About jaynezak

"I havent been everywhere, but it is on my list." I can eat anything raw. I can go to the bathroom standing up. I am fluent in hand motions and can speak Spanish in the present tense only.. Though directionally challenged, I can find my way in any airport to the gate and the luggage terminal. I must be an airport savant. I can cram more things into a suitcase than it is supposed to hold. If I have a few drinks, I forget that I cant speak the language of the country i am in. I still carry travelers checks for an emergency thought no one will cash them anymore. I make sure to learn how to say coffee with milk and no sugar in every language. I have accidently used tap water to brush my teeth in countries that you shouldnt and I am still here to write this. I have been to the gynecologist in Greece, the dentist in the Kyushu Islands in Japan and the emergency room in Edinburgh twice ( that trip was with my kids). Heels are my walking shoe of choice. (though I always have the appropriate shoes with me in case I need them) Ive perfected speed shopping and no matter how many bracelets i buy as gifts, it is never enough. Im afraid on small planes. I always have another trip planned (even if it is just in my head) before I return from the one I am on. Those are my credentials. Fly Safe JAZ

Fifty Favorite Books That I Have Read On Trips, On The Beach Or At Home

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Fifty Favorite Books That I Have Read On Trips, On The Beach Or At Home

i thought i would reblog this one- since we suddenly have all this time now.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” Lemony Snicket   

How does a book make the favorites list? I remember it. I have a really bad memory and  if it stays with me, it stays forever. I want a book to take me somewhere I haven’t been before, another time, another place, another pair of eyes.  There are  books that have taught me something and changed  how I see the world. Some  of them I have read more than once – under the covers with a flashlight.  I identify with certain characters.  There is this wonderful moment in reading where you think “You feel that way too? I thought that I was the only one.”

It was very hard to pick only fifty. My favorite books from many different stages of my life are here and in no particular order.  If you missed reading any…..they are good.

The Master And The Margarita   Mikhail Bulgakov  (Russian)

On The Road  Jack Kerouac (American)

Purge  Sofi Oksanen (Finnish)

The Chosen Chaim Potok  (American)

Love In the Time Of Cholera   Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombian)

Gone With the Wind  Margaret Mitchell (American)

Swann’s Way  (In Search Of Lost Time)  Marcel Proust  (French)

To Kill A Mockingbird  Harper Lee (American)

One Hundred Years Of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez  (Colombian)

All Over But The Shoutin’  Rick Bragg (American)

Snow  Orhan Pamuk  (Turkish)

The Fountainhead  Ayn Rand (American)

The Prophet  Kahlil Gibran  (Lebanese American)

Atlas Shrugged  Ayn Rand (American)

Don Quixote  Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish)

The Great Gatsby  F. Scott Fitzgerald  (American)

The Stranger  Albert Camus  (French)

The Giving Tree  Shel Silverstein (American)

Diary  Of A Young Girl  Anne Frank (Dutch)

The Old Man And The Sea  Ernest Hemingway (American)

The Kite Runner  Khalid Hosseini  (Afghan American)

For Whom The Bell Tolls  Ernest Hemingway (American)

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being  Milan Kundera  (Czech)

Middlesex  Jeffrey Eugenides  (American)

Siddhartha  Herman Hesse (German)

The Things They Carried  Tim O Brian (American)

Life Of Pi  Yann Martel (Canadian)

The Sun Also Rises  Ernest Hemingway (American)

Zorba The Greek  Nikos Kazantzakis  (Greek)

A Heart Breaking Work Of Staggering Genius  Dave Eggars (American)

The House of The Spirits  Isabel Allende  (Chilean)

Catcher In The Rye  J.D. Salinger  (American)

The Gulag Archipelago  Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian)

Good Night Moon Margaret Wise Brown  (American)

Wild Swans  Jung Chang (Chinese)

Tuesdays With Morrie  Mitch Albom  (American)

The Painted Bird  Jerzy Kosinski (Polish American)

The Prince Of Tides  Pat Conroy (American)

Man’s Search For Meaning  Viktor Frankl  (Austrian)

Slaughterhouse Five  Kurt Vonnegut  (American)

War And Peace Leo Tolstoy  (Russian)

Metropolitan Life  Fran Liebowitz  (American)

Fly  safe,

JAZ

Travel Memories Part 1

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Travel Memories  Part 1

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Karl Lagerfeld

As I was sitting home and feeling sorry for myself and my cancelled trips, my friend said to me “you are so lucky that you traveled the world before all this.” I went through my photos and realized that she was right.

