Author: Richard Telling

Marinas of Gibraltar

There are many direct flights to Gibraltar, which is still a military base, with an airport to match! Arriving there is not for the feint hearted as cross winds can make it a very bumpy landing. The only runway extends out across the water, making it appear as though you are landing on the sea. In addition the main frontier road crosses the runway, with traffic held at level crossing gates whilst planes arrive and depart.

There are a total of three marinas which are Marina Bay,Queensway Quay, and Sheppards. The first two are the most well established. Marina Bay is situated on the West side of the Rock and has a draft of 4.5 metre and over 200 berths. All pontoons offer fresh water, power supply, telephone, fax, and satellite TV. There is also wireless internet available via a local provider. On the main pier there are the usual toilet facilities etc. For larger yachts there are 30 moorings which can accommodate 25-30m boats, and 15 for 30m plus yachts. Boats can be moored alongside and stern to. The maximum length of yacht is 75m with a max draught of 4.3m. There is no limit on the beam. As a rough guide to prices, in high season an 18-21m boat will cost 30 GBP per night, and 19 GBP in low season. The nearest airport is Gibraltar which is almost walking distance!!

Queensway Quay is the newest and most modern, and is located just North of the Rock, and currently has a new breakwater under construction. It can accommodate 209 vessels, and can take yachts up to 80m. There are 14 berths for yachts between 25 and 30 metres, and only 1 for yachts in excess of 30 metres, although we understand this will increase following development within the port. The maximum draught is 4.5metres and maximum beam 15metres. Each has fresh water, power, telephone, fax and Satellite TV. Boats can be tied up alongside and stern to. All points are connected to a pc in the harbour office which allow statements to be prepared promptly so that owners can get underway quickly. A local company is currently constructing waterside properties which will each have their own 20 metre mooring alongside.

Sheppards provides the only yacht repair yard in Gibraltar, run by H Sheppard and Co Ltd. The facility currently has 150 moorings and it is mostly used by locals. It can be a problem to find space if your stay is very short. Fees vary but for a 12m plus vessel are approximately £ 0.40 per metre in low season to £0.90 per metre in high season. The contact details are as follows : Marina Bay, Bayside Road, Gibraltar, Tel: +350 73300 or Fax +350 42656. Queensway Quay PO Box 19, Ragged Staff Wharf, Gibraltar, Tel: +350 44700 or Fax + 350 44699. Finally the contact details for Sheppards is Tel: +00350 75148 or Fax +00350 42535. The VHF channel is 71.

Savings on Cheap Cruises

Shop Around

Nowadays the internet has been a good venue which offers different types of information such as directing people to sites where they can find cheap cruises. Do not jump into the first cheap cruise package you come across, instead bookmark it for further review and evaluation.

Apart from using the “cheap cruise” keyword when you run the search engine, why not try “affordable cruise.” You may also key-in other alternative words which are synonymous to the word “cheap”.

The internet is not the only option. You can also opt to look over the yellow pages and call travel companies within or nearby your area. Try to let them orient you of their different cheap cruise packages. Additionally, you can ask for friend’s referral, especially if they have been into a discounted cruise.

Type of Cheap Cruise Package

Most cheap cruise packages are being offered during the following circumstances:

  • Off-peak season. There are months which are less traveled. During these months, most travel companies reduce their traveling fees to draw people’s attention in considering cruising.
  • Cruises which are repositioned. Due to higher demand to a certain place, there are travel companies which reposition their destination. By doing so, they keep the prices low.
  • Introductory Cruises. Most travel companies which introduces their cruise ships give discounts to anyone who wish to go out for a cruise.

Getting Ahead: Ready to Pack

Once you are done and you have carefully chosen the most suitable cheap cruise package for you, it is time to consider the things you will need for your much-awaited vacation.

Most travelers go wrong when they try to pack, instead of saving money; they tend to overindulge on some unimportant things such as:

  • Clothes. A pair of new attire for your cruise is enough. You can use your existing clothes to use for your cruise. By doing so, you will be able to cut off your expenses. These days, the prices of clothes are getting expensive every time you visit the mall.
  • Other belongings. It is best to keep your belongings countable and easy to carry. Choose bags or shoes that most likely will be utilized. Check with your travel company the itinerary so you know what important belongings to pack.
  • Credit cards. You are in a budget cruise. Bringing credit cards will tempt you to splurge on unnecessary items. Hence, it is recommended that you bring cash instead of credit cards. By doing so, you will be able to properly allocate your funds depending on the available money on hand.

