literary sources. This distinction is now rejected by many of us who affirm archaeological, geological, climatological, genetic, and chemical evidence – and even theories of physics – as sources for pushing histories to the origin of the universe, solar system, and life on earth.

Some historians espouse Deep History, which reverses time in explorations of human origins. Anthropology and archaeology, now with boosted power through genetic archaeology, have extended knowledge of the origin of our species, and of important attributes like speech, ever deeper into time. Many social sciences look at earliest cultural practices of hominines and their contemporaries. With their emphasis on pushing knowledge backward, these scholars sometimes attack cultural traditions such as the Judeo-Christian belief in forward progression of time from a primordial origin.

The trend that appeals most to me is called Big History. The narrative follows the traditional progression from a beginning (the Big Bang) known through scientific theory and data. Relying on physics and cosmological theories, the story traces the evolution of complexity from ultimate chaos to the current state of the universe – and uses the same theories to project likely developments billions of years from now. This scientific-historical narrative highlights the origin of our solar system, of life, and then evolution of humanity and its history.

As outlined in the first college textbook on the subject, Big History emphasizes eight points of major transition. The three most recent concern human history – origin of the species, adoption of agriculture, and arrival of the Industrial Revolution. Like other transitions in the narrative, these bring greater complexity that offer both dramatic new possibilities and greater dangers. The challenges now facing humanity include destruction of life on our planet and collapse of systems based on ever faster innovations that test the adaptability of human societies.

Students have been excited when I introduced aspects of Big History during world history courses. Those not interested in pursuing detailed understanding of sciences like mathematics, chemistry, or physics are stimulated by seeing the results of applying them to understanding evolution of order and life in the universe. I like the way students learn important scientific information in combination with an approach to human history that is sensitive to all cultural and religious traditions.

One of the first applications of Big History to education happened at Dominican University near San Francisco. Experiments with courses led to changing the mission of the institution and requiring all entering freshmen to take Big History under the guidance of an interdisciplinary team of instructors. Part of the idea was to use Big History to promote a unified approach to knowledge in the sciences, arts, and technologies while also building an educational environment in which faculty collaborated across disciplinary lines in ways that are student-centered. The experience at Dominican University led to summer institutes for a few years and then to publication of results in Teaching Big History.

Visualizing the timespans involved in scientific approaches to history has been a challenge. Time divisions of ancient, medieval, and modern apply to life since “civilizations” began. Archaeological divisions by types of tools (old stone, new stone, bronze, or iron) keep changing in spans of years. Starting with the Big Bang requires leaping billions and millions of years, then zooming in on thousands and hundreds as literary evidence begins.

A novel insight for many students is that history involves time travel. Not the science-fiction kind of travel so popular with young people, but non-fiction travel that speeds through billions of years backward and forward as well as centuries, decades, months, and days. The University of California at Berkeley has a website, featuring work of the geologist Walter Alvarez, called ChronoZoom which allows users to jump over time from the Big Bang until the present, zooming in closer and zooming out as students travel through time. The International Association of Big History website also has a link to the Cosmic Evolution Arrow of Time site by Harvard University for another way of scooting around in time.

After a career of “pushing the envelope” as a teacher, I now espouse the radical idea of teaching science in combination with the story of the universe, and in further combination with world history and current events to emphasize globalization in its broadest definition. This goes way past the bounds of history by having teachers of sciences, literature, arts, religion, philosophy, education, and history collaborating in a course that mirrors the scientific quest for a Grand Unification Theory.

Even in an environment as stimulating as the one at Georgia Gwinnett College, there are still bureaucratic walls. For members of a state university system, those walls are fortified by state laws and regulations that can stifle experiments like Big History.

Serviced Instant Offices: Why Are They Good for Business?

Instant offices are ideal for small to medium businesses looking for professional addresses. Also known as serviced offices, such kind of offices help optimize your time and money, two biggest constraints for a perfect start-up to your business. You can make maximum use of your limited resources and focus on the core business practices without being bothered about routine office and staff affairs. You can just rent instant offices in major business hubs and manage your business through virtual teams.

The serviced instant offices are considered ideal for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses because of the host of advantages they offer. The following points demonstrate why instant offices are good for your business.

