Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

Things That I Have Learned From Watching Movies

“Everything I learned, I learned from the
movies.” Audrey Hepburn

I watch a lot of movies on planes. I love watching old movies and here is some of the things I have learned when flying across the world.

Characters seem to always find a parking spot directly in front of the building they are going to even in a large metropolitan area where parking is impossible.

When foreigners are alone, they prefer to speak English to each other.

When you are in a film, it is easy to control any vehicle you need to – especially landing a plane.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone around you will know the steps you come up with and hear the music in your head.

The ventilation system in any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building.

Bad guys die quickly, good guys die slowly.

No matter how crowded the bar is, there are always stools by the bartender who is waiting to take your order.

Women can never find their car keys when being pursued by a killer. Once they find them it takes them a long time to find the ignition, giving the killer a chance to reach the car and pound on the window.

When driving down a straight road, it is always necessary to vigorously turn the wheel to the right or left every few minutes.

Cats always make a noise. If someone is scared by cat, it always has to meow before running off.

If you want to pass yourself off as a German officer you do not need to speak German. A strong guttural accent will suffice.

Aliens will always have more technology than we do.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Beaches

Beaches

‘So that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again… “Virginia Woolf

I know the beach. I grew up on one. I knew the color of the sand, the coldness of the water, how the waves break and the distance between the jutting rocks. I found this photo on the internet. I lived right behind the left side of that  photo. I also learned to ride my bike at the beginning of the boardwalk. The houses weren’t there yet. It was all beach. but that red brick wall was. When we mastered the two wheeler, we would come careening down that incline with the dangerous thrill of wondering if we would turn the wheel before smashing into the wall. I ended up riding right on the beach a lot.  (Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York)

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I liked how the sand felt on my toes and how the sun warmed my back. (Okinawa,Japan)

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I knew where to find clam shells, crabs and snails. In the winter I built snowmen on the beach. In the spring, I chased birds. When I got older, I dated a lot of the lifeguards in the summer. I was happiest in a bikini on the beach getting a tan. (Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia)

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I remember sad moments, scary moments and wonderful moments in an ocean. (Santa Barbara,California)

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I’ve seen the power of hurricanes, felt the waves knocking me down or the undertow pulling me further out and almost drowned. There was always at least one drowning per summer. (Cartagena,Colombia)

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We rented beach houses in Malibu when our kids were young. (Malibu, California)

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One summer, I decided to make a table out of sea glass. I needed thirty pounds of sea glass and I was determined to get it. I enlisted the help of family and friends. When a big pile of rocks came up, I was out there for hours, with my feet cut up. It was a job. Everyone on the beach wanted sea glass. I have the table. (Shell from Eluthera, Bahams)

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I still always look for sea glass on a beach.

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I bring bags of shells or stones home from any beach in the world. I can not walk on a beach without looking for treasures. (Panama)

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I turn to water for a sense of calm and clarity. (Hvar, Croatia)

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The ocean gives my brain a rest and heals what is broken. (Marajo, Brazil)

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It connects me to something beyond myself. (Great Barrier Reef, Australia)

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My life and my problems always seem very small compared to the vastness of the ocean. (Varadero, Cuba)

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When I walk onto a beach in any country, it invokes the memories of my childhood and I am at home. (Paraty, Brazil)

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Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

The House In Los Angeles

`The House in Los Angeles

“Walking on a path of uncertainties, Shuffling on the probabilities of uncertainties, Waging on the possibilities of uncertainties,Waiting for the occurrences of uncertainties, Solving the mysteries of wandering uncertainties, We move, lead and live’’Pushpa Rana

I’ve learned as I get older that no matter how much I want to hold on to the past – things change. If we stay where we are, when something new is trying to get in, we will get stuck or that is what I tell myself anyway.

The house was the last remnant that a family existed. To my ex husband, it was an inanimate object. But to me it was as much a part of the family memories as the people who lived in it.

I was very scared to be in this house alone when he first left but I had to be brave for my daughter who was still here. I have a lot of safety issues and anxiety about being alone and having to face those on top of the loss was very hard. But I had this heavy thing hanging on top of me that I was the only adult in the house responsible for my daughter who was still home and my son in college.

