Best Ruins That I Have Visited So Far

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 Best Ruins That I Have Visited So Far.

“The shattered wall,
the broken tower
have a story to tell –
from the touchstones of ruins
and ancient texts
we make a pilgrimage.” Michael Alexander,

Architectural ruins connect us to the past and bring history alive. There is something about visiting the sites of these ancient civilizations that fascinates me. You can see the potential that people all over the world and thousands of years ago had for greatness. Some of these amazing structures were built long before all the machinery, transport and communication tools that we have now. 

 Peru, Machu Picchu

The purpose of Machu Picchu will always remain a mystery. It is probably a religious and spiritual site.  The Inca trail leading up to Machu Picchu (it takes four days  of camping out in the Andes if you want to do it) was built to always face the snow-capped mountains because that is what they worshipped .How they transported all that granite up there  remains a mystery. It is believed that they quarried  it on site. No other civilization has managed to assemble so many colossal stone blocks so seamlessly cut with stones or bronze.  There is no mortar holding them together and they are earthquake-proof constructions.

 Chile, Easter Island, Rapa Nui Park

Who carved such enormous statues? How did they move them and raise them up onto platforms? The missionary’s stories, the explorer’s diaries, the archaeologist’s shovel, the anthropologist’s bones and the Rapa Nui oral tradition have all revealed something of the story. No one agrees on any of the answers to these questions. Archaeologists have proposed methods for moving the statues, using various combinations of log rollers, sledges and ropes .In the Rapa Nui oral tradition, the Moai were infused with mana, a spiritual force from the ancestors and the Moai walked.The Rapa Nui stories make just as much sense of the unknown as the scientific theories. There is no proof that it did not happen that way.

Turkey, Cappodocia

The dramatic landscape is the result of volcanic eruptions that happened millions  years ago. Wind and water eroded the land leaving these odd surreal land formations, fairy chimneys, caves and underground cities. Goreme Open Air Museum is a group of cave churches and monasteries from the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The most famous and most restored one is Karanlik Killse (Dark Church) which is filled with elaborate Byzantine frescoes. Early Christians escaping from Roman persecution found shelter in Cappadocia.

Turkey, Ephesus

The ancient city of Ephesus was built in the tenth century. It was a large city (over 250,000 inhabitants in the first century BC) and a major port for trade routes into Asia Minor. Ephesus was known in antiquity for its sacred shrines, the most famous being the temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (only foundations and sculptural fragments remain). Ephesus came under Roman control in 129 BC, and continued to prosper under Emperor Augustus as capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was also an important centre of early Christianity and its greatest Christian monument was the 4th century church of St. John the Evangelist.

 Turkey, Pergamon

Pergamon was one of the key Roman cities of Anatolia and the well-preserved remains hint at the grand spectacle that the city was during its glory days. Excavations reach back to the second century B.C. It  has one of the largest libraries in the world and one of the steepest theatres.

Cambodia, Ta Prohm 

Yes,Ta Prohm is the temple where Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Ta Promh has been left the way it was originally found.  It was built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The jungle had completely engulfed the entire complex when it was discovered in the last century. It was amazing to see how the massive trees have grown around and atop the structures, their roots seemingly strangling and holding up the temple’s towers and other buildings.

Cambodia, Angor Wat

Angor Wat is the largest temple in the world and the world’s largest religious building constructed of stone. It is often described as one of the most extraordinary architectural creations ever built, with its intricate bas-reliefs, strange acoustics and magnificent soaring towers. It was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. Angkor Wat was shifted from Hindu to Buddhist use sometime around the late 13th century. The temple is still used by Buddhists today. It is architecturally and artistically breathtaking. No photograph can capture the immensity of this monument.

Jordan, Petra

 Petra is a city of rose-colored stone, carved out of rock by the Nabateans in the third century BC. Like Macchu Picchu, there isn’t a lot of information known about it. It is one of the dryest places on earth and how they got water for the thirty thousand people who lived here is a mystery. Stephen Spielberg brought it to us in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. 

Thailand, Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya was the old capital of the Thai kingdom from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century.  The site resembles a  graveyard of temples,  headless Buddhas (beheaded by the Burmese in the thirteenth century) and ruins showing what it might have looked like.

Myanmar, Bagan

Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay region of Myanmar. From the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan kingdom. During the kingdom’s height between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2,200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

Mexico, Tulum

The ancient walled city perched on the edge of a cliff in Quintana Roo overlooking the Caribbean ocean was a major trading and religious centre between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. Tulum was built to be a seaport fortress, with steep ocean cliffs providing protection from the East, and a large limestone wall enclosing the rest of the city on three sides. 

