Staying Sane In An Insane World

“The most insane things can become normal if you have them around you long enough. A mind can’t seem to hold anything too crazy for too long without finding a way to make it seem normal.” Deb Caletti

You can get used to anything. You think you can’t but you can. When I came home from New Zealand I had horrible anxiety every time I turned on the TV. There was another Presidential order that was always badly rolled out and more protests. There is way too much bad news bombarding us twenty-four hours a day.

A few weeks later, I just feel numb. I am becoming desensitized. Things were said today  that went almost unnoticed. A month ago they would have been front page news. What is going on in America is wrong and it takes all my sanity to get through the day. In the midst of all this I am trying to live a conscious life of kindness and intelligence. Just because America is going insane does not mean that I have to follow.

The cause of these external events have been a long time in the making. They did not just happen. There are no simple answers. Finding a scapegoat to blame sounds very fascist to me. It’s the Muslims. It’s the Feminists. It’s the Immigrants. It’s the Jews. It’s the NRA.  It’s the Whites. It’s the Blacks. It’s ISIS. It’s the Environmentalists. It’s the Left. It’s the RIght. It is so convenient to have someone to blame – especially when said in a confident, authoritative voice. It’s becoming really hard to separate the real threats from the manufactured ones.

Here are some real threats. There are 117 suicides in the U.S. each day compared to 43 murders. There are 129 deaths from accidental drug overdoses. Ninety six  people a day die  in automobile accidents (27 of whom aren’t wearing seat belts)There are 1,315 deaths each day due to smoking, and 890 related to obesity, and all the other preventable deaths from strokes, heart attacks and liver disease.

I need meditation and yoga in my life now.  I can’t exhale this out. Beaches and travel help. I allow a short time period to watch the news and take days off. It looks to me like all this fear mongering is illogical. We are the biggest threat to ourselves.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Things I Have Learned In Tel Aviv, Israel

Things I Have Learned In Tel Aviv, Israel

“The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.”  Bob Hope

Tel Aviv is called “the city that never sleeps”

Tel Aviv is Israel’s second largest city in Israel.The city is the center of economy, culture and the media of Israel.

The Tel Aviv Museum Of Art designed by Preston Scott Cohen is all beautiful light and angles.

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I loved the exhibition by David Tartakover.

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He is a famous Israeli artist who took on the county’s political history with his minimalist poster designs.

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There are over one hundred sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv…making it the city with  the  most sushi restaurants per capita after Tokyo and New York. I did not eat sushi there. It was very hot out and I was not feeling the raw fish thing. 

Jaffa is the old port city in the southern part of Tel Aviv.

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It is a big tourist attraction with Jews, Arabs, artists, galleries, a flea market (Shuk Hapishpishim), restaurants and bars all coexist in the historic buildings.

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Jaffa’s ancient past is still being excavated.Part of the fun of old Jaffa is exploring its winding streets and alleyways down to the port. 

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The port has been gentrified but  you can  see fishermen throw out their nets and  hear the call to prayer.

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It takes a little less than an hour to drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (43 miles).

Tel Aviv is also known as the “white city”, for some old zones of Tel Aviv, with more than 4,000 structures associated with he Bauhaus style of architecture.

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Every Tuesday and Friday, hundreds of residents and visitors make their way to the  Nahalat Binyamin Arts And Crafts Fair. 

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 Since 1987, this street fair has more than two hundred artists and craftspeople selling ceramics, jewelry, toys, wood art, blown glass, wearable art and recycled creations. There’s a committee selection process to ensure quality.

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The Carmel Market, known in Hebrew as the Shuk HaKarmel, is one of the must-sees in Tel Aviv. They sell everything from cds and clothes to fresh fruit and produce. It is one of the best places to try street food in Tel Aviv.

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Friday (when I was there) is the most crowded time to visit the market.

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Every one hundred meters in Tel Aviv there is a juice stand. They all somehow manage to make a living. In the last decade the city exploded with juice stalls. Pomegranate juice is my favorite.

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The city has thirteen official beaches.

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You will find in every declared beach, free changing rooms, toilets, lifeguard supervision and rescue station, chairs, umbrellas and sun beds for rent.

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Rescuers’ working hours are 7am -7pm.

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Tel Aviv’s climate could almost be interchangeable with Miami. Heat and humidity rule for most of the year and winters are mild.

