Packing For A Month In Tel Aviv, Israel

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Packing For A Month In Tel Aviv

“Larry had brought me blue jeans, a red polo shirt, jogging socks, my white Nikes, an extra cross from my suitcase, the silver knives, the Firestar complete with inner pants holster, and the Browning and its shoulder holster. He’d forgotten a bra, but hey, except for that it was perfect.” Laurel K Hamilton

No suitcase in the world is fit to contain the multitude of useless junk I consider bringing on even the shortest trips. I’m a high maintenance traveler. I have a few enviable skills but packing is not one of them. Spending a month in the same place with weekend trips is a packing challenge for me. Its much easier to pack when I’m moving around. How can I survive a month in a city without my black leather fringe boots?

How many t-shirts , socks and underwear do I have to bring if I am actually going to be doing laundry – something I normally avoid on vacation? Do I bring the laundry detergent with me? By not bringing so much underwear, does that give me room to bring even more denim?

I always pack like I’m going to Cuba or Myanmar twenty years ago. I’m a fan of duct tape. You can use it for anything – broken luggage or broken toes. Also zip lock bags. Everything spills. I always bring flip-flops. I live in fear of a disgusting shower floor. I’m a germaphobe and always travel with hand sanitizer. I think every public restroom carries malaria or bubonic plague.

Sexy lingerie? If I think about it enough, it’s going in the suitcase. Workout sneakers? There is a lot of ice cream in Israel. How many purse options should I bring? There are many different ways to carry around credit cards, rumpled cash, gum, eye drops and lip gloss.

It is going to be raining. Do I need the cute red rubber rain boots?  I almost never wear them in Southern California because of the drought. It would make a cool Instagram photo with the old city of Yafo in the background.

What about all those books that I have lying around that I am planning to read? I can bring those for the plane .

This time I have many presents for my god-daughter. I’m bringing an extra suitcase for her gifts. Gift giving practices vary by country so be aware of the customs. She is two and half and doesn’t know the customs yet.

I’m a traveler and I know that packing heavy is a rookie mistake. I spend a lot of time organizing because of this. My packing mantra is less things, more experiences. Sometimes it works.

Ps. Our AiirBnB  is two minutes from the American Embassy. I wonder if they will need help packing.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Shithole Countries

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Shithole Countries

“Shit is the tofu of cursing and can be molded to whichever condition the speaker desires. Hot as shit. Windy as shit. I myself was confounded as shit…” David Sedaris

In case you missed it, President Trump used the word shithole in an immigration discussion behind closed doors. Someone walked out of the meeting and quoted it to a reporter.

I spent that evening watching many different newscasters and assorted panelists on different channels, repeat the word. It is blasted across the screen. Two newscasters mentioned that their children were watching but this is what the President said so they had to repeat it…and repeat it and repeat it. The words hit the air hard and fast. They go right to the emotional center of the brain and get a reaction. Profanity arouses strong feelings. Repeating these word are destructive because “they really are built to offend, to cause harm, to divide and to denigrate,”

I was a late curser. No one cursed in my house growing up. Son of gun and dirty rotten lice were as bad as it got. There were some questionable words floating around in Yiddish but I never heard the English equivalent.

I started dating a curser when I was in college. i still remember  the first time that I cursed. It was an early spring afternoon and we were walking through campus. I was wearing blue elephant bell bottoms and a short rust colored sweater. It was the perfect combination of trendy and stylish. He stopped to say hello to some friends and I fell off my very high platform shoes. The adrenalin rush of cursing definitely masked the pain and embarrassment. He thought it was cute and out of character for me. Obscenity was my final childhood rebellion. I married into a family of cursers. The words quickly shifted from taboo to normal. They can be used as any part of speech and work well as adjectives.

Kids love them because they know they are taking a risk and will use any opportunity to say them in front of you. When my daughter was three and my son was six, we were in the car stuck in traffic. My three-year old daughter said “Why aren’t we moving?” I said. “Traffic.” She said “Just say asshole and go around.” Hmm. I wonder where she learned that asshole meant stopped car. They are like sponges. My son knowing that was not ok, managed to use the word asshole twenty times in five minutes while admonishing her not to use the word asshole.