Acropolis, Greece

The Acropolis looms over Athens, and is impossible not to recognize.This citadel includes the famous white-columned Parthenon, as well as the fifth century, Propylaia, Erechtheion and Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon temple was dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and war who planted the first olive tree on this very spot to found the city of Athens.

Italy, Colosseum

The Colosseum has been regarded as an iconic symbol of Rome since the Middle Ages.  Built in eighty A.D, it is a massive structure and is the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire. Being able to seat close to 50,000 spectators, it was the premier venue for wild beast shows and bloody gladiator combat.

Italy, Forum

Once the centre of public and political life in Ancient Rome, the Forum is a sprawling labyrinth of ancient ruins, including the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus and the House of the Vestals. You’re standing in the very center of the ancient city, surrounded by the remains of famous temples and political buildings. The people of Rome saw the funeral of Julius Caesar here, along with the execution of Cicero and countless triumphal processions.

 Italy, Pantheon

The Pantheon was built as a temple dedicated to the worship of  Roman gods. In 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV and Emperor Phocas converted it into the Christian church we see today. The Pantheon is considered a rotunda, a circular drum structure. Perfect mathematically, the Pantheon’s dome has an opening in the center.  In fact, the Pantheon in Rome still holds the world record for having the largest unsupported concrete dome.

Croatia, Diocletians Palace 

Diocletian’s Palace was built in the fourth century as a retirement seaside residence for the Roman Emperor, his family and seven hundred or so servants and guards in Split. The rectangular structure (520 x 620 feet) was two stories, fronted the sea and was built more like a fort than a palace. It is the most complete Roman ruins of a palace in existence today. It is not a museum .Three thousand people live and work on the grounds and there are many shops and restaurants. It is best seen when not besieged  by cruise ships.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

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Ten Things That He Should Know About Me Before We Live Together

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Ten Things That He Should Know About Me Before We Live Together

“Women who say that they have met the most amazing guy in the world are only saying that because they haven’t lived with them yet.”  Heather Chapple,

Living together is complicated.  We are gradually about to discover each others irritating habits. I’m hoping that our good qualities more than make up for the nails on the chalkboard ones. We are in it together.  My goal is to find a way to get over, through, or around every obstacle. Here are some things he should know beforehand.

I need a junk drawer.  I like having a place for random things.

Shoes can go anywhere. I’m not editing my shoes to fit a closet. There is a pantry, oven, linen closet and under the bed to work with. 

I save leftovers. No leftover is too small to put in the refrigerator. You can almost always find one half of a potato, a few pieces of spinach, twelve raspberries and a quarter of a banana in mine. I don’t always eat them. 

Sweat pants, a sweat shirt and fuzzy socks are my home loungewear of choice when it is cold. I’m keeping my favorite red sweatshirt.

I leave the top off the toothpaste. I also forget to close drawers.

I like the toilet seat down,

I eat in bed. I like my side of the bed. I have certain favorite pillows that are arranged in a specific way. to help me sleep better. They are my pillows.

I cannot assemble furniture. 

I may not always know where the remote is. 

It will take my dog a long time to adjust.

But he will and then will we call it home?

Fly safe,
JAZ

Windows Of The World

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Wndows Of The  World

Windows Of The World

“When God looks out his window, he sees beauty, love, rainbows, smiles and happiness everywhere. When I look out of mine, I wish I was looking out of God’s.” Anthony T.Hincks

I love architecture and i especially love looking at windows. I always wonder what world exists behind those windows. Will it be familiar or strange?  Windows are to look out from, not into. There is nothing more mysterious than looking from the outside into an open window.

Sintra, Portugal

Zarautz,Spain

Wroclaw, Poland

Chiloe Island,Chile

Edam, Netherlands

Jerusalem,Israel

Paraty, Brazil

Cartagena, Colombia

Capetown,South Africa

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

Musical Theatre

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Musical Theatre

“There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere who’s sitting there living for Tony performances. Singing and flipping along with the Pippins, and Wickeds, and Kinkys, Matildas, and Mormons’s. So we might reassure that kid, and do something to spur that kid, ‘cause I promise you, all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.”  Neil Patrick Harris

 Anyone who knows me, knows that I love theatre. My mother is to blame for this. Now I prefer plays but I used to love musicals. We weren’t in a position to buy tickets to Broadway shows when I was very young so we listened to the albums and watched them on TV.  I knew all the words to the songs before I ever saw the shows.

The first musical that I saw when I was twelve years old  was The Fantasticks. I sat in the the theatre for two hours entirely mesmerized by the story. it is the impossible unfolding before your eyes propelled by the energy of a live audience. You cannot help but appreciate all the work and love that goes into that one performance.