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Eighteen out of Israel’s thirty five  performing arts centers are located in Tel Aviv.

The emblem of Tel Aviv was designed by artist Nahum Guttman in the 1950s and features seven stars to represent the seven-hour working day that Zionist thinker Theodor Herzl held to be the ideal work day.

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.Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel’s cafe culture.  Many of the cafes founded before Israel became a state in 1948 are still popular today.

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טיולים בטוחים,

JAZ

Things People Like To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel With A Little Help From My Friends

Things People Like To Do In Tel Aviv With A Little Help from My Friends

“In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles” David Ben-Gurion

I like TA for the reasons I like any big city. I like to start at one end and just walk around and walk and get lost and learn a new neighborhood with each turn. TA is as varied as they come. And last time I was there, I got introduced to NAMAL, the sports center which now house restaurants and pubs,tons of music each and overnight of the week and has enough for little kids to do as well. They host an oneg shabbat apparently that gets thousands of people each Friday night. And you can spend time there, walk down the beach, through the gay area, down past the fancy hotels, where you might find Israeli Dancing and then keep on walking through ice cream spots for tourists and down right into Jaffa. A mass of odd delights and history. MA

Go to this gallery:  http://www.alonsegev.com/
Stay at the Hotel Diagalev if you can. Go to a concert or ballet at the big performing arts center. IT”S AMAZING THERE. SH

Shopping in Neve Tzedek.  Cute trendy stores.  I bought great sandals there.
Also there are fabulous museums.  The Palmach Museum is interactive.  Don’t know how far it is from Tel Aviv. JL

Though Tel Aviv has a number of attractions, sitting in an outdoor restaurant at the seaside eating fresh fish is one favorite. Also going to the flea markets and seeing what treasures I can find. HM

Falafel falafel falafel oh and hummus. it never tastes the same anywhere else. JZ

Tel Aviv is the most special city! I did a Bauhaus walking tour. I think it started from the Bauhaus center/bookstore/museum on Dizengoff Street. I also liked walking around Jaffa and visiting the different markets. Of course, the beach.RA

The Hacarmel market is a large lively market selling fresh produce, fish, meat, cheese, flowers and souvenirs. It gets very crowded with locals and tourists so go early.Its fun to pick up food and head over to Hayarkon Park for a picnic lunch. GP

I loved going to HaTachanah, the Ottoman Train Station. It is a delightful place to spend a day. I loved walking on the promenade at the beach at sunset/twilight.There are very cool restaurants like Hazaken v’Hayam for a great lunch (dinner, too, but we loved lunch there). Messa and Deca are both very hip and very cool spots! LOB

Tel Aviv has amazing beaches. There are more relaxed local beaches to the South and fancier beaches near the five-star hotels. SL

I love old Jaffa. There are artist’s workshops gardens,
restaurants, cool stores and flea markets. Tel Aviv is one of the best party cities in the world. There are so many clubs, bars and restaurants to try. EC

Fly safe,

JAZ

My Top Ten Instagram Photos This Year (travelwellflysafe)

“Just give me a thousand words and you may make your own pictures.”
Erica Goros

I have been instagramming for about half of the year. I see the world in pictures anyway so it is really fun for me. I learn as I go. I have “internet brain” now. i think it’s going to be a real thing. It is getting harder and harder to immerse myself in a book or lengthy article. It is much easier to spend time looking at photos that have nothing to do with anything, places I want to go or have been or finding the perfect emoji to put on my comment. My topic hopping, time-wasting, hashtagging, bad spelling sessions have resulted in this blog. (No particular order)

#sunset (Yesilkurt,Turkey)

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#hiking in#redmountain (St. George, Utah)

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impossibly#wide #beach (Marajo, Brazil)

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Can you take a bad #Venice photo? (Italy)

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#car in#cuba (Varadero,Cuba)

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#streetart in #bogota (Colombia)

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Holding up the #mountain just noticed the #cross (Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina)

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#cactus or #cacti  (Jujuy, Argentina)

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#sunset makes the best #photo (Izmir, Turkey)

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Another boring day in #marajo (Belém, Brazil)

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None of my LA photos made it into the top ten. Instagram likes me out-of-town, with mountains, a beach and a great sunset. I agree.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