Beauty of Bavaria

History of Bavaria

Salzburg was actually part of Bavaria until it got its independence in the 14th century and became an independent principality within the then German Empire. With the changing tides of history, it became a part of Austria in the 19th century, but the cultural ties with Bavaria remain very strong to this day. Today, many people commute between the two countries for work and share many features such as literature, accent and cuisine.

Bavaria part of Germany

Bavaria was also an independent state and only became part of the German Empire in 1871. It was a rural area until after the Second World War, when parts became highly industrialised, and it is now a vibrant economic centre. There are still many beautiful and wild places to visit, like the Bavarian Alps, where you’ll find oasis where you can relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife.

Alpine Splendour

Berchtesgaden, in Bavaria, is easy to get to using Salzburg airport transportation. In fact, it is just over 30 minutes’ drive. This area was made into a protected national park in 1978 and is one of the oldest protected areas in the Alps. Here you can experience the wonderful flora and fauna, either on guided tours or independently. There are beautiful alpine meadows, and forests adorning the mountainside where you could see, if you are lucky, Golden Eagles. You may also see the Alpine Salamander and Blue Hares to spot when you are hiking in this spectacular region.

Spectacular boat trips

One of the highlights of this trip has got to be Lake Königssee, renowned as Germany’s most beautiful alpine lake. The lake is about five miles long and is surrounded by sheer mountain walls. As there is no path around the lake, if you want to see this incredible place a boat journey is a must. This is one of Germany’s deepest and cleanest lakes and there are boat trips where you can glide over its crystal-clear water and marvel at the stupendous scenery that surrounds this lovely spot. There are two stops: Salet and Sankt Bartholomä.

Baroque Church

As you slowly cross the lake there appears a wonderful mirage: Sankt Bartholomä, a Baroque church with fantastic red rounded turrets and white walls surrounded by mountains, lakes and trees. It is truly a magical place. It was first built in the 12th century and remodelled in the Baroque style in 1697. As the boat stops here you can get out and explore the small town; there is also a restaurant, where you can sit and have lunch overlooking the lake.

Tips To A Discounted Cruise

  • schedule your time even a few weeks before or after the peak season you’ll save substantially. For example, the Alaska Cruise will have it’s peak season during July and August. If you can sail before or after those dates you’ll save.
  • Decide which cruise line you want to sail on. Some travel agencies tend to push a specific cruise line for various reasons, one reason is the agency receives a higher commission. Norwegian Cruise Lines, for the most part, will yield a better savings. Do a little homework and check out the amenities on each vessel to make sure it meets your expectations.
  • Don’t be miss-led when you see advertised specials such as Discount Luxury Cruise”, $599″. These advertisements are usually for off-season and do not include port fees and taxes.
  • Get a cruise quote that includes port fees and taxes. If
    the agency is unable to give that information to you then find another agency. Your interest should be the bottom line, the total cost with NO Hidden Fees. Port fees can run a couple hundred dollars per passenger, just be aware.
  • Unless you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin, get
    an inside cabin. An inside cabin, without a window, is by far the cheapest. The drawback to an inside cabin, you’ll never know what time of day it is sense no “day light” comes into your room. Make sure to have a clock.
  • Cabin rates are typically based on a 2-person occupancy.
    In other words, the first 2-people in the cabin will pay the full-fare, additional people will pay 1/2 the fare. If
    you plan on having more than 2-people in a cabin, make sure you are NOT paying full fare for the extra 2-people. If so, find another agency.
  • Cruise insurance is often recommended by the agency when booking your cruise. Don’t purchase cruise insurance from a travel agency, get it from an insurance company. You’ll not only save money but you’ll probably get a better policy too. We recommend the insurance because with the correct policy you are covered for trip cancellation either on your part or the cruise line, medical and luggage.
  • Cruising with a group does not always save you money on your cruise. If you are cruising with a group because you want to save money, think again, you may not be saving at all. The organizer of your group, if the group consists of 8-cabins, will usually
    get the cruise for free. They are the true savers.
  • Check out your Sunday paper’s travel section long before you cruise. It’ll give you an idea of what the market is like.

