Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

    Top Ten Movie Locations That I Would Like To Visit

 “There is something particularly fascinating about seeing places you know in a piece of art – be that in a film, or a photograph, or a painting.” Sara Sheridan

Some of my favorite movies and movie scenes did not take place on a Hollywood set or in a studio. Ordinary and extraordinary places were transformed forever in cinematic history. I see Holly Go Lightly at Tiffany’s in New York and Sylvia and Marcelo in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Movies bring their stories to places in the world . Here are the top ten movie locations that I would like to visit someday.

1. Stanley Hotel “The Shining”

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado was the inspiration for Stephen King to write The Shining. Though it was not in Stanley Kubrick’s film, it was used in the television miniseries. Kubrick’s feature film is on a continuous loop on all guest room televisions. The best time to visit the Stanley Hotel is during the Stanley Film Festival April 30 – May 3, 2015. The Stanley Film Festival showcases classic and contemporary horror films and interactive scary experiences all weekend. It is the perfect horror vacation weekend. Don’t miss it if being scared is your thing.  http://www.stanleyfilmfest.com

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2.Baseball Field “Field of Dreams”

The homemade baseball field in the middle of an Iowa corn field is really in Dyersville Iowa. 65,000 people visit a year. You can show up, walk around, play some catch and melt into the corn. It is kept up like the movie. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.http://www.fodmoviesite.com

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3. The Apartment “Amelie”

Most of the Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain is shot in Montmartre, Paris.  It is here where she decides to change the lives of those around her while she struggles with her own isolation. The grocery store is Au Marche de la Butte Rue De Trois Frères at Rue Androuet. The entrance to the apartment is just around the corner at 55 Rue de Trois Freres. Not far away is the Lamark – Caulaincourt Metro station with the beautiful double staircase. The Cafe des 2 Moulins  at 15 Rue Lepic where Amélie works is a real place.

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4. The Place “Whale Rider”

This film tells the story of a 12-year-old Māori girl and her family’s struggle to accept her ability to lead, despite the tribe’s tradition of being guided by men. But it is the spectacular little visited Eastern New Zealand scenery that captures us as well. Whale Rider was shot in Whangara, New Zealand, which is 10 hours from Auckland by car. The Māori village with thirty residents wasn’t prepared for the hordes of fans. The land is private, so book a guided visit through the Gisborne Visitor Information Office (gisbornenz.com). You may be able to book Hone Taumaunu. He is one of the film’s cultural advisors who leads a two-hour tour: Walk on the beach where Pai’s namesake landed 1,000 years ago, see the house where the movie was shot, and learn about the Ngati Konohi people.

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5. The Bench “Forest Gump”

The bench was located on the north end of Chippewa Square Park at the corner of W. Hull and Bull streets in Savannah Georgia. It was situated near the one way sign.   Forrest told his life story on that bench to anyone who would listen. It was there only for the filming of the movie and is now in the Savannah Museum down the street – which makes the tourists and fans of the film very sad. The benches in the park are replicas of the “Forest Gump” style.  You can sit down on any one of them and try to tell a stranger your life story. (the original)

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6. The village, bamboo forest ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Most of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was shot at Hengdiang Studios which is equal to Universal Studios in China. You can visit the the studio and sets. There are hotels, restaurants, and tours. It is now the largest film studio in the world. The village where Wudan master Li Mu Bai has gone to retire and meditate is Hongcunzhen in Anhui province. The 900 year old village is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. The village is supposed to resemble the outline of an ox. Water flows through or around  every house in

the village to keep the yang and insure eternal prosperity. The tree top fight between Li and Jen was shot in the Anhui Bamboo forest near the village. It is the largest bamboo forest in China and also has a bamboo museum nearby. Jens flashback with outlaw Lo was filmed in the Ghost City in the Gobi Desert in China. It is hauntingly beautiful but not much tourist infrastructure so you will have to be adventurous if you go.

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7. Park Hyatt Hotel “Lost In Translation”

The Park Hyatt is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. A lot of the movie was shot in Shinjuku and Shibuya. Bob spends most of his nights in the New York Bar on the top floor. There is a one night “Lost In Translation Package” which includes the spa (also in the film) and a free drink in the New York Bar. It is still glamorous with great views of the city.

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8. The Deli   “When Harry Met Sally”

The famous fake orgasm scene in this movie was shot at Katz’s Delicatessan 205 Houston St, NY, NY. Growing up in NY, I would have the pastrami on rye but you may want to have what she’s having.

