Indonesia Travel Essentials

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, is spread across more than 17,000 islands -- imagine the travel and adventure possibilities!

From tiny island paradises and raging party scenes to rainforests where indigenous tribes with little Western contact were still collecting heads a short while ago, you can find it on an island somewhere in Indonesia. The sheer size is staggering, as is the diversity of people. Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic country, Bali is mostly Hindu, and you'll find Christianity sprinkled throughout.

With scores of active volcanoes constantly working on the landscape, Indonesia is one of the earth's most geologically tumultuous places.
Indonesia Visa Requirements:

The Kintamani region in North Bali, Indonesia
Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to 

US citizens and most nationalities need a visa for Indonesia travel. You can obtain a 30-day visa-on-arrival in airports for US $25, but not at all seaports. The visa-on-arrival can be extended one time for an additional 30 days while in Indonesia.

Ports of entry around Indonesia maintain different rules; your safest bet is to apply for a tourist visa before entering Indonesia. 

The People:

Population: 248.6 million (4th most populated country in the world) 
Ethnic Groups: 40.6% Javanese; 15% Sudanese; 3.3% Madurese; 44.1% other. 
Life Expectancy: 71.6 years 

You'll encounter friendly people but also widespread poverty -- particularly the farther away from Bali or Jakarta that you travel. An estimated 50% of the massive population earns less than US $2 per day.

People in Indonesia are required to carry an identification card listing their religion; choosing 'agnostic' or 'atheist' is not an accepted option. Because of the emphasis on religion, which has caused plenty of conflicts there in the past, don't be put off if someone asks your religion early in a conversation!

As a foreigner, you may be a bit of a novelty while traveling in parts of Indonesia; don't be surprised if you are asked to pose for photos with strangers.
Money in Indonesia:

Currency: IDR -- Indonesian rupiah. The local abbreviation 'Rp' is placed before the price. 
Per-Capita GDP: US $4,700 

As a traveler, you'll end up with a wad of worn, faded Rp 1000, Rp 2000, and Rp 5000 denomination notes. These come in handy for small tips or street snacks, but most often you'll be working with Rp 10,000; Rp 20,000; and Rp50,000 notes. Coins are in circulation, but you rarely encounter them other than an occasional 500 sen (half rupiah) coin.

Western-networked ATMs of varying reliability can be found in tourist areas. It's not unusual for the one ATM on an island to be broken or out of money for days at a time, so bring backup forms of cash. 

Credit cards are rarely accepted outside of large hotels and scuba diving shops -- both may add a commission when you pay with plastic. Visa and Mastercard are the most accepted.

Tipping is not expected in Indonesia, however, it's common to round up fares when paying drivers. 


Official Language: Bahasa Indonesia 

With so many ethnic groups being separated by water and distance, more than 700 languages and dialects are spread throughout the archipelago. While the language barrier is rarely an issue in traveler hubs, English and even bahasa Indonesia are hard to find in remote places that have their own dialects.

Bahasa Indonesia is very similar to Malay, non-tonal, and is relatively easy to learn with consistent rules of pronunciation. Many Dutch words, adopted during the colonization, are used for everyday objects. 

What to See and Do in Indonesia:

Sumatra in Indonesia is the only other place in the world to see wild orangutans outside of Borneo. Gunung Leuser National Park is a popular place for trekking and orangutan spotting. 

Indonesia, particularly Flores, is the last refuge for the highly endangered Komodo dragon. 

Lake Toba in Northern Sumatra is the world's largest volcanic lake; the colossal explosion and resulting volcanic winter are thought to have permanently affected mankind. Pulau Samosir, an island formed in the center of the lake, was once home to headhunters and is now a popular place to visit. 

Climbing the many active volcanoes in Indonesia is an exciting adventure with rewarding views. 
Bali is the tourism hub of Indonesia and is a great place to try surfing for the first time. 

Popular Holidays and Festivals:

Because the many different religions and ethnic groups bring their own holidays to the table, you'll always find a festival or event taking place somewhere. Research your intended destinations separately for public holidays that could affect accommodation and transportation.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is observed throughout much of Indonesia; dates change annually. 

Indonesian Independence Day (Hari Merdeka) is celebrated on August 17.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in parts of Indonesia.
Getting There:

While Jakarta is the busiest airport in the country, a bulk of Indonesia's tourists enter through Denpassar International Airport in Bali, officially known as Ngurah Rai International Airport (airport code: DPS). 

Because of the sheer size, Indonesia is dotted with airports ranging from modern facilities to single airstrips that get blocked by wandering animals. ( )

READ MORE - Indonesia Travel Essentials

Top Ten British Royal Scandals

Top Ten British Royal Scandals - Historically, England's Royal Family has never been short on scandal as a result of outrageous and sometimes criminal behavior. From a prince and his mistresses creating headlines, a duchess captured on video selling "access" to her husband to an undercover reporter, a king who abdicated his throne for love, another king who ordered two of his wives' heads lopped off under the guise of treason, and another prince who embarrassed the Royal family by dressing in a Nazi uniform for Halloween. Here are a few examples — some old, some recent — of major indiscretions carried out over the years by British nobility, just in time for the royal wedding.


