Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In the World

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Ten Of The Most Friendly Countries In The World.

“People need to realize that we all share the same spirit that comes from God and from the earth.”Nganyintja

Even the most patriotic person might look at the chaos in our country and think – Why do I live here? Perhaps it is the inept politicians who tweet that are getting you down. If you decide to go anywhere else, where will you go? The world is a big place. I’ve composed a list of the most friendly and welcoming countries in the world. The research was interesting because every list that I looked at was different. Some were based on personal experience. I compiled a few and added in my own bias as well.

10. Sri Lankans are friendly, courteous and hospitable. They will come up to you at a tourist site, not to sell you something but to engage in a conversation. They are genuinely interested in how you like their country. Strangers will offer you food on a bus and wish you well on your journey. Everyone who visits Sri Lanka remembers the kindness of the people.

9. The Philippines came in consistently on top ten lists. Filipinos are friendly and spiritual. They try not to let the calamities and trials of life deter them. Everyone smiles and many people will talk to you. They are welcoming, curious and respectful.

8. Those clichés about Thailand being the “land of smiles” have a strong basis in truth They’re always happy, always smiling, extremely polite, and always helpful. Thais rarely steal or cause any problems. They have amazing memories — once a friend, always a friend.

7. According to WIN-Gallup 89% of Fijians report they are happy, making Fiji one of the happiest countries in the world. When you get off the plane in Fiji everyone is genuinely happy as they extend their greetings. Fijian people are dedicated to having meaningful interactions with their community, which leads to a strong influence on how they interact with those outside of their community as well. They are hospitable, approachable and will make a connection with anyone they come in contact with.

6. On the whole, the people in America are welcoming, sociable, good-natured, and polite. Our reputation is that we sue and shoot each other a lot and are xenophobic so the friendliness is unexpected.

5. Icelanders are very friendly and easy going.There is little violent crime in Iceland so they don’t have to be afraid of people they do not know. They are open-minded with little or no prejudice and love learning about different cultures and practicing their English.

4. Canadians are happier, live longer and have less financial inequality than most of the world. Murder rates in Canada  are very low. They have less on their mind when you run into them which apparently makes them friendly and welcoming. Canadians are polite, humble and nice. They are a small group of people living on a lot of land. Canadians have learned that to survive they have to watch out for one another.

3. In Ireland, the people are engaging, polite, and genuinely interested in others. Ask someone for directions and don’t be surprised if they take you there themselves. They are proud to call this place home. More importantly, they want this to feel like home to you. The Irish people are the underdogs and don’t take life too seriously. They understand that it’s the small things and the people who matter.

2. Australians are known for having a casual attitude to life. They tend to look at the lighter side in difficult situations. Australian are incredibly friendly and fun. The men are good-looking with an adorable accent. The girls and gorgeous.So are the beaches. The pace of life is generally a lot slower here than in many other countries.  The standard of living in Australia is high by world standards so most people don’t have the daily pressure of survival to contend with. It’s amazing the difference those two factors have on people’s outlook on life.

1.New Zealand is rated as the world’s friendliest country on a lot of lists. It is definitely far enough from the rest of the world to be uninvolved in international stress. They have quality government programs and an emphasis on family outdoor activities. It is ridiculously beautiful and has great coffee as well. New Zealanders are laid back, welcoming and friendly.

Other friendly country include Uganda, Senegal, Turkey, Morocco, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Viet Nam and Nepal.

 

Fly safe,
JAZ

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30 Songs That Inspired Me To Travel

30 Songs That Inspired Me To Travel

“There must be some kind of way out of here,’ said the joker to the thief..” Bob Dylan

Music is called the universal language. Songs are successful in communicating ideas and feelings to everyone who hears them. I listen to different songs depending on my moods. A song resonates with me when I hear it and I think, how did they know that is how I was feeling?

These songs always took me somewhere else. Sometimes it was the poetry in the lyrics or music that made me want to travel. Other times it was the foreign language and melody.   I picked a few to play. They are in order of my memory of the titles. i have them all on iTunes.  Enjoy them.

America – Simon and Garfunkel

Bamboleo – Gypsy Kings

Marilou Sous La Niege – Serge Gainsbourg

Scatterlings of Africa – Johnny Clegg and Juluka

Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter Paul and Mary

Guantanamera – Lucca Feliciano

A Rainy Night In Soho – Pogues

One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head

Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons

New York State Of Mind – Billy Joel

Sorrow (Your Heart) – Trevor Rabin

Jerusalem – Matisyahu

Les Champs-Elysees – Joe Dassin

City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) – Peter Sarstedt

Africa – Toto

Budapest – George Ezra

Carolina Day – Livingston Taylor

Diablo Rojo – Rodrigo and Gabriela

99 Luftballons – Nena

Rubylove – Cat Stevens

Mexico James Taylor

Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club

Ca Plane Pour Moi – Plastic Bertrand

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Mozambique – Bob Dylan

Here There And Everywhere – Beatles

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Am I Prejudiced In America?

