Capoeira In Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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Capoeira In Salvador,  Bahia, Brazil

“It is the paradox of truly perceiving that the more you do the less effective you are, and the more you hide the more you show.”  Kevin Jackson

Capoeira is a springy, close-to-the-ground style of kick boxing, with touches of karate and ballet. It’s more of a dance than a fight. You just get into a position where you could hit the other person if you wanted to. The idea is not only to out fight your opponent but to humiliate him with subterfuge, style, and attitude.

It was brought to Bahia by the African slaves hundreds of years ago. Learning how to fight was illegal for slaves, so they added in bits of dance and music so their masters didn’t get suspicious.  There is a mixture of different African dance moves in there as well. It became its own thing in Bahia and then it spread across the rest of country. The twang of the lute like berimbau accompanies the movements.

 The first  capoeira school  was founded by Mestre Bimba in 1932 which was eight years before capoeira was finally made legal to practice in Brazil.

We were at the school where a capoeira master  demonstrated some of the movements.The Filhos de Bimba Escola de Capoeira (FBEC), is located in the historic centre of Salvador da Bahia, the Pelourinho. It was founded on June 10, 1986 by Manoel Nascimento Machado, known as Mestre Nenel. Mestre Nenel is continuing the work of his father – the famous Mestre Bimba.

FBEC

Capoeira is a marketable commodity in Salvador. Many tourists come to take class and watch demonstrations. It definitely helps the economy.

Capoeira seems to be more about perfecting the ritual of the ceremony and performing it well, then actually winning. Wanting to win, not giving up and doing it better than you did before seems to be a lesson of capoeira and life.

Fly safe,
JAZ

 

 

Visiting My Friends At The Museum Of Modern Art, New York

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Visiting My Friends At the Museum Of Modern Art, New York

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”Pablo Picasso

I didn’t know until I was in Junior High School that everyone did not grow up looking at Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Water Lillies. For whatever reason my family spent a lot of time at the Museum Of Modern Art. I don’t know if it was because we loved it or because my mother was legally blind and could see the bright splashes of color. It was our museum.

MOMA was a lot smaller and has been through several renovations but some of the paintings that I loved are still there. I never go to NY without a trip to MOMA to say hello to my paintings.

My first memory is of Henri Rousseau’s Sleeping Gypsy which was located at the beginning of the gallery. I was looking at a fantasy world more magical then anything I could have imagined.

Picasso’s Dancers, Three Musicians and Matisse’s Dance always put a smile on my face, even if I was not in a good mood.

Jackson Pollack and Yves Klein’s Blue made me question the sanity of the adults in charge of the museum when I was very young. “I could do that,” I would say and my mother would laugh.

 I would stand in front of Picasso’s Guernica and focus on a different part each time. It was from Guernica that I learned about war. The painting was returned to Spain in 1980 which was the year I left New York. I’ve stood in front of it at the Reina Sofia and was surprised at how much smaller it was now that I am an adult. As a kid, it felt like the largest, loudest painting, I had ever seen.

The new MOMA is much bigger and very beautiful. Walking through the building  is disorienting to me. and finding my friends is a lot harder.

  But, the white walls filled with art are as calming to me now as they were in my childhood.

 I look at the crowd of people and security guard in front of Starry Night and remember how many times  I stood in front of it alone. “This is a very  famous painting  and we are so lucky that we get to see it so often,” my mother would say.

I smile at the Picassos, Cezannes and Matisses.  I find familiar Mark Rothkos, Mondrians, and my favorite childhood sculpture Brancusi’s Fish.

We miss the Water Lillies. and go back-just because. 

It is still a wonderful modern art museum and I leave thinking how much the city had changed. I swear that Magritte’s Eye winked at me on the way out. 

Fly safe,

JAZ 

Things That I Learned From A Four Year Old In NYC

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  Things That I Learned From A Four Year Old in NYC.

“If you are ever in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy.  They still have the ability to take the greatest pleasure in the simplest thing.” Amor Towles

 She is not four. She is four and eight  months. Clarification is always  important.

When your pee is yellow, you are not drinking enough water.

 Slime falling all over your body can be considered a good thing. (Sloomoo Institute)

A newspaper is something Grandpa has.