It was very emotionally potent for me to see a profanity across the screen. I never knew how that one was spelled. Was it one word or two? I know now. I visualized my deceased parents reaction to this. They believed that using profanity was a sign of a lack of education and knowledge. Every night before we went to bed we had to say what new word we  had learned and what it meant. I often had to look one up in the dictionary five minutes before. I think the plan was to have a rich vocabulary or at least good SAT scores.

I pictured all the kids watching at home. “Mom, the president just said shithole. I mean the newscaster said shithole because the president said shithole. It says shithole on the screen. Why does it say shithole? Why is the president saying shithole? Look I changed the channel. It still says shithole. If the president says shithole, can I say shithole? What about if Anderson Cooper says shithole?” My son would have said it as much as possible.

Are parents responding with something like what my parents said when I tried out a curse word on them? “Your language is a reflection of you. Maybe the president’s friends make him think that cursing is cool. Maybe the newscasters think that repeating it over and over is the right thing to do. The reality is that cursing a lot is not classy or intelligent Was that the best word you could come up with?.” Hopefully they remind their kids of this when they are sending their language out on social network and online communities.

He is not the first president to use profanity. He spoke this way about immigration during the campaign. He has made racist remarks throughout his presidency and has said that there were some good Nazis. He wants to cause chaos. This is not breaking news.  It is a dirty, f–king job.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In the World

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Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In The World.

“People need to realize that we all share the same spirit that comes from God and from the earth.”Nganyintja

Even the most patriotic person might look at the chaos in our country and think – Why do I live here? Perhaps it is the inept politicians who tweet that are getting you down. If you decide to go anywhere else, where will you go? The world is a big place. I’ve composed a list of the most friendly and welcoming countries in the world. The research was interesting because every list that I looked at was different. Some were based on personal experience. I compiled a few and added in my own bias as well.

10. Sri Lankans are friendly, courteous and hospitable. They will come up to you at a tourist site, not to sell you something but to engage in a conversation. They are genuinely interested in how you like their country. Strangers will offer you food on a bus and wish you well on your journey. Everyone who visits Sri Lanka remembers the kindness of the people.

9. The Philippines came in consistently on top ten lists. Filipinos are friendly and spiritual. They try not to let the calamities and trials of life deter them. Everyone smiles and many people will talk to you. They are welcoming, curious and respectful.

8. Those clichés about Thailand being the “land of smiles” have a strong basis in truth They’re always happy, always smiling, extremely polite, and always helpful. Thais rarely steal or cause any problems. They have amazing memories — once a friend, always a friend.

7. According to WIN-Gallup 89% of Fijians report they are happy, making Fiji one of the happiest countries in the world. When you get off the plane in Fiji everyone is genuinely happy as they extend their greetings. Fijian people are dedicated to having meaningful interactions with their community, which leads to a strong influence on how they interact with those outside of their community as well. They are hospitable, approachable and will make a connection with anyone they come in contact with.

6. On the whole, the people in America are welcoming, sociable, good-natured, and polite. Our reputation is that we sue and shoot each other a lot and are xenophobic so the friendliness is unexpected.

5. Icelanders are very friendly and easy going.There is little violent crime in Iceland so they don’t have to be afraid of people they do not know. They are open-minded with little or no prejudice and love learning about different cultures and practicing their English.

4. Canadians are happier, live longer and have less financial inequality than most of the world. Murder rates in Canada  are very low. They have less on their mind when you run into them which apparently makes them friendly and welcoming. Canadians are polite, humble and nice. They are a small group of people living on a lot of land. Canadians have learned that to survive they have to watch out for one another.

3. In Ireland, the people are engaging, polite, and genuinely interested in others. Ask someone for directions and don’t be surprised if they take you there themselves. They are proud to call this place home. More importantly, they want this to feel like home to you. The Irish people are the underdogs and don’t take life too seriously. They understand that it’s the small things and the people who matter.

2. Australians are known for having a casual attitude to life. They tend to look at the lighter side in difficult situations. Australian are incredibly friendly and fun. The men are good-looking with an adorable accent. The girls and gorgeous.So are the beaches. The pace of life is generally a lot slower here than in many other countries.  The standard of living in Australia is high by world standards so most people don’t have the daily pressure of survival to contend with. It’s amazing the difference those two factors have on people’s outlook on life.