Paraty, Brazil

Paraty

You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person. ~Alec Waugh

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Halfway between São Paulo and Rio on the Costa Verde is the perfectly preserved Portuguese colonial town of Paraty. ( pronounced pa ra chee)

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In the seventeenth century,it was decided that all merchandise shipped to Portugal would pass through the state of Rio de Janeiro. Paraty’s whole existence was based on shipping gold mined from further inland Brazil. Huge finds of gold in the mines of Minas Gerais led to soaring tax incomes and the town quickly expanded with the new wealth. It was during this period that most of the houses you can see today were built. Paraty (which means “river of fish” in the Tupi language) became an important gold port and was the end of the infamous “Gold Trail”.

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Walking those streets is like entering a time capsule. Cars are not allowed in the historic city center. Horse and carts stand around like it is the eighteen hundreds.

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The huge cobblestones were from the ships coming to load up gold. Slaves pounded them into place, at least the ones who were not mining. Portuguese engineers deliberately constructed Paraty so that the high tide could enter the streets at full moon, flooding the streets and taking the garbage out to sea.

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Never wear heels. The cobblestones are uneven and difficult to walk on even if you have lived there all your life. It is even harder when they are wet.

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With mines running dry of gold in the late 18th century the importance of Paraty diminished. A lucrative slave trade continued, labour was needed for the ever-growing coffee plantations. When that ended so did Paraty´s importance. Production of cachaça, the Brazilian sugarcane grew considerably. and the name Paraty became synonymous with the liquor. At one point there were over 150 distilleries in the area.

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There are three colonial era churches, each with their own splendor and history. One for slaves, one for free mulattoes and one for the élite.

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The town stayed pretty quiet after that until 1973 with the opening of the highway BR-101 which started a tourist cycle that continues today. ( We ran into a Portuguese- African holiday celebration- tourists and locals)

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The historic town center is about thirty blocks filled with stores, restaurants, galleries and history.

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The buildings are painted white with the doors and window frames painted a particular bright color.

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Mail can still be delivered based on writing down the color of the doors.

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Doors always invite you to imagine who lives behind them and who enters through them. Rules about remodeling these Unesco houses are strict. Doors can be windows. Windows can not be doors.

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The first International Literary Festival of Paraty in 2003 put Brazil, and Paraty, on the map of international literary festivals. I stayed at Posada Literatura which has a book store attached, a reading room and  books in your room.

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We had dinner and a cooking class and the home of Richard and Yara Roberts. Richard began with a caipirinha lesson followed by Yara’s delicious food from Bahia.

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Their knowledge of Brazilian cuisine and history made the evening both delicious and fascinating.

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Their house and art is beautiful as well. It was a wonderful way to spend a rainy night in Paraty.http://www.chefbrasil.com

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Paraty is a beach paradise.

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If the weather is good take a day boat tour of the islands and beaches in the Bay of Paraty.

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Though there are no really good beaches in walking distance, there are sixty-five islands and three hundred beaches in the bay.

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There is always fresh fish for lunch.

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and snorkeling.

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The boats range from about nine dollars to private yachts and everything in between

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Being on boat, going to these beautiful beaches makes life feel pretty easy.

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Gabriel, thanks for the interesting history lesson and for sharing the stories of the place where you grew up.

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Tenha Uma Boa Viagem,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Brazil

Things I Have Learned In Brazil

“The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams – each according to his or her own talent.” Paul Coelho

The name Brazil comes from the brazilwood tree (which I’m sure I took pictures of but have so many tree photos in the Amazon). In Portuguese it is called pau brazil. The tree produces a deep red dye, highly valued in the European clothing industry and was the first commercially exploited product in Brazil.

The Brazil nut tree is a different tree only found in the Amazon. (Belem)

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Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese and the largest Portuguese speaking country. It is very hard to understand Portuguese but easy to read if you speak Spanish. The pronunciation is very different from the spelling that we are used to. Very few people speak Spanish which is interesting considering all their neighboring countries do. They teach English in the schools instead. (Paraty, pronounced para-chee.  We have cold beer and cake?)

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Brazil does not like conflict or war. They don’t even like to say the word war.  When a civil war breaks out they call it a revolution.

Brazil sent three thousand soldiers to World War II reluctantly on the side of Italy and Germany but quickly changed sides when the opportunity presented itself to do so.