Holidays Afloat

Yachting means you aren’t confined to any one area, or even any one island; giving you the opportunity to visit various beaches, coves and beautiful coastlines on your travels. Alternatively, you can remain on your boat and watch the sun rises and the sun set over the clear horizon of the sea. Whether you are looking for an action packed vacation in the destinations of your dreams or a tranquil, even romantic getaway for you, your family and loved ones. The possibilities are endless.

Where you can go on your yachting vacation

Whether you choose to go bareboat, take a captain, or even an entire crew there is bound to be a destination to suit you. Many destinations offer the complete package for your vacation. Spend a couple of days in a secluded cove, exploring the beaches and seeing the beautiful plants and wildlife and then the rest of your vacation in the exotic harbour on the next island. Everything is possible on a yachting vacation.


Greece offers a number of popular destinations for mooring your yacht. Each island offering you a new surf washed beach combined with traditional Greek villages and exquisite countryside and mountains. The local restaurants and taverns are friendly and welcoming offering some fantastic Greek cuisine and drink.

A short distance away from the harbours you will be able to find a busy and popular nightlife, if required and historical excavations, museums and hospitable people always more than willing to idle away the time with you. For those not proficient in the local language there is no need to worry, a vast majority of the locals speak very fluent English and are usually only too happy to put it into practise.


The mainland of Turkey offers a combination of quaint and quiet villages with the occasional large town for stocking up on provisions and some fantastic sight seeing. The whole country is awash with ancient ruins from the numerous cultures that have resided there, giving ruins and buildings to visit suiting everyone’s needs.

The larger towns have regular bazaars that bring Turkish crafts both ancient and modern and a sea of many different colours. The smells, sights and sounds are an experience you will never forget.

The Turkish people are friendly and outgoing and, while English is not the predominantly spoken language, the hospitality of the people means between you there will always be a way around the language barrier. Again, the local cuisine is exquisite and the fresh fish is a delicacy that everyone should try at least once in a lifetime. There are numerous small or large harbours and even deserted coves where you can moor your yacht.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean is a very popular destination for many sailors, and is perfect for a romantic break or a honeymoon. The bright blue seas and the clear skies make the Caribbean a picture perfect destination for a tranquil vacation. However, if you are after something a little more exciting the open seas offer an abundance of opportunity for scuba diving, snorkelling and water skiing. There are plenty of beach bars and places to try the local fish dishes and other cuisine and the weather is almost always perfect.

Numerous islands offering many beaches and coves means you will never get bored if you take your next yachting vacation in the Caribbean.

Why a yacht?

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning, pouring yourself a coffee and stepping out onto the deck of your yacht; the sun rising and not a sound to be heard apart from the occasional drift of the waves and the noise of the wildlife. Yachting provides one of the most tranquil vacations you can imagine. You don’t have loud neighbours and there is no danger of getting the room next to the toilets. Stock your yacht with enough provisions for the week and you don’t need to see a single person for your entire vacation.

Even the novices get a chance too; you can charter not only the vessel but also the crew or just the captain to go with you. There’s no need to worry about the invasion of privacy, as the crewmembers are usually very experienced in knowing when to make themselves scarce or when you may need an explanation of some of the surrounding beauty and sites.

Great Places to Study In Paris

Municipal Libraries

You’ll find a number of libraries in the various municipalities around Paris. Hostels may even be just a short walk from a library – known locally as bibliothèques – and there are some that cater mostly to students. These libraries are also a great resource, with students often able to borrow books that may not easily found on the Internet – especially those in French. If you’re staying for an extended period, you may be able to apply for a public library card to be granted borrowing privileges for a wide array of libraries – from the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris to the Arsenal Library. The interlibrary lending program even means you may even be able to find that obscure book you’ve never been able to get your hands on. Free Wi-Fi is always a welcome resource for students as well.

Parc de Bercy

Located beside the Seine, this is a wonderful place to escape when you want to study in a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Hostels are never far from a city green space, but Parc de Bercy offers a particularly tranquil ambience. The park itself is a work of natural beauty shaped by the hands of man, and it’s not hard to find a quiet spot to get some reviewing done in peace.