Bows can be as much fun the presents. Objects like bows and wrapping paper can stimulate your imagination. What can I do with this? How else can I use it? Meaningless items become valuable tools for thought processes. 

Sometimes, it can be dark and interesting and not always dark and scary.

When you feel shy, you just need a friend to come with you and then it is fine.(FAO Schwartz)

A round building is even more fun than what is inside. (Guggenheim Museum)

 If you walk up to a monster who is moving his arms, he might just be saying hello.

Being able to buy all the candy you want in a candy store is more fun than eating it. Retail therapy can be soothing to the soul. (Dylan’s Candy Store)

A square wheel can work on a tricycle if you change the ground it rides on. A new idea can change the way you think. (Museum of Mathematics)

A  lollipop to one person is just as good as caviar to another on New Years Eve. (Nomad Hotel)

Fly safe,

JAZ

Countries With the Least Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Least Travel Friendly Passports

“Our fate, like the fate of all species, is determined by chance, by circumstance, and by grace.”  Terry Tempest Williams

If you are looking to gain entry to more countries around the globe without a visa, you  better hope that you are from a nation that doesn’t have terrorist activity.  Citizens of many developing countries and of nations ravaged by conflict have a significantly harder time crossing borders than those of most other nations. Here are the countries with the lowest number of visa free countries to visit.

Afghanistan has the least access to visa free travel with only  24 countries they can visit without one. Afghanistan also comes in second on the list of Countries That Americans Hate. There is no shocker here.

Iraq follows with 27. In addition to ISIS and terrorist bombings, Iraq is the fifth on the list of  Hottest CountrIes In The World. On some days you cannot stand in the sun for even a few minutes.

Syria has 29 countries to go to without a visa. Syria is also the Most Dangerous Country To Visit.  If you are in Syria, you should leave immediately. Kidnapping  of foreign nationals, terrorism, polio and ongoing military clashes make it an extremely dangerous place to be at the moment.

Pakistan comes in with 30 countries to visit visa free. They come in first as the Country With The Worst Air Pollution.The harm caused by air pollution in Pakistan’s urban areas exceeds most other high-profile causes of mortality in the country, including traffic-related accidents. 

Somalia’s number is 31. Somalia does take the lead as the world’s most corrupt country. Three decades of war and droughts forced half of the population to be dependent on foreign food aid shipments which are controlled by the local warlords. Desperation turns ordinary citizens into pirates on the many Somalian pirate ships to feed their families.

Yemen is 33. Yemen is also in the top twenty for Most Corrupt Countries In The World.

Libya, Palestinian Territory and Sudan can visit 37. It makes sense based on how this list is playing out. Libya and Sudan are in the top ten for Most Dangerous and Most Corrupt Countries To Visit. Palestine has terrorists. (Libya)

Nepal can visit 38. Nepal is in the top twenty for Friendliest Countries In The World and a bucket list place for me. It is also tenth for Air Pollution.

Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon and North Korea tie for 39 countries. North Korea comes in second for Corruption and tenth for Most  Dangerous Country To Visit. Iran comes in at number five for Least Friendly Country In The World. Eritrea falls in the top ten for Poorest Countries In The World. Bangladesh ranks four in Countries With The Most Air Pollution. Lebanon comes in third in Countries With Most Smokers.

Fly safe,

Jayne

25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

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 25 Things That I Want To Do In 2020

“I’m too busy working on my own grass to know if yours is greener” unknown

Spend New Year’s Eve In NY.

Go to Paris.

Practice Qi Gong.

Spend some time in Provence.

Practice Tai Chi.

Go to a spa in Baden Baden.

Try to see the glass half full.

Work on my anxiety.

Meditate every day.

Try to be more organized.

Get a system. 

Take a train from Adelaide to Darwin.

Look up less random things on the Internet.

Go to Germany.

Walk my dog every day.

Go to Marfa.

Think before I speak.

Do more art things in LA.

Buy a smaller suitcase.

Drive less during traffic hours. LA is getting crazy.

Write things down.

Go somewhere special for the BF’s big birthday.

Breathe.

Be grateful.

Let it go.