My fear did often evolve into anxiety or panic. But gradually as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and years, we encountered many of the little things that malfunction in a home, car accidents, emotional and health problems, illness, death, holidays, graduations and we survived, even conquered them. And with each incident my self-confidence grew and my fear subsided.

He could not afford to give me the house so I have lived with its impending loss for a while.–the loss of familiar, beautiful well-loved surroundings, the neighborhood, the routine, and the security of owning a house.

Driving up and down the street now, I know I will never see another Mandeville Christmas light competition. There are financial and age restraints so I will not live the way I live now which makes the emotional situation much worse. I will miss the pale cast of light in the morning which illuminates my house as the day goes on. I will miss seeing every shade of green from my windows  – olive, jade, leaf, kiwi, lime, a silver-green and a bright pistachio. i will miss the wide open spaces and high ceilings and walls that have my big art on them.
I imagine that the physically moving out of the house alone will be the hardest thing I will ever do.

I will be mourning the loss of living somewhere that I loved. I will be mourning the intact family life, roots, values, security and inheritance that I couldn’t give my kids. I expected to have grandchildren, showers, holidays and birthday parties in this house. I will miss the children who became adults here. I will be mourning the loss of me, the person I was when I lived in this house. I once wanted to grow old here with the boy I met when I was 16.

Worse I will be mourning the loss of my memories. I have always had a bad memory and pieces will fade because the person who also remembers and the house won’t be here to trigger them.

When you have to get through something big, you must remember that you have tools – friendship, conscience, honesty and strength. You need to look at the mess and know that you will never completely get over it. It turns out that writing helps me reflect on my life and the changes I am making. Maybe as much as I wanted my roots to be in a house, my roots turn out to be in my travels, my stories and where I am going next. Maybe my roots turn out to be in the uncertainties of not knowing.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned In Rio, Brazil

Things I Have Learned In Rio, Brazil

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer” Unknown

Rio is named for a river that doesn’t exist. According to tradition, it was first visited in January 1502 by Portuguese explorers, who believed the bay they encountered (now called Guanabara Bay) was the mouth of a river. They named the area Rio de Janeiro, “River of January.”

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Rio was capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960, when that role was transferred to Brasilia.

Rio’s locals are called carioca (a name also sometimes applied as an adjective to the city itself). It may have come from kari ola, or “white man’s house” in the indigenous Tupi language.

The food scene in Rio is laid-back. ( feijoada)

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You can happily grab some fried bar snacks and a caipirinha to enjoy on the beach, or head straight from the beach to a rodizio (all-you-can-eat). The tropical influence is also evident in the many choices of fruit juice stands (on every corner in Rio), and the abundance of açaí.

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Cariocas  have a habit of putting mustard and ketchup on their pizza. There are also amazing five-star and cool trendy restaurants with delicious food.

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In Brazil, there’s soccer (or futebol) and then everything else. Brazilians are obsessive, diehard fans and just about everyone plays, especially at the beach. Even for the Americans who now grow up playing soccer, your skills are no match for the footwork and volleying on display at the beach in Rio. Even the younger groups of kids are able to pass the airborne ball back and forth, using every part of their bodies from their heads to their shoulders to their knees, like its nothing.

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Rio explodes with energy and color during the five days before Ash Wednesday, when millions take to the streets for the world’s biggest Carnaval. The party starts on the Friday, when the mayor hands over the keys to the city to a man crowned as King Momo, a mythical jester who acts as the head of the festivities. Rio’s Carnival features hundreds of booze-soaked bandas (riotous street parties, often with specific themes) and elaborate balls. The party reaches its height at the Sambódromo, when the best samba schools in the country compete for top prize. On Ash Wednesday Carnival is officially over, and King Momo goes home.Carnaval has been called one of the seven wonders of the world.

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In 2014, Rio de Janeiro legalized street art on many types of city property, turning the already colorful city into an outdoor art gallery. Street artists are allowed to decorate columns, walls and construction siding so long as they’re not historically designated. The city has even created a quasi-government agency, Eixo Rio to regulate the city’s urban artists, and celebrates an official Graffiti Day on March 27—the date Brazilian graffiti pioneer Vallauri Alex died in 1987.