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9. The bookshop “Notting Hill.”

Trying to recapture the magic of Anna Scott and William Thacker while walking around Notting Hill is not hard to do. The blue door is at 280 Westbourn Park Road, just off Portobello’s Fruit and Vegetable Market. Interestingly, this was the flat at the time of the film’s screenwriter Richard Curtis. The interior was a film studio. London flats are not usually that large. There used to be a “Travel Bookshop” off Portobello Road on Blenheim Crescent, which inspired William Thacker’s bookshop in the film. It is now open again as The Notting Hill Bookshop at 13 Blenheim Crescent. The Travel Book Company owned by William Thacker doesn’t exist.

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10.The steps “Rocky”

Re-enact Rocky’s run up the 68 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA . Try not to hum ‘Gonna Fly Now’ too loud.

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Any more?

Gonna Fly Safe.

JAZ

Some Quotes From Around the World

Some Quotes From Around The World

“The problem with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine.” Joseph Stalin

I have collected quotes all my life – way before the internet. I had a compilation of napkins, theatre programs, index cards, ripped pieces of papers from newspapers and magazines, hotel stationery, loose-leaf paper, memo pads, notebooks and colored bits of paper – all filled with quotes I had read or heard somewhere. The internet makes it way too easy. I read a book or see a play I like and I look up quotes from the author. I pick a subject I’m interested in and find hundreds of quotes about it. I have a lot more knowledge now but every once in a while I find a folded up piece of paper in an old pair of pants or purse with a quote that touched me when I heard it.

I thought I would share some of my favorites from around the world –  especially for those of you who are not on my quote list. I hope you enjoy them. They are special to me.

“AMERICA

A bit of advice

Given to a young Native American

At the time of his initiation:

As you go the way of life,

You will see a great chasm. Jump.

It is not as wide as you think.” Joseph Campbell

AUSTRIA

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are

princesses who are only waiting to see us act just once, with beauty and

courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence,

something helpless that needs our love.” Rainer Maria  Rilke

CHILE

“Laughter is the language of the soul.” Pablo Neruda

CHINA

“Once upon a time a man whose ax was missing suspected his neighbor’s son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief, and spoke like a thief. But the next day, the man found his ax while digging in the valley and the next time he saw his neighbor’s son, he walked like a child, looked like a child, and spoke like a child.” Lao Tzu

COLOMBIA

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

CZECH REPUBLIC

“The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.” Vaclav Havel

ENGLAND

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” CS Lewis

FRANCE

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.“ Albert Camus

GERMANY

“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?” Erich Maria Remarque

INDIA

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” Mahatma Gandhi

IRAN

‘One day the sun admitted I am just a shadow.

I wish I could show you the infinite incandescence

that has cast my brilliant image.

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness

the outstanding light of your own being,” Hafiz

IRELAND

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” W. B. Yeats

ISRAEL

“Once I sat on the steps by a gate at David’s Tower in Jerusalem. I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. “You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head, there’s an arch from the Roman period. Just right of his head.”  I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, “You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.” Yehudah Amichal

ITALY

“There are three classes of people. Those who see. Those who see when shown. Those who do not see.” Leonardo Da Vinci

 JAPAN

“My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.” Masahide

NETHERLANDS

“Conscience is a man’s compass.” Vincent Van Gogh

RUSSIA

“How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand one who’s cold?’  Alexander Solzhenitsyn

SOUTH AFRICA

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison”. Nelson Mandela

SPAIN

“Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks and nothing more.

By walking you make a path and turning, you look back

At a way you will never tread again.

Traveler, there is no road, only walks in the sea.” Antonio Machado

TIBET

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

TURKEY

“On a day when the wind is perfect,

the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.

Today is such a day.” Rumi

VIET NAM

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

Things That I Have Learned In Helsinki, Finland

Things That I Have Learned in Helsinki, Finland

“Countries are like people: by their very existence they exalt or deflate the opinions one would like to have of themselves. When I return from Finland, I feel younger and livelier; I make great plans, I like many things in the world and, what is more, I like myself a little better.” George Duhamel

Helsinki is one of the coldest cities in the world.  It does not receive sunshine for about fifty  consecutive  days in winters. The city has around a hundred average  days of snow and a hundred and seventy days of below freezing weather. (not winter)

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Helsinki has many heavy metal bands. They even have them for kids. You are never too young to rupture your eardrums.

You can take the ferry from Talinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland.

