Returning To The Places You Love

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Returning To The Places You Love

“I believe that each person has a favorite place, a tree, a mountain, or a beach which they want to come back to, even if the return can only take place in the boundaries of their imagination.” Sana Szewczyk

I’m always afraid to return to places that I love. There’s a danger for me that comes with returning to these places. There’s always an underlying fear that on a second visit, it doesn’t feel the same; that either I’ve changed or it’s changed or maybe both.  There are so many places in the world to see, how could I justify a return visit?

 I have revisited countries but I focus on different cities and I just spend a short time in the cities that I have been to. I often find that second and third time visits are much more relaxed, spontaneous and enjoyable. Going back to a place lets you dig a bit deeper and uncover another layer of the place.

I’ve already done the famous sites and waited on the long queues. The nice thing about return visits is the I can concentrate on exploring the off the beaten track parts of a city. I don’t feel bad about spending an entire day shopping, eating and drinking since I did the museums and tourist thing on the last visit. 

If I visit during a different season, the city can have a whole different feeling. Many cities are transformed for special events like festivals or holidays at certain times of the year.. Bad weather, bad luck and bad choices can turn you against a destination that might deserve a second chance. 

I cancelled two trips over the last few months in quarantine. I don’t know when i will actually be able to travel again. Researching trips, which is something I do extensively when I am home, is not an option right now. When the world feels so uncertain, maybe it is just  easier to reminisce about the past than to plan something new. Istanbul, Venice, London,  Sydney, Tel Aviv  anywhere in South America, Portugal, Croatia and Japan look pretty great to me right now.

Stay Safe,
JAZ

To Mask Or Not To Mask – That Is The Political Question

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To Mask Or Not To Mask – That Is The Political Question

“Nothing is more real than the masks we make to show each other who we are.” Christopher Barzak

i was unprepared for the quarantine. I was still packing the weekend before for a trip to Arizona. Yes, we were in the empty market and getting help from more prepared friends and family.

But what I did have were masks. I am allergic to smoke and pollution. I have always been told that masks won’t save me around a fire because the particles of smoke are too small and get through the masks.

The only thing paper masks are protection for, the doctors would tell me, are germs. That is why doctors wear them. I still have them because they are a line of defense against smokers and pollution. I have different kinds, including N95, in the hopes that someone invents something besides a gas mask that will work for me. It looks like, I have been preparing my whole life for this virus.

If  you have a cold or allergies in Japan, you wear a mask so you don’t pass it on to other people. I was there during the bird flu scare and everyone wore masks. There were no laws or fines, you just put on a mask out of of respect for yourself and others

. I didn’t get the bird flu nor did a lot of people because everyone was taking precautions. (They did kill a lot of birds.) I’ve seen first hand that masks work.

Trump doesn’t wear a mask. He gets tested every day for the virus and it is a test where he gets the results quickly. We had to wait several days for results when we needed testing. I’m sure there is a ventilator and a doctor on call at the White House should something happen. He does not have to worry, as most people do, if there is room in a hospital for him should he need that.

Now he is taking hydroquinine preventively. My chemical and smoke sensitivities are autoimmune related. My doctor recommended hydroquinine.  He said it had a 10 or 20 per cent chance of working on what I have and I had to be on it for a year to see if it worked. I got some more medical opinions. I decided the odds were too low and the side effects too many to be on it for a year. Hydroquinine is also a malaria drug. The fact that the president would take a strong immune illness drug with side effects, that might work in case he gets the virus, instead of suggesting masks is crazy to me.

The beach near where I live opened last week. Three quarters of the people who come here are not wearing masks. It feels unsafe to me now on the weekends so I don’t go out.

It is frustrating because most of the people don’t live here and may behave differently in their own neighborhoods. I’m sure they put on masks if they visit their parents.  They are biking and jogging, not wearing shirts and sweating. The bikers are not social distancing.

On the beach they run in and out of the water unaware of people walking by. It certainly does not appear to be as mandatory here as other parts of LA..

The mask is being seen as a symbol of blindly submitting to government authority or taking a political stance to some, and a sign of safety and compassion to others. It seems to be about people’s age and individual tolerance of risk. Since we don’t know if we are carrying the virus and we don’t know what immune deficiencies other people have, why is it so difficult for Americans in this unprecedented time, to behave with politeness and kindness towards others and wear a mask?  We all want this to be over.

Stay safe,
JAZ

Travel Memories Part 1

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Travel Memories  Part 1

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Karl Lagerfeld

As I was sitting home and feeling sorry for myself and my cancelled trips, my friend said to me “you are so lucky that you traveled the world before all this.” I went through my photos and realized that she was right.

