Not So American Samoa

American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States. It is located in the South Pacific Ocean, just to the East of the larger country of Samoa. International rivalries in the later half of the 19 th century were settled by an a treaty in 1899, in which the country of Germany and the United States of America divided the Samoan land area. The United States formally occupied its portion and kept a strong presence.The western islands of Samoa which once belonged to the United States are now the independent state of Samoa. A cooling station was built by the U.S. Navy, in Pago Pago Bay for its Pacific Squadron. During the second World War, US Marines based in American Samoa [], out numbered the local population. This has historically had a huge cultural influence on the country, which is still evident in many parts of the country today.Some quick Facts:

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Laxing Andorra

Andorra, The Principality of Andorra is a very small, landlocked principality in south-western Europe. It is located in the Pyrenees mountains, bordered by France and Spain, and is a very interesting country to travel to. Once an isolated country, Andorra, has currently become a very prosperous country because of tourism and for it’s benefits that it offers to international corporations for taxes.The name of the country, Andorra most likely originated from the Navarrese word andurrial, which translates to shrub-covered land. Tourism is the staple of Andorra’s small, well to do economy. This accounts for roughly 80% of the Gross Domestic Product. It is estimated that nine million tourists visit Andorra [] annually. These tourists are attracted by Andorra’s duty-free shopping and also by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra’s advantage has recently shrunk as the neighboring economies of France and Spain have slackened up, providing more availability to goods and lower tariffs on them. With its tax haven status, The banking sector, also contributes in a lareg way to the economy of the Andorra. Agricultural production is so limited because only 2% of the land is arable. This means that most food has to be imported. Lifestock that does exist, is mainly sheep. Local Manufacturing consists of cigars, cigarettes, and furniture.Andorra, although not a ‘full member’ of the EU (European Union), still enjoys a special relationship with it. An example of this is that Andorra is treated as an EU member for among EU members. This means that there is no tariffs. Andorra really does lack a currency of its own, because it is uses the currencies of its two surrounding nations.Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Albania – Kicking It Back in the Mediterranean

If your looking for an exotic place to take your next winter or summer vacation Albania might just be the place to kick back and relax. Albania is a Mediterranean country in south east Europe.Bordered by Montenegro to the north, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece in the south, Albania has something to see and do for every traveller. In the west Albania is coast to the Adriatic Sea. Not just one sea, Albania [] also coasts the Ionian Sea to the south west. With the large water basins located so close all the time Albania just so happens to be a water lovers paradise. Time to pull out those waterwings, and get out there!Albania consists mostly of hilly and mountainous terrain. Korab, The highest mountain, is in the district of Dibra. Korab reachs heights of up to 2,753 m. For a second there my guess is that you thought that this country would only offer something to the ‘mediterranean water lover’. What about the mountains. Perfect for an array of sports like mountain climbing, hiking, scrambling, mountain biking, nature watching and more.Albania’s climate with it’s sea’s offers very hot summers. The capital city is Tirana, which as a population of about 520,000 . Because of Albania’s poor economy, it is easy to find cheap places to stay and to eat while visiting there!What are you waiting for?Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Africa’s Algeria

Algeria, The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country located in north parts of Africa. Algeria also happens to be the second largest country on the entire African continent. Algeria is bordered by Tunisia to the north east, Libya to the east, Niger to the south east, Mali and Mauritania to the south west, and Morocco. Algeria is only a few kilometers away from its annexed territory, Western Sahara, which is located in the west. Constitutionally, Algeria is an Islamic, country.Unlike some countries which can’t seem to remember where theire name came from, the name Algeria [] was derived from the city name Algiers, and from the Arabic word al-jazae (the islands). The islands refer to the four islands that were just of the coast off the city of Algiers, until they became part of the mainland in 1525.Most of the Algeria is coastal area which is hilly, often times even mountainous. This terrain makes for few good harbours. Just south of the coast there is an area known as the Tell, which is extremely fertile land. The Atlas mountains are further south, and even further south is the Sahara desert. Some of Algeria’s main cities are: Oran, Algiers and Constantine.Algeria’s climate is extremely hot. Humid at the coats and dry the further inland you travel. Although the climate on the coast is mild, the winters in the mountainous areas can be incredibly severe. Algeria is a very vulernarable country to sirocco, which is a hot dust and sand wind that can rip through the country in the summer.Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Portal Airdrie