10: Scandalous Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
She's been in commercials for Weight Watchers, has appeared on a television sitcom, and has riled the royal family into excluding her from the invitation list for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. She's no longer welcome at Buckingham Palace, according to CBS News. Yes, that would be Sarah Ferguson — "Fergie" — the Duchess of York.
In 2010, the Duchess of York was captured on hidden video camera while selling access to her ex-husband, British trade envoy Prince Andrew, for hard cash. The down payment was $40,000, and the "buyer" was a British News of the World reporter working undercover.
"That opens up everything you would ever wish for," Ferguson said, referring to the stacks of cash lying on a table in front of her. "And I can open any door you want. And I will for you."
She later made a public apology for accepting the money and for falsely claiming that Prince Andrew knew about the arrangement.
More recently, in March 2011, Fergie told The Daily Telegraph that Prince Andrew had arranged for friend Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy American friend and convicted pedophile, to give her $24,000 to help with her massive debt load.

Jimmy Swaggart

9: King Edward VIII--Abdication of the Throne for Love
It was Jan. 10, 1931 when divorced and re-married American Wallis Simpson first met Edward, Prince of Wales, at a house party. Their meetings continued — in May 1931, and again in January 1932. That same January, the Simpsons spent a weekend with Edward at Fort Belvedere. In August 1934, Edward took Wallis Simpson — without her husband — on a vacation cruise along the coasts of Spain and Portugal. Later that year, Edward brought her to Buckingham Palace and introduced her to his mother. By then, their intimacy was viewed as scandalous according to British mores of the time.
Nonetheless, the love affair continued. Despite urgings from the prime minister to keep the relationship more discreet, it intensified and was all the public talked about by the time Edward took the throne in January 1936. By then, Wallis Simpson's marriage to Ernest Simpson had become severely strained, and she made it known she was seeking a divorce.
In November 1936, King Edward informed Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intended to marry Wallis Simpson. Baldwin advised him that British citizens would not accept the divorced American as their queen. Hinting that he was prepared to abdicate the throne to marry Simpson, Edward suggested a morganatic marriage in which he would remain king but Simpson would not become queen, but this idea was quickly rejected. As a result, King Edward officially abdicated the throne on Dec. 10, 1936, and he and Simpson were married in France in May 1937.


8: Prince Charles and Kanga — the Mistress We Never Hear About
The escapades of Charles, Prince of Wales with Camilla Parker Bowles are well-known, but fewer people know of his relationship with Dale Elizabeth Harper, an Australian beauty. She was "the only woman who ever understood me," he once said.
Kanga, as she was nicknamed, moved to London after graduation where she met and married Anthony Tryon, a close associate of Charles' who introduced the pair. Kanga and Charles became close friends, and she eventually became his mistress. The other women in Charles's life, however, always seemed to take priority.
Due to health issues and — some say — the inability to have Charles to herself, Kanga became addicted to pain killers, but eventually traded them for alcohol. While undergoing rehab for her addictions, she was one day found lying beneath a window at the treatment facility. She later said that someone had pushed her out the window; others believed she jumped. The ordeal shattered her spine and left her confined to a wheelchair.

Her issues bought her a stay at a mental health facility, and her husband divorced her. When she recovered, she traveled to India, where she contracted an illness. By now worried about his reputation, Prince Charles publicly avoided her, and she ultimately died of sepsis — along with a broken heart — in a hospital two months prior to her 50th birthday.

7: The Misadventures of Prince Harry
Prince Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, has been no stranger to scandal and embarrassment for the royal family. In 2005, he stunned all of Britain when he showed up at a friend's birthday party dressed in what appeared to be a Nazi German desert uniform with a swastika armband, earning him a front page photo on the Sun bearing the headline, "Harry the Nazi." Although he publicly apologized for the display of poor taste through a spokesperson, the stunt nonetheless brought back unpleasant memories of the Royal family's German ancestry and long-running suspicions of their alleged connections to Hitler's Nazi Germany.

In 2009, Prince Harry raised concerns of racism when he faced an inquiry over racist remarks he made in a videotape that he shot himself while at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In one instance, he referred to a fellow cadet as a "Paki," a reference to the cadet's Pakistani heritage. In another segment, he told a cadet wearing a camouflage hood that he looked "like a raghead." Again, Harry apologized for his remarks and behavior, leaving many people in Britain wondering what he will do or say next.

Elliot Spitzer

6: Princess Margaret Calls off Her Wedding to Peter Townsend
The fondness between Princess Margaret and Group Capt. Peter Townsend, a divorced war hero, was first evidenced at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, when they were photographed together, laughing and displaying obvious mutual admiration. Despite speculation that the couple would announce their engagement soon after Margaret turned 25, Townsend's divorce made the prospect of a royal union impossible. As third in line for the throne, Margaret would have had to relinquish her royal rights and income, and leave England for five years if she chose to marry Townsend.
Instead, much to the public's surprise, Margaret issued a statement that she was giving up the love of her life for her royal heritage. "Mindful of the Church's teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth," she declared, "I have resolved to put these considerations before any others."

Amid speculation that she had been forced to end the relationship, Margaret said that she had reached the decision "entirely alone." A few years later, Townsend married a Belgian woman who, some say, strongly resembled Princess Margaret. Margaret later wed Lord Snowden, but the marriage ended in divorce. Because the denial of marriage to Townsend appeared to have ruined Margaret's life, the queen brought marriage denials to an end, allowing anyone in the royal family to marry whomever they chose.

