Australia


Down Under? Not at all, mate! The Land of Oz is on top of the world. You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. When you’re in a place that looks like the bottom of the world, and you look up, it’s downhill from there. ‘Up Over’ may be a more apt moniker for Australia because any place that stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback seems to go on forever. A country sometimes confused for a continent, it’s certainly much bigger than the Mercator map gives it credit. One measures distance here in hundreds, even thousands of kilometers. In between well-known landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Uluru, the fabled Ayer’s Rock, are scores of places to visit and things to see. It might be tempting to catch a flight from place to place and make a brief stop in a city with an airport like an electron orbiting an atom, but it’s easy to miss the molecule. Better to take the time to enjoy the incredible landmass that is Australia. Move beyond Crocodile Dundee and Vegemite to savor all that this fabulous place has to offer.

Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney Opera House

Blue Mountains

Cape Tribulation, Queensland

Daintree Rainforest

More About Australia

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India


India. The word evokes many images. A land of more than one billion people reaching from the vast Indian Ocean to the stunning Himalayas, India is awash in unparalleled color and beauty. Few locales in the world match its stimulating effect on the five senses — the exotic sights, a cacophony of sound, and exotic smells, tastes, and sensations of a vibrant place. The essence of “India” goes far beyond its exotic, and at times mystical, reputation. Its reality is far more complex that its ecologically diverse geography with dry deserts, towering peaks, and subtropical lowlands; ancient history spanning centuries of kingdoms and modern incarnation; and cultural and spiritual enclaves offer the casual eye at first glance. India is a country in the midst of change that honors its rich heritage as it establishes itself as one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world. Millions of tourists journey to India each year to see it for themselves, drawn by the lure of Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Triangle, the Land of Kings, Rajasthan, Kerala, and elsewhere. Most soon discover that India is so much more than that. It is a home to countless languages, religions, and traditions — even gods. It’s impossible to absorb it all in just one visit. One must take a pilgrimage or a life-changing experience to begin to understand what India personally means.

More About India
Sunrise in Udaipur, India
Greetings from Rajasthan, India
Bihu, Assamese New Year
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2015_03 India Instagram IMG_5471-12015_03 India Instagram IMG_4548-12015_03 India Instagram IMG_5213-12015_03 India Instagram IMG_5386-12015_03 India Instagram IMG_5390-1

India Map

Click here to read the original article by MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for travelogues, photos and videos from around the world.

The Mennonites of Paraguay (with Photos)


 

Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and videos from around the world.

This is the full version of the original article.The third in a series on Paraguay’s Chaco region features the local Mennonite communities. The first focused on Filadelfia, the area’s largest town, and the second on the rural Chaco. The final post highlighted the local indigenous community. Enjoy photos and stories from one of Paraguay’s most intriguing places.

Paraguay’s remote western region, the Chaco, boasts a diverse mix of Mennonite, Spanish, Brazilian, and indigenous Guarani influences. The approximately 60,000 to 80,000 Mennonites in Paraguay who live in large communities, or “colonies,” dominate the local culture. Its distinctly German flavor was introduced to the country by Russian Mennonites of Germanic descent who emigrated from the former Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s to avoid persecution under Stalinism. Other Mennonite communities migrated to Paraguay between 1929 and 1932 from Canada, Germany, and the United States. The Fernheim, Menno, and Neuland colonies settled near present-day Filadelfia in 1930, and have since grown to more than 10,000 members. Most are farmers with large ranches (estancias) that produce a variety of agricultural products, including beef, dairy products, and other foodstuffs.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (3)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (8)

The Mennonites’ arrival in the Chaco coincided with the rise in tensions between Paraguay and its neighbor, Bolivia. Eager to solidify the country’s hold on the sparsely populated region, the Paraguayan government granted in the 1930s large parcels of Chaco land to the Mennonites on the condition that they establish a permanent presence there. The Bolivians, who coveted the Chaco for oil-producing potential that never materialized, invaded it in 1932 and fought the three-year Chaco War with Paraguay. More than 80,000 Bolivians and 50,000 Paraguayans died in the conflict that ended with Bolivia’s defeat. Although the pacifist Mennonites did not fight, the food they cultivated kept the Paraguayan troops fed.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Chaco (15)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Chaco (16)

