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

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 

Thirty Six Hours In Lisbon, Portugal With the Flu

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36 Hours in Lisbon With The Flu

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain

Flying to Porto, Portugal from Spain I traveled  in a haze of recycled stale air, surrounded  by the germs of a hundred set of lungs. It did not help that the people I sat next to were both sick and coughing.

 I’m a germaphobe. I get on the plane with hand sanitizer in my purse.  I bring wipes into the bathroom in case i have to touch something. I put polysporin around my nostrils not to breathe anything in. i have a mask if necessary. This usually works along with my various good luck charms. 

The next evening I felt like I had been hit with a truck.  If I had been in Southeast Asia or Africa, I would have been sure it was malaria or dengue. Being in Portugal, I went with the flu. The rain in Porto is not helping.

A few days later when we got to Lisbon,  it was in full force. 

 We checked into Santiago del Alfama around nine pm. Driving through the steep, narrow one way cobblestone streets at night, made us glad we weren’t driving.

The hotel was a fifteenth century palace restored into a beautiful modern five-star hotel.  I loved every piece of furniture and  art that I saw in this hotel. It was  totally my taste. The room was beautiful.

The average standard illness is easy to cope with when you are home and much worse when you are traveling. If it had really been the fifteenth century, I would have thought it was God’s will – but instead i can blame the people next to me on the plane.  Luckily the hotel has a  lovely  restaurant with delicious food. and we don’t have to go anywhere.

i have breakfast at one of the most charming  breakfast places in a hotel with wonderful food and coffee. My cold pills have not kicked in yet and i am sneezing. “God bless you” says the person sitting next me. I remember that sneezing was a symptom of the bubonic plague and they used the term God Bless you to ward off  the evil. I wondered if i had the plague.  Maybe there were some fifteenth century plague germs lying around. I do get a lot of weird things. 

My plan is to go to the Tile Museum which i missed the last time I was in Lisbon. My body is fighting me on this to stay in bed but there are no sick days when you are a mom of small children and so my body has learned to rally.

The Museo de Nacional De Azuelo was definitely worth it.

The building is the former Madre de Deus convent founded in 1509 by Queen D. Leonor.

The collections  are tiles  from 15th century till present days.

It gives amazing insight into the beautiful tiles you see around the city. i could have spent all day here. 

Portugal has a long history of preserving fish which  has been traced back to the Phoenicians, Romans  and Carthaginians. It became a gourmet thing a lot more recently. The best thing to buy are the sardines which are healthy and delicious. i definitely needed healthy.  We head to Conserveira de  Lisboa the oldest and best family run business to buy tinned fish. They are in beautiful tins and packaged in boxes. 

We have met the owner of the hotel and we end up having lunch with him at Prado a place his wife likes and turns out to be delicious. Lunch in Portugal takes a few hours.

  It is amazing how shopping and a delicious meal can miraculously take away my symptoms for a bit.

We walk back to the hotel and I take a nap and pack. The flu has moved into my lungs by now.  Getting up at 4am for the long plane ride home is not going to be pretty. I have some soup at the hotel restaurant.

 

I put my body in mom mode. This will be so much  easier than having the flu and entertaining a baby and toddler at the same time. All I have to do is get to the airport wait in line, go through security, find the plane, fly to London, pick up my luggage, change airports, go through customs and security, check in  again, walk really far to the plane, wait four hours , get on the plane for ten more hours, go through customs and security, pick up luggage and go home. I have had children. I can do this. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Natural Health Products From Different Countries That I Can’t Live Without

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 Natural Health Products From Different Countries That I Can’t Live Without

“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.” Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast Of Champions

Manuka Honey is made by bees that feed the Manuka trees  in New Zealand. It has antibacterial properties and has been used by the Maori in their tonics and remedies for many years. Manuka Honey is graded with UMF rating. A rating of 20 or above will give you the strongest medical benefits. Under that number, it is still expensive and tastes good and acts like other honey. I use it for everything.  It is particularly good for colds and wound healing. You can get it on Amazon.

 Japan is a country of specific etiquette. Correct manners are very important to the Japanese. It’s very easy to embarrass yourself in Japan as an American.  Japan is a society of cleanliness. It is a culture of bath houses and onsens. You have never seen so many people brushing their teeth and gargling  in public restrooms. Japanese are obsessed with Gargling With Salt as a cure for everything. My Japanese friends carry salt when they travel. According to my doctor, it’s a home remedy that really works.  They also carry handkerchiefs in case there is nothing to dry their hands with in a public restroom.