John Edwards

5: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips
Princess Anne, sister of Prince Charles and the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, married Mark Phillips on Nov. 14, 1973 at the age of 23. Phillips was from a military family. Following his education at the royal military academy at Sandhurst, he joined the First Queen's Royal Dragoon Guards as a lieutenant and later attained the rank of captain.
Four months after her marriage, a kidnap attempt was made against Anne as she and Phillips returned to Buckingham Palace. A mentally unstable man attempted to hold her for a large ransom, but he was thwarted.
Anne and Phillips had two children together. Later, rumors of Phillips' infidelity were confirmed. A paternity test in 1991 proved that he had fathered a daughter by his mistress, Heather Tonkin, from New Zealand. He and Princess Anne were divorced in April 1992.
In December 1992, Princess Anne married Commander Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, who was later promoted to vice admiral. Because the Church of England forbade remarriage after divorce, the nuptials took place in the Church of Scotland.

Princess Anne was the first member of the British royal family since Henry VIII to remarry after a divorce.

Chris Chambers

4: Henry VIII and His 6 Wives
Not all scandals involving the royal family occurred during modern times. The reign of Henry VIII and his numerous marriages serves as a good example.
Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who he married in 1509 and divorced 24 years later, was the widow of his brother, Arthur. He asked the Pope to annul the marriage, but the request was refused. That same year he married a pregnant Anne Boleyn. Their union produced a daughter, Elizabeth. Anne literally lost her head over Henry — she was beheaded on May 19, 1536, following a trial for treason (infidelity against the king was considered treasonous). Before the end of that month, he wed Jane Seymour. After giving birth to Edward, Henry's only male heir, Jane died a year and a half later of complications.

Next, Henry became infatuated with Anne of Cleves, a German princess, after seeing her portrait. He hastily arranged a marriage with her in 1540, but she was not as attractive to him in person. Historians claim the marriage was never consummated, and he divorced her. In July 1540, Henry married Catherine Howard, first cousin of Anne Boleyn. The marriage didn't last long. She was adulterous and, like Anne Boleyn, was beheaded in March 1542 for treason. The following year, Catherine Parr became wife number six and remained with Henry until his death in 1547.

Tiger Woods

3: The Tower of London
The Tower of London's inception was at the behest of King William the Conqueror, shortly after his coronation on Dec. 25, 1066. Built as a fortress, it served at times as a residence for royalty and also as a medieval prison. Today it is best remembered for the prisoners it held, the torture chambers and the executions that occurred there. Anne Askew, a Protestant English poet, was placed on the rack there and tortured before being burned at the stake as a heretic. Sir Thomas More and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, met their fates there, too. Although its bloody history includes many significant events in English history, few remain as mysterious as the disappearance of princes Edward V and Richard, Duke of York.
These disappearances are believed to have been perpetrated by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, whose brother, Edward IV, named Richard as "Lord Protector" of his son, Edward V, on his deathbed.

With Edward IV dead, Richard imprisoned his nephews within the Tower's walls in 1483 before seizing power. It is generally believed that Richard had them murdered. In 1674, nearly 200 years later, laborers removing a staircase that led to the White Tower's chapel found the bones of two children. Although it is believed that the remains were those of the two princes, it has never been proven.

Charlie Sheen

2: Was there a connection between Queen Victoria and Jack the Ripper?
According to historians, police scientists and Ripperologists, the true identity of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery ever since he brutally murdered several prostitutes in London's Whitechapel area in 1888. There are theories about his identity, however. All of his victims were prostitutes, and all but one were severely mutilated. His final murder, that of Mary Jane Kelly, was his most horrendous. He slashed her throat, cut out her liver, heart and uterus, destroyed her face, and nailed pieces of her flesh on a wall near her corpse.

Though a number of suspects have surfaced since Jack's heyday, none have been conclusively proven to have been the serial killer. One of the most shocking possibilities, however, was Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria's grandson. This belief is bolstered in an issue of The Criminologist, a British police science professional journal. According to the article's author, Thomas Stowell, there is considerable evidence that points toward Victoria's grandson as the killer. Although it is a theory that Scotland Yard has embraced, it is only a theory — one that lacked sufficient credence with which to move forward and was eventually dismissed. As a result, Jack the Ripper's true identity remains, officially, a mystery to this day.

1: Queen Victoria and the Lady Flora Hastings Scandal
Lady Flora Elizabeth Rawdon Hastings (1806 to 1839) was a small, unmarried woman and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, according to a McGill University article by Dr. Glenn F. Cartwright, retired. Upon her return to London in 1839 following a trip to Scotland, Lady Flora was ill and was seen by Queen Victoria's physician. Having a somewhat protruding abdomen, rumors spread quickly that she was pregnant and a royal family scandal ensued. The Queen believed the rumors to be true, despite testimony from two doctors who said there was insufficient evidence to show that Lady Flora was, in fact, pregnant.
Ultimately disgraced by the untrue rumors that Queen Victoria seemed to support, Lady Flora died in her sleep at Buckingham Palace in the early hours of the morning of July 5, 1839 at the age of 33, still a virgin. It was later shown that she suffered from a liver disease that had enlarged her abdomen sufficiently to make it appear she was pregnant, marking this unfortunate period of Victoria's reign as a historical episode she'd live to regret. ( )

READ MORE - Top Ten British Royal Scandals

Fascinating pictures show how Disneyland remains almost identical to when it opened nearly 60 years ago

The magic is still the same: Fascinating pictures show how Disneyland remains almost identical to when it opened nearly 60 years ago - It is the world's most famous theme park, enjoyed by children and their parents alike every year.