1.New Zealand is rated as the world’s friendliest country on a lot of lists. It is definitely far enough from the rest of the world to be uninvolved in international stress. They have quality government programs and an emphasis on family outdoor activities. It is ridiculously beautiful and has great coffee as well. New Zealanders are laid back, welcoming and friendly.

Other friendly country include Uganda, Senegal, Turkey, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Viet Nam and Nepal.

 

Fly safe,
JAZ

Travel Advisory Is In Effect

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Travel Advisory Is In Effect

“How dare you open a spaceman’s helmet on an uncharted planet? My eyeballs could’ve been sucked from their sockets!” Cathy East Dubowski, Toy Story

These days, planning a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan is probably not a good idea. The United States and other nations are currently advising their citizens against all non-essential travel to these countries. But a government travel warning doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad idea to plan a trip to a particular part of the world.

Governments issue travel advisories to let their citizens know about safety concerns that may affect travel to a particular country or region. In the United States, these warnings are issued by the State Department.

Travel advisories are released for a variety of reasons, including terrorism, natural disasters, political unrest, wars, health emergencies and outbreaks of crime.

In many cases, violence, unrest or natural disasters are confined to a particular region while the rest of the country is still safe and welcoming to tourists.

The fallout from an isolated act of violence can affect an entire country’s tourist industry — and have a disproportionate effect on the economy of a developing nation.

Today i received a state department warning about a change in travel for Americans traveling to or living in Israel.

“The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem advises U.S. citizens in, or considering travel to, Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza to keep up a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness in light of the current environment.  Individuals and groups opposed to U.S. policies may target U.S. government facilities, U.S. private interests and U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings and avoid crowds or areas where there is a large police or security presence.”

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to and throughout Jordan due to persistent terrorist threats.  The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), its affiliates, sympathizers, and other violent extremist groups have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot against local security forces, U.S. and Western interests, and “soft” targets. Jordan’s prominent role in the counter ­ISIS Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2016.

Ok- Jordan looks a bit unsafe at this time.  I’ve decided to go to Israel  despite the government’s warning email. But i will take certain precautions. It’s best in troubled times to be in a country that has an embassy from your own country and make sure it is fully staffed and functioning. The US Embassy which has not moved yet is a two-minute walk from my airbnb. Under the circumstances, it may not be a good thing.

I registered for  the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. I will keep my family at home aware of my itinerary, watch the news, get travel insurance and have a backup plan.

I will be careful in these areas but I think if I cancel my plans, the terrorists win. We beat them by being unafraid in the way we choose to live.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2018

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Twenty-Five That I Want to Do In 2018

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula Le Guin

Mediate every day. Maybe if I write it first I will have more luck.

Do More Yoga. Maybe if I write it second……

Go to Auschwitz.

Go To Poland.

Do a street art tour in Kraków.

See the Schindler factory.

Go to the Galápagos..

Read at least twenty books.

Follow a healthy diet.

Spend some time in London.

Peace in the house.

Go to the Warsaw Ghetto.

Go somewhere in Scandinavia.

Go To Israel.

Pay it forward.

Cook something besides eggs.

Work on being fearless.

See the sunset on the beach every day when I am home.

Sail through Peruvian or Ecuadorian Amazon.

Go to beaches of Los Organos and Vichayito, Peru.

Walk my dog every day.

Be more politically active.

Spend time with my god-daughter in Tel Aviv.

Do the Graffiti tour of Tel Aviv.

Go to Garachico, Tenerife.

Happy New Year and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

Humans Of Chile

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Humans Of Chile

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” Robert Frank

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I have to thank our Santiago, Valparaiso and Casablanca guide Carolina for everything. She is knowledgeable, kind, fun and has a great sense of humor.  We felt completely taken care of in Chile.  Our driver Victor was great and funny.

If you are going to South America, Gabriella at Vaya Adventures https://www.vayaadventures.com  is a the person to help you plan your trip. The trip was perfect. Thank you so much for this amazing adventure.

Fly safe,

JAZ