Monday, April 16, 2012

18 Days In Egypt

A power struggle of epic proportions between various political factions is currently underway in Egypt...essentially a troika of conflicting interests, the power struggle is manifesting itself overtly and covertly. Overtly, the battle for power is over the presidency, and is between the Muslim Brotherhood, (a comparatively pragmatic Islamic movement) the Salafists (a regressive Islamist faction), and the military establishment. The secular forces seem to have been marginalized, even though it was its youth who sparked and carried through the revolution in 2011.

That said, it's not over till the fat lady sings...and there will be more twists and turns to this story as it enfolds over the days and weeks to come.

I thought the 18DaysIn Egypt documentary being worked on by filmmaker and journalist Jigar Mehta is working on a new kind of documentary is especially timely in such a fluid political situation. It's a crowd-sourced interactive documentary project aimed at capturing the history of the revolution in Egypt.

The context of this documentary is simple enough. In the 18 days of Egypt's uprising that began on January 25, 2011 and that ended with the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, thousands of Egyptians turned to their cell phones, digital cameras or social media sites to document the events unfolding in Cairo and across the country.

Tapping into this wealth of material, American documentary filmmaker and journalist Jigar Mehta co-founded 18DaysInEgypt.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shuchi Kapoor: "Oh My God!"

Photo © Shuchi Kapoor-All Rights Reserved

Shuchi Kapoor is a photographer currently based in Chennai, which is quite a distance from her native Gujarat, and who describes herself as a storyteller minus the frills. She worked for a decade in advertising until she found her calling in photography as well as in she may also be described as an emerging photography talent.

Some of her stories have been published by Femina, The Sunday Guardian, The Lonely Planet, Spiceroute, and TAXI.

Have a look at her Oh, My God gallery, whose photographs of Dasara, an important festival celebrated in India, is the most compelling of her work. This gallery features this festival as it is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, and during which men dress up as the goddess Kali, and impress the throngs of onlookers with their dance abilities, as well as their make up and costumes.

Shuchi corrected me, as I thought Dasara was Dusshera, but it seems that it's a different festival. It is also different than the Durga Puja festival celebrated in Bengali communities.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Rimrock Resort Hotel In Banff, Alberta

Thank you to our guest blogger and good friend, Aydin Odyakmaz, who owns Aydin Productions, who is not only is a phenomenal videographer at local weddings but has created this wonderful video of the Rimrock Hotel in Banff, Alberta. What a wonderful place  for a destination wedding or honeymoon in the beautiful Rocky Mountains!

Read his blog below to see the great job he did of promoting this five star resort. 

 His contact number is or call 403-678-0339

The Rimrock Resort Hotel has a special place in my heart. I had the pleasure of being part of the opening team back in 1993 when I was in the Hospitality industry. The hotel is a Four Diamond Resort Hotel located in Banff National Park and right by the famous Upper Hot Springs.

The Hotel has always been beautifully kept , with regular renovation to meet the very high standards it holds. The Eden Restaurant is one of only five restaurants in Canada to receive the Five diamond award . It is worth a reservation while in Banff.

I was recently asked to create a video to be placed online and shown at the Food and Wine show in May. Next time you are in Banff stay at the Rimrock or stop by and enjoy the restaurants and lounges. Did I mention the views? Watch the video to see what I mean.


Muriel MacRae, owner of Del Sol Travel, is a Calgary travel agent and WPIC wedding planner who specializes in luxury travel, destination weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways to tropical locations such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the South Pacific. Located in Calgary, Alberta, she plans weddings and honeymoons for couples in and around the Calgary area and throughout North America. For more information about planning your destination wedding, honeymoon, or romantic getaway, please contact her at or phone403-477-0643 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Honeymoon in Romantic Tahiti

Overwater huts in beautiful Tahiti

Have you ever dreamed of escaping to a gorgeous, islandparadise for your honeymoon?

Then consider the islands of Tahiti, often called"The Islands of Romance." Tahiti is tranquil and satisfies thefeeling of relaxing and escaping  from thepressures of everyday life. It gives you the experience of getting away fromyour family and friends and enjoying the first days together as a married couple,with no distractions. The peaceful and carefree Tahitianpeople will go out of their way to make you feel special during thiswonderful time of your life. In addition, the white beaches, majesticmountains, tropical rainforests, dramatic sunsets, and shimmering lagoons foundin Tahiti create the ideal romantic setting for your special getaway.

Considered thesecond most popular honeymoon location, you will experience a place that stimulatesthe mind, refreshes the soul,  and bringsout the sense of adventure in all of us. You will discover a world ofintoxicating aromas, flower-strewn valleys, deserted stretches of white sandbeaches, romantic waterfalls, and  uniqueoverwater bungalows in bright blue lagoons. Tahitiis an unhurried, magical and intoxicating Garden of Eden. Del Sol Travel worksclosely with vacation suppliers that offer specials and added values that justmight put this dream destination within your reach.

 Where to stay?

