A Travellerspoint blog

Top 9 Things I Enjoyed in Istanbul

For some other reasons, it was only a couple of months ago when I finally got the chance to go to Turkey. I had several plans for my itineraries, but since I got only few days to spend, I made sure to make the most out of it. By the way, thanks to Turkish Airlines for the complimentary tickets.

Here are the top things I enjoyed in Istanbul:

1. EXPLORE ALL OF TURKEY IN HOURS THROUGH MINIATURK PARK. Few hours after my arrival in Istanbul, my guide immediately took me to this huge park and I was stunned to more than hundreds of miniatures of all the historical sites, monumental buildings and important landmarks in Turkey, where each model is well detailed and designed. Audio guides are also provided and a great help to a better understanding of each site.

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2. A CUP OF COFFEE IN PIERRE LOTI HILL. According to my guide, the place is named after the famous French writer, Pierre Loti, who fell in love with the place on his first visit. And who wouldn’t ? Upon reaching the hill through a cable car, you will be amazed with its magnificent view of Golden Horn. And the best way to enjoy the splendid scenery? Over a cup of Turkish coffee. But for me, i love the 3-in-1 way.

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3. MORNING WALK IN TAKSIM SQUARE. Lucky enough, I did not find any protesters in this area during my stay in Istanbul. I grabbed this chance to enjoy the surroundings and find it very refreshing.

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4. THE BLUE MOSQUE AND HAYASOFYA. Museums have always an appeal to me, and these two architectural landmarks of Istanbul did not fail to impressed me. The stories and histories behind their names are what makes these two sites interesting.

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5. GET LOST IN GRAND BAZAAR. Everybody loves to shop! especially if you have the means! Built in 15th century, this bazaar is considered to be the oldest and largest covered market in the world. With over thousands of shops inside, you can choose from a wide range of products, from clothing to souvenirs. As I entered the hall, the atmosphere imbued the sense of history and I was enthralled by the colorful vaulted ceilings and to all the products displayed outside. Bargaining is the name of the game.

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6. THE BOSPHORUS CRUISE. We began the tour in Eminonu, and after few minutes of cruising, a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view spanned the distance as far as my eyes can see. I just stood for a moment and enjoyed the breathtaking view of the surrounding scenery. The perennial mix of European and Asian cultures, ancient forts, fortifications, palaces, where architectures are sights to behold. Standing underneath the famous Bosphorus bridge was simply amazing.

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7. INDULGE TO ISTANBUL NIGHTLIFE. I really made sure that I’ll be spending the weekend in Istanbul when I made this trip. I was not wronged. Nightlife in this city was pretty awesome. There are numerous venues spread out over Sisli, Beyoglu, Istiklal and Taksim districts. Karaoke bars are also popular amongst Turkish. I started the night with an ice-cold local beer.

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8. STROLLING IN ISTIKLAL STREET. This vibrant street has a certain charm, approximately one mile, though its very crowded, I never got enough from walking up and down, entering every boutiques and shops. I enjoyed walking with the crowds, and feasted my eyes to the modern lifestyle of the city.

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9. SWEETS OVERLOAD WITH TURKISH DELIGHTS. One should never leave Istanbul without tasting these Turkish delights! Lucky enough, my guide was generous enough giving me samples – and I managed to try almost everything.

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Did I miss something to try on? Please don’t hesitate to share this post through Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 23:39 Archived in Turkey Tagged mountains turkey istanbul istiklal_caddesi grand_bazaar hagia_sofia pierr_loti_hill turkish_coffee golden_horn_ blu_mosque bosphorus_cruise istanbul_nightlife turkish_delights Comments (0)

45 Life Lessons, Written by a 90-year old

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My morning ritual in the office starts with checking emails, browsing the internet, and while sipping coffee, this article catched my attention and made my day. Share and spread the good vibes!

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it....
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. Forgive but don’t forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Source: www.TrulyRichClub.ph

Please don’t hesitate to share this post through Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well. Let’s get connected.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 23:16 Comments (0)

Snapshot of the Week: The Taj Mahal

It was such a memorable experience for seeing one of the world's ancient wonders. This 'monument of love' is the most amazing structure I have ever seen than any tallest building in the world. Taj Mahal, meaning 'Crown Palace' was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal, where her grave was put in the lower chamber. Built entirely of white marble, its stunning architectural beauty is beyond ample description. I used to read them on books and thank God it became reality.

