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Food is a very important part of Vietnamese culture and life. Vietnamese food is deeply influenced by historical and cultural conditions of the country and varies in different parts of the country. There are about 54 ethnical groups in the country that stretches 3,260 kms along the seashore with subtropical climate. Vietnamese cuisine is partially influenced by neighboring countries and the French who dominated Vietnam as a colony from late 19th to middle 20th century.

Vietnamese cuisine has a balance of salty, sweet, hot flavours and sour, these flavours are achieved through cane sugar, fish sauce, chili peppers or tamarind. The locals use plenty of local herbs and their food is not overly spicy. Chili or Chili sauce is usually served separately.

Rice Culture in Vietnam
Vietnam has two large deltas: the Red River Delta in the North and the Mekong in the South. Vietnam used to be the 2nd largest rice exporter in the world, however in the year 2011 they have dropped to 5th largest rice exporter in the world. They supply around 8% of world’s rice.

Vietnamese people consider a meal with rice as a ‘main meal’; if a meal is without rice they land up considering as a snack. During lunch or dinner rice is usually placed in the middle of the table before other foods are arranged surrounding the rice. This is the traditional Vietnamese style usually followed even today by locals at home.

Local Drinks in Vietnam
– Rice wine is one of the most popular drinks amongst locals, usually had with a meal. In recent times local and international beers are also getting popular.
– People of Northern Vietnam usually enjoy hot tea or coffee as against people of Southern part, who prefer iced tea.
– French colonists probably introduced Coffee to Vietnam and Coffee is a local habit, Vietnamese coffee is strong and flavourful. Locals also enjoy iced coffee that is usually served with condensed milk.
– Green tea with pistils of lotus or petals of jasmine is popular. Traditional lotus tea is time consuming and can be far more expensive then dry green tea.

Most popular Food preparations of Vietnam

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Spring Rolls) – Translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and may be combination of different meats. It is amongst the most popular dishes.

Pho (Pho is pronounced as ‘fur’) is Vietnam’s National dish and serves as staple food, a noodle soup that is eaten at any time of the day, primarily at breakfast. The basic bowl of pho consists of a light chicken or beef broth flavoured with ginger and coriander to which one adds broad, flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef. One can also enjoy vegetarian Pho in few places.

Cha Ca – Is a very popular seafood preparation in Vietnam, it is devised in Hanoi and more popular in this region. The preparation is white fish sautéed in butter with dill and spring onions then served with rice noodles and a scattering of peanuts. Chili sauce and other sauces are served as accompaniments along with the main dish.

Vegetarian meals – Vegan or Vegetarian meals are getting popular in Vietnam. A Buddhist temple or pagodas can amaze you with chicken, fish or meat form, however they are actually prepared from taro, potato, tofu or lotus seeds and vegetables.

According to Jay Kantawala, founder of WIYO Travel, The taste of the Vietnamese cuisine is distinct and unforgettable. If one is visiting Vietnam, they should spare some time just to trying different local cuisines during the trip” Jay recommends.

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Lakhs of towels, bedhseets missing from AC coaches – passengers are suspects

Besides, the Railways found 56,287 pillows and 46,515 blankets missing from the AC coaches in this period.

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Indian Railway Bed Rolls

New Delhi, Nov 15 : Affluent AC passengers are the prime suspects as over 21 lakh towels, bedsheets, blankets and other items went missing from air-conditioned coaches during 2017-18 an official said.

The passengers are suspected to have made off with precisely 21,72,246 “bedroll items” — including 12,83,415 hand towels, 4,71,077 bedsheets and 3,14,952 pillow covers — from trains across the country in the last fiscal.

Besides, the Railways found 56,287 pillows and 46,515 blankets missing from the AC coaches in this period.

“Together, the missing items are estimated to cost over Rs 14 crore,” a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.

While the theft of toilet mugs, taps, flush pipes and mirrors are also reported on a regular basis, the missing bedroll items in substantial numbers has posed a challenge for the Railways, which is trying to provide better amenities to upper class passengers.

Currently, about 3.9 lakh sets of linen are provided daily — this comprises two bedsheets, a towel, a pillow and a blanket for each passenger in the AC classes.