All-inclusive business solutions

Instant offices are cheaper, fully serviced, hi-tech, and managed by professional staff. They offer shared services, including staff, on use and pay basis, a big relief from investing on permanent employees and capital expenditure on equipment. You can get help of experts without employing them. You can use advanced equipments at fractions of its original cost. Small or medium businesses cannot afford such hi-tech office accessories at it involve huge expenditure. Professional security guards, assistants, receptionists, cleaning staff, mechanics, and other are provided by the property manager to look after your routine functions. The rent is inclusive of all these costs and you need not have to track and pay for all these.

Enough time to run your business

Instant offices are fully serviced. It saves your time by providing qualified space to start your business instantly and without any break. There is no construction hassle, legal paper work, labor problem, time-consuming interview process, and need to look after the payroll of employees. You just need to pay the rent or even buy out the space according to your budget and leave the rest to the mangers of the business center. You do not have to make an alternative arrangement for any staff on holiday. You just order for any service related to the office and get it done by professional staff working at the business center. Free from such routine works, you can concentrate on your core business areas and client dealing.

Least capital investment required

Instant offices are good alternative to traditional offices requiring huge capital investment. You can rent these offices on hourly, daily, or monthly basis and save money. Even long-term contracts and buy out options are available. Most of the routine facilities, such as reception, servers, equipments, and maintenance staff are used on shared basis and you just have to pay fraction of the cost for fully using them. This cost saving option make instant offices perfect for those who looking for offices at the least possible cost.

Prime business address benefit

A real address and that too in a prime business is sure to make your business roaring success. However, due to spiraling real estate prices, it is not easy to get an office constructed at a prime location. In such a situation, instant offices offer an alternative option. You can rent an executive suit or instant offices in a serviced business center located at any prime address at considerably cheaper price. You can use this address for enquiries, client visits, correspondence, accounts, and sales while working in virtual teams or from home. It is a good option for charted accountants, attorneys, psychiatrists, and consultants, who require minimum permanent staff.

Serviced offices offer professional staff for office maintenance and communications. They deliver the perfect solution for your business under the watchful eyes of managers. You can get benefit from the state-of-the art office infrastructure, technology, cost saving, and prime address of the business centers that make your business services world-class and of present generation.

How to Improve Microelectronics Penetration in Africa

Microelectronics is recognized as a very important technology that can lift Africa’s economy if it can penetrate into the economy. There have been many challenges associated with making this technology widespread in the continent. They include inadequacy of quality teachers, equipment and tools, social amenities, among others.

The following under listed ideas are proposed are ways that can help in diffusing microelectronics in Africa by working with foreign universities and institutions that can provide technical and managerial supports to organizations in Africa.

Internet Virtual Classroom (IVC)
This is a ‘classroom’ on the Internet where instructors and students interact via computers. Besides lecture notes, VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone, live-chats and online-conferencing are vital components of this classroom resources. The motivation is to create a virtual traditional classroom on the web and educate students separated by physical distance from the instructors.

Many European and US universities use IVC to coordinate their satellite campuses and distance education programs. It offers to Africa a framework through which they can tap the pool of their experts in Diaspora, which increasingly prefer to live in the developed nations.

The importance of IVC is to solve the problem of lack of quality microelectronics tutors in the continent by connecting people in the developed world to educate students in Africa.

By implementing IVC across the continent, it would be easy for African nations to absorb new ideas and technologies through seamless interactions with the external world. Think of engaging a professor of microelectronics from MIT teaching students in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. That experience and connection can lead to new insights from the students. Any process that helps to expose students and small firms to microelectronics will facilitate its transfer.

Telepresence Technologies
The telepresence technologies, like the ones offered by Cisco and Digital Video Enterprises, would become one of the most important ways to connect students and instructors in developed nations and Africa. With a high-speed technology that provides high bandwidth, these technologies can help leverage the skills of experts in developed nations to advance technical education in Africa.

It also offers a good platform to link citizens of developing nations in Diasporas who are experts in microelectronics to make contributions in their native nations. These citizens can live in their adopted nations while assisting their native ones in developing this important technology.

Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location.

Telepresence offers some advantages in terms of virtual reality, which cannot be easily produced in IVC. Telepresence offers ‘live’ classroom despite the small latency and can be a very effective two-way communication between the experts in developed nation and students in Africa working in labs or classrooms. With it, direct supervision of experiments or homework is possible.

Through this technology, it would be possible for anyone in any place with network connection and Telepresence equipment to educate and train Africans, either in the public or private workplaces. Because of its efficiency, it can easily translate to good results where people master skills that used to require traveling abroad locally. Many universities in the United States have these tools and if African schools can acquire them, there would be possibilities of integrating world class experts in teaching in African schools.

Multi-platform foundries
The availability of experts who can teach the students is not enough, the students must actually have to practically learn and design. That is why multi-platform foundries are required, to provide foundry services to students and universities. Through this process, they will have improvements in skills, develop competence and can potentially graduate to establish small and medium enterprises which will help in the diffusion process of microelectronics.

One way of realizing this practical exposure is to have a continental level fabrication service similar to MOSIS of USA, Europractice of Western Europe and CMC of Canada. Through this, students will have the opportunity to design, fabricate and test their microelectronic systems. This is one area African Union NEPAD can help to assist microelectronics education in Africa. They can fund or subsidize these programs for African universities.

Nothing teaches better than doing. By focusing on developing foundries, Africa will empower its universities and SMEs to have practical skills which will be spur innovation and competence. As they develop and grow, many multinational firms will like to tap into the skills. The continent enjoys fairly good labor costs. This means that many will come to build plants to benefit from these skills. That is how microelectronics transfer will take place in the continent.

The foundry is a solid infrastructure that drives many programs on microelectronics. It will be necessary to develop capability in the knowledge industry. By building them, a process that creates an environment for microelectronics transfer will be implemented in the continent.

Enabling Environments for SME
Africa was able to diffuse information technology consumption through a business-center model where small and medium enterprises (SME) educated and trained clients for small fees. Governments must provide the enabling environments in the forms of electricity, telecommunication, and other infrastructures.

A good business environment will help the SMEs to grow and that will help them to enter into joint ventures and partnerships with external firms. Doing this will help them get skills and expertise that will improve the technology landscape of Africa. China has done remarkably well because of the institutional support from its leaders. The reforms and developments have helped many Chinese firms to partner with western firms. In the process, they have transferred technologies to China and China is doing great. Africa must do the same by having an environment that promotes business.

It is important to know that without enabling environment in the areas like power, property rights, transport, Africa will find it harder to absorb new technologies like microelectronics and nanotechnology since the scale of trade and partnership will be smaller.

Open Design Academic Program
The big divide between the microelectronics education in developing nations and developed ones will require a coordinated program to bridge it. We propose formation of Microelectronics Academic Network in each African nation. This will offer the schools the platform to seek for discounts from CAD (computer aided design) manufacturers, multi-platform foundries and efficiently share and collaborate on designkits and techfiles as the license owners provide them.

This will become a hi-tech equivalent of open source software development, but within a national level. A coordinated continental program will only focus on fabrication because of the expensive nature of the equipment.

The continent must pursue a plan to work to support its tertiary institutions to share resources and collaborate in the process of developing microelectronics.

Education Package for Diffusion
Microelectronics is vast; accordingly, efforts must be made to develop the right format as African students are being engaged. There should be scholarships supported by NEPAD to send African students for trainings on microelectronics related areas.

In summary, the 21st century is a knowledge century and knowledge will rule modern man. A bottom-up creative technology programs are necessary in Africa towards sustainable transformations into knowledge economy, especially with Africa’s plan for a common currency with potentials of delivering larger market.

Due to the high-specialized skills and capital-intensive nature of microelectronics, good technical education is a prerequisite for sustainable adoption and diffusion across Africa. Also, new applications like IVC and Telepresence could be vital along with a coordinated and planned academic network designed and implemented at both national and continental levels.

There is need for more economic, social and industrial coordination in the continent. Africa must reform various sectors in accordance with industry trends. Education, especially technical education, must be supported. Efforts must be geared in adopting microelectronics as its offers to stimulate the integration dynamics by delivering knowledge products which are homogeneous and hence can mitigate impacts of trade shocks across regions.

