Category Archives: Travel

Crop Circles: Yesterday and Today By Rob Simone

Crop Circles Yesterday and Today By : Rob Simone

Beautiful as they are mysterious, the world’s center of crop circle activity is only a few hours outside of the bustling city of London.

While I lived in London, I made countless visits to the countryside where these stunning formations have been reported as far back as the 1600’s. Researching these complex symbols has taken me on many journeys around the world exploring the physical and metaphysical aspects of this phenomenon.



On one particular research expedition, I set out for Avebury, which is just a few hours drive from London and is home to Stonehenge and other megalithic sites. I was equipped with a range of detection equipment including dowsing rods, electromagnetic field detectors, and a Geiger counter.

At the crack of dawn, I set up an observation post atop a hill and scanned the area with high-powered binoculars and thermal imaging cameras. I spotted an elliptical formation a few miles away. I packed up the gear and followed the unpaved access roads to the edge of the field.

Walking up to this newly formed crop formation near Silbury Hill, the largest man made mound in Europe, I began taking readings and discovered an elevated level of gamma radiation.


I scanned the area around the field, and found no other “hot spots” other than the formation. There were also deformities in the affected wheat stalk, which seem to confirm my feeling that this was not a “man made” formation.


Far too often crop circles are the product of hoaxers or the local druid population who sometimes use crop formations for rituals and ceremonies.

When it comes to crop circles, the scientific approach requires something to be measured. Biophysical experiments on the affected wheat within some crop circles have yielded reproducible results. These findings included variances in growth rates between “circle wheat” and unaffected wheat. The seeds taken out of the seed heads of wheat within these crop circles have a completely different germination behavior than the seeds taken from wheat outside of formations in the standing crop.

There are also atomic variances within the cells of the plants, which are easily seen through a microscope. This cellular change is accompanied by a chemical change, which is probably why the circle wheat seeds germinate differently in comparison to normal seeds. The seeds from some crop circles have been observed to grow three to four times faster than seeds from normal crops.

You can simulate some effects that are found in crop circles with the use of microwave radiation. Indeed, many eyewitnesses have reported an increased heat signature to recently created crop circles. Some have described this heat as boiling hot, and burn marks have also been found near formations. Dramatic changes to the chemical composition of the soil have also been recorded.

I have noticed in many formations that the soil appears to be very dry in an otherwise muddy field. Another unusual feature of crop circles is their shape when they are formed on slopes or hillsides. The crop circles become elliptic, and the long axis of the ellipse falls in line with the slope of the hill, or with the maximum gradient. Flattening crops with a board and a rope cannot reproduce these various anomalies. Even with the current level of technology that the military possesses, it would seem that it would not fully explain all of the components that some crop circles possess.


Floating balls of light are often seen in conjunction with the formation of crop circles, many of which have even been captured on videotape. Some of these sightings also show military helicopters in pursuit of this aerial phenomenon. I have seen videos showing a light floating over a field in Avebury, which splits in two, and is soon followed by a black Apache-style attack helicopter. The helicopter follows the balls of light for several minutes at which point the balls join together and continue at the same velocity.

The British government has a long history in investigating UFOs and crop circles and their aircraft are often photographed in the same frame as these phenomena.

Many times a very strong magnetic field is left behind and is enough to affect a hand held compass. Very often people with cameras and video recorders notice an instant drain of their batteries once they enter some crop circles.

With all the clamor about crop circles these days, you may think it is a relatively new phenomena, but it isn’t.

Royal Air Force pilots reported seeing patterns in the fields during WW2, it was thought they could have been made by German spies, but they had no strategic or military significance.

If we expand the boundaries of what we consider normal reality, we may begin to perceive insights into the mysteries that have baffled us for centuries.

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Dwight Brown: The Island of Curaçao Jazzes It Up — New Festival. New Vibe. New Resort.

Curaçao, part of the Caribbean’s Netherland Antilles Islands, is just 35 miles north of Venezuela and well south of the hurricane belt. It’s a vibrant, arid isle, largely populated (150,000) by African and Dutch descendants and also home to people of 40 different nationalities. Add to the mix music lovers who trekked to Curaçao for its new jazz festival and the island shines.

The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival Brings a Cool Vibe

The North Sea Jazz Festival, a respected international music celebration held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has reached across the Atlantic and blessed Curaçao with the first Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival, set at the World Trade Center in Piscadera Bay. The new venue was inaugurated with a dazzling array of jazz, soul, salsa, bosa nova and rock performed by an impressive roster.

Opening the festival on the large, open-air Sam Cooke Stage, George Benson and his soulful jazz guitar licks enchanted thousands with In Crowd and This Masquerade. Nicaraguan-born salsa star Luis Enrique followed with an exciting set of hits from his Grammy Award-winning album Ciclos. Lionel Richie closed out the night with rousing performances of All Night Long and Dancing On the Ceiling.

On the second evening, Natalie Cole graced Celia Stage hall, singing her dad’s classics (Unforgettable, Route 66) and her hits (This Will Be, Inseparable), while jazz/folk guitarist Raul Midon warmed the crowd at the intimate Sir Duke Stage. The sunny sounds of Sergio Mendes had fans swaying at Sam Cooke Stage. The crowd swelled to 10,000 when neo soul singer John Legend, swaggered on stage crooning Green Light, Save Room and the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ staple Wake Up Everybody. Legend invited a female admirer on stage and serenaded her, dropping to his knees and caressing her hips. Male fans held on to their girlfriends tightly to avoid a stampede. Simply Red, led by Mick Hucknall, continued their farewell tour with midnight performances of Holding Back the Years and If You Don’t Know Me By Now.