Airdrie is a city located in Alberta, Canada. It is just north of Calgary inside of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor. As part of Calgary’s Census Metropolitan Area It adds to area’s estimated (1,037,100 in 2004). Because Airdrie is a member community of the Calgary Regional Partnership, It also adds to that regions population of about 1.1 million. Due to Airdrie’s close proximity to Calgary, their has been an explode in population over the past few years. Airdrie’s population was 27,069 In 2005, making it Calgary’s largest politically distinct suburb.Airdrie started as a railway village in 1889 during the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway. Again because of it’s close proximity to Calgary, today Airdrie [] is a gorgeous bedroom community and living industrial centre. Nose creek is its primary body of water, which is also the focal point of a number of green spaces and city parks in the city. One of the more popular of these parks is Nose Creek Park. Nose Creek Park hosts the annual Airdrie Festival of Lights every Christmas season. Other annual festivals celebrated include the Airdrie Pro Rodeo and the Canada Day Parade.Transportaion in Airdrie is a breeze because it is situated on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, the biggest highway in Alberta. This highwayh connects Calgary and Edmonton, thus making Airdrie a small and central transportation hub.Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

Places to Visit in Valencia

Valencia has a very profound history and therefore has many interesting historical buildings, monuments and cultural places to visit. Valencia City is also home of the Spanish Arts and Sciences, with its galleries, exhibits and performance spaces.Tourists often frequent Valencia also to experience the splendor of Valencia’s famous beaches. Valencia’s beaches border the Mediterranean Sea; facing the Bay of Biscay and are always alive with people enjoying the warmth of Valencia’s Weather.Cathedral de ValenciaCathedral de Valencia is a magnificent old building situated in the Old quarter of Valencia City. Its architectural structure is reminiscent of the early structure of Valencia City; a City influenced by the Roman Empire, the Moorish customs and the Christian influence. If you visit the Cathedral de Valencia, you will get a glimpse of the preserved history of Valencia’s past.Nova TabarcaThe Island of Nova Tabarca is only around three miles from Valencia’s coastal beach area. Once the home to pirates, the Island of Nova Tabarca is now a popular tourist destination. In the 18th century King Carlos III initiated the building of the first settlements on Nova Tabarca, which were designed to house Italian refugees.Today, Nova Tabarca features the historical remnants of those times, such as an eighteenth century fortress; St Jose fortified tower and a baroque church.TuriaThe river Turia is the sight of three of Valencia’s notable tower bridges, the Puente del Real, the Puente de la Trinidad and the Puente de Serranos. These three bridges date back to the 15th century and form part of what was one the old fortification walls of Valencia City.Since the diversion of the river Turia, the old river bed is now the home of Valencia’s Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia’s spectacular museum of modern art.La LonjaLa Lonja is home to several of some of Valencia’s famous attractions, such as the Palacio de la Generalidad, Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas, the Plaza de Manises and the Campanil de la Iglesia de Santa Catalina bell-tower.Palacio de la Generalidad is a famous 15th century Valencian Palace that currently houses the government offices of the Valencian parliament. While the Palace of the Marquis de Dos Aguas embodies the beautiful architecture style of the rococo era.There are no limits to the sightseeing treasures that await any visitor to Valencia. The province of Valencia and Valencia City are a delight to see and form an important part in both Spanish and European history.

Haiti: Fortress in the Sky

[summer of 1986] Let me give you a little background before I get into the actual site. I went to Haiti, nineteen of us flew into Port de Prince, and stayed at an orphanage for a few days (slept on a blanket, on the roof top, swatting cockroaches); then got some Jeeps, and went into them mountains, it was during the summer so it was miserable hot. I had two main objects; first to go up to an area where there was a little village and help put in the foundation for a medical clinic. The local doctor, local in the sense he was 20-miles away, would not come to this village until there was clinic. So anyhow, I helped build the walls, doing some masonry work, and touched up the concrete slap putdown for the floor. The roof would have to wait.After a few weeks up there, lying on the floor of one of the three churches that were there, other than that, there really were no accommodations, my work was completed. People slept in shanties, on the floor with mats. So in Rome you do as the Romans do, so did I.On my way back to Port de Prince, I stopped at what some call the 8th wonder of the world, Haiti’s Citadel. It is on top of a hill, three thousand feet up. Consuming about the same area of the Acropolis of Athens (where I was in l995, and what a beautiful view of the city from up there). When I was there they were dong some renovation. The Citadel is a fortress on a hill, and was constructed to keep Napoleon’s fleet at a distance, and perhaps other foes. The walls are some 15-feet thick. Twenty-thousand workers, worked on this project. Many were killed or died in the process. It was built in the early 1800s.I had noticed it was decaying when I was there, so it was nice to see the renovation process in action. Below the Citadel was the San Souci Palace and its grounds were also being renovated. I drove by there, and only stopped in front of it too takes a few pictures, I was anxious to make it back to Port de Prince.They were starting to rebuild a roof on one of the main sections on the fortress; I suppose because of the tropical downpours, it is a decaying foe to the fortress. Not sure if I saved any souls up in this land of Christianity in the day light, and voodoo in the moonlight. But all and all it was a most adventurous trip.