Am I Prejudiced In America?

“People who insist on dividing the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ never contemplate that they may be someone else’s ‘Them’.” Ray Davis

Donald Sterling said he was not a racist after making racial slurs. This made me wonder how you decide if you are a racist. I took some online tests. According to the internet, I am not. But I already knew that.

The more serious question for me as a“tolerant” liberal is, am I prejudiced? And if so against who? There was a period in my life where I would only have pretty friends. Was I vain and shallow or prejudiced against ugly people?  My daughter told someone I would never have a fat dog. Does that make me a bigot where fat dogs are concerned?

In Germany, I loved the beer, sausages, pretzels, art and scenery. But I did find myself looking at groups of older Germans picturing them in Nazi uniforms saying Heil Hitler. Do I discriminate against old Germans?

Growing up in New York City, I was surrounded by different immigrant populations.  I heard many foreign languages daily.   In fact, my friend and I would often converse on the subway in a made up language and watch people try to figure out what we were speaking.  I have lived in LA and Miami so I am very comfortable around Spanish-speaking people. But how would I feel at Anderson Cooper’s family reunion (according to not reliable Wikipedia his ancestors have been here for a long time)?  Does that qualify as a prejudice against non recent immigrants or people who were here before the Civil War?

I think I would probably be fearful visiting a small town in the South or Middle America alone.  Would that make me intolerant toward Americans who don’t live in big cities?

I love intelligence, hate math, like creative types, dislike politicians and hate divorce. Does that make me biased against stupid people, people who leave their families, mathematicians, people with boring jobs and the government?

Many Americans have a bias against the elderly. Was I one of them? My mother once told me that people talked down to old people so I try to be aware of that.  I’m getting older. Now I look at them and think which one am I going to be? I’m definitely nicer now that it concerns me.

What about unconscious prejudice? Those are cultural lessons that we have learned over a lifetime. They can be passed on by mass media, parents, peers and other members of society.

Children as young as three can pick up prejudice without even knowing what it is. When my son was six he brought a New Kids On the Block lunchbox to school. Some of the older kids teased him and called him a faggot. He came home crying. I explained it as a very unkind word to my six-year-old. My three-year old daughter heard all of this. A few days later, an adult friend who she adored said he couldn’t come to her birthday party . She was upset and angry. She thought of the most unkind word she could think of, the one that made her brother cry and she called him a faggot. He happened to have been gay and though I tried to explain it, he never spoke to us again.

As a Caucasian person, I see racism in America as much better than when I was growing up. But the African-American , Latino, Gay, and Muslim communities say different things. So I listen, read and learn more. I try not to walk in their heads with my dirty feet as Leo Buscaglia would say. I keep traveling. The further out of my comfort zone I go, the more tolerant my world becomes. The tolerance along with education and understanding, is the beginning of acceptance.

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Ten Most Dangerous Countries Not To Visit Right Now

Ten Most Dangerous Countries Not To Visit Right Now

“Hitler didn’t travel. Stalin didn’t travel. Saddam Hussein never traveled. They didn’t want to have their orthodoxy challenged.” — Howard Gardner

I was thinking about the countries I would be most afraid to travel to. I decided to look on the internet at other people’s lists. Many  countries were the same – the usual suspects, unstable governments, high crime rates, drug cartels, terrorists, kidnappings – all things that could ruin a vacation. There were a couple of surprises. Russia and the United States were on a few top ten lists. The reason is that we have enemies. We invaded countries and had a major terrorist attack. We have gangs, crime, drug problems and random, crazy shootings. There are people from peaceful countries that are afraid to come here.

The list of dangerous countries changes with economic and political stability.  I’m not sure of what the time limit is but when a certain amount of time passes and nothing terrible happens, people start traveling to a country on the danger list again. They are not in order because the order changes  based on acts of violence.  Some of these countries have been on this list for a very long time.

1. Syria 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. Thousands of people have already been injured or killed. If you insist on going, travel with an armed guard. If you are stopped, they will assume you have picked a side and you could be executed.