Poros, Greecefullsizeoutput_7e88

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Budapest, Hungary

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Venice, Italy

Train to Iso Nagaoka, Japan (bird flu)

Ephesus, Izmir, Turkey

Sacred Valley, Urubumba, Peru

Ayuthetta, Thailand

Salt fields, Salta, Argentina

Uluru Rock,Australia

Fly and stay safe,

JAZ

Ten Cemeteries In The World To Visit Before You Die

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Ten Cemeteries In The World To Visit Before You Die

“Why’s that cemetery so popular? Everybody’s dying to get in!” unknown

Visiting a cemetery is a lot more interesting when you are alive. It is always a sometimes spooky, sometimes beautiful history lesson. Some of them are a resting place of famous people, some have really unusual memorials and others simply provide a surprisingly nice and tranquil walk. Here are some cemeteries to visit before you die.

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place of the good, the bad, the beautiful and the rich people of Argentina’s past. It is a remarkable necropolis of tombs and mausoleums.  It is proportioned like a miniature village with its stately Greco-Roman crypts lining the narrow walkways. They believed “the bigger the mausoleum, the closer to God.“

It is less expensive to live your whole life in Buenos Aires than it is to be buried in Recoleta.When you enter the cemetery through the neoclassical gates (designed by  the Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo.)  There are two messages in Latin. The message on this inside is from the living to the dead and says rest in peace. On the outside, it is from the dead to the living and says Wait for God.

You have found Eva Peron’s flower strewn monument when you see people. She is buried among the rich people who did not like her.

There are approximately eighty cats who live at the Recoleta cemetery.  They say that they are the guardians/tour guides of  the 4800 tombs and have been taken care of for twenty years.  Everyone including me  takes photos of them.

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic

The Old Jewish Cemetery was established in the first half of the fifteenth century.  It is one of the most important historic sites in Prague´s Jewish Town. The oldest tombstone, which marks the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Karo, dates from the year 1439. Burials took place in the cemetery until 1787. Today it contains some 12,000 tombstones, al though the number of persons buried here is much greater. It is assumed that the cemetery contains several burial layers placed on top of each other.

Pere La Chaise, Paris, France

Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world. It is the hub of Paris’s dead rich and famous. The list of famous corpses now buried there includes Jim Morrison, Moiliere, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Marcel Proust, and Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani. Wilde’s tomb is one of the garden cemetery’s most famous and is covered in the lipstick kisses of admirers. It is no accident that all these famous people are buried here. Established in 1804, the cemetery was first used for reburials from other parts of the city. In a macabre (and involuntary) form of celebrity endorsement, officials had high-profile bodies moved in to boost popularity. I hope to go in the spring. (as a visitor).

Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery, Jerusalem,  Israel

The Mount of Olives has been used as a Jewish cemetery for more than 3,000 years.Approximately 150,000 Jewish people are buried there including some of the greatest Jewish leaders, prophets, and rabbis of all time.Among the notable Jews buried here in biblical times were Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi and Absalom, the rebellious son of King David. In the modern era, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew, author Shai Agnon, Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold and prime minister Menachem Begin and his wife Aliza were buried here as well.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

This place is the final act of studio founders, writers, directors, and performers in Hollywood history; it’s where the industry’s biggest players went to die like Mickey Rooney, Cecil B. De Mille and of course Toto. Appropriately, the scene here is full of gaudy tombstones, mausoleums, peacocks, palm trees, and reflecting pools. Live concerts and movie screenings aren’t uncommon on the cemetery’s manicured lawns.

Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania

The “merry” cemetery features over 600 ornately carved, colorful wooden crosses, often with a dark or extremely literal take on the life of the body that lies beneath it. Each grave is adorned with a blue cross and a scene from the departed’s life – both good and bad. There is also a poem. The carpenter who carves the markers and composes the poems doesn’t hold back. There are references to drinking and cheating and even some mother-in-law jokes.

Okonoin Cemetery, Koya, Japan

This forested site on the side of Mount Koya is where Kobo Daishi — the founder of Shingon Buddhism — lies in eternal meditation and it’s where many devoted followers want to be buried. So many, in fact, that it’s the largest cemetery in Japan. Grave markers line the path to Daishi’s mausoleum, and each salvation-seeker’s tombstone is more unconventional and weirder than the last.

Two hundred thousand monks are buried there and waiting for the resurrection of the future Buddha. Look for the memorial dedicated by a local pesticide company to termites, and for statues that mimic monks and coffee cups.

