Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America

Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America.

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,  Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand,  Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

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Growing up in New York, with immigrant grandparents, the Statue of Liberty meant something. “Tell us the story of when your parents saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time again” we asked.   My mother would say that to her parents and many like them, the statue meant freedom to live in a country where you could be whatever you wanted to be. America was the place to go to flee from oppression, racism, class-ism and poverty. We understood that it was something special to be born in a country with ideals like that.

America is not perfect. We have racism and poverty. But that doesn’t destroy the dreams it was built on. Millions of people came to America to build a better life for themselves and for their families and still do to this day.

On the Statue of Liberty, there are words I know so well: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” That’s the spirit that made me feel like an American.  I wouldn’t be here without that philosophy.

Fly safe.

JAZ

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First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit A Country

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit a Country

“Like I said before. Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”Anthony Bourdain

 Japan Sushi at Tsukiji Market, any dessert made with yuzu or green tea.

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 Turkey Pide, fresh pomegranate juice, anything with eggplant, and any dessert made with semolina.

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 Croatia Fresh tuna and bean salad, grilled calamari and swiss chard.

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Cambodia Fresh coconut water and amok (I loved Cambodian food).

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 Greece Avgolemono soup, baklava and Greek salad (feta, tomatoes and olive oil don’t taste the same anywhere else).

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 Italy Pizza, pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil.  (My dream is to go to Sicily and eat pizza).

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South Africa Biltong (Im not even a meateater and I love it).

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Israel  Falafel and Hummus.

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Colombia Guanabana juice and Arepa con Quisito.

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Spain Churros, hot chocolate and real gazpacho.

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 Panama Sancocho soup.

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Netherlands Pofferjes and poached egg on brioche with smoked salmon, (first time that I have had that).

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Brazil Tacaca with shrimp and fresh acai ( not the watered down sugary stuff we get here) in the Amazon.

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 Thailand Thai iced coffee.

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 Peru Ceviche with giant corn.

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Argentina Alfajores from Havanna.

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Mexico Tacos, guacamole, mole or really anything in Oaxaca. (except not a fan of the crickets every day)

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USA When I come home I want a turkey burger from Golden State in LA.

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Fly safe,
JAZ

Around The World With Beaded Bracelets

Around The World With Beaded Bracelets

“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten, – happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.” Brenda Ueland

That should really be the name of my blog. I don’t know when it started but I buy cheap ethnic bracelets in different countries around the world for myself and gifts. People like them. (temple cedar bracelets – Viet Nam)

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I try to spend under five dollars a bracelet and buy them in markets or from street vendors. A dollar or two is even better. (ceramic – Mexico)

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It is an easy to pack gift and a nice memory for me of a country I have been to. I mix them all up and wear them almost every day. Today I am wearing Argentina, Mexico, Myanmar and Thailand. (Myanmar, Thailand)

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It’s good to buy indigenous jewelry because it helps the local communities. Many countries have stores or markets that feature local artisans. The bracelets are made from wood from local trees, nuts, seeds, glass, silver, tin, brass, bamboo, woven, pottery and even plastic. Sometimes they have religious significance and sometimes only decorative.(Peru)

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My favorite one comes from Panama and is made from a tagua nut which is known as vegetable ivory. Due to tagua’s properties in color, appearance, hardness and feel like those of natural ivory, it is being substituted for the latter one. This helps in the depredation of elephants while at the same time keeps rain forests from being deforested which in turn favors the ecosystems and the environment.

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I also buy ethnic designed bracelets for myself. When I wear them, they remind of the special day in the country where I bought them. (Myanmar, Cambodia, Murano glass – Italy, Argentina, real coral-Croatia)

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Another important factor to consider is that making things by hand provides work to thousands of people in these poor countries giving them and their families a better life and the opportunity of offering their children a better education. (shells-Panama)

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Shopping for bracelets is perfect street consumerism for me.(Coca nut -Argentina)

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There is the thrill of finding the bracelet among the crafts and tourist crap. I know these look touristy but there was a beach in Panama that was covered in these pinkish orange shells so they remind me of that beautiful beach. Yes I brought home a bag of the shells also.  (Panama)