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Helsinki’s has one hundred kilometres of coast and over three hundred islands of which many are accessible for recreational use. You can take a ferry to Suomenlinna which has one of the world’s largest maritime fortresses. The islands of Pihlajasaari and Uunisaari are good for beaches and sauna.  You can go to Seurasaari Open Air Museum, or the Helsinki Zoo which is located on an island called Korkeasaari.

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There are around 2.2 million saunas in Finland – 1 for every 2.5 people. Visiting the sauna is as normal to a Finn, as going to the pub is to a Brit.

A Finnish sauna is taken naked. Wearing clothes in the sauna is a big faux pas. A bathing suit counts as clothes. It’s normal to go in with groups of friends or family, drink beer and even grill sausages on the fire.

The Sibelius monument, designed by Eila Hiltunen, is dedicated to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which was made public on 7th September, 1967. It is made up of 600 steel pipes, plastered together in the shape of wave.

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Helsinki has the highest cellphone-to-resident ratios in the world. This is odd because the people don’t appear to be that talkative. Maybe it is not so odd because the world’s leading manufacturer of cell phones, Nokia, is based in Finland. Nokia used to make rubber boots. I see the similarity (?)

The amount  that you get fined for speeding on the roads in Finland depends on the amount you earn. I heard that the CEO of Nokia had some really expensive speeding ticket.

The Design Museum of Helsinki has a permanent collection of over 75,000 pieces. It is Finnish design from the nineteenth century to the present. I have always been a fan of Industrial Finnish design of the fifties and sixties and so i spent many  hours there.

In 1952, the 15th Summer Olympic Games were held in Helsinki. They proved to be a milestone in the city’s history as they led to further urbanization and development of the city.

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There are more women than men in Finland.

Finnish food is simple, local and organic. Being so close to Russia (we took the train to St Petersburg) there is always meat and potatoes. Meat is served well done, with blood or with a lot of blood.  There is always fish because of all the lakes, rivers and the sea, Whitefish, herring and salmon are popular. I had hot smoked salmon which was weirdly delicious – so was reindeer. (Sorry Rudolph fans)

Helsinki was originally Helsinkflors which is Swedish (and apparently so were they for a time –and  then they were Russian).

Swedish is also an official language in Finland. Linguistically Finnish is closer to Hungarian than Swedish. Signs are indecipherable – don’t even try.

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Helsinki enjoys long days of almost 19 hours during summers. Conversely, during winters, the nights are longer with almost 18 hours of darkness. ( summer in Helsinki)

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One of my favorite modern art museums is the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art. It is not just an art but a spatial experience.

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Helsinki has a huge bunny rabbit problem. Very little happens in Finland which is how I know about the bunny problem. They report it a lot on the news.

The Church of the Rock was designed by the two brothers, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. They started their work in 1968 by exploding a rocky outcrop, which was developed as an underground church with a copper wire ceiling in 1969. From the aerial view it appears as if a UFO has collided with the ground.

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Finns can drink. Don’t try to keep up.  Alcohol is a food group here. Finns have long life spans unless they die of alcohol poisoning or related accidents. They will pee anywhere when they are drunk- which is why a city which such clean air can often smell bad in the morning.

Try not to mention architect Aalvar Aalto and composer Jan Sibelius when speaking about famous Finns. At least say you have heard of Esa Pekka Salonen. (being that he conducted the LA Philharmonic –I’m good)

Finns say hei for hello. It’s not rude – it’s friendly.

Oct 13 is failure day –a day to share your failure stories and learn from them. I have a lot of those days.

Because of the presence of buildings resembling St. Petersburg, many Hollywood films were shot in Helsinki, for instance, The Kremlin Letter, Reds, and Gorky Park. The city offers some picturesque streets that are reminiscent of old Leningrad’s and Moscow’s ancient buildings. (Helsinki Cathedral)

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The Molotov cocktail was a Finnish invention during World War II and was used against the Russians. The Russian foreign minister Molotov claimed that the bombs they sent to Finland were food rations. So the Finns sent back a “cocktail” to go with the food.

Turvallista matkaa!,

JAZ

 

My Top Ten Imaginary Places

My Top Ten Imaginary Places

“Captain Cook discovered Australia looking for the Terra Incognita. Christopher Columbus thought he was finding India but discovered America. History is full of events that happened because of an imaginary tale. “ Umberto Eco

I think imaginary places exist to help us make sense of our realities. Sometimes they look a lot like the world we live in. There are always recognizable characters that we know from our own lives. Sometimes the places look completely different. Always, I am transported to the world of these author’s imaginations and for this I am grateful.