The Mennonites struggled to survive in the 1930s and 1940s. An inhospitable, semiarid environment with little rainfall and poor soil made life difficult for the early settlers as they domesticated the land. Travel overland to Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, before the construction of the Trans-Chaco Highway in the late 1950s, was an odyssey that left the remote colonies isolated from the outside world. Indigenous groups such as the Guarani resisted encroachment by their new neighbors and fought occasional skirmishes with the settlers. The Mennonites and the indigenous learned to co-exist peacefully, and many indigenous now work for the colonies. After years of toil, the Mennonites transformed the area into one of the country’s most productive agricultural regions.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (1)

The Mennonite’s cooperatives (cooperativas) are among Paraguay’s largest enterprises. Closely affiliated with the local Mennonite Church, they manage the colonies’ commercial interests. Their operations and logistics networks are brilliantly efficient. They provide farmers with enriched animal feed, transport raw milk from farms to dairy plants, transform milk into dairy products, process foodstuffs, and ship finished goods to market on gravel roads that they maintain. The cooperatives also operate service businesses, including hotels, restaurants, gas stations, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and shopping centers that cater to the Mennonite communities. Fernheim Colony’s cooperative, the country’s best known, also runs an experimental farm that incubates and crossbreeds cash crops capable of the surviving in the Chaco. The power and influence of the cooperatives is astounding, although one would not know it at first glance. The low-profile associations are opaque operations whose sole purpose is to serve the Mennonites.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (4)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (6)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (7)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (5)

The Mennonite culture emphasizes hard work, a simple life, and strict adherence to its religious beliefs. Unlike their Amish cousins, Mennonites embrace the use of technology when it improves their productivity, and they dress in plain, functional clothing. Most men wear short-sleeve cotton shirts and khaki pants or jeans; women usually wear dresses to church and pants on the farm. Most marry within the community, while those who marry non-Mennonites tend to leave the colony. As a result, offspring tend to look Germanic than Hispanic, indigenous, or mixed. It is common to see someone with blond hair and blue eyes walking around Filadelfia. Mennonites also prefer to speak Plattdeutsch, an old variant of Low German, to Spanish or Guaraní, Paraguay’s official languages. It’s easy for those who visit the Chaco to see the cultural divide between the Mennonites and non-Mennonites. While many indigenous and Brasiguayos, or Brazilian migrants living in Paraguay, work with the Mennonites on the estancias, they tend to live separately. Mennonites and other groups seem to frequent restaurants, stores, and services that caters to one or the other. Mennonite activities tend to focus on the church, while non-Mennonites enjoy pastimes such as soccer (fútbol) and public gatherings such as barbeques (asados). This tendency is reinforced more by tradition and preference than overt discrimination.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (2)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites

A visit to the Chaco is worth the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Mennonite culture set against a backdrop of the “Wild West” of South America. It’s a remarkable journey back in time to a simpler age.

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (9)

2008_08_31 Paraguay Mennonites (10)

Special thanks to Juliette Wade for hosting the original post on her blog, TalkToYoUniverse as part of the Writers’ International Cultural Share. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this great forum where writers can share their cultural experiences and insights from around the world.

Paraguay


Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and video from around the world.

“An island surrounded on all sides by land” is how Paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos described his homeland. A small, landlocked country in the heart of South America, Paraguay has had a rich and tumultuous history since its independence in 1811. The country lost half its territory during the 1865-70 War of the Triple Alliance against Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. However, it won back part of its dry, western half, the Chaco, when U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes mediated a dispute over the territory and ruled against Argentina in 1878. Paraguay also held on to a large swath of the Gran Chaco by turning back Bolivia in the 1932-35 Chaco War. Known for long periods of isolation under presidents Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (1814-40) and Alfredo Stroessner (1954-89), Paraguay earned a reclusive reputation. In recent decades, however, the country has emerged from a half century of dictatorial rule and become more open to visitors. Hindered by a nascent tourist industry and dearth of obvious must-see attractions, Paraguay is easy to overlook. A visit can be rewarding to those who venture off the beaten path to enjoy its beauty, rich mixed indigenous Guaraní and Hispanic heritage, and warm reception from some of the most wonderful people you’ll meet in South America.

More About Paraguay

2008_07 Paraguay National Palace

2008_11_28 Paraguay Caacupe

2008_08_31 Paraguay Chaco

2008_01 Paraguay Itaipu Dam

Map picture

Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Video)


When my family and I went to Australia in October 2012, we spent a few days in Cairns in the far north of Queensland. One of the highlights was our daytrip to the Great Barrier Reef about an hour off the coast by ship. We went snorkeling and took a submarine ride along part of the reef.