St Andrews Cathedral Graveyard, St. Andrews, Scotland

St Andrews Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral in St Andrews, Scotland that was built in 1158. Most of the grave stones are so old and worn that there is no writing left. Many famous pioneers and champions of golf are buried here.The most famous grave of the nineteenth century was the golfer young Tom Morris. Sometimes people leave golf balls on his grave for luck.

Highgate Cemetery, London,  England

Highgate is one of seven garden-like cemeteries that were built in a ring around London in the nineteenth century, when inner-city burial grounds had become overcrowded. Gothic tombs and buildings are now overgrown with ivy. Obelisks tower over its crypt-lined Egyptian Avenue, which leads to the Circle of Lebanon, a set of tombs built around an ancient cedar tree. George Eliot and Karl Marx are buried here a long with a poisoned Russian spy who’s name I don’t know.

Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA

As far as cemeteries in America go, there is none more famous or respected as the Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and their families have been laid to rest. The sweeping rows of white marble headstones, and the constant guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are sobering reminders of the ultimate sacrifice that many have made.Tomb
Soldiers who die while on active duty, retired members of the Armed Forces, and certain Veterans and Family members are eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery. So are Presidents.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

 

Countries With the Most Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Most Travel Friendly Passports

I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Anonymous

I used to think that the USA had the best passport. We could go almost anywhere but we do need an awful lot of visas. The Henley Passport Index periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The ranking is determined on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. Here are the top countries starting with the best passports to have. We are not number one. 

Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row with access to 190 countries.They believe it is due to strong security regulations, economic security and international reliability. They are good guests.

 Singapore is in second place with 189 countries. People from Singapore are welcome almost everywhere.

South Korea is in third place with 188 countries.The Asian countries are dominating this category.

Germany and Finland are in fourth place with 187 countries. Germany has given up its  previous first place ranking. (Finland)

Denmark, Italy and Luxernbourg rank fifth with 186. No one expects trouble from this group.  (Italy)

France, Spain and Sweden are next with 185. They are independent, they don’t usually break anything and they are quiet. (Spain)

Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal are behind them with 184. I feel very welcome in these countries so I understand why counties like them.(Portugal)

Belgium, UK, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Canada and USA rank eighth  with 183. Brexit has not yet impacted the UK score -nor has our President changed ours. (Greece)

Malta has a  score of 182. This tiny independent,European Union country has a very attractive passport to many people.Wealthy individuals seeking secondary citizenship for security, have their eye on Malta, which doesn’t impose taxes on their worldwide income and assets and applies only a flat 15 per cent tax on money brought into the country. 

Czech Republic follows with 181. It is doing very well for an ex Communist country.

Lithuania,

Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the eleventh position with access to 180 nations. (Iceland)

 The findings suggest that visa free access is improving in the world. The last time I went to Brazil I needed one. This time I do not.

Fly safe,
JAZ

36 Hours In San Francisco, California With Jet Lag

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36 Hours In San Francisco, California With Jet Lag

“It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.”
 Oscar Wilde

People from LA (me included) love SF. Its ok to call it SF. But don’t call it San Fran or Frisco – they hate that. I love that their rich people are Techies not Hollywood types. They appear. less materialistic than we are. Techies walk around in hoodies, a t-shirt with the name of one of their first failed start ups, headphones and no eye contact. It reminds me of growing up in NY. I love how geographically tiny it is. It is only seven miles and i have walked from one end to the other in a day. I love how they think their food is better than ours and it is.

I have spent a lot of time in SF so when I had to the chance to spend 36 hours between planes, I avoided all the tourist spots like Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Union Square. There are so many neighborhoods with their own cultures, appearances and even weather systems. Bring a jacket it is not LA – even in summer.

I chose Japantown. Before World War II, San Francisco had one of the largest populations of Japanese outside of Japan. However, that all changed in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forced all Japanese by birth or descent, including Japanese Americans, out of the neighborhood and interned on the Pacific Coast outside of the city. After the war, many chose not to return, shrinking the neighborhood into the small size it currently is today.

9:00pm Check into Kabuki Hotel. I love anything Japanese and the Kabuki Hotel with its Japanese/ art inspired/ hipster vibe was right up my alley.

I have terrible reverse jet lag (flew in from Iceland) . My night alternated between boundless energy and crashing sleep. I knew the next day would be rough.

10:00am  I love the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I was there when it opened and was excited to see the new renovation.