La Caféothèque de Paris

Café chains like Starbucks are a popular choice for those looking to sip a coffee in a relaxed atmosphere. Some cafés, however, offer a warmer, cosier and (most importantly) quieter atmosphere for students to study in peace. La Caféothèque de Paris is one such locale. Not only does it offer an ambience of comfort and cosiness rolled into one neat package, but it also brews up some excellent specialty coffee as well. It’s situated at 52 Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, which is an easy walk from many of the Paris hostels.

A l’Heure du Thé

If you’re more of a tea person, A l’Heure du Thé – which roughly translates to “a time for tea” – is for you. A l’Heure du Thé can serve up whatever tea you want, whether you’re hankering for a traditional pot of Earl Grey or more exotic fare like Chinese lapsang souchoung black tea. The cosy and composed atmosphere makes it a perfect choice for students looking for a quiet study nook. It’s located at 23 Rue Lacépède.

Cool Port City of Antwerp Belgium

Antwerp has a flourishing shipping and trading industry due to having the largest port in all of Europe. This economic powerhouse is also home to the Antwerp Fashion Academy, which has been continuing to develop new talents in the designing world since the 1980’s. Antwerp has also been dubbed the “world’s leading diamond city” as this is where over 70% of all diamonds are traded. So if you have some serious diamond shopping to do, this is the right spot! Browse around the selection of shops at the diamond district near the Railway Station and get acquainted with this precious stone. At night, Antwerp has no intention of making you retire early. With its wide selection of groovy restaurants and bars, the city is a lively companion until the wee hours.

The well-known baroque painter Pieter Paul Ruben was born and raised in Antwerp, and today, the city honors him by turning his former residence (Rubenshuis) into one of Antwerpís most important and popularly visited museums that showcases his life’s work. Another impressive museum you should visit is the MAS or Museum aan de Stroom. Aside from telling a great story about Antwerp’s history, the museum’s 60-meter high tower is an excellent example of Avant-garde architecture. After browsing the museum collection, proceed to the top of the tower to get your memorable 360∞ panorama of the city.

Despite having a penchant for the new and contemporary, Antwerp has managed to preserve its medieval center. Here, you will find delight just walking around the cobbled streets, sipping coffee at quaint cafes and admiring the 16th to 17th century buildings and monuments that abound. The market square in particular, is populated by medieval guild homes that are commonly seen in old Flemish towns. Other must-see landmarks include the Gothic-Renaissance style city hall, the exquisite fortress beside the river and the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady. Standing at more than 400 feet, this is one of the biggest Cathedrals in Northern Europe. Inside, you can find some of best paintings of the artist Ruben.

If you want to explore the center at a fashionable and relaxed pace, go for a horse and carriage tour. Another sightseeing alternative is the city’s own version of a hop on/hop off double-decker tour bus aptly called the Antwerp Diamond. This bus tour brings you to seven of the best known spots and is a great introduction to the city.

One of the prime attractions in the city is the Antwerp Zoo. Founded in 1843, this zoo is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the world. Located at the heart of the city, the zoo houses about 5000 animals who call the zoo home. After admiring these creatures, you will also want to explore its lovely garden area.

Appeal of Taking a Honeymoon Cruise

Probably the greatest thing about a honeymoon cruise is the sense of utter isolation the newlyweds can experience. There is little chance of an intrusion from the outside world when the cruise ship is hundreds of miles offshore giving the newlyweds the opportunity for time alone. All of the stresses of life can be left behind with little chance of interruption by even the most well intentioned friends and family. Cruising the clear blue waters of the tropics is the perfect way for a newlywed couple to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. With little chance of even cell phones working the chances of the outside world intruding on their time is limited. Getting away from it all is definitely a plus on a honeymoon cruise.

During a honeymoon cruise the happy couple has the option of mingling with other people and making new friends or they can spend time to themselves enjoying the amenities and activities cruise ships are famous for. There’s an activity for just about everyone on board, from games on deck and pool side, to dancing, movies and nightly entertainment. In addition to all the onboard fun there are tropical ports of call where the couple can lose themselves in sightseeing and other tourist fare.

When talking about taking a honeymoon cruise we cannot let the subject of food to be left out. After all, food is what cruises are most famous for. And all that food, whether it’s fine dining, a burger pool side, a quick snack, or even room service is included in the price of the cruise. The newlywed couple can eat whatever they want whenever they feel like it. And for the newlyweds who spend a lot of time in their stateroom getting food at odd hours is a big plus.