Miracles and the Church of Ta Pinu

The story began with our first night on Malta. It was a comedy of errors, though it didn’t seem all that funny at the time. I foolishly rented a car and we drove around lost until nearly four o’clock in the morning when we happened to run into a friendly police officer who led us to our hotel.From that point, nothing especially eventful happened except that we found a wonderful little Guest House in the city of Sliema, the Soleado, and took up residence there. During our week’s sojourn, we spent most of our days visiting Valletta and doing other touristy things and our nights trying out new things to eat. I actually liked Octopus and Rabbit stew. And the snails weren’t too bad, either. With our time on the island dwindling to their final hours, we decided we wanted to visit Gozo, one of the three islands that make up the tiny country. We had read about its rustic charms in a guide book. Where the big island of Malta was highly developed, Gozo was a step back in time to Malta of the early 1900s. On the next to last day of our stay we made up our minds to go. That morning we took a bus up to the ‘whale’s tail.’ Malta is shaped like a whale and the ferry landing was at the northernmost tip.The ferry has been in service for more than a century. It wasn’t fast, but it was dependable. We munched on pastizzi, a Maltese pastry, and drank capuccino while we sat on the deck of the stodgy vessel and watched the landing place slowly come into view. The trip took less than half an hour and we soon landed at the village of Mgarr, (pronounced Em-jarr.)Not knowing what else to do, we hired a local cabbie to show us the sights. He began by taking us to the capital, Rabat, which is also known as Victoria. After walking along the top of the wall of the city and visiting gift shops, we were ready to try something different. The driver suggested that we pay a visit to Ta Pinu. Pope John Paul II had visited the church, and it was known as a place for miracles. Leon, our cabbie, told us that the walls were lined with discarded canes, casts and crutchs that were no longer needed after supplicants had made their pilgrimages there.We were happy for the suggestion. Malta has some of the most beautiful churches in the world, and we hadn’t grown tired of looking at them.True to our guide’s word, we found hundreds of typewritten accounts as well as plaster casts and other accoutrements for the lame and disabled. Many of the stories were especially touching, dealing with children who were born with deformities or had been injured in accidents. Hopeful parents had brought them there and left their testimony to the wonders the church had performed. We’re Methodists, so we were a little skeptical. But we also know that there are too many unexplained things that have happened to rule out the possibility of miracles.As we were leaving, Evie bought a medal for fity Maltese cents, the equivalent of a dollar and a half. She put it in her wallet and forgot about it. At noon on that 13th of May she started from her office to a nearby printer. After she finished the errand, she was to meet our daughter, Katie. Katie was about to be confirmed and needed a dress so the two of them were going to look for one together. As Evie was about to cross the street, a fugitive in a stolen car ran into her at a high speed, hurling her more than ten feet into the air and striking her head against the windshield as she came down.At 5:30, Katie came home very worried. Mom hadn’t shown up. She told me to turn on the news and we watched a report about a police chase in downtown Minneapolis that resulted in the injury of a middle-aged woman. She was sure that was Mom. Worried, I called a friend at Evie’s workplace. She told me no one had seen her since noon. When I called Hennepin County Medical Center, I got crushing news. Evie was in intensive care.Beside myself, I got into the car and tore off for the hospital. Even now I wonder how I got there without getting in an accident myself. A nurse led me to a hospital bed. The swollen bruised and cut face I saw lying on the pillow had me making a dash for the closest rest room.The head nurse was waiting for me. It was a miracle Evie was alive, she said. She had been struck with such force and had suffered such head trauma that in most cases she would have been killed instantly. Even more miraculous, she was awake and lucid when the rescue team brought her into the emergency room. Although she couldn’t talk, she understood what had happened and responded to questions with eyeblinks. I went to her bed and took her hand. She squeezed it. The next day, we had our first post-accident conversation. She sounded so much like the Evie I had known and loved that I couldn’t control my emotions and I started to blubber. The nurse was right. It was a miracle.The second miracle wasn’t apparent until months later. Despite the horrendous collision, she had sustained only a broken pelvis and a minor brain injury. Her physical injuries were the first to heal. But to this day she still has double vision looking down and problems with her short term memory.One day months later, she happened to find the medal she had bought at Ta Pinu. She remembered the miracles. Was she another? We will never know if it saved her life, but we’re both glad she had it with her on that terrible day.