   My all time favorite musicals and only some of the ones that I can sing the cast albums of are Gypsy, Guys And Dolls, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, Fiddler On The Roof , King And I, Pajama Game, Singing In The Rain, Annie Get Your Gun, Funny Girl, Damn Yankees, Bye Bye Birdie, Man Of La Mancha,  Sweet Charity, Cabaret, A  Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Hair,  Jacques Brel…, Godspell, PIPPIN, Chorus Line, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, EVITA, CATS, LES MIZ, Miss Saigon, Ragtime, Rent, Lion King,  Book Of Mormon and In The Heights. I have  favorites  that I don’t know all the words to ever song such as  Zoot Suit, Jelly’s Last Jam, Spring Awakenings, Contact, Noise Funk,  Come From Away, Putnam County Spelling Bee, Next To Normal,  Something’s Rotten, Fun Home, Hamilton and Evan Hansen.

I know I will never be Gwen Verdon or Lea Salonga or even one of the Schuyler Sisters. But there is nothing like a song you can sing full belt and in my case off-key in the shower and pretend to be one of the many great Broadway divas.

The very premise of  musical theatre defies all reality.  It attempts to imitate life (as theatre tends to do) and then suddenly, a character bursts out in song.and everyone on the street knows the words.  Secretly, I  have always clung to the hope that I will someday be able to break into song at the market, department store, a parent-teacher conference,  a restaurant or during a mammogram and everyone will know the words. (enjoy Lin Manuel Miranda)

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Beautiful Churches In The World

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Ten Beautiful Churches In the World

“The choir always tittered and whispered all through service. There was once a church choir that was not ill-bred, but I have forgotten where it was, now. It was a great many years ago, and I can scarcely remember anything about it, but I think it was in some foreign country.”  Mark Twain, the Adventures Of Tom Sawyer

If you are building a temple to God, you are going to want it to look good. Lets be honest, you want God to be impressed with your work. You can’t just throw something together at the last moment and hope it will work out. It takes time (800 years sometimes). I have a problem with all the ornate churches in the world. I think it is confusing to God to see all that gold and all the poverty that is always nearby.  But these are quite beautiful and very impressive.  

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem,Israel

St Peters Basilica,  Rome, Italy

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Westminister Abbey, London, England

 Church Of the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia

Notre Dame,  Paris, France

St Stephens Cathedral,  Vienna, Austria

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Talinn, Estonia

Tempelaukion, Helsinki,Finland

 Mosteiro Dos Jerónimos, Lisbon, Portugal

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

 

Things That I Have Never Done

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Things That I Have Never Done.

“Well I never been to Spain, But I kinda like the music.” Three Dog Night

There are a lot of things that I have not done that many people have. I don’t know if I will ever do them or that I want to – but here they are. 

Gone bungee jumping.

Seen an episode of Downton Abbey.

Cooked a chocolate souffle.

Watched a horror movie.

Opened a twitter account.

Not tripped in very high heels.

Bought or sold anything on Craig’s List.

Worn an evening gown.

Been an extra in a movie.

Rode in a dogsled.

Had a DUI.

Driven on the freeway.

Seen any Lord Of The Rings movie.

Ran a marathon.

Gone a day without reading something.

Fly safe,

JAZ

How To Pack For The Wet Season In The Amazon Jungle

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How To Pack For The  Wet Season In The Amazon Jungle

“Rain didn’t make things messy. People did that all on their own.” Barbara Delinsky

I try to control my trips as much as I can. I agonize over temperature charts and rainfall counts. Just what were the best times to visit my bucket list places? I try to avoid the rain as much as possible but lately the weather has been unpredictable or that is when I have to travel.

 This time I could be traveling to the Amazon Jungle during the wet season which is a bit different from the rainy season. The best thing you can do is pack rainy season clothes and embrace the rain. 

Wet season (which might be called monsoon season in other countries)  also means hot and humid so your clothes need to be breathable, cooling, quick drying and light. It is really hard to get your clothes to dry during the wet season.  Bring at least two outfits per day.  I remember from living in New York in the summer about that really oppressive heat and humidity where you are just waiting for it to rain. This will be worse.

You need to be covered from head to toe in that heat. Your body needs to be protected  from – things. Poisonous plants, leeches, mosquitos, tarantulas, big biting ants and snakes are part of life in the jungle. Pools of water are breeding ground for mosquitos, zika, malaria, typhoid and cholera.  Yellow fever has broken out in Brazil.

There is no weather pattern during wet season. Just know it is going to rain every day and there will be major electrical storms. Flooding is everywhere. But, the landscapes will be lush and gorgeous with interesting light. Hopefully the natives will be friendly . 

I’m not brave, There are so many things that can go wrong on this trip. But I have a chance to go on a real adventure-the kind where anything can happen in the jungle. I realize that it is when you are petrified that bravery can happen. If you are not afraid to do anything, than you never need to be brave.

I’m thinking waterproof mascara.

Fly safe,

JAZ