There was an Andy Warhol Exhibit, interesting photography and a wonderful San Francisco Mural by JR. The people in the JR Mural move. Don’t miss it if you are there.

11:30am Walk through the city. My cousin Linda has lived in SF most of her life and is the best person to be with in the city. She knows everything.

12:00pm  We walk to Embarcadero and have lunch at Delancey Street restaurant. It is an inspiring bistro type restaurant, book store and event space. The room is welcoming and the food is delicious. The service is great and it supports a wonderful cause. Delancey Street is a rehab program and everyone who works their is well trained and rebuilding their life.

1:30pm More walking. We walk back to Mission Street.

2:00pm. I had never been to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The building design is clean and modern. They only had one exhibit at this time.

2:45pm  The United States’ second largest Martin Luther King Memorial, titled Revelation, was built in San Francisco in 1993. It sits behind a 50’ x 20’ foot wall of cascading water. Located in the Yerba Buena Gardens, the memorial is a lovely walkway constructed under a 120,000-gallon reflecting pool.

3:00pm  As I said my cousin knows everything. Samovar in Yerba Buena Gardens  is my new favorite tea place. There is a wonderful selection of teas from all over the world. Service is friendly and the food is unique and delicious.

4:30pm I started crashing and went back to hotel. There is traffic. Apparently Uber and Lyft are causing major congestion in the city.

530pm  I forced myself to stay up and get some  sushi at An Sushi.

It is located at the very nearby Peace Plaza Mall.

6:30pm. Shopping at Daiso. It’s like the 100 yen store in Japan but most things cost a dollar fifty.  Everything is so cute.

8:00pm Sleeeeeeeep.

10:00 am  Kabuki Hot Springs is quiet at ten AM on a weekday. They have a hot and cold pool, steam room and sauna. I opted for a shiatsu massage which definitely helped with the jet lag.

1230pm  The nearby Japanese Mall sells many  authentic and not so authentic Japanese things.

I ate some yakitori and matcha tea and went to the airport.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Places That I Have Been To That You Might Want To Go To Someday

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 Places That I Have Been To That You Might  Want To Go To Someday

“Rover did not know in the least where the moon’s path led to, and at present he was much too frightened and excited to ask, and anyway he was beginning to get used to extraordinary things happening to him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

I always have a list of places in the world that I want to go to which may or may not become reality.  But sometimes when I’m looking for a photograph, I see all the amazing places that I have already been. Hope you get to visit some of these someday!!!

 Iguazu Falls  Argentina 

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Amazon, Brazil

Angor Wat and Ta Phrom, Cambodia

Easter Island Chile

Maktesh Ramón, Israel

Naoshima , Japan

Petra, Jordan

Rotorua, New Zealand

Machu Picchu, Peru

Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ayuttheta, Thailand

Cappodocia, Turkey

Halong Bay, Viet Nam

Fly safe,

JAZ

Natural Health Products From Different Countries That I Can’t Live Without

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 Natural Health Products From Different Countries That I Can’t Live Without

“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.” Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast Of Champions

Manuka Honey is made by bees that feed the Manuka trees  in New Zealand. It has antibacterial properties and has been used by the Maori in their tonics and remedies for many years. Manuka Honey is graded with UMF rating. A rating of 20 or above will give you the strongest medical benefits. Under that number, it is still expensive and tastes good and acts like other honey. I use it for everything.  It is particularly good for colds and wound healing. You can get it on Amazon.

 Japan is a country of specific etiquette. Correct manners are very important to the Japanese. It’s very easy to embarrass yourself in Japan as an American.  Japan is a society of cleanliness. It is a culture of bath houses and onsens. You have never seen so many people brushing their teeth and gargling  in public restrooms. Japanese are obsessed with Gargling With Salt as a cure for everything. My Japanese friends carry salt when they travel. According to my doctor, it’s a home remedy that really works.  They also carry handkerchiefs in case there is nothing to dry their hands with in a public restroom.

 I stumbled upon Twenty Per Cent Arnica (ours is five percent) in Israel when I hurt my knee in Tel Aviv. Your bruise can be  gone in two days. I found it at a homeopathic pharmacy on Ben Yehuda Street. I use it very sparingly till I get more. 

Coca Tea is used in the Andes to help with altitude sickness- which it does. I drank it every day in Peru.  It also gives you an energy boost without the caffeine spikes. I usually drink it as my second cup of coffee.  It is also good if you have an upset stomach. 

Olive Oil in Spain cures everything. If you are sick, it will make you well. If you are fat it will make you thin.  If you are short, it will make you tall. I also  use it as a make up remover.