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Then there is the delicate negotiation of getting the right price without insulting anyone.There is the danger of going too low and the stupidity of paying too much. (plastic- Turkey or anywhere that has real Turquoise)

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Finally we have the adrenalin rush of the purchase. (Aborigine – Australia)

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It makes my world better and their world better. It’s a win – win situation.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Animals I Met When Traveling

Animals I Met When Traveling

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” Alfred Montaper

Kangaroos Australia

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Tasmanian Devil Australia

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Baby Wombat  Australia

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Koalas Australia

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Sheep Australia

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Deer Japan

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Llama Peru

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Iguana Panama

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Elephant Thailand

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Parakeets (Emilio White) Argentina

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Coati Argentina

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Cow Cambodia

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Monkey Cambodia

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Water Buffalo Viet Nam

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Louie Miami

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Fly safe,

JAZ

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How To Be An Explorer Of The World

How To be An Explorer Of The World

“The list is the origin of culture,” Umberto Eco 

How To be An Explorer Of The World by Keri Smith  is a book with 59 ideas for how to get creatively unstuck. It began with  a simple list by the author scribbled on a piece of paper in the middle of the night.

Always be looking (notice the ground beneath your feet). (Oaxaca, Mexico, Ben Goodman)

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Consider everything alive and animate. ( Barro Colorado Island, rainforest, Panama)

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Everything is Interesting. Look closer. (Dubrovnik, Croatia)

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Alter your course often. (Great Wall, China)

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Observe for Long Durations (and short ones). (Vancouver, Canada)

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Notice the stories going on around you.(Museumplatz, Vienna)

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Notice Patterns. Make connections. (Istanbul, Turkey)

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Document your findings (Field notes)   in a variety of ways. ( Beijing,China )

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Incorporate indeterminacy. (no photos  because we don’t know how it will turn out)

Observe movement. (Intha fishermen,  Lake Inle Burma)

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Create a personal dialog with your environment. Talk to it. (Silver Pavilion, Kyoto)

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Trace things back to their origins. (Machu Picchu, Peru)

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Use all of the senses in your investigations. ( Bangkok, Thailand)

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Fly Safe,

JAZ

Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with gun powder. “

Honore de Balzac

Top Ten Coffee Travel Moments

I realized by writing this blog that I am addicted to caffeine. There are way too many references to coffee.  It is the only vice I have left.  I thought I would embrace it by writing my top ten coffee travel moments.

!. I am seventeen and in Europe for the first time.  We  are  in CERVINA in the Italian Alps. There is a cappuccino bar that we go to every morning and have fresh cappuccino before a day of skiing. It is pre cell phones and Starbucks.  The only cappuccino  you got in NY  was in the Italian restaurants  after dinner.  There was no decaf cap. Cappuccino every morning was as big a deal as skiing in the Alps for the first time.

2.   The island of SANTORINI in Greece is where i am spending my twenty third summer.   I am staying at my friend’s house on a mountain overlooking the sea.  It is one of those  Santorini white houses with blue tile.  We have to walk halfway down the mountain every morning to have coffee and fresh bread with butter and honey, at a café run by a family that doesn’t speak English. Santorini was  not the five-star  tourist destination it is now but it always had five-star views of the sea, volcano and black sand beaches. .  “kafe me gala  sketos parakalo” The grandmother always dressed in black would smile at my bad Greek pronunciation and bring me my coffee. They used condensed milk all the time with coffee and I love the taste.  I think they wear black  because someone in their family close to them has died – usually they are widows.

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3.  My daughter who is twelve and her tap company have performed at the Cuban Ballet Festival throughout Cuba.  We are driving back to HAVANA from Santa Clara.  Since Petrol is scarce, members of the Columbian Ballet Company are sharing the bus with us. We get back around five and I have a serious lack of  caffeine headache.  I invite the Columbian dancers who I have spoken to in bad Spanish  for a coffee at the hotel.  I order a double espresso and drink it down  like I am doing a shot of tequila.   First they stare at me and then they laugh and do the same.  We start by drinking espresso shots –we move on to Mojitos. No one slept that night. (Cuba,Jim Kane)