 I stumbled upon Twenty Per Cent Arnica (ours is five percent) in Israel when I hurt my knee in Tel Aviv. Your bruise can be  gone in two days. I found it at a homeopathic pharmacy on Ben Yehuda Street. I use it very sparingly till I get more. 

Coca Tea is used in the Andes to help with altitude sickness- which it does. I drank it every day in Peru.  It also gives you an energy boost without the caffeine spikes. I usually drink it as my second cup of coffee.  It is also good if you have an upset stomach. 

Olive Oil in Spain cures everything. If you are sick, it will make you well. If you are fat it will make you thin.  If you are short, it will make you tall. I also  use it as a make up remover.

 Be physically and mentally prepared to shop in the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey.  Be in a good mood. You will have many best friends and marriage proposals. Years ago, a man working there told me of the health benefits of Turmeric. Though the market is known for saffron, I had also heard turmeric was good for illnesses.  I’ve been taking it ever since and most recently bought some at the Arab Market in Jerusalem.

At Ver A Paso market in Belem, Brazil  I got some Brazilian Ginseng from the Amazon. It is used to build your immune system and give energy. They had a lot of interesting health products including many kinds of natural Viagra (seemed to be a big seller)  but that was the only one I knew. 

I came back from Argentina with Yerba Mate and a Yerba Mate cup and straw. Yerba Mate is the national drink of Argentina.  Besides being a stimulant with less caffeine the coffee, it is packed with nutrients. It can boost the immune system, burn fat, increase bone density and help with digestive problems.

Marula Oil is a highly anti-inflammatory plant oil from South Africa and is known for it’s very high antioxidant count and  light texture. It is naturally soothing, fast-absorbing and suitable for all skin types including reactive and sensitive. ( that would be me).  My daughter gave a small bottle to her wedding guests in South Africa. I loved it.  I get it on Amazon now as well. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Countries With The Most Smokers

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Ten Countries With The Most Smokers

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Mark Twain

As everyone knows, smoking is cool. But it can also kill you and is addictive and expensive, which is much worse than looking cool for a minute.

Bucking the worldwide trend, smokers are increasing in Montenegro. Forty per cent of adults smoke making them the “coolest” country on the list. Even when laws are enacted, they are rarely enforced in a culture where coffee and cigarettes are the norm.

While smoking is declining across Europe, a growing number of young Belarusians are turning to cigarettes due to lax regulations and low prices. Cheap cigarettes from Belarus are also being smuggled into Western Europe.

It is very difficult to enforce anti smoking laws in Lebanon where smoking is somewhat of a cultural tradition.The law that banned indoor smoking irritated many Lebanese accustomed to shishas and cigarettes at restaurants, cafes, pubs and nightclubs.

Greece is a nicotine addicts’s paradise. Smoking regulations in Greece have not been enforced in a country where rules like this are meant to be broken.

One third of the population of Russia smokes. Up to 400,000 Russians die each year from tobacco-related causes. This could be stopped through tougher regulations, but tobacco producers have blocked all efforts for years, successfully lobbying their interests with the ruling United Russia party.

Tobacco is one of the leading causes of death in Slovenia. The average age to start smoking is fifteen and a half years old.

Belgians love to smoke and stores selling cheap cigarettes have opened on the Belgian Franco border. There is a growing trade in smuggled cigarettes in Europe and an equally illegal growth of sales over the internet. Cigarettes are much cheaper in Belgium than neighboring countries. Many bars and restaurants ignore the smoking ban.

Jordan rates highly as far as smoking countries in the Middle East go. The ban on smoking in public places is not enforced.It is easier to fight drug use than cigarettes here. Cigarette smoking is highest among the poor population. Having coffee and cigarettes with friends and family is deeply rooted in Jordanian culture.

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China is home to three hundred million smokers, more than any other country. There is a lack of national legislation to ban smoking in workplaces. The national ban has been delayed because of the influence of the Chinese tobacco industry and its influence on government revenue. Some Local municipalities have banned smoking in the workplace but it is hard to enforce

Almost half the adult population smokes in Bosnia Herzegovina. Cigarettes are cheaper than Europe and Asia. Smokers fight the government against anti smoking legislation. Any bans are not enforced and teenagers smoke at least half a pack of cigarettes a day.

Fly safe,

JAZ