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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My Top Ten Desserts In The World So Far

My Top Ten Desserts In The World So Far

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.” Erica Bauermeister

When the mood for dessert strikes, I am there. I consider it a necessity not a choice to try desserts when I am traveling.  There isn’t a problem in the world that a good dessert can’t make feel a little better. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Pastel de Nata – Portugal

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Baklava – Greece

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Red Velvet Cupcakes – USA

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 Semolina Halva –  Turkey (nice with fresh fruit)

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Black Sesame Ice Cream – Japan

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 Malva Pudding  (poeding) – South Africa

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Sweet Sticky Rice With Coconut Cream and Mango – Thailand

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Dulce de Leche –  Argentina ( on ice cream, cookies, cake, bread)

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 Fresh Acai  and Tapioca Ice Cream – Belem, Brazil

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Mango Pudding – Hong Kong

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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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Food Rules I Have Learned While Traveling

Food  Rules I Have Learned While Traveling.

“Travelers never think that they are the foreigners.’  ~Mason Cooley

You can eat sushi with your hands.

Sashimi is always eaten as a first course before sushi. You can’t eat sashimi with your hands.

Don’t eat anything with your hands in Chile.

You can eat with your hands in Burma (Myanmar). People eat food with their hands in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. People eat with their hands in other countries in Africa and Asia also.

Always keep your hands above the table in Mexico.

Eat only with your right hand in Egypt. (This is true for many Middle Eastern countries) Salting your food is a huge insult.

In Germany, eat your meat with a fork. Use a knife only if it is necessary. If you eat meat with a fork, it lets the cook know the meat is tender.

Pad Thai is always eaten with a fork and a spoon. Thai people eat most of their food with a spoon in their dominant hand and a fork in the other. Chopsticks are only served for soup.

Mezze (small plates) come before a meal.

Pasta is not a main course.

In Uganda, eat fried grasshoppers with your hands like chips. In Mexico eat them on a taco with guacamole and cheese. In Thailand eat them on a stick. In Burma, peel off the head and wings and gulp.

In Burma, they say that anything that walks on the ground can be eaten.

Margherita Pizza is really the only thing Italians consider pizza and should  be eaten with a knife a fork.  The pies are usually served unsliced. It is not a hard and fast role like never cut your spaghetti with a knife and fork.

In Mexico, never eat tacos with a knife and fork.

In France, don’t eat the bread before the meal.

Never turn down vodka in Russia or tea in Turkey.

In France, eat frogs legs like you would eat fried chicken –with your hands in a casual setting, with a knife and fork in a formal restaurant.

In Kenya drinking cows blood mixed with milk is a special treat.

Chinese people do not eat fortune cookies for dessert but oranges for good luck.  It is illegal to eat an orange in a bathtub in California.

In China you are expected to leave a small amount of food uneaten on your plate. If you finish everything, you are sending the insulting message that not enough food was served to you.

It is rude to burp at a table in Japan. It is not rude to burp at a table in China.

In Singapore gum chewing is illegal.

In Mexico Men make toasts, women do not.

In Russia, Do not drink until a toast has been made.

In Armenia, if you empty a bottle into someone’s glass, it obliges them to buy the next bottle.

In restaurants in Portugal don’t ask for salt and pepper if it is not already on the table. Asking for any kind of seasoning or condiment is to cast aspersions on the cook. Cooks are highly respected people in Portugal.

Eating from individual plates strikes most people in Ethiopia as hilarious, bizarre, and wasteful. Food is always shared from a single plate without the use of cutlery.

In Japan it is acceptable to loudly slurp noodles and similar foods. In fact, it is considered flattering to do so, because it indicates that you are enjoying the food.

Do not eat fugu from  an unlicensed chef. The Japanese pufferfish, or fugu, is a delicacy in Japan. It’s also potentially one of the most poisonous foods in the world, with no known antidote.  Japanese chefs train for years to remove the deadly portion of the fish before serving it, though generally the goal is not to fully remove it, but to leave just enough of a trace to generate a tingling sensation in the mouth, so the customer knows how close he came to the edge.  This was one of my best meals in Japan and I have lived to write this.

At this moment,  someone is making a food etiquette mistake.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned In Thailand

Things I Have Learned In Thailand

“If your mind is happy, then you are happy anywhere you go.  When wisdom awakens within you, you will see truth wherever you look. It’s like when you’ve learned how to read — you can then read 
 anywhere you go.”  Phra Ajarn Chah (Thai Buddhist monk)

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Bangkok has the longest city name in the world; written out it’s actually: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

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In Thailand, it is  required to  stand for the national anthem when it is played (in the street, in the  cinema, in the airport, in the train station, in the bathroom or at the beach etc, (Phu Quoc island location of “The Impossible”)

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The first case of HIV Aids was reported in Thailand. Thailand has the highest prevalence of HIV Aids in Asia.