Touring Around Curaçao

Curaçao’s countryside looks like an Arizona desert surrounded by water. Each town is anchored by a church, school and cemetery. The streets are clean. The pedestrians smile. Most live around the southeast capital city of Willemstad, which is divided into two quarters: Punda (established in 1634) and Otrobanda (1707). These neighborhoods are separated by St. Anna Bay, which leads into Schottegat Harbour. Willemstad’s pastel colored colonial buildings have become a UNESCO world heritage site. Duty free shops and a floating market with boats bearing fresh fish (snapper) and fruit stands abound.


Plasa Bieu is a large hangar-looking, un-air-conditioned (feels like a furnace) hall with restaurants that offer home-style meals: curried goat, snapper fillets, rice and peas, polenta. Locals line up and indulge and it’s worth the sweat. For an I-can’t-believe-it moment, visit the Ostrich Farm: see and feed emus from Australia and ostriches from Africa and debunk some fallacies – they don’t stick their heads in the sand to hide, in fact they put their ears to the ground to detect approaching interlopers. If beach combing is your thing, try Knip Beach on the west coast, or Santa Cruz Beach on the northwest. Dinah’s Veeris’ Herb Garden grows 300 species that are turned into remedies (for anything from asthma to kidney stones), soothing oils and beauty products sold to island spas, like the one at the new Hyatt.

The Hyatt Regency Curaçao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina Eclipses the Competition.

Since opening April 2010, this classy hotel has stolen the thunder from other resorts. Set on 27 acres on the far side of stately Table Mountain (named for its flat top), Hyatt Regency Curaçao Golf Resort Spa and Marina is nestled between Spanish Water Bay and the Caribbean Sea. The manila-colored, 350-guestroom buildings feature 15 suites — and the Spa suites offer a daily 90-minute massage. Lying on the beach or swimming in the tranquil hip-height water brings complete serenity. A livelier atmosphere waits at three pools or at the poolside restaurant SWIM that serves a tasty Baja Fish Taco.


By day guests golf on the 18-hole, par 72 Pete Dye course that runs along the sea and under Table Mountain. Or they play tennis with resident pro Karl Vukobrats on HydroGrid clay tennis courts. After a vigorous workout in the fitness center, aching bodies appreciate the 4,500-square-foot Atabei Spa, where treatments can be conducted indoors or outdoors. There’s no need to go into Willemstad for dinner. The best meal on the island is served at Hyatt’s SHOR restaurant. The American grill cuisine includes: Prime aged rib eye steak, with tasty lobster macaroni and cheese.

The North Sea Jazz Festival gives vacationers a specific reason to come to Curaçao. The island’s friendly people, cultural sites and the lush new Hyatt gives travelers incentive to stay.

Visit travel writer Dwight Brown at

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Amy Chan: Look the Part — Travel Luggage for the Chic Jetsetter


Whether you are a dashing off to attend a fashion show or networking with industry professionals, one thing’s for certain.

You are a jetsetter with places to go and people to meet. So, look the part. And just like your drink of choice, your luxury travel accessories can say a lot about you (well, at least the type of traveler you are). Here are three luggage options perfectly suited for the fashionista, the business traveler and the leisurely lady.


Fashionista: Polka dots are the latest leopard print, stripes are the new paisley, cobalt is the new black. With the trends changing faster than you can say the words “recessionista”, I’d suggest going with a brand and print that doesn’t have an expiry date, such as the classic Louis Vuitton Keepall bag. Just like fine wine, the signature Louis Vuitton leather only gets better with age. If the “LV” monogram is a little too flashy for your taste, opt for the Damier Graphite pattern in a sexy charcoal and black pattern.

The Modern Business Traveler: The must-have travel accessory for the modern traveler is by WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie. The “new kid on the block,” this brand originates from Montreal and was launched in 2006. Using beautiful Norwegian leather and a clean, understated, design, these travel bags range from the $500 — $1700 range and can be found at leading luxury department stores such as Holt Renfrew, Barneys, Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols. The various pockets and functionality of the bag makes it perfect for the business traveler. The latest from the brand, the limited edition WANT Olympic DeGaulle Bags comes with five interchangeable handles in yellow, blue, green, red and black, reflecting the colours of the Olympic rings, and gold hardware emulating the prized medals. Just another reason that makes WANT the “it bag” of 2010.


The Leisurely Lady: A week in the Hamptons would not be complete without the elegant and classic set by Globe-Trotter. Since 1987, the company’s philosophy is to never compromise the integrity of craftsmanship. Their designs are sleek and uniquely handmade, with each piece constructed from Vulcan Fibre — a material as light as aluminum yet as hard wearing as the finest leather. Definitely ideal for multiple outfit packing while ensuring your favorite Manolos are safely protected!


Amy Chan is an avid traveler, food fanatic and Director of Marketing at Kiwi Collection, the world’s largest curator of the best hotels. To read more blogs, visit

Read more: Travel Luggage, Kiwi Collection, Globe Trotter, Jetsetter, Suitcases, Style, Luggage, Fashionable Travel, Travel, Amy Chan, Tips on Luggage, Louis Vuitton, Packing, Amyfabulous, Style News