Photo taken last August 2012. Agra, India.

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What is the most amazing structure you have seen so far? Share your thoughts.

Please visit my official blog site at www.worldmeetsearl.wordpress.com. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well. Let's get connected.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 12:33 Archived in India Comments (0)

A Christmas Message from WorldMeetsEarl

I am truly grateful to meet people sharing the same passion that I have. Though I am only a month-old in blogging and in social media (Twitter), but the support from new found friends are overwhelming. We maybe thousand miles away from each other but I feel the sincerity of your kind and encouraging words to me. I am very humbled. Thank you for reading, sharing my stories and letting my thoughts be heard. May you continue to inspire us to explore the world and looking forward to learn more from your discoveries. Sharing experiences has never been this fun!

God bless us all!

Have a joyful and meaningful Christmas to everyone!

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Who would like to give thanks this Christmas? Share your thoughts.

Please visit my official blog site at www.worldmeetsearl.wordpress.com. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well. Let's get connected!

Posted by worldmeetsearl 01:27 Tagged christmas thank_you Comments (0)

A Traveler's Extra Wish List

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It's two days before Christmas! Everybody is in the mood for gift giving and everybody is waiting for Santa Claus to come in town! Few days ago, I came to watched the 'WestJet Christmas Miracle' viral video and was so touched by the amazing act. After watching, I wondered if I was given the chance to talk to Santa Claus, I'll bring out the list of the things I desire to receive this holiday and make my next journey extra special. Just for fun!

1. A Business Class Ticket. Obviously, the difference flying between business and economy class is substantial. I wouldn't mind flying economy class all the time but who wouldn't wish to lie in a flat bed business class seat above 20,000 feet with all the perks and privileges for a VIP. Unless, you are a CEO.

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2. A Globe-trotter Leather Suitcase. Travel like a royalty with this Victorian-inspired suitcase. In these modern times, bringing back a vintage travel style is very appealing to me. Along with leather trim and chrome locks, this luxurious luggage is very light yet extremely strong.

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3. Montblanc World-Time Hemisphere Watches. Who wouldn't drool for these two awesome timepiece accessories, which simultaneously show the different times in all 24 of the world's time zones? It may take 'time' for me to fully understand the mechanical principle behind, but one thing is for sure: wherever I maybe, the world is on my wrist.

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4. Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera. I normally carry a small camera to most of my trips and since I am good the whole-year round (well, I guess), hopefully, Santa would grant my wish with this high definition, powerful camera to capture memories that would last for a lifetime.

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5. A Northface Hedgehog GTX III. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in the future would be just a piece of cake with this latest innovation from Northface. With this ultra lightweight hiking shoes, pampering my feet this Christmas is not a bad idea at all.

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6. An Apple Macbook Air. You may disagree with me, but this brand never really stops to amaze me. Needless further explanation, with all its powerful features, I wouldn't mind being stuck in the airport for 10 hours. Of course, please don't forget the wifi.

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Have a joyful and meaningful Christmas to everyone!

How about you? What is your extra wish list this Christmas? What would you say to Santa? Share your thoughts.

Please don’t hesitate to share this post through Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 00:26 Comments (0)

Snapshot of the Week: The Madhu River

This was taken last year when I visited SriLanka. Located 25km from Hikkaduwa, this river is the second largest wetland habitat in the country. It is a home to over 300 species of aquatic plants and animals. I enjoyed the relaxing cruise as I passed by to a dozens of islets, mangrove tunnels, a fish farm and a cinnamon island, where got the chance to see the production of cinnamon. The Madhu River showcases the rich biodiversity of the island paradise and a truly remarkable place to visit.

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Have you ever been to SriLanka? What was the most memorable place you have visited? Share your thoughts.

Please don’t hesitate to share this post through Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 22:13 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Tour in SriLanka: A Blessing in Disguise (Part 1)

It was a year ago when I visited SriLanka and I admit, it was not part of our travel plan. Me and my colleague were supposed to go to Egypt for a week-long holiday, but things turned out differently when the consul advised us promptly that it was too late to process our tourist visa application due to short amount of time. Apparently, it was next to impossible to get the visa before our intended departure, (which was a week before) so the next thing in mind was to find a country where we can get the visa upon arrival, since we are holding Philippine passports.