Unique Businesses to Retire Into When You’re Old

I have often wondered why most people wait until they are sacked or old and “spent” before ever considering what they will retire into.What happens and who takes care of them, when they’re old and unable to run around working 8-5 daily routine anymore?

Let’s face the facts. At some point in our life, we’ll have to relax and wait for some income to meet our needs, especially when we have crossed the threshold of chasing our tails! Now, the question is how much have we saved in all these years of laborious struggle for survival in the rat race of life?

If you have amassed so much wealth at forty years of age, fine! I need to talk to you. On the other hand, if you’ve got nothing to show for it at fifty years of age, hope is not lost. However, if you are very broke and you’re sixty, then we need an urgent surgical financial operation! At eighty, without much money,just hope you win a lottery, not funny right?

Then what is the way out? You have to maximize your seasons of life by planning now and get this idea of what you can retire into. Invest with little cash, and yet be able to pick your teeth rolling on your chair telling moonlight cock and bull stories to your grand children.Then what is the way out?

For all the categories of people mentioned above, is it those planning to retire at 30 or 90? These unique businesses I am about to showcase to you will support and save you from the agonies of frustration and regrets in life. However, this is only possible if, and only if, you are quick to realize this simple truth and make a “financial U-turn” into this ancient wisdom of saving and planning for your retirement now. Remember the popular Chinese proverb: there are two times to plant a tree, 20 years a go and now!

Here are the unique five businesses; wise people can retire into with their little savings being invested anywhere they live and smile when they are old.

1. Real Estate

Get a medium size land in around sparsely populated areas, and watch the population explode and make huge profits from your endeavor.Gradually develop it over the next 5-10 years and retire into an amazing wealth. Investment of between US$4,000 and less today can guarantee you a residual and multiple incomes for life when you eventually retire. Read the properties magazines, newspaper advertisements, discussion boards to get tips of available properties to buy and market prices.The properties will have appreciated in value and now support you in old age.

2. Educational Institution

A greater proportion of the populations in the world are youths.There is always a need for training. More educational institutions are in high demand and will always be a money spinner any day.Try setting up a school with high standards around the over populated areas.Even, from the villages to the urban centers, schools, skill training centers and continuing education centers are assured patronage from the people who are now excited to be empowered and acquire vocational skills to be financially independent.

3. Food Processing & Packaging

Most people are producing foods like vegetables and fruits that are neither fully utilized nor processed. A lot of waste is, therefore generated from the lack of appropriate technology to process these foods into final packaging that can be stored for local or international markets.There are opportunities for final finished products like mango juices, tomato puree, can foods and the likes.With an abundant supply of fish supply from the rivers, ponds and oceans, try canning this and make money. A little technical knowledge is required to can these foods for export. Some of these cottage industries require as little as US$10,000 to set up and within a few years can appreciate into multi million dollar industry.This will provide the future retirement income to take care of your holiday trips abroad when retired.

Wise investors must also conduct feasibility studies on these businesses viability and take on new initiatives to retire into.

4. Micro Credit Agencies/ Money Lenders

With so many commercial banks around with bureaucratic procedures to follow in order to access credit. The average income earner require between US$2000-US$50,000 to start or consolidate their existing businesses, which is within the scope of micro financing. Operating a cooperative or money lending agency with flexible terms,for so many workers with the assurance of assistance of financing a home plan or business can generate a substantial income to retire into. People of like minds should come together and form a cooperative union to advance their cause.

5. Waste Re-cycling Factories

From paper waste, plastics, foods, metal scraps, batteries, mobile phones, ink cartridges,home appliances and so many others, a lot of this waste is generated daily. Setting up a mini-factory to recycle this waste in to unique products will assure any wise investor of a life long income.These Eco-friendly factories can be set-up with as little as US$50,000 and annual income of US$250,000 are realizable for some of these waste recycling factories, aside from the employment generated for those that will attract the commendation and support of the government of your country. This can be done by engaging people to buy these junk from the people having difficulty disposing these wastes. A social enterprise can be started to employ the idle youths in your community.