1. Chocolate Factory – Willly Wonka And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I was brought up on health food and was not allowed to have candy as a kid.  This was my ultimate fantasy place. Wonka’s Chocolate Factory included a river of chocolate with enough chocolate to fill every bathtub in the entire country. The grass and flowers are made of candy and minted sugar. Machines can shrink you into a tiny person and special seltzer can make you float. Also, nothing really bad happened at the Chocolate Factory as opposed to other imaginary places, which look great but have witches and warlocks and pirates and monsters.

2. Emerald City, Oz -The Wizard Of Oz by Frank Baum

“The walls are green, but the city itself is not. However, when they enter, everyone in the Emerald City is made to wear green-tinted eye glasses this is explained as an effort to protect their eyes from the “brightness and glory” of the city, but in effect makes everything appear green when it is, in fact, “no more green than any other city.” Dorothy sees rows of shops, selling green articles of every variety, and a person who sells green lemonade, from whom children bought it with green pennies.” I’m talking more about the MGM version in all its1939 green, Technicolor glory with midgets and kids dancing and singing all around as munchkins. Emerald City was a happy place.

3. Narnia The Chronicles Of Narnia by CS Lewis

Narnia is a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals. The protagonists are all children from the real world who go through a closet and are magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Asian to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation to its eventual destruction. There is something about going through an ordinary closet and finding an extraordinary world that is very appealing to me.

4. Atlantis Timaeus and Critias by Plato.

That was the earliest reference to Atlantis which has been mentioned many times in literature as a perfect place. In this story Atlantis was a fictional island who ruled the world and suffered defeat against Ancient Athens (Plato’s perfect society). I love Greek mythology and the ancient gods give Poseidon the island. But I think it is Plato’s description of the island that captivated me not the story. It lies between “the pillars of Hercules in the Straits of Gibraltar.” It was larger than ancient Libya and Asia Minor and then it was swallowed up by the sea and vanished. I think that was my beginning of wanting to see the world and the Straits Of Gibraltar are still on my bucket list.

5.Hogwarts Harry Potter Series by A.K.Rowling

Hogwarts is ‘the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry” in the world. Its full name is the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is located in Hogwarts Castle somewhere in Scotland. The exact location is unknown. Children with magical abilities may be enrolled at birth, and acceptance is confirmed by an owl at age eleven. Of course Hogwarts is on my list because it feeds into my over achieving sensibilities. It’s the best.  There are definitely a lot of the Dark Arts people hanging around, but Harry always triumphs in the end. What House would I join? and what would I wear? I want to be in Gryffindor, but Ill probably be accepted into Hufflepuff. As long as I’m not in Slytherin, it is all good.

6.Camelot The Once and Future King by TH White

Camelot is the castle and court of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It includes King Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, the Holy Grail and a sword named Excalibur and sometimes a wizard named Merlin. The location of Camelot is not agreed upon since the stories are based on early French romance stories. Camelot has become more of an Arthurian vision than an actual place. It was full of high ideals, quests and medieval chivalry with occasional jousting.   I think we always want our leaders to follow the Code of the Knights of the Round Table. The legend lives on.

7. Neverland Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Neverland is another one of the places that has an ambiguous location because it exists in the minds of children. It has directions like second star to the right and straight on till morning. Peter Pan, Lost Boys, Pirates, Fairies, Mermaids and Indians live there. It is best known for being a place where people don’t grow up and time is difficult to track. The only clock is inside a crocodile. The not growing older interests me at this time.

8. Utopia Utopia by Thomas Moore

Utopia is an invented island society where everything is perfect. The political system, legal system and all social and religious interactions are perfect. The word Utopia comes from Latin and literally means nowhere. Thomas Moore gave us the word for a perfect society that can never exist. As an adult living in the messy and violent world of 2014, Utopia sounds like something to strive for – even half Utopia would be good.

9. Shangri-La Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Shangri-La is a fictitious, happy land of eternal youth, isolated form the outside world in the mountains of Tibet. People are immortal and only show their age a little bit. The book says, having made war on the ground, man would now fill the skies with death, and all precious things were in danger of being lost – books, art, relics etc. It was hoped that, overlooked by the violent outside world, Shangri-la would keep them and show them later to a receptive world exhausted by war. That was the real purpose of the lamasery of Shangri La – study, inner peace, and long life were merely a side benefit to living there. We look for peace now as our world becomes more chaotic – for a place to put our history so it won’t be destroyed by the environment and violence.