Happy New Year  and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

Christmas

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 Christmas

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss

Once upon a time there was a Christmas at Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico  with Santa coming in on a surfboard.There was  skiiing in Steamboat Springs and beaches in Puerto  Valllarta  and Cancun. There were a lot of skiing  and ice skating Christmases  when I was growing up. 

There were Christmases after my husband left. There was one in San Francisco where my daughter danced and I contemplated suicide (I’m not the type that does it  – you can’t use mileage).

There were many Christmases in Palm Springs and New York City with family, holiday windows and  lots of theatre. Christmases at home meant  Christmas Eve dinners,  Christmas Day open houses, Christmas movie with deli or with Chinese food. 

My Christmases have varied throughout the years. Some years I was lonely. Some years I was happy. Each year was different and if I did not try to hang on to the past, each Christmas was special in its own way. 

There were Christmases with  couples, babies, small kids, teenagers, adult children and grandparents.  There were Christmases with family, family friends, old friends, new friends and there are Christmases alone. 

Christmas is part of the human experience. It is not the overly commercialized “Holidays” that the media would like us to believe it is. It is a time of nostalgia, remembering how you used to feel about Christmas as a kid, remembering loss of  innocence, a family member, pet or time that once was.

You have to celebrate Christmas, your way.  Don’t worry about what other people are doing, what people on TV are doing, what you think you should be doing  or what others think you should be doing, 

You are creating your story. The story of what it was like to live here and be you on Christmas.  Everything changes but our memories. These are the stories we hang on to. It is our stories that connect us to people. Every Christmas adds another chapter to the Christmas story.  They are not all wonderful – for everyone. But I think if you look back on a lifetime of Christmas memories there will be many happy moments.

This is a repost of an old blog. This Christmas involves ham and potato latkes, walking on the  beach and jewelry. It sounds like it will be good one.

Happy Holidays and Fly Safe,

JAZ

Looking for Jaguars, Pantanal, Brazil

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“Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.”  Suzy Kassem

Spotting a jaguar in its natural habitat is one of those surreal experiences. One of the best places to spot them is in the Pantanal, Brazil. It is easier to find them here because there are less places to hide than in the Amazon. (photo Emilio White)

Oncafari is a jaguar conservation project on the grounds of the Caiman Reserve in Brazil. We set off in our jaguar printed vehicle to spend the day with Oncafari. Victoria is our expert guide.

As in Africa, Oncafari has worked to habituate the jaguars to the sight and sound of the vehicles.Some of them have tracking collars and we can follow them deep into the bush. Victoria points out animal and bird sightings along the way.

This beautiful female jaguar with piercing green eyes is sitting in the bushes. It was not bothered by our presence and eventually strolls back in the brush.

The pattern of a jaguar’s spots is unique to every individual, allowing Victoria to identify this  particular jaguar.

 Later we learn more about the Oncafari project and how they use radio collars to monitor the jaguars. Camera traps are set up throughout the reserve to allow Onçafari to keep track of their jaguars without the jaguars ever knowing they’re being monitored. Jaguar sightings have increased at Caiman over the past seven years due to the success of Onçafari’s habituation program and the stability of the refuge’s jaguar population. 

In the afternoon, we are less successful. But we finally find a jaguar hidden in the bush and track him for a while.(photo Emilio White)

The next day we spot a jaguar sitting under a tree near the water. Four capybaras (very large rodents) are at the water’s edge not moving.

A herd of cows look back and forth from the capybaras to the jaguar as if they are watching a tennis game. The jaguar sprints to the water’s edge.The capybaras dive under the water where they can only stay for two minutes.

The capybaras run out of the water into the brush. The jaguar follows. There is a rustling but no noise. Three capybaras run out of the brush into the water. The jaguar paces at the water edge and makes some noises. Another jaguar appears. It is her daughter..(photo Emilio White)

Eight caiman rase their heads out of the water. Eventually the jaguars leave. The three remaining capybaras run away and the caimans go back under the water. When it is all over, the cows drink the water. A guide from Oncafari goes into the bushes and takes a picture of the dead capybara.

The jaguar had bitten his neck and he died instantly without noise. The jaguars may or may not come  back later and eat. 

The only sound is the jeep and the birds. It the kind of quiet that reminds me that I am a long way from home and it is not a good day  to be a capybara.

Fly safe,

JAZ