The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a magical theme park of food and fun?

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A restaurant in The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Every young child dreams of stepping into their favorite book or story, and at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, kids of all ages, young and old, get to experience the magic that is Harry Potter. This past week I flew down to Orlando with my the roommates and visited the park based off of the Harry Potter book series. The park itself is embedded into Universal Studios. In the above picture I’m standing in front of the Three Broomsticks. In the book series, the Three Broomsticks is a pub like restaurant. At the park, the Three Broomsticks embodies a traditional English pub, where fish and chips is one of the most popular dishes. The Three Broomsticks, although simple inside, gives fans a taste of what it would be like to be a Hogwarts student, searching for good eats on a weekend. I highly recommend the restaurant, although the food is a bit pricey, it’s worth the fun and atmosphere.

Now for the question on everyone’s mind, what’s the deal with the butterbeer? For anyone interested in visiting the park, one thing always seems to be on their mind and list of to dos, trying butterbeer. In the series, the characters are always going to pubs and ordering a mug of the frothy drink. At the park, they offer two kinds of butterbeer, frozen or regular. You can even get your butterbeer in a neat collectible mug, as shown above. So, what is it like? Well, the drink itself is extremely sweet, so make sure you have a sweet tooth! The drink tastes like butterscotch and is basically a glorified club soda type beverage with a special foam they place on top, to make you feel like you’re really drinking beer. I recommend everyone to try it, just for fun. I found it a bit too sweet for myself, but if you are willing to get a sugar high, try it in frozen form, it really helps with beating the hot Florida heat! A fun fact about the drink is that when you order your butterbeer in frozen form they give you a straw, but, if you order the regular version you can’t use a straw because it causes the foam to expand. Are you up to the tasting?

Technology undresses us for safety, or so they say.

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Airports are taking safety to a whole new level these days, scanning through our clothes, and searching our bodies for weapons and illegal contraband. ABC News posted an interesting article this morning about the controversy, titled “Despite Criticism, DHS to Deploy more Full Body Scanners At US Airports.” Timothy Fleming, the writer for the piece says that although a great deal of criticism is being dealt out in regards to the scanners, that the Department of Homeland Security plans to deploy the full-body scanners in at least eight additional airports across the country.

New York Times posted this picture of a TSA sign at O’Hare International Airport

Most of the concern regarding the machines deals with their reliability and if they are truly necessary. Fleming goes on to say that groups throughout the country, including those dealing with civil liberties, have complained that the images created by the machines, are taking away passengers privacy for no good reason. The DHS believes that they are taking privacy into great consideration, saying that the machines blur passengers “private parts, “  and that immediately after the pictures are taken and viewed, they are destroyed. Yet, many airport guests are intimated by the fact that someone in a room somewhere is looking at them in a very intimate and personal way. How would you like it if someone you didn’t know was scanning your body?

Twitter users have taken to social media to tweet their thoughts on the scanning. Many have been retweeting the article posted by ABC News, or listing airports they know are using the scanners. However, many users are keeping their own thoughts on the scanners to themselves, simply asking their followers their opinions on the matter.

For now, many travelers are questioning whether or not the DHS is indeed deleting the pictures from the scanner, and whether or not the airports are taking passengers privacy into consideration. Will the machines really stop terrorism in our air? According to the article, Chris Calabrese, who serves on the legislative council for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that “Terrorists have already found a way to beat the machines.” Whether or not we will see any improvements in the safety of our airlines remains to be seen, but with time, the DHS hopes fliers will come to accept the scanners. Will you?

Colorful sights through China Town

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If you happen to find yourself in New York City this fall, and you are dying for a change of atmosphere and pace, China Town is the place for you. This past weekend I headed into the city and went straight for Canal Street, which is located in the heart of China Town. The area itself isn’t all that huge, but it has so much to offer to visitors. China Town is full of color, character, and a wide variety of smells and sounds.

On the sidewalks lining Canal Street, visitors find themselves amongst several vendors selling almost everything from traditional Chinese Food to jewelry.

A lot of the shops that are on the main road in China town feature fresh seafood, typical of what you would find being sold in China, including turtles, frogs, squid, and the occasional beta fish. Most of the stands on the sidewalks cater to tourists, selling trinkets like gold Chinese characters and jade items, but occasionally, you will find authentic food stands where vegetables and fruits of all sorts can be purchased.

The picture left, features one of the most colorful stands visitors will find along Canal Street. The stand, which features animals and flowers created from dried grasses, is operated by one man. He usually spends his day creating more of the colorful and elaborate pieces right on the spot. Pieces run from around $3 to $25 for the more intricate animals.

Although China Town is packed with culture and traditional aspects, it hasn’t been spared from the impact of modern American life. As you can see below, even McDonald’s has worked its way into the community, but the Chinese characters under the famous golden arches, seem to tie everything together.

China Town is a unique experience that all visitors to NYC should consider seeing. The atmosphere takes you out of the hustle and bustle of everyday non-stop city life, and into a more subdued experience that is great for sight-seeing!