Since opening in 1955, Disneyland's popularity has continued to grow attracting tens of millions of people.

But as these incredible pictures show, despite continually attracting children from different generations, little has actually changed.

This collection of photographs taken from inside the theme park compare vintage pictures of Disneyland with current ones.

And they show that despite being separated by decades, much of the famous Californian park remains exactly the same.

Still the happiest place in the world: Walt Disney's vision for his world famous theme park has remained the same 58 years after he opened the park, left, as these pictures show it is still almost identical to the original design

Similar: Shortly after the theme park opened , this building was a woolen mill, left. However, it is now a clothes shop

Historic: Walt Disney is pictured at the theme park's opening day dedication on July 17, 1955, left. Almost 60 years on, the scene is almost identical, right

Little change: Despite being separated by decades, these images show that much of the famous Californian park remains exactly the same

Similar: The collection of photographs taken from inside the theme park compare vintage pictures of Disneyland with current ones

Fascinating: This incredible collection of pictures show that despite attracting children from many generations, little has actually changed at Disneyland. Walt Disney is pictured here in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in 1966, left ,and as it is now

Fun: Located in Anaheim in California, Disneyland and is owned by The Walt Disney Company

Boss: This image shows Walt Disney supervising the construction of Storybookland Canals in 1956, the year after the park opened. This image right shows that it remains the same today

Impressive: Apart from a few extra trees and fairy lights, this building still stands proudly in the famous theme park, just as did in the late 1950s

Identical: These two men stand talking on this street, left, which remains unchanged today

One of the most impressive pictures shows the park's founder Walt Disney at the theme park's opening day dedication on July 17, 1955. 

Another shows him supervising the construction of Storybookland Canals in 1956, the year after the park opened.

Other images show how the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle has remained untouched.

Disneyland is located in Anaheim in California and is owned by The Walt Disney Company.

It is the only theme park to be built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney.

He came up with the idea of Disneyland after visiting a number of different amusement parks with his family in the 1930s and 40s.

Construction began in 1954 and it opened on July 17, 1955.

It has had 650 million guests since it opened and in 2011 hosted 16.14 million guests in just one year.

The incredible collection of photographs has been collated by Imagineering Disney.

No difference: This image shows the entrance to Frontierland back in the late 1950s, left, and now, right

Impressive: These workmen, left, are pictured painting on the tram tracks, which, as this image on the right shows, remains the same today

Traditional: Since opening in 1955, the park's popularity has continued to grow attracting millions of visitors each year. This pictures shows how the layout of some of the shops remains the same today

Selling point: Despite the theme park first opening almost 60 years ago, this shop looks almost untouched

Entertainment: This picture shows that people of all generations have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the popular theme park

Famous: The Sleeping Beauty Castle has always looked impressive

Going strong: This building was still being constructed when the image on the left was taken. Those who helped build it will be thrilled to know it is still standing today ( )

READ MORE - Fascinating pictures show how Disneyland remains almost identical to when it opened nearly 60 years ago

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg enjoys budget Hawaiian vacation with wife Priscilla

Sandals, burgers and picnic table lunches: Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg enjoys budget Hawaiian vacation with wife Priscilla - He may be worth $13.3 billion, but it seems Mark Zuckerberg still appreciates the simple things in life.

The 28-year-old Facebook founder has been pictured enjoying a low key vacation in Kauai with his Harvard-educated doctor wife, Priscilla Chan, on their latest trip to Hawaii.

But rather than indulging in the lavish dinners the couple can no doubt afford, they have been seen chatting with friends at picnic tables while snacking on Kauai's famous Bubba burgers and smoothies.

The couple, who are notoriously down-to-earth, sported casual wear and Mark wore his now-famous sandals, which are parodied by Jesse Eisenberg in the film about Facebook, The Social Network.

Newtworking: Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan chat with friends as they take a stroll on Kauai 

Relaxed: The couple were seen enjoying food from Bubba's Burgers at a picnic table with friends

The billionaire formerly said he would only eat meat he killed himself, but it appears he makes an exception when he's on holiday

'We try to stick pretty close to what our goals are and what we believe and what we enjoy doing in life - just simple things,' Chan has previously told The New Yorker.

As the couple headed to their beach front house, they were seen walking past Shave Ice Paradise - a favorite of the Obama family when the First Family vacations in Hawaii. 

It is just the latest trip to Hawaii for Zuckerberg and Chan, who switched web surfing for wave surfing in Maui last December. They were seen chatting with beach goers and enjoying lessons in the water.

And while the couple do not appear to be splashing out this trip, it was reported that Zuckerberg did go on a spending spree in the area in January, when he bought several luxury condos in Honolulu.