2. Afghanistan  It is probably not a good idea to travel to Afghanistan especially if you are from a country in the NATO Alliance. The Taliban  has issued a threat against every citizen of these countries. The American government has pretty much issued the same travel advisory about Afghanistan.  There are a few tourists but keeping them safe is difficult.  Some of them have not come back. Afghanistan has spectacular scenery. There are snow-capped mountains in the Hindu Kush and Pamir ranges, Buddhist monuments and Islāmic temples,. No one knows  if it will ever be safe for tourism because it is ten years after the international community has come in and it is still unsafe.

3. Iraq  As the cradle of civilization, Iraq  has always been a pilgrimage site. The lack of security, daily bombings, shootings, and unstable infrastructure make it very difficult to even get a tourist visa. The few western tourists that come to Iraq,  travel with an armed guard in an unmarked vehicle. They try to blend in and not call attention to themselves, and are stopped at many checkpoints. The violence seems to be getting worse so the small tourism that they do have will soon decrease.

4.Venezuela   There is no travel advisory for Venezuela other than avoiding the Colombian border. There are violent street demonstrations, kidnappings and armed robbery. It doesn’t help that Venezuela has one of the top five murder rates in the world.  (Jamaica’s is higher and they have plenty of tourists)  A  friend of mine who travels with the World Athletic Organization  said that he never felt fearful except after landing in Venezuela. It felt like anything could happen in that country. Chavez shut off the internet the weekend he was there.  Whatever improvements the Chavez government brought to Venezuela, tourism wasn’t one of them. The situation has improved since his death, but due to crazy monetary policies, it is hard to attract foreign investments and even tourists. Venezuela has the Andes, the Amazon rainforest, the world’s tallest waterfalls and an amazing Caribbean coastline but they have a lot of damage to undo before there is even pre Chavez tourism.

5. Somalia The situation in Somalia is getting better after a twenty year conflict. A traveler still has to travel with armed guards. The first tourist came to Somalia a couple of years ago. He was retired and visiting all the countries in the world and wanted to check Somalia off his list.  At first, no one believed that he was a tourist. The story made all the newspapers. It is a beautiful country with fantastic beaches and the hope is that there will be peace, tourism and economic stability with this new election.

6. Pakistan Tourism in Pakistan has definitely been declining over the last twelve years. But the mountain climbing community was undeterred. Five of the world’s fourteen highest mountain peaks are in the Gilgit-Baltistan range, which includes K2, the second highest mountain in the world. Last year the Taliban killed ten climbers at the base camp of Nanga Parbat. The mountain climbers who bring so much revenue to the region, stopped coming and that loss has been staggering. The US government feels that we are at risk for random attacks from Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups  throughout Pakistan. The British government advises against travel to Pakistan due to random terrorist attacks and violence.

7. Sudan is the third largest country in Africa and has been affected by civil war for the last forty years. Seeing the Blue and White Nile River and camel market at Khartoum sound appealing, but the recent indictment of Sudan’s president for war crimes and the killing and starvation in Darfur might make it a less than perfect travel destination.  Southern Sudan is considered extremely dangerous due to bandits and terrorist attacks. There is a general threat of terrorism throughout the Sudan and tourists should avoid protests, demonstrations and anywhere there are large gatherings of people. The Australian government asks that people reconsider their need to go there due to violent civil unrest and kidnappings.

8. Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Africa’s most interesting countries. Travelers want to see the Congo River, volcanoes and gorillas. The area is plagued with  extreme violence, instability, kidnappings, robberies and warlords. The travel advisory is don’t go unless you have to or unless you are Anthony Bourdain.

9. Libya is in a state of political instability due to a weak provisional government replacing the Gaddafi regime. There is still fighting between armed militia groups. If you are already in Libya, stay away from large public gatherings, demonstrations, and sites of civil or militia conflict. As of January 2014 the assassination campaign that was mainly targeting Libyans has now begun to affect foreign visitors. It would not be a bad idea to postpone your travel plans to Libya unless of course you are Anthony Bourdain.

10. North Korea I had trouble picking my tenth country. I couldn’t decide between Iran, Egypt, Burundi and North Korea. They are all good choices for dangerous. I went with North Korea because they have nuclear weapons and they make it very difficult to visit. Going in and out of the country is hard and you could be “detained” as an American for the slightest negative remark. This makes it difficult for someone like me without a good filter. Arbitrary arrest of Americans is common.  Walking around without your guide can get you both in trouble. Talking to North Koreans without permission can get you all in trouble. It’s never a good idea to travel to a country that America has recently severed diplomatic relations with if you happen to be American.

Writing this I felt real gratitude to my grandparents that I never met for getting on that boat and coming to America. I appreciate the freedom, comfort and privileges of living here that I usually take for granted. Things aren’t so great with our country right now but maybe the message in the mess is that we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do better.

Fly safe,

JAZ