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Carmen Miranda conquered the silver screen as a singer, dancer and actress in both Brazil and America in the mid-20th century. The Carmen Miranda museum  is filled with memorabilia including her trademark platform heels and towering turbans of plastic or sequined fruit.

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Rio de Janeiro became a World Heritage Site in 2012.

Rio is where you will find two of the world’s most famous beaches – Copacabana and Ipanema. Ipanema isn’t as hectic and the waters are cleaner.  When you’re in Ipanema make sure to stop into Garota de Ipanema as it is where the famous song The Girl from Ipanema was written.

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The Art Deco Copacabana Palace built in 1923 faces the beach. It has hosted the rich and famous for ninety years. You definitely feel old Rio when you are there even though it has been completely redone.

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.There are two great places to get away from the craziness in Rio de Janeiro.The Botanic Gardens covering over 130 hectares is extremely peaceful and home to over 6,000 types of plants and trees. The Tijuca forest is the largest urban rainforest in the world. Here you can go on hiking trails, admire waterfalls and much more. (Tijuca forest)

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Museu de Arte de Rio (MAR) is Rio’s newest art museum. It is part new modern building linked with a traditional building  by a canopy supported by pillars. The views of Guanabara Bay and the massive Rio-Niterói Bridge from the top floor are amazing. There is classic and contemporary art as well as an interesting exhibit on the history of Rio.

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The Museu del Arte Moderna is another incredible building designed by architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy.

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It houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Brazilian art in existence and interesting temporary exhibitions as well.

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The Biblioteca Nacional is the largest library in Latin America, In addition to the books, visitors can also delight in the library’s stunning neo-classical architecture and intricate Corinthian columns.

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Brazil’s most famous dance – samba – has its origins from the African slaves that worked in the plantations in the State of Rio de Janeiro There are more than 200 samba schools in Rio.

Lapa is known as the best place in Rio to experience nightlife.  This fun and unique neighbourhood comes alive at night, when Samba music can be heard pouring out of nearly every doorway and locals can be seen swinging their hips away while sipping on tasty cocktails. It is filled with row after row of live music venues, tapas bars, and thumping clubs.

I have to thank my guide Gabriel Morand who went above and beyond to make sure I had an amazing time in Rio. I saw everything I wanted to see, ate well and bought everything I needed to buy. I loved Brazil and can’t wait to return.

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Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

More Packing Tips

More Packing Tips

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

My son is brilliant and creative  Unfortunately, he was  packingly challenged. The suitcases used to be at my house so he always needed to come home to pack for a trip when he was in school. He has figured it out by now.

Here was how the scenario went:

11:30 PM:  My son enters the house and  begins to empty his car bringing in almost his entire wardrobe. It doesn’t matter if he is going for a week or a month. He hasn’t decided  what to take yet so he brings everything. I am trying to travel with less and less and feel it is my job to impart this wisdom. Thus began the negotiation.

Mom:  Why are you taking so many sweaters? (Substitute any and every article of clothing here. Several answers ensue. Pick your favorite.)

Son: This one looks good on me. My girlfriend likes this one.  It’s my lucky sweater. I gained/lost weight. I always wear this one.

Mom: It is going to be ninety degrees. Did you check the weather?

Son:  No I haven’t had time. What is it that you think I do all day?  I’ll just take these two.

Mom:  But they are wool sweaters.

Son:  I always bring these. They look good on me, my girlfriend likes them etc,  ( We’ve heard these before) Ok fine. Just tell me what you think I should take. (Mom picks a few things) Those, not these? Don’t you think these look better? Not take my lucky sweater? I just checked the weather. It’s going to rain for half the time so I need two different wardrobes.

12:15 AM  As it gets later, he starts to not care so much about what he is bringing.

Son: How many shirts should I bring?

Mom: Four.

Son: Four? Last time I brought six.

This goes on for every item except sox and underwear. Our family doesn’t wash clothes on vacation. We always bring a lot. We have different rules for the cleanliness of our clothes  also. You can always wear something with a little stain on it when you are traveling as long as it doesn’t smell. My son has adopted these rules when traveling as well. I get this.