While searching online in the office, I received a call from a client inquiring a tour package in SriLanka. Ting! just like in cartoon programs, a light bulb popped out in my head. Without hesitation, I immediately booked the airline tickets before it’s too late (most flights were fully booked due to peak season), and coordinated with our tour operator in SriLanka to prepare an itinerary for us. Lucky enough, we made it on time and everything were all set for the bunch of adventures awaited for us.

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SIRIGIYA. Climbing the Lion’s Rock Fortress. It was a three-hour drive to Sigiriya from Negombo, where we stayed overnight. Since we anticipated for a wholeday-hike, we made sure to get there as early as possible in the site. My excitement grew seeing the rock from afar standing magnificently, studded with lush green gardens.

Declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World, this rock is considered as one of the largest monoliths in the world. According to our local guide, it used to be a monastery but later on became an ancient fortress built by King Kashyapa, who murdered his father and seized the throne. Fearing for the attack of his half-brother, the rightful heir, the King decided to place the palace on top of the rock. (interesting story, huh?)

We walked past through the ponds, fountains, and noticed ruins of giant pools before reaching the foot of the rock. First we climbed a number of stairs after we entered The Boulder Garden, until we realized that it was getting steeper as we ascended through a spiral staircase and led us to a cave of frescoes. It was fascinating to see such old paintings that were preserved, not to mention the cool breeze and the stunning view of the forest surrounding the rock. Then after few more steps we reached a platform where the real challenge starts: Two gigantic paws of a lion, carved into the rock, with an iron ladder steeply upwards as the final ascent to the summit.

Having no fear in heights, I still managed to walked through those steep set of staircase hanging in a cliff. But after few more set of stairs, which seemingly endless, my strength and stamina were put into test. My legs began trembling so I gripped through the handrails tightier as I felt that those rickety-looking stairs will collapse anytime.

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While catching my breath, I finally made my last step towards the summit! Upon reaching, a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view spanned the distance as far as my eyes can see. I just stood for a moment and enjoyed the breathtaking view of the surrounding scenery. Such a great feeling of accomplishment to be on top of a historical site, and it was suprisingly spacious that you can imagined how beautiful it was when first built. Foundations and remains of the palace were still standing. It was completely worth the risk to get there.

DAMBULLA. Temple Hopping. After the strenuous climb, we immediately headed to Dambulla, a 20-minute drive from Sigiriya, where the Golden Rock Temple is located. For centuries, this place is an important shrine and monastery for Buddhists. It is the largest and best-preserved cave-temple complex in SriLanka, making it as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Upon reaching the base of the hill, we were welcomed by a monstrous golden Buddha situated around 100 – 150m above the road. Before we started the hike, we got the chance to take some pictures with some Buddhist monks around.

The temple consists of five seperate caves and I was impressed by the exceptional craftsmanship as these caves were hewn from a big rock. I was stunned by the superb views over the surrounding countryside, where Sigiriya was also visible. As soon as I entered the temple, I felt the serenity, peace and calmness. Each caves are decorated with hundreds of statues of Buddha images, all beautifully carved and a reclining Buddha got my attention. Paintings in the walls and ceilings were so detailed that they appeared to be fine cloth billowing overhead.

Unlike the previous climb, ascending and descending to the temple was quite easy but with sloping rocks to reach the top. It has been a sacred place for centuries, so it is mandatory to remove any foot coverings of all people who intend to go inside the temple.

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Obviously, the whole hiking experience that day was tedious but totally gratifying and rewarding with its beautiful landscapes, exquisite culture and fascinating history.

Sometimes, the best things in life come from where we least expect it. We may have missed the chance to see the Pyramids of Egypt, but nevertheless, from the Lion’s Rock of Sigiriya to the sacred Golden Rock Temple, these places were truly remarkable and incomparable.

Next Stop: Kandy.

Wondering what happened next? Join me as the adventures continue on the second part of my story. Please don’t hesitate to share this post through Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on twitter @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 09:57 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (1)

The Strength Test of Haiyan

HAIYAN. UNEXPECTEDLY EXCEPTIONAL.
Geographically, Philippines is surrounded with water and for most of us, we are used to heavy rains and typhoons, Name it, from A – Z, we welcome ‘their’ visit more than 20 times every year, so nothing we can do about but to deal with it. But two weeks ago was exceptional. Leaving a mark to each of us. Making as the ‘second – strongest and deadliest typhoon’ ever recorded in world history, this must be extremely extraordinary.

