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The Value of World Maps

Posted by mandy on March 26th, 2010

Walk into almost any classroom and you will most likely see a collection of world maps decorating the walls. While world maps are by far some of the oldest maps in existence, they have also changed with technology. There are world atlases, world globes, even world maps that are printable . Even though they are old, we have still have many uses for them today.
Today if we want to get directions or see where we are going we use a road atlas , or if you are really technologically savvy a Garmin GPS . However, in ancient times they didn’t have maps that would mark out the roads they needed to take. The first sailors didn’t have maps that would show them that there was land on the other side of the ocean. World maps and their development are an important part of our history. They help us to realize where we came from and appreciate what we have today.
World maps unite us. Looking at world globe brings a new perspective to our existence. You don’t see each individual people or cities or countries, instead all of the continents and how we are all in the position here on this planet we call Earth. Somehow China doesn’t seem quite so far away.
Many of us in junior high or high school had to do a report on another country. The country that I was assigned to was Estonia , a place I had never heard of before. But after finding it on a world map and researching their climate, culture, and daily life I feel a much stronger connection to them. I watch for them every two years at the Olympics . World maps help us appreciate one another.
With all of our new technology it is easy to forget about all of the people and land that exist outside of our own personal worlds, but I would encourage you to pull out that old world map you have buried in the back of your closet and take a look–you might be surprised what you discover.

The Palmdale Playhouse

Posted by mandy on March 9th, 2010

Palmdale, California is generally considered to be part of the greater Los Angeles urban area. And while almost every aspect of that region continues to grow, Palmdale itself is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. This is due to many reasons, though one of the common ones is that people who are currently living and working in LA are recognizing this city as an attractive residential option and are leaving the larger urban area for its calm and quiet neighborhoods. Of course many other people are drawn to Palmdale and are coming from other parts of the country. In addition, it has become a popular tourist destination in its own right and is recognized outside of its relationship to Los Angeles. You can look here to find great information on where to stay if you’re planning to visit Palmdale.

The Palmdale Playhouse is just one of the entertainment and cultural attractions that entices audiences from in and outside of the city. The actual theatre was constructed in 1993, or that is when the ground was broke which began its construction. It was established as an effort to convert the older building that was the Maryott Auditorium into a complete performing arts center. This was spearheaded by the Palmdale Repertory Theatre and the Desert Opera Theatre. The result was this 348 seat performance space and a company that produces entertaining and sometimes provocative productions for an engaged and supportive audience. The new performance space also features an orchestra pit, workshop and office spaces.

The company has entered its 16th season and is proud to continue its established tradition of quality productions. In addition to great performances, there are various workshops, lectures and classes that take place in the playhouse. Some of the performances that will be occurring throughout the remainder of March are specifically intended for children, while others are oriented toward adult audiences. Of course there are also some family shows and the upcoming production of Harvey serves as good example. However, it won’t be opening until April, but it’s still a nice option for family entertainment. Meanwhile, Winnie the Pooh continues through March 13th and an Evening of Musical Inspiration will take place on March 24th.

Thian Hock Keng Temple in Singapore

Posted by mandy on March 3rd, 2010

Sought-out sights in the world have always included the architecture inspired by spirituality, such as great cathedrals of Europe and ancient temples in China.  In the case of the island city-state of Singapore, you’ll find the oldest and most prominent is the Thian Hock Keng or the Temple of Heavenly Bliss.   Built in 1839, around twenty years after Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore as a simple trading post on the Singapore River and about one hundred and seventy-one years from today, this Hokkien Temple was constructed to honor the Chinese Sea Goddess Mazu or Mat-Su.

The story behind Mazu is a fascinating one, in which a girl is transformed into a goddess.  There is history about this girl contained in immensely old edicts from the government, from court documents, and even shipping logs, as well as Taoist scriptures, that describes Mazu as a young girl and the goddess she became.  Even to this day, she has fifteen hundred operating temples and about a hundred million followers.  Folk tradition for Mazu describes how in times of trouble if you call upon her by name, Mazu, she will come to your aid; however, if you address her in a more formal manner, such as the Empress of Heaven, then your rescue will be postponed as this means she must delay in order to put on more formal attire.  The goddess is based on a woman named Lin Mo Niang to which people attribute miracles during her brief lifetime.  She knew Chinese medicine and came to be known as a healer; some of the miracles, though, were about stopping seastorms, and this established her as a protector of sailors and travelers.

The temple’s history is contained in granite tablets which reside on the wall of the Entrance Hall; there’s an inscribed plaque also inside which Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty from 1907 gave to the temple, a sign of how important people considered this site.  The plaque reads, Bo Jing Nan Ming, which means Gentle Waves over the South Seas.  The building is composed in from the traditional form of Southern Chinese architecture.   There were no nails used in its construction, and is considered a masterwork of architecture which uses tiles and wood, stones, statues of dragons and phoenixes, and intricate carvings and sculptures amidst the columns.

This temple is only one of many sights available to a traveler in Singapore.  All one need do is to arrange for a flight and to stay in one the hotels in Singapore, and begin exploring.  If you go to Singapore, be sure not to miss this building, which has been declared a national monument of Singapore for the last  thirty-seven years.

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