Poros, Greecefullsizeoutput_7e88

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Budapest, Hungary

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Venice, Italy

Train to Iso Nagaoka, Japan (bird flu)

Ephesus, Izmir, Turkey

Sacred Valley, Urubumba, Peru

Ayuthetta, Thailand

Salt fields, Salta, Argentina

Uluru Rock,Australia

Fly and stay safe,

JAZ

Favorite Foreign Films

“Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.”  Wizard of Oz 1939

Favorite Foreign Films

I’m reblogging some old posts that might be applicable now.. If you missed any of these or feel like rewatching, it is time well spent., Stay home and stay safe.

There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines some of my favorite things –  reading, movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is to be eating popcorn, red vines and a diet coke. Lately, it is healthy snacks brought from home  – almonds, Tcho chocolate and water. I know when people think of the best foreign films they include names like Fellini, Kurosawa, Trauffaut,  Eisenstein, Bunuel,  De Sica etc.  This could be another blog. I’m sure most of you have at least heard of those. I thought I would  list some of the ones that I have really enjoyed  a little more recently. You might find a few that you have missed.  They are in no particular order. Im sure you can get them on netflix.  Sadly, I feel the need to add a disclaimer.  None of these films  will cause trauma or violence to anyone.

Cinema Paradiso (Italy)

Writer Director:  Giuseppe Tornatore  Cast: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale

It is my favorite movie and my favorite movie score (Ennio Morricone). Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1989. It takes place in a village in Italy during World War ll and has a wonderful cast of villagers.  The film  follows Toto (Jacques Perrin), a Sicilian boy who persuades the town projectionist, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), to teach him how to show films. Spanning nearly 50 years, it draws parallels between Toto’s life and those lives he sees on screen. As Toto matures into Salvatore, a successful Italian filmmaker, the Cinema Paradiso ages as well.

The Lives of Others (Germany)

Writer Director:  Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck   Cast:  Ulrich Muhe, Martina Gedeck and Sebastian Koch

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. The film does a beautiful job of questioning integrity or duty while keeping you on the edge of your seat with the suspense.  The acting is  superb and has one of the most satisfying endings. It won the 2006 Academy Award for best foreign film.

Amelie  (France)

Director: Jean Pierre Jeunet   Writer: Guillaume Laurant, Jean Perre Jeunet Cast: Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassoviz

Amelie is a young waitress in Montmarte. She has grown up isolated from other children, very shy and  with a vivid imagination. She begins to get involved in the lives around her by matchmaking and fixing problems from a distance. She forms a friendship with a man who slowly helps her breakdown her own isolation and shyness .

A Separation (Iran)

Writer Director:  Asghar Farhadi   Cast: Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

The film focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate.   More conflicts  arise when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It shows life in current day Iran.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film  in 2011.  I think it is the closest thing to a perfect film – it is very well written, acted and directed.

Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears  (Russia)

Director:  Vladimir Menshov  Writers:  Valentin  Chernykh, Valdimir Menshov Cast: Vera Alentova, Irina Muravyova, Aleksey Batalov

The story of three women takes place in the nineteen fifties and continues twenty-three years later.  It depicts life in Russia for these three women who come to Moscow to follow their dreams. (A Soviet chick flick).  It is mainly the story of Katerina and her daughter.  The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1980.

All About My Mother (Spanish-French)

Writer – Director: Pedro Almodovar  Cast: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes and Candela Pena

Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father.  His mother searches for his father. That is is the simplified version of the story. Almodóvar dedicates his film “To all actresses who have played actresses. To all women who act. To men who act and become women. To all the people who want to be mothers. To my mother.” It won the Academy Award  for best foreign film in 2000.