10 Xanadu Kubla Khan a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

One night after an opium influenced dream and reading about Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler Kubla Khan, Coleridge wrote one of his most famous poems. It was based on the writings of Marco Polo who said he had visited there. It created pictures in my mind  of people in the world that I had never heard of –  like a damsel with a dulcimer and an Absynnian maid. He joined two of my favorite things –  imagination and traveling to an exotic place. It was  as far away from Brooklyn as a girl could get.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree :

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran. Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.

Any more places?

Read Safe,

JAZ

 

Ten Reasons Why I Love Planning Trips

Ten Reasons Why I Love Planning Trips

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra

I love planning trips. They don’t even have to be my trips.  I love looking at hotels, restaurants, things to do, shopping. I don’t particularly love the logistics.  But I love the itinerary. I thought about why that is.

1. Anticipation makes you happy. According to Brian Knutson, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford, a big part of happiness is looking forward to something. (like Pavlov’s dogs learning to salivate at the sound of the bell)

2. Everything seems  possible.  “I’m going to be in Thailand and my daughter is going to be in Hobart Tasmania for New Years Eve . That  can’t  be too far. They are both in the Southern Hemisphere.  Maybe I can  meet them.”  (except there are no direct flights and I would have to change my mileage ticket, no easy feat these days.)  “I’ll just fly straight home from Misiones, Argentina.” (three planes and five airports later).  “So we will go to the Kyushu Islands  and then Okinawa.” (planes, trains, buses and automobiles).

3. Buying things in a store on sale, though it makes you happy, is not  as exciting as scoring a business class mileage ticket to Australia  or finding the cheapest flight possible on the internet.

4. My travel agent makes it fun. (john.peterson@frosch.com) He gets just as excited as I do when it comes together.  He is also into getting the best price.  As soon as I find the best deal  for a hotel on the internet, I tell him and he goes to work and does better. One time he called  and was so excited, “I just  got you breakfast included and the price down 500 yen a night.” I didn’t want to tell him that was five dollars. But he beat me again.

5. Shopping for travel is my most favorite thing.   My first stop  after I book my flight is Travelers Bookcase  (http://www.travelersbookcase.com) to stock up on the best and most current  travel books from the countries I am going to. Next,Flight 001 (http://www.flight001.com) for more packing bags and the latest and greatest travel must haves.  Then Savinar Luggage (http://savinarluggage.com) to see if an even lighter suitcase has come out yet.

6. You are not packing yet. (which for me is the opposite of love).

7. I love reading about places I haven’t been to yet.  I like doing the research  It’s great to find some weird tour, out-of-the-way art gallery, store that sells something only they have in the world, a must eat in restaurant, a special beach or  flea market.  Then I picture myself at these places. I’m a complete travel nerd.

8.Though I love planning alone, the most fun is planning my Japan trips with my friend Reiko who lives there. We are both planners. No detail is too small for us to discuss in-depth for hours. Her niece Anna is a super planner and when we go somewhere together, it is always perfect. They always want me to have the best experience in Japan possible. I always do which is probably why it is one of my favorite countries.

9. There is no jet lag, flight delays, cancelled flights, broken suitcases, missing luggage,   getting lost, bugs, stomach problems, illness, blisters or bad weather when you are planning.

10. The best part of planning is knowing that no matter how much you plan, as some point  when you get there, you will need to be able to go with the flow and change gears. That is the secret to the perfect trip.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Floatplane From Vancouver – Conquering The Fear

Floatplane From Vancouver – Conquering the Fear

“There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror.” Orson Welles

My fear of small prop planes started on my very first one. I was flying from Santorini to Athens. There was a lot of seat shifting before takeoff. I was asked to move to the front. When I questioned it, the stewardess said to my friend in Greek, “We need to put the fat people in the back to equalize the weight on the plane.” My friend was American Greek so she thought that was what the stewardess said. I looked around in horror making sure that no one had lied about his weight. I believed my life was dependent on the people who had not stuffed themselves on vacation with generous helpings of moussaka, saganaki,  tiropites. spanakopita, pastitsio and baklava. To this day when I go on a small plane, I wonder if I should I tell them that I gained a few pounds.