Stroll: Zuckerberg and his wife laughed as they passed Shave Ice Paradise - an Obama favorite

Taking it easy: The couple, who enjoyed smoothies with friends, also visited Hawaii last December

Vacation: The high-flying couple is staying at a beach house Kauai, Hawaii, pictured

He was reportedly interested in buying several units in a 23-story ultra-luxury condominium under development. Each unit costs $1.6 million - with penthouse suites reaching $9 million. 

The couple met at a college party in 2003 as they stood in line for the bathroom at Zuckerberg's Jewish fraternity at Harvard University, Alpha Epsilon Pi.

'He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there,' Chan told the New Yorker.

They married in May last year in Zuckerberg's backyard in Palo Alto, California - after telling their unwitting guests the celebration was solely to mark Chan's graduation from medical school.

As well as family and friends, they were joined by their dog Beast and serenaded by Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong.

Partying: While Zuckerberg enjoyed a low key holiday, the Winklevoss twins, who sued him for allegedly stealing their idea to create Facebook, were seen partying at Coachella music festival

While the couple were seen taking it easy in Kauai, where they are staying at a beach house, the Winklevoss twins - who sued Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their idea to create Facebook - were seen partying with women at the Coachella music festival in California.

Zuckerberg was no doubt ready for a holiday following his first foray into politics this month. 

With other Silicon Valley leaders, he launched a political group aimed at revamping immigration policy, boosting education and encouraging investment in scientific research.

Zuckerberg announced the formation of (pronounced 'forward us') in an op-ed article in The Washington Post two weeks ago.

Low key: Zuckerberg was seen sporting his sock sandals - which were parodied in the film about Facebook, The Social Network, by Jesse Eisenberg (right) who plays the Facebook founder

Wedding day: The couple were married last May at their Palo Alto, California home

In it, he said the U.S. needs a new approach to these issues if it is to get ahead economically. This, he wrote, includes offering talented, skilled immigrants a path to citizenship.

'We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants, Zuckerberg wrote. 'And it's a policy unfit for today's world.' ( )

READ MORE - Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg enjoys budget Hawaiian vacation with wife Priscilla

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ Sketches Change Women’s Image of Themselves

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ Sketches Change Women’s Image of Themselves - We’ve all heard the expression that we’re our own harshest critic, and a revealing new Dove campaign is giving new insight as to why.

In the new Dove ad, an FBI-trained forensic sketch artist, Gil Zamora, first draws a woman as she describes herself, and then draws her as a total stranger describes her. The difference in results couldn’t be more dramatic.

Without fail, the sketches Zamora created from the stranger’s description turned out much more beautiful than the sketches when the women described themselves.

“This advertisement speaks to that very universal feeling that women have that they’re not as perfect as they’d like to be,” Lucia Moses, Adweek senior editor, told ABC News.

Fascinated by this social experiment, ABC News decided to conduct our own comparative sketches with the help of “Good Morning America” intern, Kimberly, and Bethany, a lawyer from New York City, two strangers who were only briefly introduced to each other without giving away any premise of the story.

Bethany described herself to sketch artist, Zamora, using phrases like, “I think I have big earlobes,” “I have freckles. They’re all over my cheeks and my nose,” and “My top teeth go in front of my bottom teeth.”

However, when Kimberly described Bethany, she makes comments such as, “They were nice ears,” “[She had] Thick hair, full hair. It was nicely styled,” and “she had a small-sized nose.”

Kimberly, in a nutshell, described Bethany as very pretty.

“I think I’m average looking,” Bethany told ABC News.

And when asked what Bethany’s biggest insecurities about her looks were, she replied, “My nose,” and “Definitely weight, I would say like most women.”

Interestingly enough, the first thing Kimberly said when she was describing Bethany was that she was trim.

“It’s definitely true that we’re our own worst critics,” said Bethany. “I’m not surprised knowing myself that I perseverated on my nose, but it makes me feel really good that other people don’t perceive me that way.”

The women who took part in the Dove ad were paid, but apparently they didn’t know what the point of the social experiment was until after it was complete. The slogan for this particular campaign is, “You are more beautiful than you think.” ( Good Morning America )

READ MORE - Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ Sketches Change Women’s Image of Themselves

Bukit Lawang - Gateway to Jungle Trekking in Sumatra, Indonesia

Bukit Lawang - Gateway to Jungle Trekking in Sumatra, Indonesia. - Travelers can't seem to get out of Medan -- Indonesia's rumbling, fourth-largest city -- fast enough. Most head for the riverside town of Bukit Lawang (4 hours by bus) to relax by the scenic river in air not so polluted by horns and exhaust.

Bukit Lawang translates roughly as "gateway to the hills." One look around at the green scenery will confirm that the name fits well. Bukit Lawang serves as the usual base for trekking in the Gunung Leuser National Park. 

Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia Photo by Greg Rodgers 


While the village itself is dusty and desolate, a string of small guesthouses stretch along the river to an orangutan viewing center just inside the national park. Green hills and nearby jungle keep the air fresh and the evening sounds exciting.

Bukit Bintang can be easily explored on foot. A path parallels the river with a few bungalows and restaurants on either side. Three shaky bridges provide points to cross.