Strictly Ballroom (Australian)

Writer – Director:  Baz Luhrmann  Cast: Paul Mercurio, Tara Morice, Bill Hunter

While studying at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Baz Lurhmann and friends wrote a short dramatic piece about competitive ballroom dancing. A dancer risks his career by performing an unusual routine  with a new partner at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship.  The characters are great and if you are a Dancing with The Stars fan this is a must see. It is being made into a musical in Sydney.

.Life Is Beautiful (Italy)

Director: Roberto Benigni  Writers: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni Cast: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

A Jewish man uses his humor and imagination to get the girl and later to protect his son in a Nazi concentration camp during World War two.  It won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1999.  Robert Benigni won the Best Actor award that year.

City of God (Brazil)

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund   Writers: Paulo Lins, Braulio Mantovani   Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele and Leandro Firmino

This is a story about two boys growing up in a favela (slum) of Rio de Janeiro.  They take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The story is based on real events. It is about the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus (city of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Many of the actors are residents of the favelas. “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”.

Goodbye Lenin (Germany)

Director:  Wolfgang  Becker Writer: Bernd Lichtenberg, Wolfgang Becker Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Katrin Sab, Chulpan  Khamatova

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of Communist  East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron  Writers: Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron  Cast: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ana Lopez

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip ( yes, a Mexican road movie)  and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.  It also depicts the economic- political scene of Mexico at that time.

Together (China)

Director: Kaige Chen  Writers: Kaige Chen, Xiao Lu Xue  Cast: Yun Tang, Peige Liu and Hong Chen

A violin prodigy and his father from a poor peasant  family travel to Beijing, where the father seeks the means to his son’s success while the son struggles to accept the path laid before him. He learns  not only music but what is important in life.

The Untouchables ( France)

Writer -Directors:  Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano  Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet

The Untouchables is a story of a rich quadriplegic, his daughter and staff and what happens to them all when he hires a caretaker from a Paris ghetto. It is corny, calculating and commercial and I loved every minute of it.

The Wind Will Carry Us ( Iran)

Writer Director  Abbas Kiarostami Cast:Behzad Dorani, Noghre Asadi and Roushan Karam

“The Wind Will Carry Us is a film about nothing and everything—life, death, the quality of light on dusty hills.”

A city engineer comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.  The villagers are played by real people in the village. It is a very hard film to describe because it is so visual that you are in it and so symbolic and poetic that you are always searching for the deeper meaning.

The Class  (France)

Director: Laurent Cantet  Writers: Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo  Cast: Francois Begaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene and Angelica Sancio

The film is based on the semi autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau  who plays himself as he negotiates a year with his racially mixed students from a tough Parisian neighborhood. The camera never leaves the school, so we see what he saw as a teacher.

Salaam Bombay (India)

Director: Mira Nair  Writers: Mira Nair, Soona Taraporevala  Cast: Shafiq Syed,Hansa Vithal, Chanda Sharma

Salaam Bombay chronicles the life of street children in Bombay.  The children are played by the real street children. It centers around the story of Krishna who has been abandoned by his mother and is trying to make enough money to return. It is another one of my most  favorite films.

Shall We Dance? ( Japanese)

Writer-Director: Masayuki Suo   Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari, Naoto Takenaka

A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons. There was an American remake of the film in 2004 with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez but it was not  good. The Japanese version is very good.

The Lady (France)

Director: Luc Besson  Writer: Rebecca Frayn  Cast: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett

The film is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma’s democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris. She is a real life heroine, a female fighter who uses no other weapons than her human virtues. She was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Asia. She could not be there to accept because she was under house arrest in Burma (Myanmar) for over a decade. Michelle Yeoh who plays her in the film is not allowed into Burma. It is an important movie, especially if you don’t know much about her.

Let me know about some of your favorite films.

also see favorite foreign documentary films.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/favorite-foreign-documentary-films/

Fly Safe,

JAZ

 Travel  In The Time Of Corona

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 Travel  In The Time Of Corona

“Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you from getting me sick” unknown

Eventually all those people stocking up on supplies at Costco are going to have to leave their houses and the Corona Virus will still be here. It will lighten up in the spring and summer as viruses do, and come back in the winter. It is something we will learn to live with like Aids and Airport Security.  If you have not been addicted before, hand sanitizer is the new normal. Someone you know or maybe you will get it and next year there will be a vaccine and things will calm down.

