In the heart of the Middle East, Damascus, Syria has two interesting nicknames: the ‘Jewel of the East’ and the ‘Bride of the Earth’. It’s also believed that Damascus is where Abraham was born, an important figure in Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Damascus is also thought to be the place where Cain killed his brother Abel. The Apostle Paul was said to have lived in a house in Damascus on Straight Street. Old Town Damascus was once enclosed by walls with several gates. Most of these are gone today. The Grand Mosque of the Old City took a decade to build and is the first mosque to use domes as part of the support architecture.
Nigella Damascena is a beautiful plant that will self-seed and grow in the same spot year after year. The ‘mist’ part of this plant refers to the cloud-like appearance of all the green, thread-like leaves. The leaves together are very soft and give this unique specimen an other-worldly appearance. Once the blooms form their large seed capsules, the plant takes on a new, alien-like appearance. Love in a mist has been grown in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times. The name, ‘Damascena’, refers to Damascus in Syria.
A Midwestern state with Lake Erie to the north, Ohio is not only known as ‘the Buckeye’ state for its gorgeous Ohio buckeye trees, but it has also been nicknamed ‘the Mother of Presidents’ state since eight US presidents have come from Ohio. With many natural beauties, fascinating Amish country, strong cities with universities, museums and an eye to business, with five international airports, and ranking 8th among all US states in terms of GDP, Ohio is an amazing place. This website lists 12 Ohio attractions you might want to visit.
As the state capital and the largest city of Ohio, Columbus ranks high in many areas including best-for-relocation. The city has a number of well-defined, unique neighborhoods, including German Town and Olde Towne East. The latter has over 1000 historic homes built by families who shaped Columbus since its founding in 1812. Columbus is also home to Ohio State University which had its beginnings in 1870.
There are birds that serve humans well and one of those species is the tree swallow. As an aerial insectivore, these small, five-inch birds help to eliminate mosquitoes as well as insects that do extensive crop damage. Tree swallows are very pretty blue birds that breed mostly in North America but which migrate during the winter as far south as the northern part of South America.
A ‘megadiverse‘ country, Venezuela is ranked 7th in the world in terms of the number of species this country holds. But it’s no wonder given Venezuela’s extreme diversity in geography: from Caribbean coastal waters and islands, to intriguing deserts, to the majesty of the Andes Mountains, to arable plains and finally the beauty of the jungles of the Amazon basin. Venezuela has it all. The videos below showcase these beauties. If only life were simple, but today Venezuela has challenges on a political and economic level that are best explained in this video. Here’s hoping to a wonderful resolution for these troubles in the coming decade.
Located in a beautiful valley just a few miles from the Caribbean Sea, Caracas is a city of possibilities. Unfortunately, the city of Caracas, like the country of Venezuela, is suffering under economic difficulties that have led in recent months to street protests and violence. With one of the world’s worst monetary inflations, massive debt, and dependence on imports, the city and country are struggling. Under the leadership of Hugo Chavez, who passed away in 2013, the country’s tremendous oil production had been leveraged to pay for social programs. But once the price of oil plummeted, the nation no longer had a cash cow to pay for its programs and imports, including food. This excellent Al Jazeera 10-minute video from February of 2018 explains the situation. Here’s hoping that the city of Caracas and the country of Venezuela will soon find its way out of a very difficult situation.
With powerful front claws designed to bust into termite mounds and anthills, anteaters walk on their fists which helps keep their claws sharp at all times. Nature designed them to be the gardeners best ally, since they truly love eating ants as well as termites. The giant anteater can consume as many as 30,000 ants and termites in a day. They are able to do this with their powerful tongues which they can flick in and out of their mouths as fast as 150 times a minute.
A land of great mountainous beauty and fertile coastal plains, South Korea is located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula between Japan and China. The US has close ties with South Korea that began following World War II, continued with the Korean War and still thrives today. In 1953, when the war ended, South Korea’s economy began to soar. Today, South Korea has the 11th biggest economy in the world and is a leader in information technologies. South Korean’s, for instance, enjoy the world’s fastest internet speed.
Situated on the Han River, Seoul South Korea is often referred to as ‘The Miracle on the Han River’. The city has emerged this century as a major player. It has the 4th largest metropolitan economy behind New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles. In 2015, Seoul was rated Asia’s most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. With a history spanning 2000 years, five World Heritage Sites to explore, 115 museums, and five ‘Grand Palaces’ from the Joseon Dynasty, Seoul offers tremendous attractions to the traveler. Plus, the shopping is amazing.