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4. We have arrived at the SACRED VALLEY in Urubumba, Peru.  We are spending the night at the beautiful Sol Y Luna  hotel and the altitude is 9000 feet. (2400 m)  It is our first night in the Andes.  I start to have this headache and feel dizzy. As we are going to our rooms someone says to me, “Be careful, the headache is the first sign of altitude sickness”.  I go right to the worst case scenario.  I remember my mindfulness training as I am going into high anxiety mode. I investigate the feeling in my body and think it isn’t that severe. It feels like a lack of caffeine headache.   I remember I didn’t have coffee that afternoon. I relax and go right to sleep. I wake up early and have a wonderful Peruvian breakfast  of yogurt , fruit, kikucha cereal ( grain like quinoa) and coffee. No more headache.

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5. I usually hate instant room coffee.  But in PANAMA it was really good. It is called Puro and I brought some home.   I have a confession. I kind of like non dairy creamer   Sometimes your diet needs a few chemicals.  I got up every morning in  Gamboa  to watch the sunrise over the rainforest and had a coffee while lying in a hammock on the terrace.

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6. Anna and I have spent the day on  the island of NAOSHIMA in Japan.  It is the island that Tadao Ando has designed and dedicated to art and nature.  There are museums, outdoor sculptures, galleries and installations in houses throughout the island.  It is a bit like a scavenger  hunt trying to see everything.  But we did it. We are at a small  ferry at the other end of the island that locals use to head back to the mainland . I am looking for coffee. We see something that looks like it might be open. We walk in. There is cool music and magazines and interesting furniture and art . It is  like a Japanese Greenwich village coffee-house  on this little island street.  We can’t believe our luck.  We have coffee and wait in this beautiful restaurant for the ferry and talk about our amazing day.

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7. I had been  in the  incredible  city of VENICE for a few days with my daughter and a friend. My son arrived after traveling around Europe alone.  He had a lot to say and wanted to have  a coffee in Venice and talk about his travels. We sat in a café on the canal and he told me his stories. I was happy sitting there listening to him  and I could hear  that he loved to travel as much as I did.  Family travel moments are few and far between now. It was a beautiful trip.

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8.  It was my first day in ISTANBUL. I had shopped at the Grand Bazaar with my guide for the day Renan.  We stopped for lunch.  We met  carpet salesmen from Los Angeles.  Suddenly, it didn’t seem so far away.  This was my first experience with Turkish food. Hot yogurt soup and something with my favorite vegetable –eggplant.  – delicious. I had my first Turkish coffee. (a lot like Greek coffee) I loved the thickness and the feeling of the grounds in my mouth ( coffee that you can chew).  It isn’t bitter either so I am able to drink it without milk. She read the coffee grinds to me.  We used to do this in Greece. It was my first coffee fortune in a very long time.  It wasn’t bad. My next one wasn’t great. So I stopped doing it and just drank the coffee.

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9. I am in EDINBURGH, Scotland for the Fringe Festival. My daughter is performing there with her high school theatre group. In the summer, walking down the Royal Mile is crazy. Everyone is in costume and giving out flyers and performing and begging to get you to go their shows. The Starbucks is right at the beginning of the Royal Mile, next to the Fringe Ticket Office. I meet a friend for coffee after picking up some tickets. We are surrounded by Vikings and Elizabethans all having cappuccinos and lattes. In fact, only the barristers are   dressed in modern-day clothing.  I felt  a little underdressed.

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10.   A few weeks ago, I was walking down Portobello Road in LONDON with my college friend Suzie.  Suzie was the first person I traveled around Europe with . We were about eighteen. We lost touch after college but reconnected  a few years ago through the magic of facebook.  We were both going to be in London at the same time. We aren’t looking for vintage clothes like we used to  (and still do) but vintage housewares.  It is freezing out. We go into a coffee house and see a long queue. It is called the Coffee Planner. The girl in front of me says it is the best coffee on Portobello Road and worth waiting for. Suzie buys an unbelievably good sandwich from a vendor outside and we sit and drink our coffees eating this sandwich.   Jayne and Suzie together again in Europe. ( St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge)

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Do you have any good coffee moments?