The decision to travel or not is a tough one. I just had to cancel my month long trip to Germany and France in mid April.  The first part was a tour with the Jewish Heritage Museum though the Alsace region. I was particularly excited to go to the baths in Baden Baden – a bucket list thing for me. Afterward, I was meeting the BF In Lyon and we were traveling to Marseille, Cassis, Aix and later staying in a beautiful winery in the region. We would  have  ended up in Paris for a few days. It was a lot of planning and involved planes, trains and cars. I have not cancelled part two yet. 

I know it is the right thing to do at this time but when it comes to travel-all reasoning disappears. I have terrible travel envy and the cure for me is planning a trip. I always have something to look forward to and now I don’t – other than maybe not getting sick and dying – which is big. 

At the moment it feels like I am sitting at home thinking about traveling a lot more than I am actually traveling. 

I’ve always had anxiety and lived my life in fear so this collective fear doesn’t feel strange to me. The best we can do is to wash our hands and avoid people who are coughing. I’m germaphobic so I do this anyway. I was way ahead of my time with social distancing.  I am no longer weird and can proudly touch things with my elbow and not hug hello. 

Life is tough and unpredictable .No matter how well-thought-out your plans might be, they’re bound to be disrupted at some point. Don’t take it personally, it’s just life and like everything else this will pass.

And by the way, thanks for freaking out and buying all the toilet paper.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

How To Not Get The Corona Virus

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“Wash your hands like you just got done slicing jalapeños for a batch of nachos and you need to take your contacts out.”Unknown

As the Corona Virus spreads around the world, health officials are saying washing your hands a minimum of twenty seconds with soap is helpful to prevent infection.

Here are some things  you can do in your head for twenty seconds while washing your hands.

Sing Happy Birthday twice.

Sing the chorus of Jolene. Dolly Parton.

Recite as much of the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll as you can remember or any other poem you had to memorize in school.

Sing the first verse of God Save the Queen, the British National Anthem.

Hum Grieg’s In The Hall Of Mountain King.

Sing the chorus of Africa. ToTo.

Recite the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence or any speech you had to memorize in High School.

Hum Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Sing Mambo Number Five. Lou Bega.

Sing the chorus of Raspberry Beret. Prince.

Hum Ravel’s Bolero.

Sing the chorus of Truth Hurts. Lizzo.

Hum the March Of The Toreadors from Bizet’s Carmen.

Sing the chorus of Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Yes.

Say the famous Star Trek speech. “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Fly safe,
JAZ

Planning A Destination Spa Vacation

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 Planning A Destination Spa Vacation

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”Anne Lamott

If you haven’t done a spa vacation, (especially if you are a guy), you need to drop those prejudices. It is not just rose scented facials, Swedish massage and regimented activities. 

These days the options for activities are so varied. There are so many different kinds of destination spas. The focus can be on life style, de-stressing, trying new forms of exercise, and there is nothing wrong with having a great massage every day.

The minute I walk into a spa, my body and brain relaxes. When your skin looks better in a mirror after a facial,  you do feel better. It’s all about pampering and unwinding. 

It is best to plan as much as you can in advance so when you get there, you don’t have to think. If you are a person who wants a lot of relaxation time, schedule less activities. If you are a person like me, who wants to try everything, your day will be full. Go with the flow of the spa you are at and try those signature activities that you can’t do anywhere else. Remember to leave your cell phone in the room and stay in the present moment.

I don’t always have to be lost in an airport or navigating a foreign city to have a good time. I’m privileged to be able to travel any way that I can. Luxury travel to one place involves the choice of a cheaper trip next time. Curative travel is good too. It helps to incorporate wellness travel into your world.

I’m about to educate/brainwash the BF as to why he needs to do this for his birthday. He is skeptical and pretending that it sounds great. Self care is incredibly important. He will come back rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again – but he does not know that yet.

Fly safe,

JAZ