Finally, saving that US$100-US$500 monthly for say, over 5-10 years,to invest in to any of the above mentioned businesses can make all the big difference in anyone’s life.

Clothing Business In Dubai: A Market Overview

The clothing business in Dubai exists in its current scope due to its role as a regional commerce center in the Middle East. Dubai, is an emirate that is part of the United Arab Emirates. Its regional business role is in part due to its geographic location, and to the creation of a free trade zone for trading and labor around its airport, Jebel Ali. The banking sector is very strong since many Middle East based businesses safeguard their deposits in Dubai based banks. Residential and commercial real estate development has also been very strong because of the influx of foreign investment. Tourism and business travel is a major component of Dubai’s economy, with Americans, Africans, Arabs, Iranians, and Europeans conducting business in this city state. Recent trade embargoes have impacted the level of commerce between Dubai and Iran.

Dubai’s clothing market is comprised of both domestic and export related segments. The majority of Dubai’s population of 2.2 million people is Arab, with approximately 5% being comprised of workers from Asian countries, with a smaller percentage of expatriate business people taking full time residency.

Domestic clothing purchases are traditional robes for the male and female Arab population. Female clothing should be long sleeve with high necklines. Because Dubai is a more open society than some of the regional surrounding countries, foreign laborers and expatriate business people can wear their choice of clothing, provided that the clothing that women wear is conservative in appearance. In Dubai’s business circles men will wear suits and dress shirts, with some women wearing suits as well. Clothing is generally sold in gender based stores to accommodate religious views.

The weather in Dubai is hot throughout the year, on average over 80 degrees, with winter temperatures of as low as 73 degrees, and summer temperatures of up to 107 degrees. For this reason cotton apparel is preferred, since it keeps the body temperature low and allows for perspiration. Domestically, clothing is sold from small independent shops and from malls, such as the trendy Deira City Center and the BurJuman shopping center. Popular clothing businesses in Dubai include the Golf Clothing Stores and the UAE National Women’s Clothing Shop. Bloomingdales has two local stores as well.

The second segment of the clothing business in Dubai is comprised of the export market. Due to the active and open business channels that exist in Dubai, and its prime gulf location, wholesale clothing is exported throughout the Middle East, and as far as Turkey and Africa. Brand name closeout lots of clothing are sent by container, often to markets where the brand owners do not have an established presence.

In response to strong demand for wholesale American clothing, importers will buy from US wholesalers and resell the clothing to local and foreign boutiques, department stores, and importers. Wholesale showrooms are set up to display merchandise to shoppers that travel to visit the wholesale district. Top sellers are sports wear, jeans, and dresses. Customs in Dubai is strict in monitoring the inflow and sale of apparel, and only authentic clothing is permitted entry into the country.

Donny Lowy owns CloseoutExplosion.com, a wholesale export company that specializes in brand name designer clothing, handbags, and shoes for the Middle East market, including Dubai. His warehouse is located in Brooklyn, NY.

“Outsourced” TV Show Highlights India’s Call Centers

When Ken Kwapis, American film and television director, created the situational comedy “Outsourced,” he thought call centers based in India can be a novel and workable idea for a new television series. This resulted to the creation of the program that was aired on NBC channel from September 2010 up to May 2011.

The concept of the comedy show revolves in a corporate workplace where various office characters and dynamics are connected and interrelated. It also exposes the dynamic issues and culture clash between two countries -the United States and India. The show was set entirely in Mumbai, with a cast comprised by Ben Rappaport, Rizwan Manji, Sacha Dhawan, Rececca Hazlewood, Parvesh Cheena, Anisha Nagarajan, Diedrich Bader, and Pippa Black.

The show was broadcasted many times in television networks across the United States and in various countries, such as Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Australia, Fiji, Brazil, New Zealand, Philippines, Norway, South Africa, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Malaysia, Italy, Czech Republic, Middle East, and Latin America.

Apart from the seemingly worldwide airing, the show also received various citations and nominations. The “Outsourced” TV show was nominated in 2011 as Favorite New TV Comedy by the People’s Choice Awards as well as the Best Performance by the NAMIC Vision Awards.