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Panama

.Things I’ve Learned in Panama

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”
John Masefield 

When entering Panama the sign reads “Welcome to Panama. We are committed to fighting drugs, crime and terrorism.  I left my purse at customs, my shoe at one hotel and my ipod at another. I got the first two back so I guess this is partially true.

Panama hats come from Ecuador . They are called Panama hats because they ship from Panama.  The company was owned by the Alfaro family. One of the sons financed his revolution  with the sale of the hats. Al Capone loved his Panama hats as did Clark Gable , Humprey Bogart, Charlie Chan and Greta Garbo. (Panama hat on the Panama Canal)

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A falling coconut can seriously ruin your day.

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Buses ship from the US to Panama.  Our yellow school buses are painted white with flashing lights and sirens and used by the police.  You also see  brightly painted  buses with flashing  disco lights, a bar and the seats taken out. These are “Rumba Buses”. They rent them out for parties and you see them driving around town at night with everyone dancing. I guess the seat belt rule and no open liquor in a car doesn’t apply here.

The  city buses  are called the “Diablo Rojos” ( Red Devils). The drivers paint them when they receive them from the states. Some are more artistic and some are more enthusiastic.  The drivers are crazy, dangerous and very fast. They  get paid by the amount of adult passengers they have in a day. The buses are jam packed and don’t often stop for school kids who pay less money.   It is best, as a tourist, not to take public transportation or cross the street near them.

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Panamanians believe that if you don’t have a job , it is because you don’t want one. You can always grow fruit and sell it from window boxes or take one of the many construction jobs around the city.

The neighbors have stopped the construction of the Trump Hotel Casino. How much will Mr Trump pay?

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Iguana and crocodile tail ( the other white meat) taste like chicken.

Nature has been good to Panama. No hurricanes or earthquakes so far.

Watching Las Kardashians on Eonline Latino is just as annoying in Spanish.

Translation -Lock your car and watch your stuff.

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At one point of time, the shares of the Panama Railroad were the highest priced stock on the New York Stock Exchange, at $295 per share.

The Panama Railroad was the most expensive railroad ever built, as it cost 8 million dollars and took 5 years to build. Twelve thousand people died building the railroad.

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Panama is the only place in the world, where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set in the Atlantic.

“A man a plan a canal panama” is a palindrome.

The cargo ship Ancon was the first vessel to transit the Canal on August 15, 1914

Seven out of ten Panamanians haven’t heard of the song “Panama” by Van Halen.

Panama City is the only capital city that has a rain forest within the city limits.

You know you are in the rain forest, when you take a walk and run into him.

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The El Chorillo  neighborhood is a good place in Panama City to go for fish and plantains. Unfortunately, it is not a good place to get out of your car.

Laws in Panama for the rich and the poor are very easy to break.

Eighty per cent of the  water in third world countries is used for agriculture.  Sixty per cent of Panama’s fresh water is use for the canals. In LA, it is used for swimming pools.

Outside the Panama Canal are the largest concentration of sharks because the ships dump their waste before entering the canal.

It is a 48 hour queue to enter the Panama Canal from both  the Atlantic  (Carribean Sea) and the Pacific side. If you miss your turn it takes a week.  It is what I will remember most about Panama, looking out at the horizon  day or night and seeing these big ships lined up. (Atlantic, Pacific)

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It cost 465,000 for a large cargo ship to enter the canal. Cruise ships pay by the person. There are Panama Canal tour boats as well. It sounds like a lot of money but it takes ten hours to go through the three locks on the canal and  22 days  to go around South America.

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 When the Panama Canal was completed in 1914,  it cost  352 million dollars. At the time, it was the most costly enterprise ever conceived. There is a project to enlarge the canal going on right now in the hopes to  be ready in 2014 to celebrate 100 years of the canal.( going through the first lock of the Canal)
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2o,ooo people died during the French attempt to build the canal in the 1870,s and five thousand more died  when US built it.( cargo boat entering the canal)

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The Panama Canal reverted back to Panama in 1999. If they attempt to sell it, they must give it back to the US. (Boat coming through the canal)

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People who live in the Canal Zone are called Zonians. These are not Zonians. (Miraflores Lock Lookout Point, Canal Zone)

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Some say bananas attract mosquitos. We don’t know if that is true.  I do know that  eating a banana on a boat near an island in the rainforest on Gatun Lake, will attract white faced capucine monkees. They will not only jump on the boat and take it out of your hand, they will check everyone’s hands to make sure they aren’t missing anything.