“The maximum number of items stolen are towels, followed by bedsheets, as reported by coach attendants at the end of each journey,” the official said.

In the light of the thefts, especially of towels, the Railways has decided that the face towels given to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches will be replaced with cheaper, smaller, disposable, takeaway napkins, said the official.

The Railways has already started changing the cover of blankets in some sections while the frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly.

There is also a move to increase the frequency of washing of blankets to begin with and replacing the existing ones with the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner.

The plan envisages improvement of linen management with the aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes, the official said.

Among the 16 zones of Indian Railways, the Southern zone alone accounted for the theft of 2,04,113 hand towels, 29,573 bedsheets, 44,868 pillow covers, 3,713 pillows and 2,745 blankets.

In the missing list, South Central zone has registered 95,700 towels, 29,747 pillow covers, 22,323 bedsheets, 3,352 blankets and 2,463 pillows.

In the Northern zone, 85,327 towels, 38,916 bedsheets, 25,313 pillow covers, 3,224 pillows and 2,483 blankets were found missing.

In the East Central zone, 33,234 bedsheets, 22,769 pillow covers, 1,657 pillows, 76,852 towels, and 3,132 blankets were stolen last year.

In the Eastern zone, 1,31,313 towels, 20,258 bedsheets, 9,006 pillow covers, 1,517 pillows and 1,913 blankets were reported missing by attendants after the end of the train journey.

The East Coast railways has registered 43,318 towels, 23,197 bedsheets, 8,060 pillow covers, and 2,260 blankets as missing.

(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at [email protected])

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Conserve Nature with Ecotourism

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Vacation holiday travel

Ecotourism as a concept dates back to 1970’s, Ecotourism did not become prevalent as a travel concept till the 80’s. During the 80’s, there was an increase in environmental awareness and a desire to travel to destinations offering natural locations rather than standard destinations offering built up tourist attractions.

Ecotourism is a completely different approach to tourism. Ecotourism is a persevering travel to natural areas to appreciate the natural and cultural history of the environment and ensure that one does not disturb the integrity of the ecosystem and create economic opportunities that make conservation and protection of natural resources advantageous to the local people.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) tourism that involves travelling to relatively undisturbed natural areas with the specified objective of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural aspects [both of the past and the present] found in these areas is defined as ecotourism. An optimum number of environment-friendly visitor activities, which do not have any serious impact on the ecosystem and the local community and the positive involvement of the local community in maintaining the ecological balance are some of its key elements

Principles of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is all about conservation of natural resources, using local communities and help in sustainable travel. Following are a few basic principles of Ecotourism that needs to be followed by those who implement/participate and market Ecotourism

– Build cultural and environmental awareness

– Minimize social, physical and psychological impacts

– Provide direct financial benefits for conservation

– Provide positive experiences for visitors and hosts

– Deliver memorable experiences to visitors to that help raise sensitivity to host destinations

– Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous people of the local community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Ecotourism in India

The Ministry of tourism in India has also set a specific agenda to promote tourism in our country in a responsible and sustainable manner.

In recent years, it has been assessed that there is a growing trend towards travel to eco-tourism destinations like National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries.

Considering this trend, the government of India had discussions with stakeholders, state governments and the Ministry of Environment and forests under the initiative ‘Tigers – Our National Beauties’ and the stakeholders had raised concerns about growing dangers to wildlife in our National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries due to unplanned growth of infrastructure in these areas which is also affecting the corridors for movement of animals in the parks.

A detailed survey was carried out in different parks. Based on the report, the government decided to include categories of awards for stakeholders to promote and practice Ecotourism. Awards for ‘Best Eco-Friendly hotel’, ‘Best Responsible Tourism Project’ etc. were added in the National Tourism awards and presented annually to the stakeholders.

Jay Kantawala from WIYO Travel commented that “India has the potential to become a competitive ecotourism destination as we have abundant natural wealth. This also helps to develop the socio-economic status of local communities whilst also conserving its biodiversity”.

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India

Afghan plane sends hijack alert at Delhi airport, captain says mistake

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lightning-plane

An Ariana Afghan airlines flight from Delhi airport was stopped from taking off and the plane cordoned off after its pilot sent a hijack alert. The captain later said the alarm had been sent by mistake.

 

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