Things I Wanted To Do In 2016 – Did I?

Things I Wanted To Do In 2016 – Did I?

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Louisa May Alcott

Drink less coffee. Nope

Get more real instagram followers. (travelwellflysafe) A few

Go to Amsterdam. Yes

Go to Anne Frank’s House. Yes

Go to the Van Gogh Museum. Yes

See the tulips. Yes

Meditate everyday.  Have to add this one again.

Train my new puppy. Still doing that.

Be the Pack Leader this time. Nope

Spend more time with my friends.  think I will add this one again-busy year.

Be grateful everyday. Yes

Do more art things in LA. Same

Stretch. Trying

Do more yoga. Less

Go To Paris.Yes

Visit my god-daughter. Yes in Israel.

Go to South Africa.Yes

Go on a game drive.Yes

See the big five.Yes

Be brave. Trying

Hike up Table Mountain. Yes on up Table Mountain

Visit the townships.Yes

Go to Capetown.Yes

Go to Johannesburg.Yes

See my daughter get married.Yes

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Twelve Hours In Paris With A Wedding Dress

Twelve Hours In Paris With A Wedding Dress

“Paris is always a good idea.” Audrey Hepburn

Check into a hotel so you do not leave the wedding dress in a taxi. Put the wedding dress in the closet.

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See Syrian refugees begging for money and militia on the streets. Give away my Euros from Amsterdam. Big reality check.

Drive past Eiffel Tower and Arc Du Triomphe. Take bad photos from moving car.

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Stop for lunch at La Carette.

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Eat croissants, omelet, nicoise salad and cafe au lait. Have everything French in one meal.

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Buy fabulous French pharmacy beauty products.

Go to Versailles.

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Walk around the gardens and Petite Trianon.

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A little Louis XlV and a bit of Marie Antoinette go a long way.

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Drive to the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry. Get out and take a photo so it looks like I was there.

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Crowd five people into a tiny French hotel room with the wedding dress. Two are napping. One is in the shower. Another is fixing her carry on luggage.The fifth one goes downstairs and has tea. The one fixing her carry on luggage left her favorite bracelet from Cambodia in that hotel. They called to tell her.

After much restaurant deliberation, the not sleeping people have appetizers at the hotel. The not sleeping people are the women.

Go back to the airport with the wedding dress. Have macarons at airport Laduree.

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Fly safe to Africa,
JAZ

How To Bring A Wedding Dress From Los Angeles to Kruger National Park, South Africa (A cell phone documentation)

How To Bring A Wedding Dress From Los Angeles To Kruger National Park, South Africa
(A cell phone documentation)

“Even the elephant carries but a small trunk on his journeys. The perfection of traveling is to travel without baggage.” Henry David Thoreau

I met up with the WD in Paris.

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It had made the trip from LA. The WD had been packed with great care for the journey. The dress had already been through one security machine and one Air France closet.

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The bride walked out carrying the hanger high above her head with one arm. The dress was draped over her back. She wanted no help.

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We had a 12 hour layover in Paris until our next flight. The dress hung in a hotel closet while we had lunch and saw Versailles and the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The dress was happy. (Louis Vuitton Foundation designed by Frank Gehry)

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In the airport in Paris I noticed the bride’s arm had dropped a bit and the bottom of the dress was dragging on the floor. The bag was getting a bit dirty. The bride decided it was now to be a two person job. The mother of the bride was happy.

The dress went through a second security machine. ( In pre 9/11 travel this would not have happened) The mother of the bride was nervous but did not say anything.

We land in Johannesburg and change to South African Airways.

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The mood is festive. People start calling out “Is that my dress? Are you bringing this to me? Am I invited to the wedding?” There is a discussion at security as to the best way to put the dress through the machine safely. They straighten the bag carefully before it goes through. I’m beginning to see that a wedding dress in Africa is important business. We lay the dress on a bench carefully in the airport lounge. When no one is looking I open up the dress and check it. Three security machines are a lot to go through. The dress is fine.

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The mother and the mother in law are now both carrying assistants and happy to be doing it. The stewardess on South African Airways decides that the best place will be to lay it flat in the overhead compartment and moves the luggage so the dress can lie flat.

We arrive in Capetown and rent cars. The dress rides in the bigger one and reaches the hotel in Capetown quickly and unscathed. The other car is lost.

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The dress rests in the closet for a week in Capetown and prepares for its final flight to Skukusa.

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There is one more airport and security machine to go.  Everyone is excited.

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The maid of honor has arrived and is carrying the dress with the bride.

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The dress waits quietly for the most important moment of its life as the rest of us eat breakfast in the airport.

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We land in Skukusa.

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It is a a very different kind of airport.

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The luggage is loaded one last time.

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The dress goes on its final portion of the journey on the back of a jeep for an hour through Kruger National Park. (Under the groom’s suit for protection.)

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The dress sees its first elephant up close in Africa and realizes that it is a long way from Vera Wang.

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Fly Safe,

JAZ

Pray For Paris, Pray For The World

Pray For Paris, Pray For The World

“It was very sad, he thought. The things men carried inside. The things men did or felt they had to do.” Tim O Brian

The justification for terrorist killings is that there are no civilians. The people in a country pay taxes and fund anti terrorism. According to the terrorists, we are all at war. Terrorism is an abstract noun. It is hard to be at war with an abstract noun.

Terrorism happens when one group faces a much more powerful group where they have no chance of winning. Instead they attack other targets in the hopes that will put pressure on the governments. They attack the powerless. They create fear and chaos. They go after people on planes returning from a holiday, people in restaurants, watching a concert, at work or at a soccer match  –  all different ages, races, nationalities and in all different cities. The terrorists convince themselves that their targets are less than human. They use religion, history, past offenses, current offenses and always the bottom line is the pursuit of a more important goal than human life. Is it easier to kill when you don’t call it murder?

The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong. There is no argument and no excuse that can ever make it right. Terrorism is not part of faith.

We need to stop supporting the countries who fund terrorism. We need to stop our own  secret torturing, killing and cover ups. They don’t seem to be doing any good and give reason to the creation of more terrorists. We do need to defend ourselves.

Turning away refugees, xenophobia and fear of immigration is not an answer either. Didn’t we once return the persecuted back to Germany and Europe? Did we learn anything from closing our borders or putting the Japanese in camps  during World War II? We need to find a way to deal with the threats while honoring our ethical and moral obligations.

There was a surreal feeling in watching the footage of the events in Paris. It wasn’t a movie. People were dying who were just going about the business of life. The blood was not fake. The pregnant woman hanging on the wall saying she couldn’t hold on anymore was not acting. The guy hopping down the street was really shot in the leg.

I have always been fearful. I have the kind of brain that could put together hundreds of worst case scenarios on the way to anywhere. I mourn with the people of France. But fears in hand, I’m still going to Paris in the Spring. I realize that it is important to be aware, but to give in to the fears that random acts of violence create, is to let the terrorists win. #Dontbeterrorized.

Fly safe,
JAZ