2012_10_26 Australia GBR IMG_0183

Here’s a video clip of the reef on the World Adventurers Channel. The scene reminded me of a scene out of the movie Finding Nemo…or perhaps the other way around. More on Australia soon, but until then enjoy the clip!

Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia

Click here to subscribe to the World Adventurers Channel on YouTube and enjoy more great travel videos.

More About Australia

Visiting Australia

Map picture

 

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra, three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, and a 3-in-1 collection featuring all three. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2014 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

World Adventurers for Kids Book Giveaway


WAfK Front Cover (mini)Sign up today for your free autographed copy of my popular children’s picture book, World Adventurers for Kids Books 1-3. Hosted by Goodreads, the giveaway ends on February 5, 2014. Click here to sign up. I’ll contact the winners after the giveaway ends. Good luck!

This 3-in-1 collection has been popular with children and parents around the world. It includes the first three picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra. The book is available both in print and e-book formats from many booksellers.

The World Adventurers for Kids Series features illustrated adventure stories told in a way that children ages four to eight will find entertaining and educational. Filled with illustrated photos and moral tales, they will take children around the world in story books designed to read in one sitting.

Alexander the Salamander discusses the importance of listening to authority figures. A young salamander named Alexander joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula for an unforgettable adventure in the Amazon River Basin.

Ellie the Elephant encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie living in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing elephant polo?

Zoe the Zebra teaches children about bullying. A young zebra named Zoe who lives in the African bush joins forces with her friends Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon, and other animals to protect their friend Wally the Warthog from a pack of bullying hyenas. Can they help him and stop the bullying?

WAfK 3 Covers (small)

All the books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series are available to purchase in print or e-book format from many booksellers listed below.

E-book Version

World Adventurers for Kids Books 1-3 is now available to purchase as an ebook for only $2.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com for Kindle ($2.99)

Amazon UK for Kindle (£2,03)

Amazon Canada for Kindle ($3.05)

Amazon Germany for Kindle (€2,68)

Amazon France for Kindle (€2,68)

Amazon India for Kindle (R177.00)

Amazon Italy for Kindle (€2,68)

Amazon Spain for Kindle (€2,68)

Amazon Brazil for Kindle (R$6,67)

Amazon Japan for Kindle (¥296)

Apple iTunes ($2.99)

Barnes & Noble for Nook ($2.99)

Barnes & Noble UK for Nook (£1,91)

Diesel eBook Store for multiple e-readers ($2.99)

Kobo Books for Kobo Reader ($2.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Sony ReaderStore for Sony e-reader ($2.99)

Smashwords for multiple e-readers ($2.99)

Print Version

World Adventurers for Kids Books 1-3 is now available in print for $12.55 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com ($12.55)

Amazon UK (£11,89)

Amazon Canada ($19.87)

Amazon Germany (€15,56)

Amazon France (€14,78)

Amazon Italy (€14,97)

Amazon Spain (€14,36)

Createspace ($14.99)

IndieBound ($18.99)

Powell’s Books ($15.50)

Visit the book’s web page for a full list of booksellers.

Sign Up for your Free copy of

World Adventurers for Kids Books 1-3 today!

WAfK Front Cover (small)

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra, three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, and a 3-in-1 collection featuring all three. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2014 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Cedar Breaks National Monument (Video)


Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah was one of the travel destinations my family and I visited in the United States last summer. Here’s a video clip showing different views of Cedar Breaks from the rim. It’s not very big but has spectacular views. Have a look; I think you’ll agree.

Cedar Breaks National Monument in southern Utah

Cedar Breaks is a short 25-mile drive on Highway 14 from Cedar City, Utah. It’s a great place to stop on your way to or from Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park. The rock formations are similar to those of Bryce Canyon albeit on a smaller scale. If you don’t have time to visit Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks is a good alternate.

Map picture

After watching this video clip, why not subscribe to the World Adventurers Channel on YouTube? I have been posting video clips of great destinations and fun travel moments from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, and much more. Stay tuned for more great travel videos.

More about the Colorado Basin in Utah and Arizona

Bryce Canyon National Park (Video)

What I Did Last Summer (Photo Montage)

WAfK Front Cover (mini)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant, and Zoe the Zebra, three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, and a 3-in-1 collection featuring all three. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.