    Bora Bora

Called“The Most Beautiful Island in the World", Bora Bora is located an hour by planefrom Tahiti. Imagine the towering peaks of Mt. Otemanu and Mt. Pahria risingfrom the center of a ring of reef islets known as motus. On this island, checkout the Marae Aehua-Tia, an ancient Polynesian temple that doubles as anexcellent lookout point and dine at Bloody Mary’s to enjoy the fresh catch ofthe day.

Honeymooners at Etu Moana


Thisisland's mountainous interior shelters deep valleys, clear streams, highwaterfalls and mysterious caves. Capitol city, Papeete, boasts vibrant markets,fine restaurants, pearl shops, clubs and boutiques. Sights to see include thePaul Gaugin Museum, the underwater Lagoonarium, and the Tahiti Pearl Center,where you can learn how to purchase the best black pearl for your budget. 


Only10 minutes from Tahiti by plane or a half-hour by ferry, Moorea offers manyexcursions from snorkeling and diving to swimming with sharks, dolphins andsting rays! A wide, shallow lagoon surrounds the island's vertical mountains,peaceful meadows and cool waterfalls. Steep fields of pineapples and vanillawill fill your senses and renew your belief in the majesty of nature.

     Fiji: Taste the Water for Yourself

One of the most secluded groups of islands inthe South Pacific, Fiji is known as "The Crossroads of the Pacific."The genuine warmth of the Fijian people will welcome you to these lovely groupof 330 islands where you'll encounter an exotic mix of people and cultures. Amecca for divers and snorkelers, over 1,000 species of fish swim the grottoesand lagoons.  A honeymoon to Fiji is an exotic escape that is trulyunforgettable.

You may be thinking it’s out of your reach, but we can search for deals and specials that can get you to this dream destination while staying in your honeymoon budget. Tahiti is located in the Pacific Ocean, a 7.5 hour flight from Los Angeles. Other exotic destinations in the South Pacific you may wish to consider include Cook Islands and Fiji. These islands offer similar scenery, exotic luxury and once-in-a-lifetime experiences like horseback riding on a private beach or breakfast delivered to you by a canoe! Such memorable and unique experiences for your special getaway!

We’re here to make your honeymoon wishes come true, so call us today and together we can make it happen!

Enjoying the view from the balcony of Etu Moana hut

Tahiti is 7.5hours by air from Los Angeles. Flight time from Los Angeles to the Cook Islandsis approximately 10 hours, and 11 hours from Los Angeles to Fiji.

Muriel MacRae, owner of Del Sol Travel, is a Calgary travel agent and WPIC wedding planner who specializes in luxury travel, destination weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways to tropical locations such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the South Pacific. Located in Calgary, Alberta, she plans weddings and honeymoons for couples in and around the Calgary area and throughout North America. For more information about planning your destination wedding, honeymoon, or romantic getaway, please contact her at or phone 403-477-0643

Poll: Which Should Go On My Wall?

Living in New York City means that space is at premium, and while my office walls are literally covered from ceiling to waist-level with my photographs, paintings, etc., I still have a spot where a 20x24 inch frame can fit....but it has to be a vertical frame!

People who photograph with me know that I much prefer landscape/horizontal format, but a vertical space is all I can find on my crowded office walls.I like the above photographs equally so I need your involvement in choosing the one.

The top photograph is of a posed full length portrait of a Kathakali artist, while the lower one is of a trio of Oracles who I persuaded to stop their trances, and pose for us. Both were made during The Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition/Workshop™.

I plan on having the elected photograph printed commercially on Kodak Professional Glossy paper then in a dark wooden frame...either black or dark brown depending on the photograph.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sandals Emerald Bay All inclusive Bahamas Resort

     This beautiful resort in the Bahamas, Sandals Emerald Bay Resort, is a great pace to visit if you are looking for a place that makes you feel you are the only one there. Enjoy superior service, unprecedented luxury, and superior service  in beautiful Bahamian-styled elegant suites. Contact us at or phone 1-866-653-4055 for more information. 

Anthony Pond: 10,000 Verses

Anthony Pond has just produced another audio slideshow of black and white photographs made at the Vadakke Madham Brahmaswam Vedic Institute in Thrissur, Kerela, India where young novices spend five years learning Vedic chants.

It was made during my The Oracles of Kerala Photo Expedition/Workshop™ when I arranged a photo shoot at this ancient Vedic gurukul (a training and boarding school very similar to Buddhist monasteries for its novitiates, or Muslim madrasas) in Thrissur, where we were allowed to attend demonstrations of this way of teaching and reciting sacred Vedic scriptures.

One of the suggestions I make during my workshops was that essays produced by its participants ought to have intriguing titles. I certainly think Anthony did well with his one.

Anthony worked for more than two decades in the criminal courts in California as an attorney for the Public Defender’s Office. Now pursuing his passion for travel and photography, he travels repeatedly to South East Asia and India, amongst other places, to capture life, the people and the culture.

You can view more of Anthony's audio slideshows on his Vimeo page.

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