Things to Know About Bukit Lawang 
  • Bukit Lawang lacks banks, ATMs, and a post office; bring enough cash with you. Money can be changed at two places in the small village for a poor rate. 
  • Western women -- whether traveling with a man or not -- inevitably receive a lot of attention from local men and the jungle guides. Harassment can be reported to the Guide's Association by calling: +62-813-70730151. 
  • Internet access can be found at two places in the village. Remember dial-up access circa 1991? The internet in Bukit Lawang is slower. 
Jungle Trekking in Bukit Lawang

The number one reason to visit Bukit Lawang is for trekking in the nearby Gunung Leuser National Park to see the orangutans. 

Bohorok Orangutan Viewing Centre

If trekking isn't your thing, consider a visit to the Bohorok Orangutan Viewing Centre where rangers place fruit on a platform to entice the orangutans into an appearance. Feeding times are 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Find the center by walking 20 minutes west along the river, then taking a dugout canoe across. The center is located inside of the national park, so you must pay $2 for a permit to enter. 

Other Things to Do in Bukit Lawang

Aside from the obvious attraction of jungle trekking and orangutans, Bukit Lawang offers some other adventure opportunities. Nearly everyone will offer to act as a middleman for activity bookings, but book through your accommodation to be safe. 
  • White Water Rafting: Rafting trips down the Wampu River can be organized for EUR 50 per person. 
  • Swimming: Cooling down in the river is a great way to get the sweat off. Walk west farther down the river toward the orangutan center to find some deep holes away from local eyes. 
  • Bat Cave: You can walk the two kilometers to Bat Cave yourself, just follow the signs along the river opposite the village. Some short scrambling is required; bring a flashlight. 
  • River Tubing: You can rent tubes all along the Bahorok River for around US $1 then float for six miles where you can catch public transportation back to Bukit Lawang. The trip takes around three hours when the river is flowing. 
  • Elephant Trekking: Trips can be organized in Bukit Lawang, or make your way to the village of Tangkahan (two hours by motorbike) and hire an elephant guide. 
Eating and Sleeping

Simple accommodation is rarely hard to find. Bungalows can be found on both sides of the river; try the area nearest the orangutan centre (20 minutes walk from the village) for many additional options. The food is surprisingly delicious in Bukit Lawang. 
  • Eco Lodge: Set around a well-groomed botanical garden with educational signs, this sprawling resort is where many higher budget travelers end up. 
  • Bukit Lawang Indah: This popular guesthouse at the end of the big, steel bridge has a great restaurant and nightly guitar sessions. Unfortunately, the rooms are filthy and depressing. 
  • Julia Guesthouse: With a lack of sign, no one is sure of the real name of this guesthouse. Some keys also read "Junia" and "June." New, clean bungalows can be had for the same price ($5) as dirtier places. 
Getting There

Public buses leave from the Pinang Baris bus terminal in Medan roughly every 30 minutes until 5 p.m.; the ride takes around four hours and costs $2.

Optionally, faster minibuses ($4 and up) or even a private car can be booked in Medan. The bus will drop you in a lot where waiting motorcycle taxis ($1) will take you the additional 15 minutes to Bukit Lawang. Minibuses to Lake Toba run at 8 a.m. and can be booked for $15 through your accommodation. ( )

READ MORE - Bukit Lawang - Gateway to Jungle Trekking in Sumatra, Indonesia

Zahia Dehar sex scandal: Ribery and Benzema on trial in Paris

After battling Ronaldo and Messi for the Ballon d'Or French star Ribery faces underage sex charge

Ribery and Benzema on trial in Paris  - A WEEK ago he was in contention for the highest individual honour in football but today Franck Ribery goes on trial in Paris accused of having sex with an underage prostitute. The 30-year-old Frenchman, who was beaten into third place by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for Fifa's prestigious Ballon d'Or award, faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (£37,000) if found guilty. 

Alongside the Bayern Munich winger in the dock is his international teammate Karim Benzema, 26, also alleged to have had paid for sex with Zahia Dehar when she was underage. 

Ribery is accused of flying the Algerian-born Frenchwoman to Munich to help celebrate his 26th birthday in 2009, while Real Madrid striker Benzema is charged with having sex with her in a Paris hotel when she was 16. He denies the charge and Ribery, though admitting he did sleep with Dehar, says he had no idea she was underage. The age of consent in France is 15 but it is a crime to pay for sex with anyone under 18. 

The case has ensnared more people than just two of France's best known footballers; Ribery's brother-in-law is accused of soliciting a minor for sex, and five other defendants face terms ranging up to 10 years on charges including "aggravated pimping". 

According to the BBC, neither player is expected to be present when the trial opens in Paris with Carlo Alberto Brusa, Ribery's lawyer, in bullish mood ahead of proceedings, declaring: "We are going in confident and we are going to fight." 

Certainly one might wonder why the case has ever got this far. Dehar, now 21, who also won't be in attendance having withdrawn as a civil plaintiff has testified that she lied about her age to the two players. "She is not asking for anything," her lawyer, Daniel Vaconsin, has told reporters. 

For more than four years the case has been at the centre of a legal battle with defence lawyers arguing that the players should not have to stand trial because they had no idea they were breaking the law because Dehar lied about her age. 

In November 2009 the BBC says the state prosecutor had asked for the case to be dropped "but the investigating judge said Ms Dehar looked so young that [the players] must have known". But the fact that France's highest court has ruled that only those who know a prostitute is under 18 can be found guilty of a crime would appear to validate the confidence of the players' lawyer. 