Taking a honeymoon cruise can be the perfect getaway after the craziness of a wedding. Finding a cruise package that fits your budget is as easy as using the power of the internet to check the offerings of the many cruise lines in the world today.

Burmese And Sabai

Certainly, when thinking of a tropical country such as Burma and its wonderful flowers it is one of the many species and varieties of the beautiful orchid that immediately springs to mind rather than the comparatively unpretentious white Jasmine. What exactly is Jasmine? Jasmine is a name applied to two genera of the realm of flowers, the true jasmine and the false jasmine; which are locally called e.g. ‘Sabai Nwai’, ‘Ein Sabai’, ‘Sabai Ei’, ‘Taw Sabai’, and so forth.

The so-called ‘false’ jasmine makes up the genus ‘Gelsemium’ of the family ‘Logamiaceae’, such as the yellow jasmine, classified as ‘Gelsum Sempevireus’, a North American species that – like all the other ‘true’ and ‘false’ jasmine – grow and are cultivated almost worldwide. There is also jasmine that belongs to the family ‘Rubiaceae’ such as the rose-like ‘Cape Jasmine’, ‘Gardenia,’ (scientific name ‘Gardenia Jasminoides’), which is native to China. But whether they are ‘true’ or ‘false’ Sabai, truly they are all real Jasmine.

Here are some quick information for those who want to know it in even more detail. Jasmine occurs in many species as wild as well as garden varieties and is, although native of warmer climate regions, of almost global distribution for which reason it is not unique to Burma. Sabai comprises shrubs, trees, bushes, climbers and flowers of various sizes, looks and fragrances, is an evergreen that grows in almost any climate (some varieties tolerate even winter temperatures below freezing point) without asking for much, are less vulnerable to diseases and insects than e.g. orchids and roses and blooms profusely (under ideal conditions year round). In Burma predominantly from May/June (Zun or Waso, the Burmese month June/July) to October (the Burmese month Thadinyut, September/October) especially however in May/June when after the first rainfalls the whole country is suddenly awash with pristine white Jasmine blossoms; Sabai is now omnipresent and very much loved by everybody.

So, what is it that makes not, for example, the wonderful orchid but the Jasmine or Sabai as it is locally called so irresistible to and the favourite flower of the Burmese although one should think that Sabai would rather not be the one carrying off the prize as beauty queen in a beauty contest? Well, let us take a closer look at this flower before getting to the answer. You will be surprised. I can promise you that. You may even fall in love with Sabai yourself.

True, what first comes to mind when the term ‘Jasmine’ or ‘Jasmine blossom’ comes up is the common, white jasmine, classified as ‘Jasminum officinale’, a native of India and of Persia, which is the ordinary variety, rather modest in looks and locally called ‘Sabai Kyet Yon’. But do not be mistaken, this jasmine has many true ‘sisters’, with the exception of one, all of them having pristine white blossoms and many false ‘sisters’, so to say ‘half sisters’, again with the exception of one, all having pristine white blossoms. Many of Sabai’s sisters and half sisters are definitely good-lookers.

As for Jasminum officinale’s ‘true’ sisters these are the Spanish Jasmine, with white blossoms flecked with pink, locally called ‘Myat Lay’and the double Arabian Jasmine, locally known as ‘Sabai Oboke’. Another one is called by locals ‘Zun’, which is ‘Jasminum Auruculatum’, a variety growing in the Mandalay region. This one has smaller blossoms. There is also the winter jasmine, ‘Jasminum Nudiflorum’, native to China. As for Jasmine’s ‘half-sisters’ there is e.g. the previously mentioned ‘Cape Jasmine’ who with her relatively big, rose-like, white and glossy blossoms is a real knock-out.

Back to our love affair. Fine, you may now say, it is all nice and well what our short excursion into the realm of botany has so far taught us about ‘Sabai’, but does it answer the question for why Sabai is the Burmese people’s flower of choice? Is this the secret of the love affair? The answer is no, of course not, because there are some more of Jasmine’s pleasant characteristics that have as yet not been mentioned and it is high time to immediately bring two of them into the picture. These are Jasmine’s alluring, strong and sweet fragrance and flavour. What, flavour? Yes, you got it right, flavour.

