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

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

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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

Ten Ways That I Want To Die

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Ten Ways That I Want To Die

“You die in the middle of your life, in the middle of a sentence” John Green

My landlord died suddenly. He was about  to move to Thailand for a year and we were about to have the do you want to keep renting or buy discussion? It turns out that people are fragile and  I am face to face with the realization that tomorrow is promised to no one. So I thought of several ways that i would like to die.

1 Being in a Terrorist Attack in any country but my own. lb Accidentally shooting myself to protect small children in above terrorist attack.  

2. Contracting malaria during the rainy season in the Amazon.

3. Being kicked in the head by a cow walking on the side of the road in India.3b. Being gored by a bull while running in Pamplona. 

4. Falling down the temple steps in Daramasala after the Dalai Lama has told me the secret of life.

5. Laughing too much like the third century Greek philosopher Chryssipus  did.

6. Overeating at a feast given in my honor in Japan,Turkey, Israel or Spain.

7. Being crushed quickly in an earthquake by all the books I have hoarded for my whole life.

8.Skiing down La Pas De Chavanette Porte du Soleil in the French Swiss Alps. It is known as the Swiss Wall and has a vertical drop of 300 kilometers I haven’t skied in fifteen years but I used to be good. I don’t want to be injured though-just dead.

9.Being electrocuted on stage while jamming with Imagine Dragons which would be doubly cool since I don’t play the guitar.

10. Getting a deadly food poisoning which eating at NOMA one of the best restaurants in the world. 

Fly safe,
JAZ

Places That I Have Been To That You Might Want To Go To Someday

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 Places That I Have Been To That You Might  Want To Go To Someday

“Rover did not know in the least where the moon’s path led to, and at present he was much too frightened and excited to ask, and anyway he was beginning to get used to extraordinary things happening to him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

I always have a list of places in the world that I want to go to which may or may not become reality.  But sometimes when I’m looking for a photograph, I see all the amazing places that I have already been. Hope you get to visit some of these someday!!!

 Iguazu Falls  Argentina 

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Amazon, Brazil

Angor Wat and Ta Phrom, Cambodia

Easter Island Chile

Maktesh Ramón, Israel

Naoshima , Japan

Petra, Jordan

Rotorua, New Zealand

Machu Picchu, Peru

Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ayuttheta, Thailand

Cappodocia, Turkey

Halong Bay, Viet Nam

Fly safe,

JAZ

Do Vegans Have Less Friends?

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Do Vegans Have Less Friends?

“I don’t like vegans, either. Bunch of whiny zealots. A cow or a pig wouldn’t give a damn if a person died… animals tear apart other animals while they’re still alive, but we aren’t so cruel, so vegans should learn to shut up. Vegans use palm oil and never think about the forests and endangered species at risk from that… and they all exploit the world in other ways, buying their computers and their sweatshop clothes and their Starbucks coffees.” Rebecca McNutt.

I returned from my last trip with a stomach bacteria. I did not get the bacteria there but have probably had it for a while. The cure is an antibiotic that will kill everything good and bad in your body and a weird strict diet that will not feed the bacteria for at least six months.  The bacteria caused several food allergies as well. The easiest way for me to eat these days is to be a Megan.- a meat-eating vegan. (albeit not in the same restaurant) 

It turns out that the  people who live a plant-based life style understand weird diets. I notice that many  people eat alone in vegan restaurants. I am not talking about the  hipster or Hollywood vegans that eat at the trendy vegan restaurants or have their vegan chefs prepare something.  I’m talking about small local restaurants. 

Most social gatherings revolve around food and the isolation of having a strict diet when your friends do not, can make it easier to eat alone. Dietary restrictions are annoying in social situations. I hate the constant deliberating and discussion  that i have to do with waiters in restaurants. I’m not normally that person. 

All vegans are not just focused on not eating dead animals. Some of them probably have eating issues or do it for health reasons. I sit alone in the restaurant and watch the other diners. I play my airport game of trying to figure out who everyone is.  Classic vegans.

 I look  at a man focused on his non dairy fettuccine alfredo and think that he is definitely a Bikram yoga instructor slash dog walker. The two woman who gush over their buffalo tofu sliders are life coach feminists with instagram accounts dedicated to their different  acai bowls. The woman  sitting over there in the corner is probably a two years sober tarot card reader who runs 12 step meetings.  The anorexic reiki healer cutting her food in many small pieces is pushing it around her plate while she talks to her friend, the mantra chanting, meditation specialist. The man next to her heads the community  vegetable garden and makes his own candles. 

Clearly these  people  have no idea how much I am missing cheese, coffee, sushi, fish,  bread and good dessert.  I make fun of vegans because I will never be cool enough to give up the occasional hot dog, hamburger and dairy products. I will never stretch regularly or be a healthy vessel of joy and peace. I make fun of them because I am not disciplined or good enough to be one of them.

Then, I look at myself in my flannel shirt and baggy jeans. I am drinking the now trendy celery juice  (yes i know you are supposed to drink it when you wake you up to cleanse your system but i just can’t)) and eating kale, brown rice and tempeh.  I see a man looking at me. He is  thinking that I just biked over here from a winter solstice ceremony and have a formally abused dog named Chakra. I am probably on my way to my alternative medicine doctor for acupuncture.

Fly safe,,

JAZ