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I’ve seen and heard enough. News are everywhere, hitting the headlines internationally. This environmental catastrophe was disheartening to see thousand of lives were shattered. Watching the victims looking for their lost loved ones, pleading for help, brought me back to my nightmares with Typhoon Ondoy four years ago. I found myself in tears as I hear their survival stories, and knowingly, their pain and anguish are beyond imaginable.

Typhoon Haiyan left nothing but devastation. And please forgive me, I asked God why is it happening to us, to our country, on why did He let it happen to all those innocent lives, young children, whom will shape our future. For a second, my faith with Him was in questioned.

OVERWHELMING SUPPORT
After Typhoon Haiyan left, a massive response began from all parts of the world. Many countries have expressed their sympathy and surprisingly, even from China (to whom we have some political issues), gave their pledges in aid to the storm destroyed the Philippines. International communities responded immediately and relief operations were launched every now and then. Many organizations are continuously raising funds to provide emergency assistance to all.

STAND UP AND RISE AGAIN
In the midst of this crisis, for one enough reason, the world reunites and clearly showed humanitarian acts, regardless of race, religion and color. As countries, we may disagree at some issues, but when this rough and crucial time comes, our different beliefs are left behind and holding unto each other.

At this point, God answered the question that I raised for a second in the best possible way that He could. For whatever reason it maybe, one thing is for sure: that we, Filipinos, will rise again and be the strongest than any super typhoon. I know we could, for we believe in ourselves as well as other nations, and as what a formidable organization told us:

“Time to get to know the Filipino people.. unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good natured, uber friendly, loyal, ingenuis, and a bunch of survivors. At the end of the day, the Filipinos will just shake off the dirt from their clothes and go about their business.. and smile. They do not complain much, they will bear as long as they can. Maybe this is why they were given the ‘priviledge’ of bearing the burden of the strongest typhoon ever recorded. The indomitable human spirit at its finest.”

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There is always reason for everything that happens. Your experiences are designed to shape you, define you and hopefully, grow you into the mightiest you possible.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all the countries and international communities who gave support undoubtedly and reached out to all Filipinos to help as much they can.

HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT IS YOUR STORY OF STRENGTH? Share your thoughts.

Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 00:03 Comments (0)

Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations for Middle Easterns

Every couple dream of a perfect honeymoon. Following the wedding ceremony, newlyweds will start their journey together and choosing the best location to celebrate the intimacy is very important. From a candlelit dinner in a tropical island to walking down in a stunning lake side together, are some of the best ways to complete the fairytale.

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As a holidaymaker for years, I have quite somehow mastered the needs of Middle Easterns for honeymoon packages and compiled some of their top choices. Here are my personal picks for the Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations that you might want to consider in the future.

1. Malaysia
The most popular honeymoon spot among Arabs at any time of the year, newlyweds will surely enjoy their new life together as this country boasts beautiful islands, amazing wildlife, and world-class infrastructures. There are lot of activities to explore as a couple in places like Selangor, Penang, Langkawi and not to mention the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur.

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2. Austria
Amongst Schengen countries, Austria ranks the top choice for couples heading Europe. And why not, sitting in a balcony infront of a breathtaking view of snow-capped mountains and lake sides could set a romantic mood and create special moment with your loved one. Zellamsee and Salzburg attract more honeymooners for its rolling landscapes and sceneries.

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3. Switzerland
Newlyweds will be enchanted by the charm of natural beauties of places like Lausanne, Zurich and Geneva, with its thick alpine forests and pristine lakes. And of course, don’t forget to indulge for the famous Swiss chocolate, to make the relationship more sweet.

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4. Maldives and Sri Lanka
These combination of two amazing countries have appeal for Arab couples who are looking for a romantic getaway and great adventures all in one. After the first three nights in a secluded island in Maldives, couples can easily transfer thru a local flight (one and a half hour) and be thrilled to the range of adventures that SriLanka has to offer.