The Chinese, for instance, value Jasmine, more precisely ‘Jasminum Paniculatum’, for its flavour. They mix it in proportion 1:3 with Jasminum Sambac and allow black or green tea to absorb the strong flavour of this favourite flower; the result is ‘Jasmine Tea’, which they call Jasmine-Flavour tea. But of course it is first and foremost the exquisite fragrance that is Sabai’s most outstanding and loved feature.

Sabai’s odour is so wonderful that perfumers extract/distil it from the jasmine blossom. The extract is thereupon used as basic compound for or ingredient of perfume. It is also used in air freshener and to scent e.g. soap, shampoo and like products.

Not all varieties of Sabai may be queens of flowers judged by their looks only but the Sabai definitely is a queen when the element of fragrance is added; a queen of fragrance.

However, Jasmine does not only serve the purpose of decoration and enhancing beauty but also has medical properties. For instance, jasmine leave juice can – when mixed with various other ingredients – cure fever, coughs and common colds and the roots of the yellow jasmine contain gelsemine, a crystalline alkaloid used as an antispasmodic and to induce perspiration. Also, the ground leaves are an effective remedy in case of swollen joints.

All of these so far summarised positive characteristics of Sabai, its pristine white blossoms, some of them looking very charming at least and others being of great beauty, its captivating fragrance and its healing power are no doubt sufficient enough reason to admire and maybe even love this flower. Yet, this is still not enough of an explanation for the special bond between Sabai and the Burmese people.

As mentioned previously, the individual Sabai Kyet Yon (Jasminum officinale) blossom may not create an overly exciting impression. But this impression changes very dramatically when the blossom appears in mass. That in numbers there is strengths once again proves to be very true. When in posies or thousands of blossoms threaded together in cylindrical strands and/or garlands or simply heaped on a small table (Burmese use a small, three-legged stand called ‘Kalat’) the dazzling white Sabai blossoms’ appearance is indeed an overwhelming sight, which combined with the captivating fragrance makes for a wonderful event, letting Sabai appear in a completely different light.

Many Burmese people buy Sabai every day from sellers of both gender and all ages who are, come hell and high water, every morning (usually between 00:07 AM and 00:09 AM) and late afternoon or early evening (usually between 00:05 PM and 06:30 PM) walking through the streets. They are shouting, for instance: “Sabai, Sabai, Sabai Kyet Yon, fresh, most beautiful and fragrant”, and sell the strands of Sabai blossoms. Other sellers stay at cross-roads and dart about between cars stopping at red lights and sell Sabai to their drivers who loop them around their cars’ rear view-mirrors as offerings to Buddha and for good fortune.

You also see many young girls and women of all ages on the streets having embellished their hair with strands or posies of Sabai. They are fully aware of how effectively they have therewith enhanced their grace; a sight for sore eyes, which everyone with a sense of beauty who has already had the pleasure of seeing it will readily admit.

Yet other sellers sell the strands of glaring white Sabai blossoms to Buddhist worshippers in front of and on the stairs that lead up to pagodas. And it is first and foremost the latter, in combination with the former, that brings us very, very close to the secret of the love affair as the secret, which we are now about to reveal, is in fact a fourfold one.

It is in the first place the spiritual aspect that is at the heart of this love affair. Nothing short of something that is capable of satisfying a deeply felt psychological need could explain the special relationship between Sabai and the Burmese. Sabai is the flower of choice for offerings to the Gautama Buddha because of its white colour that symbolises purity and nobility, because of its lovely fragrance, because it is growing in abundance and year round availability and, last but not least, because of the reasonable price it is to be had at what, in turn, gives Sabai the power that allows the people to discharge in a healthy way the psychic energy that builds up in them due to the spiritual need.

Burmese, predominantly those who are Buddhists (who make up approximately 85 per cent of Burma’s total population) from all walks of life, women and men – of course mainly the former – young and old, poor and reach, all are deeply in love with Sabai.

Sabai is offered to the Gautama Buddha in pagodas and on the household altars (almost every family in Burma has one) to earn merit and/or to court a guardian spirit’s favour for which reason the car drivers loop a strand or two of Sabai on the rear-view mirror of their cars. The welcome side-effect is that the air inside the car is refreshed and filled with the sweet fragrance of Sabai.

The typical offering comprises at least water and flowers and is usually accompanied by the worshippers wish: “May we be as cool as water and fresh as flowers,” the latter referring more to Sabai than any other flower as Sabai is the choicest flower of offering because of the reasons mentioned above. But, of course, that is not all.