Dehar certainly hasn't done badly out of the scandal. As we reported nearly three years ago, her first metamorphosis was a "bionic sex doll", and since then she has become one of France's top fashion designers and a very wealthy businesswoman, who counts Karl Lagerfeld among her coterie of friends. 

As for her racy past, that is all behind her, as she explained in an interview last year when asked about her lovelife. "I prefer to stay at home with my dogs," she replied. )

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Apple is preparing to go where Samsung can’t follow

Apple is preparing to go where Samsung can’t follow - Whether or not you subscribe to the school of thought suggesting Samsung’s (005930) meteoric rise has been fueled in large part by unabashed copying of Apple products, there is certainly evidence to support the idea that Apple’s iPhone and iPad have inspired Samsung’s most popular devices. Count TheStreet’s Ernie Varitimos among those who believe Samsung’s success is due in large part to mobile devices that are “direct knock-offs” of Apple products, but he thinks Apple is now getting ready to make a move that Samsung will find impossible to copy.


Though no announcements have been made at this point, Apple is currently working on a smartwatch. Details have been reported by news organizations including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, and recent claims suggest the “iWatch” will launch later this year. Samsung is also working on a smartwatch — the company recently confirmed the news — but according to TheStreet, the upcoming Samsung smartwatch will be unable to match Apple’s iWatch despite the company’s best efforts.

“Perhaps the most crucial element of wearable computers, in fact all mobile devices, is the cloud,” Varitimos wrote in a recent article. ”People are overlooking the incredible infrastructure that will be necessary to support true mobility. Apple has established a presence in the cloud, and it has the resources to dominate it, to an extent that Samsung can only watch. Samsung will remain a follower, and may even be forced to eat Apple’s breadcrumbs.”

Apple’s iCloud has come under fire recently due to issues many users continue to have with its performance, but Varitimos is right that Apple has a huge lead on Samsung when it comes to in-house cloud-based services. Whether or not these services will play a major role in the emerging wearable device market remains to be seen. ( BGR News )

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Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Call Facebook Home

Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Call Facebook Home  It’s not a ‘Facebook Phone,’ it’s not a Facebook operating system — it’s Facebook Home. On Thursday Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team laid to rest the persistent ‘Facebook Phone’ rumors and unveiled its new app family for Android. 

The app launcher, which is essentially a Facebook overlay for select Android Jelly Bean devices, brings Facebook to your lock screen, Home screen, messenger, and well, your entire phone. But is Facebook’s Home on Android the solution for staying connected to your favorite people, or is it more trouble than it’s worth? Here are five things to look out for before installing Facebook Home on April 12.

Other Social Networks Locked Out

Being connected to people rather than apps means integrating all of your social networks, not just Facebook. With Facebook Home, all of your other social networks are likely to be pushed into the background. During its press event on Thursday, the company made it clear that you would seamlessly receive Facebook notifications, messages, and texts directly to your Home screen. However, this could downplay (or eliminate) alerts from Google Services, Twitter, or any other networks you care about.

Creepy Floating Heads That Follow You

With Facebook’s new chat head feature, both your SMS and Facebook messages pop up on your screen no matter what you’re doing. But rather than displaying a message or notification, tiny round photos of your friends pop up and essentially follow you until you acknowledge the message. This also means that you’ll be receiving Facebook messages all the time, essentially giving all of your Facebook friends the power to text you without obtaining your phone number. Hopefully, there will be an option to go invisible.

Ads Coming to Your Home Screen

Facebook emphasized how convenient it would be to see all your social activity right on your lock screen, but left out that you’ll eventually need to navigate through ads. “There are no ads in this yet, I’m sure that one day there will be,” Zuckerberg said to The Verge when asked about the monetization strategy for Facebook Home. Another team member reportedly confirmed that these ads would be coming to cover feed specifically, but won’t be included when Facebook Home launches.

Privacy Concerns

Facebook Home brings your newsfeed to your phone’s lock screen, which means that theoretically anyone who grabs your phone can access your Facebook account. Facebook hasn’t clarified how this feature would work if you have a lock pattern protecting your screen, but exposing your news feed makes it that much easier for others to obtain personal information about you. If your phone is left unprotected, some else could browse through posts in your feed, comment on stories, and “Like” items in a few quick seconds.

Reliance on Profile Pictures

Facebook Home comes with a slew of features that make it easier to stay connected with friends, but others could also add to the confusion. Remember last week when everyone changed their profile photo to an equal sign in support of gay marriage? Good luck identifying that chat head when it pops up on your screen. ( )

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Goodbye Icons, Hello Photos

The Facebook Phone : Goodbye Icons, Hello PhotosNearly three years after Facebook (FB) and Taiwanese device-maker HTC first offered up the unpopular ChaCha and Salsa phones to highlight the social networking site, they're at it again. 

Only this time, there's a twist. With the newest offering, you don't necessarily have to buy a particular phone, you can also download Facebook's just unveiled Home to any Android device.

The question now is, will you want to?

Some users will surely embrace what CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes as a "new experience" and "a simple, social device that was designed around people rather than applications and tasks." Others may balk when it comes to actually handing over the familiar icons of their Android home screen for an unending stream of photos, messages, texts, "likes", and alerts known as Chat heads that automatically pop into view.

"It's an effort to be more relevant," says David Garrity, principal with GVA Research in the attached video, while acknowledging that Facebook has tried to "cover as much of the mobile operating system as possible" by pairing with Google's Android platform.

While this new image-heavy, interactive system falls short of being granted game-changer status, Garrity thinks it will take a long period of "consumer road testing" before we know if Home is actually a behavior changer or simply fun to look at.

In explaining the new product to a live audience at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Zuckerberg said the average smart phone user glances at their homescreen for updates about 100 times a day; an occurrence he thinks ''should be deeply personal" and reflect "the soul of your phone."

For his part, Garrity is unsure "how you stop people and get them to engage for a longer period of time" when the product, by nature, is designed for people on the go.

"What Facebook is trying to say here is, look, you really need only one app and that's it," he says, calling that "a wonderful marketing message" albeit one that will have to compete for consumer attention against millions of existing applications.

One clear stumble in the launch was the fact that, for some undisclosed reason, it will not be available for tablets for several months, while the pre-installed HTC First phone and the Home download will be available for test drives starting April 12th. ( )

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North Sumatra, Indonesia

North Sumatra, Indonesia - Sumatra, the world's sixth-largest island, spans over 1,200 miles in the western part of Indonesia and is split in two by the equator. The few tourists who brave Medan's pollution are rewarded with jungle trekking, active volcanoes, and friendly people who no longer behead and eat visitors as their ancestors once did.

Blessed with unmatched natural beauty and potential for adventure, Sumatra is equally cursed with devastating geological disasters and a serious tourism slump.

Despite the close geographical proximity to Penang and Singapore, North Sumatra has managed to remain wilder and more inviting than ever.

1. Lake Toba 

Photo by Greg Rodgers

Danau Toba is the world's largest volcanic lake and was formed during a cataclysmic eruption which subsequently killed off much of the Earth's population. Today, visitors enjoy Lake Toba's beauty and mineral-rich water by staying on Pulau Samosir -- a new, volcanic island formed in the center of the lake.

Samosir Island is actually an island within an island, and the tranquil setting is enough to keep people around for far longer than expected. Friendly Batak descendants are always willing to share their culture; impromptu guitar sessions break out almost nightly. 

2. Bukit Lawang

Photo by Greg Rodgers

Bukit Lawang, a tiny, riverside village north of Medan, is the base in North Sumatra for jungle trekking in Gunung Leuser national Park. Travelers will encounter both semi-wild and wild orangutans, along with a whole host of other endangered species that take refuge inside the national park after habitat loss to palm oil plantations.

River tubing, jungle trekking, and a serene setting are well worth braving Bukit Lawang's ferocious mosquito population. 

3. Berastagi

Photo by Greg Rodgers

Although not the most attractive town, Berastagi -- three hours from Medan -- serves as base for climbing two of Sumatra's most attractive volcanoes: Gunung Sibayak and Gunung Sinabung.

Unfortunately, most travelers get out of town quick after their day of trekking, but Berastagi is surrounded by villages, waterfalls, and natural attractions. The cool climate is refreshing to those who have been sweating around Southeast Asia for weeks.

Berastagi is a great place to visit traditional Karo houses to learn more about local customs. 

4. Gunung Sibayak

Photo by Greg Rodgers

Gunung Sibayak is easiest of North Sumatra's volcanoes to climb, however, the rewards are great. The views of the green, expansive Karo Highlands are spectacular. Climbing Gunung Sibayak can be done in five to six hours return; hot springs wait on the return path to soak sore legs.

The base for tackling Sibayak is the town of Berastagi -- only three hours from Medan. Many travelers opt to climb Mount Sibayak without a guide, but weather can change on the volcano so team up with someone else. 

5. Gunung Sinabung

At 8,000 feet high, Gunung Sinabung is the tallest volcano in North Sumatra and the views are even more impressive than those from neighboring Sibayak. Mount Sinabung is located 16 miles west of Berastagi; the climb plus return takes between 10 -- 12 hours, depending on the condition of the trails.

Climbing Gunung Sinabung requires a guide to help negotiate the crisscrossing and steep trails. Travelers have perished in the past attempting to climb alone.

Gunung Sinabung surprised everyone with an eruption in 2010 after having been dormant for 400 years. 

6. Visit Karo Villages

When your legs can no longer handle another volcano trek, take in daily life at one of the many Karo villages dotted around North Sumatra. The traditional thatched-roof longhouses are adorned with buffalo horns.

Ask in your accommodation about arranging transport, or rent a motorbike and grab a map. 
Percen Village: Closest to Berastagi (2 km) Percen has six traditional houses; the oldest is 120 years old. 
Lingga Village: At 16 km away from Berastagi, Lingga is nicer to visit than Percen. The king's house -- the primary attraction -- is 250 years old. 
Dokan Village: Dokan, 30 km away from Berastagi, is the least touristy of the Karo villages. 

7. Sipiso-Piso Waterfall

A nice stopover between Berastagi and Lake Toba, the Sipiso-piso Waterfall falls 120 meters onto rocks below. The waterfall is surrounded by mountains, jungle, and rice fields.

Find the waterfall just two kilometers from the main road junction in Simpang Situnggaling -- one of the bus changes on the way to Lake Toba. ( )

Blog : The Challenge

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