Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

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Ten Places That I Want To Visit In The US

“The major advantage of domestic travel is that, with a few exceptions, most domestic locations are conveniently situated right here in the United States.” Dave Barry

I have not traveled much around the US. Other countries and cultures have always been much more interesting to me. Since we can’t go anywhere else right now, I made a list of the places I want to see in my own country. 

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone should see at some point during their lifetime.I have always been fascinated by geology and  it is a bucket list place for me. I’ve wanted to go on my birthday but it is supposedly freezing. There are so many ways to see the canyon that I get overwhelmed thinking about it but I will get there one day for sure. 

Marfa, Texas

I have been wanting to go to Marfa. The best way is to fly to El Paso and then make the three hour drive through nothing to Marfa. It is a hippie art town in the middle of Nowhere,Texas. It is all about the location, the art and the food. It sounds like it is totally my thing.

Kauai, Hawaii

 I have been to Hawaii many times but we always went to Maui or the Big Island. I have never been to Kauai and it is supposed to be the most beautiful island. There is something about lush, overgrown landscapes that I love. The old South Pacific movie was filmed  there.  It looks less developed than the islands I visit. The next time I go to Hawaii, that is where I will be. 

Big Sur, Carmel  and Monterey, California

It is crazy that I live in California and have never been to Big Sur and Monterey. Ii is a windy road trip and I get car sick so there is a reason- but still I could take dramamine.  The photos of  Big Sur are spectacular and how have I not walked down Cannery Row in Monterey? I’m a huge Steinbeck fan. (Big Sur)

Civil Rghts Tour – Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham (Georgia and Alabama)

I don’t think I can ever really understand American History without seeing the struggle of African Americans in the deep South. I want to see first hand the places, the memorials and the museums. When I was very young, my mother volunteered for Dr King. We grew up making posters for her marches for Civil Rights. When I was eight, I won a prize for a poster I made for her, that said “Arrest Discrimination-It’s Wanted For Murder.”  It is sad that after all this time, it is still true.  We can’t fix yesterday but the more of us that acknowledge and see the history, the more chance we have for reconciliation.  We are not the promise land but we have to do better.

Austin and Dallas, Texas

Austin looks like a city with a lot to do when it comes to art and culture and of course South by Southwest film festival. Live music is a lifestyle in Austin and it has become a foodie city as well. It seems to be a place people love and that is good enough for me. I am a history buff and I want to see the Texas Book Depository in Dallas where Kennedy was shot.The sixth floor has been turned into a museum which tells the story. I also want to see the  new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Cowgirl Museum, the Arts district and try some Texas barbecue. (Austin)

Zion, Brice and Yellowstone Parks (Utah and Wyoming)

Zion is the most visited National Park in Utah and one of the most popular parks in the country.  Pine trees dot the landscape in clusters and towering red rock cliffs rise on either side of the canyon. Carving through the center is the clear Virgin River. It’s supposed to be breathtaking and crowded. The landscape at Bryce Canyon National Park is filled with pillar-like red rock formations  which makes it one of the most unique landscapes in the world. I’m a huge fan of red rock landscapes all over the world and can’t wait to see it. Yellowstone is the oldest National Park in the world. It is weird that I have  been to geothermic parks in Iceland and New Zealand and have not seen Old Faithful and the geyser basin. I’m a little embarrassed that I have not been there yet. (Brice)

Niagara Falls, New York

Growing up in New York, Niagara Falls was a road trip. But we were not a road trip family. As a young adult it was not on my radar of cool places to go.  I have been to Iguazu and many beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and feel that I have to go to Niagara as well. The Niagara River lies on the border of Canada and The US. I want to see this epic power of nature on both the the American and Canadian side and I am prepared to get wet. 

Nashville  and Memphis Tennesee

Memphis is the home of Elvis Presley and where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. There is a Civil Rights Museum that tells the story.  I like music so why wouldn’t I want to see a place nicknamed “Home of the Blues” or “Birthplace of Rock and Roll”. Nashville is also named the Music City and it’s the home of the Grand Old Opry. This trip is going to involve a lot of street art, fried chicken, biscuits and barbecue. (Nashville)

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I have seen tons of movies, photos and parodies of Mt. Rushmore. I’ve seen special monuments in other countries but not ours. I’m expecting to be awestruck. It is a feat of art and engineering and right now I feel a need to see our Founding Fathers.

Stay safe,
JAZ

American Dream

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 American Dream

“Working as a janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol processing facility in Southwest Arizona from July 2003 until August 2014, I was greatly unsettled by the volume of food, clothing and personal belongings being thrown away at that facility.

Why would someone throw away a Bible or rosary? Why would someone throw away a wallet with someone’s identification and money? Why would a pair of shoes, for all intents and purposes “brand new”, be tossed in the trash?

How we treat others is a reflection of who we are. When belts, shoelaces, socks, shoes, underwear, pants, shirts, keys, jackets, rosaries, Bibles, watches, billfolds, coins, jewelry, cell-phones, pre-paid telephone cards, food, soap, deodorant, medicine, condoms, birth control pills and blankets are considered non-essential personal property and discarded, their disposal is a clear and intentional act of dehumanization. – Thomas Keifer

 El Sueno Americano – The American Dream is a heartbreaking series of conceptual still lifes on display at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles.

It focuses on objects collected when Thomas Keifer was a janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol processing facility in Southwest Arizona. 

He had moved from Los Angeles to Arizona. His dream was to photograph the American landscape but art doesn’t always pay the bills. He took a job as a janitor. 

The first stage of processing migrants caught trying to cross the border involved agents or people themselves going through their backpacks and emptying almost everything in them.  The items were taken and then discarded. 

There was a lot of non perishable food being left there and Thomas asked if he could donate it to a food bank nearby.

One day he saw a rosary, a bible and family photographs in the trash  and something clicked. He began to quietly take things from the garbage  and organized them by object. 

Thomas created an artistic work that documents stories of pain, possibility, loss, and hope.

This profound series focuses on simple things that migrants brought with them on their journeys–a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a pair of gloves–relics that had significant meaning to the original owner. (shoelaces)

This is what remains  of those seeking a better life on our side of the border.

Fly safe.

JAZ