Sabai is also considered an auspicious flower for what reason e.g. a wedding reception and ceremony is not a wedding ceremony and, subsequently, the bond of marriage not properly sealed if not with – well, what? – Sabai, of course. So, when and while entering into married state the wedding couples are festooned with Sabai garlands, traditionally by a long-married couple that is held in high esteem by the relevant family so that the newlyweds have best prospects of sharing a long, happy and successful life. Whatever future may hold in store for them and you, I wish them and you all the very best here from my desk where I am just writing this article.

In the language of flowers Sabai says a lot of things as it is of high symbolic value. If, for instance, a young Burmese sets his cap at a young woman wearing Sabai in her hair he should be cautious and proceed with care because she may well have already promised herself to someone else. As an old wonderful Burmese folksong puts it: “The white and fragrant Sabai in my hair is meant for the adornment of another”, what the unfortunate would-be lover who was about to make a pass at her sadly comments with: “The spray of Sabai turns away and opportunity is gone.”

Burmese poets and song writer (some of whom may slightly overdo it have overdone it, respectively, in their praise of Sabai) were and still are much inspired by the lines that the princely warrior Nat Shin Naing wrote. Nat Shin Naing, who was deeply in love with the much older queen Datu Kalya wrote while being on duty. “The fragrant Sabai of tiny, white and dainty blossoms is much cherished and desired. Regretfully, I am unable to choose each delicate blossom and adorn your hair with my own loving hands.” And the renowned Burmese poet at the court of Ava, U Ponnya, wrote: “All lesser flowers have to make way once Sabai is in full bloom.”

So, now you know the secret(s) of the love affair: Sabai’s religious expressiveness, Sabai’s pristine white colour that signifies nobility and purity, Sabai’s alluring fragrance, Sabai’s great significance in matters of grace and love, Sabai’s positive effects in terms of health and all of this combined with Jasminum officinale’s certainly pleasant appearance to Jasminum Grandiflorum’s and Jasminum Sambac Plenum’s good looks and Gardenia Jasminoides’s definite beauty makes Sabai from Sabai Kyat Yon to Kyat Lat to Sabai-Oboke a in more than one way exceptional flower.

Have the Perfect Wedding Cruise

  • Decide where and what you want to do on your wedding cruise. Do you want to see the Alaskan glaciers, or is the sun setting over water in the distant horizon more your style? Are you and your partner active, so you want to include some shore excursions like snorkeling or sight seeing, or would you rather take advantage of the activities on board, like sunning, the casino, and the many restaurants? Is it important for you to have a lot of on board activities like art fairs, ice-skating, water activities, shopping, mini golf, lectures or movies?
  • Make sure you have proper documentation. This means passports, marriage license, and medical records if needed.
  • Plan on arriving a day early if you are going to get married at the port of call before the ship leaves for the cruise. If there are plane delays, or other unexpected events you will have a cushion of time built in.
  • Be aware of any immunizations you need before going to a foreign port of call on your wedding cruise. Your health department or infectious disease doctor can help you with this. Plan ahead, if you require immunizations they may take several months.
  • Educate yourself about health risks such as traveler’s diarrhea. Although many places now have safe water, you need to be aware of risk factors. Some areas of high risk are Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Central and South America. Southern Europe and the Caribbean are considered intermediate risk, and the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are considered low risk. Avoid untreated water, uncooked food, ice, and food washed in water such as lettuce. Bismuth subsalicylate or Pepto-Bismol can be used preventively, but you need to be aware if it is safe for you and any health conditions you have, so consult your health care provider.
  • Be aware of airline restrictions that limit what you are able to carry on the plane, if you are flying to your port of call. These restrictions change often
  • Book early. Not all cruise lines offer wedding cruise packages. It depends on international law whether you can get married on the ship at sea, or in the homeport, or along the cruise at a port of call. Cruise lines can only book so many wedding per cruise, so it may pay to book early and get what you are looking for.
  • Shop around. An online travel agency can give you access to multiple cruise lines and what they each have to offer. Look to see who has a wedding coordinator to help with the details.

Finally, make sure you plan on having fun. This is your magic moment and you want to enjoy it. Be prepared as you can for your wedding cruise, and then just let the dream come true.