A Cuba Vacation

Taking time out from the everyday stresses and strains of life to visit an exotic place is something that everyone looks forward to. Cuba, with its notoriety brought upon by its government and the clamp down of the American government on its export and tourism, is a country known more for its cigar and its leader, rather than as a vacation destination. Despite this, every year more and more tourists from Canada and Europe are flocking to Cuba, enthralled by its natural beauty and its passionate and welcoming people. Tourism in Cuba is currently at an all time high.Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands and is inhabited by people with a mixed race of Caribbean Indian, African and Spanish heritage. It has a contrasting landscape ranging from beautiful and mesmerizing beaches to sprawling and craggy mountain ranges. Limestone Mountains loom over the fields of tobacco, utilised for their famed cigars, providing a stunning scenic view. The natural beauty of Cuba and its history has shaped the country to what it is today. This is one Caribbean island that has been left unspoiled by technology and modern day living.Like many of the Caribbean islands, Cuba’s main source of tourism is the beach industry. The country is blessed with hundreds of miles of sprawling sandy beaches, with fine white sand and clear blue water. Tourists visiting Cuba have a multitude of choices for the location of their beach vacation. The major resorts of Varadero and Cayo Largo are the most renowned and here you’ll find many 5 star all inclusive resorts. Despite this, there are also plenty of smaller, quieter beach resorts where you can truly get away from it all.Aside from stunning beaches, Cuba also offers plenty of rustic towns and cities full of rich culture and heritage. A vacation to Cuba isn’t complete without visiting at least one of the Cuban towns or cities and meeting the local Cuban people.In the north-west of the country you’ll find the capital city, Havana – the hub of everything that is Cuban. When you stroll around the city you’ll feel the essence of the Cuban past – a rich legacy emanating from the Spanish colonial architecture that beholds the city. Parts of the city resemble the set of an old movie, reminiscent of a bygone era, with old American cars bustling by. A lot of work has been done in the past decade to restore old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, but much of the city has been left untouched and hundreds of crumbling buildings collapse each month.Havana also has its fair share of museums, including the Museum of the Revolution, the Havana Club Museum of Rum, the Cigar Museum, the Ernest Hemingway Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts.Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city in Cuba and is located on the eastern end of the island. It has a beautiful setting at the foot of the Sierra Maestra Mountains and overlooks a magnificent bay. Unlike the other towns and cities in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has a very Caribbean feel to it. This is as a result of the influence of the Haitian planters who settled here in the 19th century.Trinidad, located in the heart of Cuba is one of the original towns and was founded in 1514. The city is filled with cobbled streets and old buildings with tiled roofs and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. It’s a very pleasant city to spend a day or two, with many museums, churches and Plazas.An ideal way to spend your vacation is to take a few days to do some sightseeing in Havana or one of Cuba’s other cities and then follow that up with a relaxing week’s stay in one of the luxurious all inclusive resorts by the beach.

Make Life More Rewarding – a Quick Guide to Ensuring You Receive Free Rewards for Everyday Actions

For many people, the process of getting started with earning loyalty rewards can seem too hard. To help people just starting out I am providing this simple walkthrough guide. This guide is designed for people resident in the USA and is not suitable for people living elsewhere. The order of steps is important – so please follow them in the order given..As a basic rule I advise people to join all the free programs available so that you can claim any available points – worst case scenario you will have wasted a few minutes of time, best case you will be eligible to claim an award you wouldn’t otherwise have received.Step 1: Decide on your preferred reward type.This is relatively easy – there are 3 main rewards types: