Author Archives: Paura

Greek Mythology

Around 700 BC, the poet Hesiod’s Theogony offered the first written cosmogony, or origin story, of Greek mythology. The Theogony tells the story of the universe’s journey from nothingness (Chaos, a primeval void) to being, and details an elaborate family tree of elements, gods and goddesses who evolved from Chaos and descended from Gaia (Earth), Ouranos (Sky), Pontos (Sea) and Tartaros (the Underworld).

Pantheon

Greek Mythology: The Olympians

At the center of Greek mythology is the pantheon of deities who were said to live on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. From their perch, they ruled every aspect of human life. Olympian gods and goddesses looked like men and women (though they could change themselves into animals and other things) and were–as many myths recounted–vulnerable to human foibles and passions.

The twelve main Olympians are:

  • Zeus (Jupiter, in Roman mythology): the king of all the gods (and father to many) and god of weather, law and fate
  • Hera (Juno): the queen of the gods and goddess of women and marriage
  • Aphrodite (Venus): goddess of beauty and love
  • Apollo (Apollo): god of prophesy, music and poetry and knowledge
  • Ares (Mars): god of war
  • Artemis (Diana): goddess of hunting, animals and childbirth
  • Athena (Minerva): goddess of wisdom and defense
  • Demeter (Ceres): goddess of agriculture and grain
  • Dionysos (Bacchus): god of wine, pleasure and festivity
  • Hephaistos (Vulcan): god of fire, metalworking and sculpture
  • Hermes (Mercury): god of travel, hospitality and trade and Zeus’s personal messenger
  • Poseidon (Neptune): god of the sea

Other gods and goddesses sometimes included in the roster of Olympians are:

  • Hades (Pluto): god of the underworld
  • Hestia (Vesta): goddess of home and family
  • Eros (Cupid): god of sex and minion to Aphrodite
Temple of Zeus the Olympian

Greek Mythology: Heroes and Monsters

Greek mythology does not just tell the stories of gods and goddesses, however.

Human heroes–such as Heracles, the adventurer who performed 12 impossible labors for King Eurystheus (and was subsequently worshipped as a god for his accomplishment); Pandora, the first woman, whose curiosity brought evil to mankind; Pygmalion, the king who fell in love with an ivory statue; Arachne, the weaver who was turned into a spider for her arrogance; handsome Trojan prince Ganymede who became the cupbearer for the gods; Midas, the king with the golden touch; and Narcissus, the young man who fell in love with his own reflection–are just as significant. Monsters and “hybrids” (human-animal forms) also feature prominently in the tales: the winged horse Pegasus, the horse-man Centaur, the lion-woman Sphinx and the bird-woman Harpies, the one-eyed giant Cyclops, automatons (metal creatures given life by Hephaistos), manticores and unicorns, Gorgons, pygmies, minotaurs, satyrs and dragons of all sorts. Many of these creatures have become almost as well known as the gods, goddesses and heroes who share their stories.

Temple of Apollos in Naxos

Reference: https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/greek-mythology

Hunt for Authentic Hand-made Greek Sandals

Are you like me who just doesn’t like to buy gifts for anyone when travelling? If you are…..whats your excuses???

Me….I dont have room in my luggage as I travel light!

Now that doesn’t always settle down with alot of people and most think I am just an ungrateful person and do not like them.

I do make exceptions thou…..and usually make exceptions for friends who are genuine and they usually send me payments for any gifts they want.

Another exception are for friends and family which I probably missed out on Christmas gift or birthday gifts and I feel horrible about that as well.

So this week it was a hunt for a Genuine Hand-made Greek Sandals just to make up for a failed Christmas gift…..yeap….I failed miserable last Christmas.

So had to walk around the whole Island of Naxos in Greece just to find the perfect Sandals. After about an hour of searching I came across this little shop tucked away in a narrow street alley.

Pagonis create high quality handmade leather Greek sandals the past 80 years. The Pagonis family is evolving the craftsmanship of manufacturing the best Greek Sandals

The owners of the firm “PAGONIS” specialize in the art of making leather goods and have been involved in this business, working on the island of Naxos since 1940. The first generation of the family learnt the secrets of leather and shoemaking from their uncles Andrea and Manoli Diasiti, who had a shoemaking workshop in the previous century.

In 1940 the three brothers of the Pagonis family made their own workshop, supplying the Naxos market with handmade shoes, whose notable characteristics were their innovative designs and their unrivalled quality.

In 1950 the family business moved to Athens where a modern shoe and leather goods factory was opened with the name of “ PAGONIS” Bros. The products were on sale in well known Athens shops.

In 1982 the name “PAGONIS” reappeared in Naxos, it’s owners running a successful business with two retail shoe and leather goods shops and a workshop. This new page in the history of the company was initiated by Kostas S. Pagonis, who belong to the second generation of the family.

Our efforts over all these years have been with the aim of continuing the worthy traditions and with the emphasis on maintaining the quality of our products, on offering a wide choice, competitive prices and a personal service. Now, at the beginning of another new century, we have new ideas but also a strong basis from which to keep progressing, aiming always for better promotion, in Greece and worldwide, of the craft which we love and it’s products – Kosta Pagonis

Ancient Ruins in Athens

A walk around Athens and you’d surely come up to a important ancient sites from the Classical and Roman times

The Acroplis

The Acropolis also called the Sacred Rock, is the most important ancient heritage of the country. It is also the trademark and most famous site of Athens and of Greece. It has been the main attraction of Athens since the 5th century BC and is dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and protector of the city.

Acropolis

The Parthenon

The Parthenon, the most famous ancient Greek temple ever, stands proudly over the modern megalopolis of Athens, a reminder of the great civilization he has witnessed. The Acropolis can be seen from almost every part of Athens. It was and still is, without any doubt, the ultimate achievement of the city classical and architectural glory

Parthenon

Herodeion Theatre

The Herodeion Theatre is one of the most impressive monuments of Athens and it is today hosting the Athens Festival with performances of theatre, music, and dance. The theatre is open to visitors only during performances. It is located at the south slope of the Acropolis and was added in 161 AD during the Roman rule. The theatre was built by Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Roman, in memory of his wife Regilla. It has exceptional acoustic capacities and can sit up to 5,000 spectators. It has a facade of 28 m high and 2,4 m width.

Herodeion Theatre

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved Doric temple in Greece. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, the god of the forge, hence the reason why the temple used to be in the center of numerous metalwork shops and foundries. It was built during Pericles rebuilding program.

Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus took 700 years to be built and is the larger that was ever created. The work was completed by Emperor Hadrian in 131 AD. The huge Temple is composed of 104 Corinthian columns of 17 m high. Very little is left of his greatness today since only 17 columns are still standing.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic (Roman) Stadium was built in the 4th century BC. It was hosting the Panathenaic Athletic contests. Herodes Atticus inaugurated the stadium when he rebuilds the seats with Pentelic marble. The stadium was strangely abandoned for centuries. It was finally restored in order to welcome the first modern Olympic Games of 1896.

Arch of Hadrian

Arch of Hadrian

The Arch of Hadrian was built by Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD in order to mark the limit between Ancient Athens and his new city. It is also a commemoration of the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It is located at the end of Amalias Avenue.

Source: https://www.greeka.com/attica/athens/ancient-sites/

Room at the Top of the Inn

I wanted to visit some Greek islands before my trip back to Papua New Guinea early February. My online search recommended Mykonos and Santorini as the place to go. However, when I told my travel agent ‘Makis’ that I wanted to go Mykonos……he was like……’there is nobody there’! Mykonos only comes to life during summer but now is winter and everyone has left.

He then recommended that I do Naxos instead. I was reluctant as I didn’t read up Naxos and I didn’t think it was fun to visit as well. He told there is a new place ‘Grotta Hotel’ that he can put me up for a few nights before I go Santorini.

I reluctantly agreed…….so he book me on a on a trip to the Greek island of Naxos. Naxos is located in the South Aegean and is the largest of the Cycladic islands filled with white-washed, cube-shaped houses and vibrant small town life.

Arrival in Hotel Grotta

As soon as I arrived at ‘Grotta Hotel’ I was blown away on how beautiful the view is. . It was a small but luxurious place to stay and had a stunning view of the sea both from the windows and patio and also from the restaurant.

Lucky for me, it was located right on a hill ner the beach. It was incredible to wake up each morning with the Aegean in our front yards, and I would highly recommend renting a villa or room here if you are planning to visit Naxos.

As since, it just opened. I was the only ‘Lonely Guest’ in the most beautiful, scenic hotel one could ever imagine to stay. I stayed there for two nights and were taken aback by the beauty of the island and architecture, as well as the local culture and food.

To make the most of your trip to Naxos, I recommend that you rent a car, so you have the autonomy to explore the island yourself. There are so many incredible sites to visit and renting a car opposed to relying on public transformation or hiring a driver gives you a lot more freedom.

Naxos is somewhere I would recommend visiting if you find your way to Greece, and offers so many ways to experience the culture, cuisine, and history. I would most definitely recommend taking the trek to this island for the experience of a lifetime.

Coronavirus – Travel Tips

Much is still unknown about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak and health officials are urging vigilance.

That means travelers crisscrossing the globe should be aware of the virus, steer clear of heavily impacted areas and exercise some of the same kinds of preventive measures they’d use to avoid influenza and other illnesses.

Whilst the virus is mainly in China and more specifically Wuzan Province, there are reported cases of it in Australia, Japan, United States and Singapore. In Wuzan Province, everyone is locked away indoors as they believe the virus is spread by Human-to-Human contact

Health Authorities around the region are stepping up their efforts to ensure everyone is screened an border controls are also on high alert.

But does this health warning stop anyone from travelling for business or leisure? I think it shouldn’t and I do believe every traveler should practice personal health safeguards that would prevent them from catching any of these virus.

Here are some tips to take with you when you travel or in at the airport.

  1. Medicines  –
    • Codral Night & day, if you free sick – 90% chances are its common cold
    • Asprin – always take those for any headaches
  2. Clothing
    • Bandanas or scarfs – you can use them just to cover your mouth and it will still look good
    • hand gloves
    • face mask is a must
    • Take some sunnies as well
  3. Food
    • Eat only Warm/hot food –
    • don’t eat any food that is cold
    • always wipe clean food that is exposed to air
  4. Meeting People
    • Don’t shake hands – just do fist bumps
    • Avoid hugging anyone
  5. Toilets
    • Use paper towels as oppose to air blowers in bathroom
    • Hand sanitizers – always wipe your hands before you want to touch your eyes and mouth.
    • Always wipe fruits such as apples before you eat as they are exposed

And finally, if you can do it…….try stay away from the reported areas.

Discovery of the Decade

Ending this decade with a discovery of a perfect spot for a truly Papua New Guinean experience.

Now you may ask me, what do you mean by a Papua New Guinean experience? Well, I have friends who have traveled to Papua New Guinea and want to soak up what Papua New Guinea is all about. Friends who have visited for the weekend, stayed 2 weeks and even some stayed as long as 3 months.


Off course, flying them to Kokopo, Kavieng, Manus, Mt Hagen and Goroka would be the perfect cultural indoctrination for them.

But how about those who are here for business? That time is against them and all they need is an injection of Papua New Guinea in a day?

I dont want to show them Apec Haus, the hotels, the potholes and Gordon’s market. Nor do I want to show them the museums, the Parliament Haus or even the filthy Boroko Bus stop. I want to show them the real Papua New Guinean living even if it is only 1 night.

So my quest of find the perfect spot lead me to this discovery of the decade!

Drive to Gelebara from Gabone Village

Gelebara Kite Club……

A small setup by my newfound friend Pako. Now, I didnt think I’d find this place after hearing it from a few friends. But after scruff-ling over the internet for a few days, I came across Pako’s contact details.

Fate has it that the number works…….and within a few hours, the drive to discovery the perfect ‘shot of Papua New Guinea’ begins.



Gelebara Kite Club offers visitors a full beachfront, has 3 huts which are for rent, visitors can bring their own tents and setup. They provide cooking facilities, also pit toilets, rain water, and the can cook for you as well.

You can even lease the whole property for the weekend and have your own private functions, beach weddings or just time alone

What more can you ask for as an experience?

You can swim out the sea….walk a mile on the white sandy beach and as the sun sets, watch God paint the sky for you.



Oh btw…..there is 3G reception as well.

sunset views from the beach

Debt Trap – How loans trap us

The financial crisis is one inseparable part of a person’s life, and it may come in anyone’s life, without any notice. There are situations when the most financially stable person would seek support. Any they come at any time of our lives without notice.

That need for financial support is complemented by a loan, which could be a formal arrangement with the banks, financial institutions or informal money markets with individuals. The loans are either business loans, housing loans and the widely use loans are the personal loans.

When the credit is availed by the banks, other financial agencies and informal money markets for the personal use, it is called Personal Loans. This Personal Loan has come to the rescue of the many people, with the instant availability of funds. These Personal Loans have always been the helping hands during the urgent needs of the people and have solved various unavoidable circumstances in a person’s life.

But at the same time, the Personal Loan has been a cause of worry for many. Even, if the Personal Loans have been the lifesavers many times, they are the ones, which come with some hidden traps too


Informal Debt-Trap

In Papua New Guinea, the desire for fast personal loans to patch the gap before the next payday has forced many people to turn to INFORMAL MONEY MARKETS. The main reason for this is the CONVENIENCE, quick turnaround and the ZERO paperwork that comes with the requests for a loan.

As always, convenience comes with a price, and the price for this informal money market is very high. The interest charge for these loans are usually between 30-60 percent and only for a short period usually within 1-2 weeks.

The formula used for this interest calculation is the SIMPLE FORMULA.
You borrow K1, 000.00 at rate of 40% for 2 weeks; you pay K1, 400.00 at the end of the 2 weeks. If you do not pay at the end of the 2nd week, they charge another 40% on that K1, 400.00 and you end up paying K1, 960.00 after a month.

These informal money markets has sadly been a DEBT-TRAPPED for many Papua New Guineans who were not able to pay their loan when the loan sharks come calling.


Formal Debt-Trap

Then there is the Banks and the Financial Institutions who also offer personal loans aside from housing loans and business loans.

The requirements for personal loans, housing loans and business loans varies from each Bank and financial institutions. However, the calculation of the interest charge is the same across all those different requirements.

I will discuss the Housing Loan and how interest are charge, it is no different to a personal loan and business loan.

Personal loans have higher interest rates, Kina Bank charges about 20% p.a and BSP charges at about 27% per annum.  Home Loans have lower interest rates. Kina Bank Charges 6.5% interest on home loans whilst BSP Bank charges 6%, however BSP has a special of 4% per annum for the First Home Ownership Scheme over a period of 40 years.

Let’s use the FHOS of BSP to do a calculation of K400,000 for period of 40 years at 4% per annum interest

These Banks and financial institutions use COMPOUNDING FORMULA to calculate interest payable and additional charge interest on any outstanding loans which the called CAPITALISATION.  There 2 calculations, the first is for the repayment amount for the duration of the loan and the other is the interest charge on any outstanding loans. The interest is calculated daily and charge monthly.

Formula:

Mortgage Calculation Formula

Calculation:

  • 4% annual interest rate needs to be change into an effective monthly rate. Therefore we divide 4%/12 months = 0.3% effective interest rate
  • Number of repayments would be 40 years multiple by 12 months, therefore 40 x 12 = 480
  • Calculating the Monthly repayment using the formula above gives you K1, 573.64 which is monthly repayment
  • Aside of the fixed repayment, there is also an interest charged for loan outstanding. This interest is calculated daily and charged monthly, this charge is called CAPITALISATION.

A simple spreadsheet of repayment looks like this after calculations are done, it is done using a compounding formula

The BIGGEST TRAP in this Formal Loan is that the loan interest is charged daily and added to the loan amount monthly. This interest on loan increases the loan amount each month, and whilst we pay fixed amount monthly, the repayment would not seem to make any difference as CAPITALISATION costs keeps adding up.

The only way to get out of this formal debt-trap is that you find ways to pay more than then monthly repayment, any lump sum amount or extra repayments would assist in getting out of this, otherwise, it would take more than 40 years to completely pay of your debt.

Planet ICELAND…

My third trip to Europe was end of January 2019. Usually on these business trips, you fly-in the night before the meetings, do all the meetings for the week and fly out the next day. And I have just done that for the last 2 trips.

This year, I decided that I would do something different, that I would see abit of Europe after the meetings in Amsterdam. My plan was to take a train and travel to Norway via German, Denmark and Sweden. Reason for Norway was that I wanted to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

Nas Daily – Planet Iceland – a great vidblog

So I requested for a week break after the meetings and during the week of travel, a friend alerted me to  fly direct to Iceland from Netherlands. So after little search, I found direct flights that are just $150 dollars (K400) return from Amsterdam to Reykjavik.

Cathedral of Christ the King in Reykjavik.

January is in the Winter Season for Iceland, and when I arrive…..from the airport to the hotel, there is only ICE covering almost everything I can see. One thing good about ICELAND is that they are so well organized. You have tour buses picking you right at the airport, drops you at the hotel, picks you up again when you ready and takes you straight to your tour sites. All you do is book them online and everything is organize for you.

 So off I went….see the Aurora Borealis and also get to swim in the ‘Secret Lake’ in the middle of the night! Yes, it was cold and it was minus 10 degrees but I have come these far to just stay in the room. I was determined to see that Northern Lights and show Papua New Guinea that I have seen it with my eyes.

But the highlight of my trip is the ‘Secret Lake’ in the middle of nowhere! After driving 2 hours, we came to a small lake, that we all changed and went it. The feeling was divine! I felt I was reborn that my whole system had reset itself…….now I feel I should do an annual pilgrimage there again.

Secret Lake in Reykjavik, Iceland

Advantages of ONLINE Learning

There are several problems with the traditional system of education. First of all, you need to pay thousands per term to attend a prestigious school. With all those budget cuts, busy classrooms, and course shortages, you won’t always get the chance to study exactly what you want.

It’s no wonder why millions of students from all around the world opt for online degree programs or take at least one college course through an online platform. Online learning has to be the greatest revolution in contemporary education. It made a huge change in the system and opened great opportunities for everyone who wants to learn something.

Nevertheless, online education is still related to stereotypes. People often think that online students are not smart enough for a traditional college or university, they are lazy, and they don’t get “real” degrees. These claims discourage many people from taking online courses, so they get stuck in the traditional educational system that consumes a huge deal of money, nerves, and years of their lives.

Allow us to explain why online learning is more awesome than you think. We have 5 advantages of online learning that will make you reconsider your attitude towards this type of education.

1. You can learn whatever you want!

Benefits of working online

You can pick the program of your dreams in traditional education, too, but that would involve traveling away from home, living in a completely unknown city, and struggling in an extremely competitive learning environment. With online education, you can take any program or course present in traditional four-year universities.

For example, let’s say you’re mostly interested in neuroscience. All it takes is a Google search for such online course, and you’ll easily find the online programs offered by some of the most prestigious universities from all around the world. You can take such a course even if you have no aspirations to apply that knowledge in your future profession, but you’re simply curious to discover new interests and understand how the human brain works. The great variety of online programs and courses is a huge advantage of this type of education. It doesn’t matter where you live and what you want to study – you can always find a suitable course or even a degree program that you can follow from home.

2. Comfort.

Forget about attending classes for hours, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, and suffering from back pain by the end of the day. You will not be bound to physical class session when you opt for online education. All lectures and needed materials are provided via online platforms, so you’ll easily access them from the comfort of your home. You will not take public transport to get to campus, you won’t have to spend money on gas for your car, you won’t have to get up early to get dressed for class… the list of conveniences goes on and on.

Studying Anywhere

Comfort is a strong advantage, but it can go both ways. You mustn’t allow yourself to get too comfortable when studying from home, so it would be best to abandon the couch for few hours a day and set up an inspirational studying environment in your home. All you need is a large desk and a nice, comfortable chair.

3. Online courses look great on a resume.

Online Certificate from IBM

It doesn’t matter where your career stands at this moment; an online program will always look good on your resume. It will show potential employers that you’re committed to learning and you’re eager to obtain more knowledge and new skills. Hiring managers don’t see online degrees as inferior to traditional ones. A degree is a degree. If you obtain an online degree from a prestigious university, you’ll boost your career with the speed of light. You will certainly become a better candidate for a job promotion, and your resume will look much better when you apply for new positions.

4. Self-paced learning.

When you start browsing through interesting online courses and programs, you’ll notice the Self-Paced label on most of them. What does this mean? Self-paced learning means that the students can start completing the targets at any time, and he can arrange a learning schedule that meets his individual needs.

When you enroll in a traditional college program, you’ll have to forget about work, hobbies, and even family. In such setting, studying has to be a priority. That’s why many single parents and people who work decide to forget all about their dreams to get a higher degree.

A self-paced system enables them to make progress with rhythm that suits them. This type of system does not require attending live sessions; you can access the materials at any time that works for you. If you have to work or take care of your home and children during the day, you can study at night. That’s an advantage the traditional educational system cannot beat.

5. Lower costs.

The fact that online programs are cheaper when compared to the ones held in a traditional campus setting is enough to convince you to consider them. The average tuition for online courses depends on multiple factors, so it varies from one program to another. If, for example, you want to enroll in the Big Data Specialization program provided by University California, San Diego through Coursera, you’ll pay $399 (K1,000). You also have an option to pay $49 (K110) per course. Financial Aid is available for learners who cannot afford this fee, so that’s something you should always keep in mind.

We saved the best part for last: many online courses are completely free of charge. MIT, for example, offers all course materials online without any charges. Free courses don’t usually come with certificate of completion, but they are still more than useful for anyone who wants to learn from prestigious educators.

Online Education Is Totally Worth The Effort

Online courses and degree programs are more convenient and cheaper than their counterparts in traditional education. Those are the two main advantages of online learning that lead many students to opt for online platforms when they want to earn a degree or certificate.

The best thing about online learning is that you can learn in a relaxed manner even if you don’t want to get certified. You only need passion for learning and a quick online search that will take you to the right course. From that point on, you will be the master of your own education.

By: Stephanie Norman
eLearning

Papua New Guinea Snapshot

Have alot of friends from around the world who asks me to tell them about Papua New Guinea.

I usually start to tell about Manus only and really don’t include bits about the highlands nor do I get to include the Milne Bay and most certainly don’t tell them anything about Western Province. The summary of the version of Papua New Guinea is just places I am comfortable with.

I was browsing through youtube and found this cool video from Geography Now. Whilst there are some places and things I felt should be included (not enough of Manus me think), I do believe it has more than what I would tell anyone about Papua New Guinea.

So for friends and relatives who want to tell others about Papua New Guinea….ask them to watch this video

Papua New Guinea Snapshot
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