 Be physically and mentally prepared to shop in the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey.  Be in a good mood. You will have many best friends and marriage proposals. Years ago, a man working there told me of the health benefits of Turmeric. Though the market is known for saffron, I had also heard turmeric was good for illnesses.  I’ve been taking it ever since and most recently bought some at the Arab Market in Jerusalem.

At Ver A Paso market in Belem, Brazil  I got some Brazilian Ginseng from the Amazon. It is used to build your immune system and give energy. They had a lot of interesting health products including many kinds of natural Viagra (seemed to be a big seller)  but that was the only one I knew. 

I came back from Argentina with Yerba Mate and a Yerba Mate cup and straw. Yerba Mate is the national drink of Argentina.  Besides being a stimulant with less caffeine the coffee, it is packed with nutrients. It can boost the immune system, burn fat, increase bone density and help with digestive problems.

Marula Oil is a highly anti-inflammatory plant oil from South Africa and is known for it’s very high antioxidant count and  light texture. It is naturally soothing, fast-absorbing and suitable for all skin types including reactive and sensitive. ( that would be me).  My daughter gave a small bottle to her wedding guests in South Africa. I loved it.  I get it on Amazon now as well. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Best Words To Describe Travel

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Best Words To Describe Travel

“Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”Roald Dahl

Go

Explore 

Journey

Dream

Reflection

Away

Freedom

Destination

Roam

Discover

Relax

Adventure

Escape

Wander

Live

Here

 

Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Italy, Holland, Turkey, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Jordan, Cuba, South Africa, Brazil,  Australia, Mexico, Argentina.

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Ten Countries With The Best Health Care Systems

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“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” Voltaire

To better understand the health care debate it is important to note that not all the countries in the world have the same health care. The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between. Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. Nothing seems to be perfect. This rating is the top ten countries from the World Health Organization.

1. France does not have socialized medicine. They have both privatized and government insurance. Everyone has health care. When someone goes to see a doctor, the national insurance program pays 70 percent of the bill. Most of the other 30 percent gets picked up by supplemental private insurance, which almost everyone has. It’s affordable, and much of it gets paid for by a person’s employer. In France, the sicker you are, the more coverage you get. It’s expensive to provide this kind of health care. But it is not as expensive as the U.S. system, which is the world’s most costly.

2.In Italy, healthcare is considered a right and the national health plan is designed to provide for all Italian citizens.The health care is funded by a broad tax system. The money to fund the system comes from all the classes.

3.Local and foreign national residents of San Marino are entitled to free, comprehensive health care from public hospitals. All employees must register upon starting a job and are issued a health card and number, and are automatically registered with a doctor in their neighborhood. Employers pay a contribution for each employee and dependent family members, deducted from their salaries, while the self-employed must pay the full contribution. Vulnerable people, such as the unemployed, aged and seriously ill do not need to register with an employer, and are entitled to free treatment.

4.Andorra has some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in Europe, and is similar to the French healthcare system. Public health is linked to social contributions.

5.Malta has a strong public healthcare system, which provides free services to all Maltese citizens and European Union residents. Malta has both a government healthcare service and a private system.

6.Singapore shows that fusions of conservative and liberal ideas in health care really are possible. Singapore is a place where the government acts to keep costs low and then uses those low costs to make a market-driven insurance system possible. Singapore’s government controls and pays for much of the medical system itself — hospitals are overwhelmingly public, a large portion of doctors work directly for the state.

7.Spain‘s single-payer health care system is ranked seventh best in the world by the World Health Organization. The system offers universal coverage as a constitutionally guaranteed right and no out-of-pocket expenses — aside from prescription drugs.

8. All Omani citizens have free access to universal healthcare. Much of the staff is foreign-born or received training abroad, but with more young Omanis completing college, this is beginning to change. In larger cities, especially Muscat, the quality of medical care is high, but you shouldn’t expect the same standards in rural areas. It has emerged that Oman is in the process of drafting a new set of mandatory health insurance laws beginning January 2018.The new laws will pass on some of the responsibility of looking after employee health to their employers by mandating that they implement suitable health insurance provisions.

9.Austria has had a health care system that ensures high-quality medical care for all citizens, independent of their social status or income. Building such a health care system has not been easy: it is the result of a long, hard road; many people have fought for it. The can also purchase supplementary private insurance.

10.In Japan, health care has long been likened to air and water — often taken for granted. Under the Japanese system, everyone must join a public insurance program through their employer or municipal government and pay a monthly premium that is determined by income.

Fly safe,
JAZ