There are more species of monkeys in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. This is a very hungry marmoset. I was being nice and offered to share my banana because I was hungry also. He  came very close to me and started screaming and showing his teeth for the rest of it. They may look cute but they are predators. Everyone else got the good pictures. I was dealing with the banana. Guess who won?  (Rio pronounced Rio)

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Brazilian food is super good. (Belem street food -Tacaca with shrimp and jambu)

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Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. it is made with cachaca. (pronounced ca-chasa) (Paraty)

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Brazil’s homicide rate is 25 per 100,000 people. This is the closest photo I had. I was getting a tour of the opera house in Belem when I turned my head and saw a cop with a gun in someone’s back. If it was the US, they probably would have shot him.

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The longest traffic jam in the world took place in Brazil.

There are at least 15 girls in every favela more beautiful than Beyoncé.

Street art is all over Brazil ,from professional or crude to tagging. (São Paulo – Cobra)

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54% of the population has European ancestry.
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The Acai berry is grown in Brazil, which is believed to prevent cancer, help with weight loss, detoxification and general health issues. There is a lot of acai in the Amazon. It is not a superfood – it is just food usually eaten with dried cassava balls on top or as a juice served in a plastic bag. (Marajo)

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Almost everything from the Amazon can be like Viagra. ( Marajo, turu – grey tree worms -there are many in that tree. usually eaten raw – luckily they ran out of clean water and wanted to wash mine in the river, I declined)

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The highest point in Brazil is Pico da Neblina, which is 2,994 m high.

Brazil is presently one of the fastest growing economies, with an annual GDP growth rate of 5%.

The Brazilian bikini wax was invented in New York in 1987 by 7 Brazilian born sisters .

Brazil produces the most oranges in the world.

The world’s widest road is the Monumental Axis in Brazil. Here, 160 cars can drive side by side!

Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times (more than any other country!) They feel shame from the last World Cup and don’t really want to talk about it.

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Every city in Brazil has at least one soccer stadium. In 1967, a 48-hour ceasefire was declared in Nigeria so that Federal and Rebel troops could watch the Brazilian soccer legend Pele play on a visit to the war-torn nation. (Soare, indoor soccer)

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Coca-Cola in Brazil sponsors a Pele museum on wheels that travels across the country.

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Brazil has never lost a game when Pele and Garrincha played together. Kaka paid for his brother’s education at the best college in São Paulo before Rodrigo himself became a football player.

Kaka was twice voted as Brazil’s sexiest footballer. In 2005, a Nike ad starring Ronaldinho was the first video on YouTube to break 1 million views.

Brazil has the largest stadium in the continent – the Maracana Stadium.

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It is another one of those countries that knows how to blow dry curly hair straight very well. (Sao Paulo)

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It has the second highest number of airports in the world.

Brazil has a drink named after Jesus.

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In Brazil there is a new futbol beach volleyball where they don’t use their hands. (players in Rio at Copacabana Beach posing)

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It is one of the world’s leading producers of hydroelectric power.

Brazil has the fifth highest number of visits from the pope in the world.

Brazilian women attained the right to vote in 1931.

Brazil is the 5th country to make seat belts compulsory.

Brazil literacy rate is 86.4%- the lowest in the continent.

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Brazil shares a border with every country in the continent except Chile and Ecuador.

The motto of Brazil is “Order and Progress”.

Brazil has the longest beach at 7500km.( Marajo – not the longest but long and beautiful)

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Brazil has the most number of species on the continent. (Marajo – vulture flying over not the longest beach)

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Brazil has the highest number of AIDS victims in the world.

Brazil has the ninth highest number of billionaires in the world.

A Brazilian model is considered one of the most gorgeous women in the world.

There is no official religion any more in Brazil. There are a lot of these statues around Rio.

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The Portuguese were very different colonizers than the Spanish. They immediately intermarried with the Indians and the first Brazilians are born. Brazil really is a melting pot of races, foods, religions and cultures.

The currency of Brazil has both horizontal and vertical pictures.

Brazil is the longest country in the world, spanning about 2,800 miles from north to south via land.

I loved Brazil and I’m already planning to go back next year. I can say good morning, good evening, thank you, you’re welcome, goodbye and soy milk in Portuguese so I think I’m good. (Paraty)

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Obrigada and Ciao,

JAZ