12:45 AM: ‘”Mom, I’m really tired. Do you think that you could just fold my shirts?”, he asks. No mom likes to hear that their kids  are really tired – no matter how old they are. I’m not  sure which one of us  is handicapped at this point. I proceed to pack. Folding the shirts properly and putting them in a packing case takes the longest. He knows this.

1:15 AM: Now he is packing his toilet articles. The son is not someone who believes in the 3 oz bottle rule or travel sizes. He brings everything from his bathroom that he needs no matter how big it is and puts it in his suitcase.Next he pulls out four books to bring with him. Obviously he is also someone who doesn’t care about the weight requirement of luggage. He begins carefully perusing them to see which he really wants to bring . He settles on two.

I have this theory about the creative brain. It just doesn’t function well when it comes to the mundane dealings of everyday life-like packing. That is why so many people in the movie business have personal assistants even if they don’t seem important enough to need them. Or perhaps he just didn’t inherit the packing gene.

!:40 AM: He closes the suitcase. “I have stuff to do before I leave and I will sleep on the plane.“  I didn’t inherit the sleeping on the plane gene.  I know my son will be asleep as soon as the plane takes off. At some point the person next to him, will give up trying to push his head off their shoulder and he will wake up as the plane is landing.

Fly Safe

JAZ

Rain Room

Rain Room

“The rain is falling all around ,It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here, And on the ships at sea.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Rain Room is an art-and-tech installation from London-based studio Random International. Visitors slowly walk through a room of falling water, yet (almost) never get wet.

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It drew long lines at the Barbican in London in 2012 and at MOMA in NY in 2013. It is currently at LACMA in LA , a place where rain is most needed.

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The Rain Room uses a tiny amount of water. It’s about 528 gallons. And to put that into perspective, an American family of four uses 400 gallons of water a day. It’s constantly recycled through the run of the show.

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There is something wonderful about navigating a room full of falling water while trying to stay dry. ( I found a rainbow)

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When you walk in you have to wait and watch the small group of people ahead of you creep into the Rain Room. They walk slowly, distrustfully—visibly wondering if they’ll get wet.

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The notion evolves into a feeling of ease as they begin to embark through the room, their arms outstretched. (I loved this couple dancing in the rain)

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If you are wearing dark colors the sensors don’t pick up as well so wear light colors and walk slowly and watch the rain stop around you. You can take photos but no flash.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Traveler’s Block

Traveler’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Today I have nothing.

I have written about packing and not packing, carry on luggage, check in luggage, travel clothes, travel companions,  souvenirs, my bracelet collection, my Starbucks collection, my good luck charms, LA – where I live, Manhattan and Brooklyn where I am from, places I love, places I hate, my mother, my dog, people who have died, animals that have been killed, airports, airplanes, stewardesses, airport security, things I’ve learned from traveling and not traveling, hotel rooms and things Ive left behind in them, travel addiction, people who think they are black, superstitions, proverbs and quotes from around the world, movies, books, children’s books and songs that have inspired me to travel, food, restaurants, turkey burgers, acting like a tourist, not acting like a tourist, tourist traps, tourist attractions, holidays, traveling alone,eating alone, random photos, being a godmother, travel etiquette, third world countries, countries that have changed names, countries not to travel to, misspelled countries, auto-correct, photography, art, urban art, music, world affairs terrorists and should you blame your parents if you are one,  philosophy, spirituality, religion, prejudice, meditation, things to say and not say to a world traveler, places I haven’t been to, bucket lists, top ten everything, travel problems, imaginary places, movie locations, trip planning, weddings, World Cup, Olympics, first world problems, blogging, Nellie Bly, touching strangers, things i like, things I dislike, the 100th monkey, coffee, sunrises, how to avoid the paparazzi, travel tv shows and people in the world.

I don’t know why they call it writer’s block. I have idea block. I could start reblogging pieces, post other writers, post more instagram photos, read more books and think about writing. I could hope that this is only a temporary setback, go out and do something and then write about it – like move to Spain, go to a wedding in Africa or perhaps the new Broad Museum in LA.

Fly safe,
JAZ