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5. Indonesia
Newlyweds who are in a tight budget yet, would like to experience quality and luxurious honeymoon, visiting Indonesia would be one of the best choices. Aside seeing the white sand beaches of Bali and lush rainforest of Ubud, couples can spend intimate time together through nature tripping, trekking, and not to mention world-class spas and wellness that await them.

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Definitely these destinations are just some of the places that will keep the fire burning and recapture each others hearts over and over again. In the end, what matters most are the two individuals returning home with cherished honeymoon experience that will lasts for a lifetime.

Did you enjoy reading? Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 22:35 Tagged kuala_lumpur bali indonesia austria malaysia penang maldives switzerland langkawi srilanka ubud middle_east saudi_arabia honeymoon_destinations zellamsee salzurg selangor Comments (0)

Remembering My Old Aquarium

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PERFECT WORLD . PERFECT TIME.

T’was a perfect Thursday morning. Blue skies and calm water. Everything was all set for a scuba dive, happening on the beautiful island of Maldives!

It was a childhood dream. I am really fascinated with marine life and underwater world since I was a kid. I remembered I used to buy some ‘colored’ fishes (so worried because they were enclosed in a cleared plastic bag and thinking that they cannot breathe) from vendors in front of our school, bring them home as fast as I can, transfer them in a small aquarium, then talked to them just like any other normal pets. As I watched them moving freely in the four corners of my aquarium, questions ruminated through my mind. I kept wondering on why they don’t get tired of moving, on how do they breath and sleep. Seems like underwater world is next to where we are living in.

LEARNING THE SKILLS

Thanks to my friend, Ava, who is working in Maldives, arranged the course to a trusted diving center for me. I met my diving instructor early in the morning and took the Beginner Course for couple of hours. I acquired the fundamentals and basic skills in diving. I learned on how to use scuba equipment and the safety rules underwater, paying too much attention to each single detail. After we finished, finally I got the chance to choose all the scuba gears needed for the activity. Never realized that scuba tank weighs that much!

While heading to the diving site, I tried to assemble all the gears as fast as I can and wearing the wetsuit was unexplainable. I was so excited yet so nervous, trying to remember all the guidelines I learned that morning. I rechecked all the equipment for assurance, and practiced my breathing through the regulator every now and then. While I was given the last-minute instructions before plunging into the water, there were lot of things going into my head, praying for our safety and expecting for the best. And as I glide myself off the boat, the next thing I know was that I was grasping for my breath.
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WELCOME TO THE UNDERWATER WORLD.

Actual experience has never been easier than what I have thought. I had some trouble in fixing my goggles and took me awhile before I get used to breathe in and out through the scuba regulator. While we were floating in the cold surface of Indian Ocean, again, my instructor reminded me of the safety rules and hand signals as we paved our way underwater. I finally decided to let go off his hand and immersed myself into the ocean independently.

I felt I was entering a whole different world. It was so very peaceful that the only sound I heard was my breathing. When we descended deeper, it was so enchanting to be welcomed by a school of fish, as if I was one of them. On the other side, there were colorful sea creatures, which some of them I don’t even recognized, sea horses, corals, of different shapes and sizes. It was so fascinating that I cannot believe what I was seeing at that moment. I used to read and see them on science books but now they were in front of me, so close enough that I was even afraid to touched them.
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NEW FOUND ‘HOME’

There is nothing like breathing underwater. I was enjoying too much that I almost forgot the time I spent down under. I lived for a moment and ventured to a place where I felt anyone has never been into. After an hour, as much as I wanted to spend more time ‘dwelling’, finally my instructor gave the hand signal to come up to the surface and called it a day.

Everything was still vivid to me while heading back to the shore. I can’t wait to get home and tell my friends what an amazing experience I had just encountered, of what does it feel to be inside of an aquarium. Suddenly, I found myself smiling as I looked back to my childhood days, remembering my old aquarium, with ‘colored’ fishes I bought outside of our school. There were still lot of questions left unanswered, but one thing is for sure, I’ll be returning to my new found ‘home’.

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid it stuck with you in the back of your mind for years? Share your thoughts.

Did you enjoy my story? Please don’t hesitate to share this post though Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me on my twitter account @WorldMeetsEarl and looking forward to your tweets as well.

Posted by worldmeetsearl 11:06 Archived in Maldives Republic Tagged maldives scuba_diving marine_life underwater_world corals firt_time Comments (0)

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