The next incident happened when I was leaving Aspen Colorado, with my very young children who had their whole lives ahead of them.   It was late and the airport was very quiet and had only a few people in it. They said the plane had  just arrived. We did not hear anything.  Shouldn’t the airlines have told me if they were putting me on a sixteen seat prop plane through the Rocky Mountains at night all the way to Los Angeles? I asked the pilot if that plane was safe. He said, “Of course, this plane has real leather seats”.  I have no idea what that means. Were the seats the most expensive piece of equipment on the plane? The good news was that I had an individual very small solo seat by the window. So did each of my very small children. This way they did not have to see me plan my own death. Did it hurt more to crash into the mountains at night than to crash in the water and drown?

After that I avoided small planes at all costs. I planned vacations into larger airports and always looked up the plane I was going to be on.

I don’t know why I wanted to take a floatplane from Vancouver to Victoria, British Colombia. Life happened and my children have made it alive to adulthood so maybe a small plane was less scary now. I thought it would be a fun thing to do with my son.

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My hotel window in Vancouver faced the water and I could easily see the small seaplane terminal. For three days I counted the planes that left and made sure the same number returned. I watched the Canadian News to make sure no crashes were reported. It was all good so far but it was exhausting being the safety police.

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My son and I have different meanings of the words, on time for a flight – especially when you can walk to the terminal. When we arrived, the plane was already full and we could not sit together.

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I happened to mention to the man sitting next to me that I was afraid of small planes. (in case I started clutching him in terror) He told me not to worry because he had been a fighter pilot in the Air Force. He proceeded to tell me every almost crash horror story that happened to him. “After all,” he said, We are flying during the day.  It isn’t like we are landing on what we believe to be an airstrip at night in bad weather, with no lights, in the mountains of India.”

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The plane took off. It was so quiet. There was no bumpy turbulence or loud noise of a prop plane. This time we glided into space like a bird in flight.

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It was so incredibly beautiful to look down at the Canadian landscape,

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Flying at a low altitude through the clouds, i saw a completely different perspective of the world below.

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The land looked dreamlike and other worldly.

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It was breathtaking and relaxing. The landing was just as smooth as we cruised into Victoria harbor.

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Its amazing when you find out that you can do what you are afraid to do. I learned that day to not limit my experiences because of my fears . I couldn’t wait for the flight back to Vancouver.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Who Are We Fighting? Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, Nigeria etc

Who Are We Fighting? Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, Nigeria etc

“A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. ” Tim O Brien, The Things They Carried

I was at a Coffee Bean in Los Angeles ordering a coffee. A woman was arguing with the cashier. She was blond with a British accent. She was angry because she wanted to put her chicken in the refrigerator while she drank her coffee. They explained to her that this was a kosher coffee shop and they could not take her food in the refrigerator. Now the reality is I don’t think any restaurant in America can put your personal food in their refrigerator due to Health Department reasons. She became very angry and yelled in my ear (I was next to her) to “Tell the rabbi to go f-ck himself.” I said that I preferred not to hear anti-Semitic comments while I was ordering my coffee. She replied quickly that I should “Go bomb Gaza.”

I don’t understand. The Palestinians know they are in the middle of a war and that Israel is targeting certain areas. Why are their children on roofs playing with pigeons? Why are they running around in the streets? Why are they not evacuating their homes and schools and protecting their children? We keep seeing horrific shots on CNN of children being killed and hurt . As a parent, I would put my kids safety first, no matter who told me to stay.  Israel does not want to kill their children. They just want peace. They want the rockets and terrorism to stop. But it seems that Hamas is not protecting the people of Gaza and is more concerned with blowing Israel off the face of the earth. How do you solve that?

A passenger airline carrying two hundred and ninety eight passengers, eighty of them children, is shot down over Ukrainian air space. The bodies fell out of the plane along with toys and personal belongings. They fell on the children’s orphanage in Torez. It will be a sight those orphans will never forget, -teddy bears, dolls, those beautifully made European toys and naked bodies with their clothes blown off in the blast. The world is shocked but the war will still continue in the Ukraine.

In Nigeria it has been one hundred days since two hundred girls were abducted from their school by the Boko Haram terrorists.  The International Community is horrified and it seems we can do nothing.

And what about the children in Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria? And before that in Rwanda, Liberia, Libya,  Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina? And World War II?

Are we still fighting the children of the world?  Have we learned nothing from the past? Will innocent children always be casualties of war?

I can only feel compassion and hope that others do also. Hope is the only thing to hold onto when everything appears so dark. Life looks like a mess right now in our world. But as human beings, we have the capacity for goodness. We have the ability to think and talk and that has gotten us into trouble. We can only hope that same ability to think and discuss will help us find peace.

Fly safe,

JAZ