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The Jesus Christ Lizard in the rainforest is called that because he “walks on water.”

It is best to shake your clothes and shoes out in the morning before you put them on so the scorpion  can fall out.

You know you are in the rainforest, when you take a walk and run into this. Iguanas have the right of way in Panama. (at least they do when I am walking)

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The most deadly creature in Panama is the poison dart frog No bigger than a thumbnail and found in the jungle, it can kill you on contact and possess a poison 200 times more deadly than strychnine. This is important info because it is really cute.

Mangrove trees ( which look like the forest in the wizard of Oz) are a natural barrier in the rainforest that protects against tsunamis and heavy rains. The Darien rainforest serves as a natural barrier against disease coming in from South America.

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Lying on a hammock in the rainforest listening to the birds and the rain is so relaxing until the kids next door come home from the Embera  Indian village with Tom Tom drums.

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You know you are in the rainforest when you walk outside your hotel and see this.  It is much larger than a squirrel. (Central American Agouti)

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When hiking on Barro Colorado Island, you are not supposed to step on the ants. The carnivorous army ants are marching into the forest  and the other insects are fleeing which makes it hard to find a place to put your feet and keep up with the three hour hike, while covered from head to toe in mosquito repellent clothing in 100 degree temperature and 100 per cent humidity.  Surprisingly, I loved it. (the ants are carrying the leaves)

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Be careful in restrooms in Galeta, the wasps don’t like the wind so they build their nets there and they don’t like to be disturbed. So while you checking if you can use it, look up.

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Im not sure what a staple of the Panamanian diet is but perhaps it is rice. The staple of my diet in Panama was bananas. I had fried plantains at breakfast lunch and dinner and carried bananas around all day. There was no lack of potassium for me in Panama.

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Under 80 degrees is cold to Panamanians.

My favorite meal in Panama was Sancocho soup which consisted of large pieces of chicken, potato, yucca and nami served with a bowl of rice. and flavored with culantro.  It tastes just like cilantro but they insist it is not.

The Frank Gehry Museum of Biodiversity is finally finished. The guide on the  Panama Canal called it a building from someone who has done too much partying in Panama. I guess he hadn’t been to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.(view  from the Panama Canal)

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There are seven native tribes in Panama. There are the one dollar take a photo tribes and the two dollar take a photo tribes. ( this was free)

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You know that you are in the rainforest near the Embera tribe when you take  a boat down the river and run into them.

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Going to the bathroom in the Embera native village in the rainforest made me remember why I never joined the Peace Corps.

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Watching the Embera children come home from school walking across the shallow end of the Chagres River holding their books over their heads is something I will try to remember when I am sitting in traffic in the rain. (the Chagres River)

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The Kuna tribe in Panama are the shortest people second only to the pygmies in Africa. They are all under five feet tall and have the largest percentage of albinos in the world . Albinos are considered to be children of the moon and possess powers so they often become shamans. They are said to be born that way because the pregnant woman was naked and exposed to a full  moon, They also make molas and  beautiful jewelry.

Panama is small and you do a lot of backtracking. We passed Noriega in the club med of prisons in the rainforest so many times, I was thinking about dropping off cookies.

Shuffle your feet in the sand in the ocean to scare away the stingrays – apparently their slashing tales can cause serious wounds,

Watching out of shape people do water aerobics at the Playa Bonita resort is one of those universal giggles.

Finding pink shells on the beach in Playa Bonita (and of course bringing them home) feels so much more productive than finding white ones.

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I had seen the Panama Canal for a few days before I went through it. I rode the Panama Canal Railroad alongside it,  went to  two PC museums ( the English and the Spanish one), stood on the lookout point at Miraflores Lock(one of the three locks) and watched the film . I was completely unprepared for the sense of awe I felt as the third gate opened and we entered the canal. There were people from all over the world on the boat and for that moment we all felt the same way.

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Viajen con cuidado,

 JAZ