What it is all about

Basically, the show tells a story about how an American novelties company has decided to outsource its order processing. This company consequently sets up a call center in India that was managed by an American business executive named Todd Dempsy.

At work, Todd needs to deal with Indian employees under him and their way of life in Mumbai. At the same time, he also needs to explain to them the intricacies of American pop culture in a funny and hilarious portrayal of cross-cultural situations.

Most of the episodes demonstrate the typical life of men and women who are trained to work as call center agents as they learn American slang and customs in just a few weeks. In due time, they are able to develop their ability to speak clearly with an American accent. They also learned to listen to English-speaking callers who seek for solutions to a wide array of problems. Moreover, they need to make a sales pitch for American novelty merchandise, some of which they have not heard of before.

Racist Accusations

The show gained mixed reactions from an array of audiences. In a 2010 report by Andrew Buncombe of “The Independent,” critics claimed that the “Outsourced” TV show is “insensitive and even racist about Indians”.

“Whether or not the series is insensitive or racist, the producers have certainly chosen a controversial topic.” Buncombe stated. “The issue of outsourcing back-office jobs from the West to destinations in the developing world remains hugely sensitive, both in the United States, where politicians are under pressure to save jobs, and in India, which is worried about outsourcing drying up. President Obama has advocated cutting tax incentives to American firms that outsource jobs.”

Negative comments are pouring in, though. Some critics even argue that the people behind “Outsourced” TV show are insensitive for tackling a rather touchy issue at a time when thousands of Americans are losing their jobs to outsourcing, a reality that many are not happy about.

Alvin Defante is a seasoned writer and editor, dealing with a broad range of business topics, particularly business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing. He enjoys writing about the outsourcing industry’s business climate and the Philippine’s competitive edge.

Durban South Africa: Your Paradise Away From Home

Durban is situated in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province and for many years, it has been a famous tourist destination because of its tropical climate, picturesque beaches, and friendly and relaxing environment.

The beachfront of Durban, South Africa is also called as the golden mile can be matched up to the city of Miami, Florida in the USA because of its fun atmosphere and energetic nightlife.

Aside from being home to the biggest population of Indians in South Africa, Durban is also the homeland of the indigenous Zulu population. More than three hundred contracted workers from India came to Durban Bay in 1860 as laborers for the sugar cane fields. These workers, together with the huge number of Indians created Durban their home and due to the mix of various religions and races that have established in this beautiful coastal metropolis, Durban became very culturally diverse.

If you are planning to visit Durban, South Africa, don’t forget to stop at the new Moses Mabida Stadium, which is famous for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. You can take a tour of this top-notch stadium and dine at various great restaurants surrounding the area. You can also try the cable car ride going to the stadium’s top to see the magnificent 360 degrees view of Durban. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to watch a soccer game and feel the local soccer scene, which is considered as a very unique event that you should not miss.

Experience Durban’s delectable cuisine

Due to the cultural and ethnic diversity of the city, tourists from all over the world have wide range of options when it comes to the scrumptious local foods from the age-old African fare to the Afrikaaner favorites including boerewors, bunny chows, curries and savouries. For vacationers who are not into native cuisines, there are a lot of great restaurants, fast food and cafes around town.

Durban City is all about the Beach!

Durban is the place where you can find the one and only surfing museum in South Africa, which is considered as one of the best surfing city in the world. The city is the closest harbor to Johannesburg and it is known as a fundamental part of Durban. It has 2 yacht clubs and the BAT center, a wonderful little cultural site in the heart of the harbor. BAT or Bartle Arts Trust is the breeding ground of local musical and visual art creativity combined with some pubs, coffee shops and fine restaurants – all these are overlooking the breathtaking harbor so you will be able to enjoy your cup of coffee while watching the busy marina.

Accommodation

Durban’s accommodations are easily concentrated down the beachfront, near the city’s central business district. High-rise and slick hotels with magnificent views of the sea and swimming pools flourish along this dynamic strip. The suburbs of Morningside and Berea are another area near the central business district and the beachfront where you can find more guesthouses, hotels, affordable villas and apartments and bed and breakfasts, as well as excellent shopping malls and restaurants. It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance especially during December and January.