Thailand has one of the worst child sex trafficking records in the world.

In Thailand it is deemed impolite to ask someone their age or salary.

Thailand is home to the world’s largest gold Buddha, the largest crocodile farm, the largest restaurant, the longest single-span suspension bridge, and the world’s tallest hotel.

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Several years ago, Bangkok was named the hottest city in the world by the World Meteorological Organization. Stay hydrated.

You can be jailed for not wearing underwear in Thailand.

Every Thai male has to become a monk  at some point in his life even if only for a short period, and at almost any age between completion of school and the beginning of a career or married life.  it is a period of about three months. The reason being is to do it for your mother so when she died she would hold on to your monk’s robe and go to heaven.

In Thai tradition,  touching the head is severely looked down upon. The Thai people believe that the soul resides in the head, which makes it an extremely sacred place that should not be touched.

The Kings head is on all Thai currency, therefore if you step on a banknote or coin, it is considered to be kicking the king in the face. They love this king. His face his everywhere.

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All Buddha images, no matter how small, tacky or ruined are sacred and should never be used as a backdrop for your photo. (Ayuthetta)

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In Thailand, the left hand is used for going to the bathroom and the right hand is used for eating and greeting. Unfortunately, I am left-handed so I am rude in Thailand.

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Thai boxing has a spiritual and ritualistic part.  There is music and sacred clothing decorated with Buddhist symbols, There are different significant bows and a dance. Then they try to beat the crap out of each other.

In Thailand, the children do everything for the parents.  They are grateful to them for being born, for  giving them  food , clothing, shelter and education. In America, the parents do everything for the children. They are grateful to them for being born and give them food, clothing ,shelter and education.

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The ‘King and I “ is banned in Thailand. Anyone caught smuggling in the “King and I” will be arrested.

The gold stupa in the Emerald Temple in Bangkok has a monkey and a giant on it to carry the world. Everyone must carry their own burdens in this world but the giant and the  monkey also carry all the human burdens.

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It is cheaper  to buy Chang Mai hillside tribe products in Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok (biggest market ever)  than it is in Chang Mai.

Putting on sarong pants is more complicated than it looks. There are rules for the placement of the knots and folds. They are different for men and for women. Sexual orientation  is also shown by the placement of the knots.

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Ayutthaya was the old capital of the Thai kingdom  resembling a  graveyard of temples and headless Buddhas (beheaded by the Burmese in the thirteenth century) and ruins showing what it might have looked like.

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Thai people  greet and bow in the traditional way with palms touching. Most people great each other in this way and say “sa wat de kah”   It is based on the ancient Thai  culture. They were always working in the rice fields and their hands were dirty so this became the most polite greeting.

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been under foreign control. Burma and  Malaysia were part of the British empire. Laos and Cambodia were under French control. (Putthaya)

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Condensed milk is a staple in Thailand and Thai coffee. You can find it in every Seven Eleven and in bulk at Tesco.

An ice cream sandwich in Thailand is ice cream between two pieces of white bread. They don’t serve bread with meals but rice instead.

Thai is a tonal language which means one word can have many meanings depending on how it is pronounced. Thai people think is very funny the way we pronounce Kwai in Bridge on the River Kwai. Apparently the way we say it, it means  male sex organ.

Thai people eat most of their food with a spoon in their dominant hand and a fork in the other. Chopsticks are only served for soup..

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95 per cent of the people are Buddhists.

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Thailand was called Siam until 1939.

Shopping at Siam Paragon and MBK are just like shopping in any other huge shopping mall.

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The first Thai massage school was started 417 years ago at the Pho temple in Bangkok. People today still learn the same techniques and the original drawings show that each part of the body has a meaning.

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In Bangkok, “best quality fakes” are near “best quality hotels.”  It does involve hidden stores behind other stores up staircases in back alleys  but one block from the Shangri La Hotel and Penninsula ferry stop.

In ballet, the shape of the feet is important, in Thai dancing it is the shape of the hands, the length of the fingers and if they are double jointed, that is the most important.

It is often nicknamed as the “Land Of Smiles,” because of the perceived gentleness of its people. The country is really populated by smiling, inviting, and receiving people. Thais are really gentle, polite, soft-spoken, friendly, and hospitable human beings. (great tour guide Gift  www.privatetourthailand.com)

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For more info go to Looking  For Buddha In Bangkok

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/looking-for-buddha-in-bangkok/

Sa Wat De Kah and Fly Safe

JAZ

Looking For Buddha In Bangkok

“it is better to travel well than to arrive”.   Buddha

Looking for Buddha in Bangkok

Day 1. I didn’t see Buddha today among all the Golden Buddhas. He wasn’t at the most famous Emerald Buddha where all Buddhists go to worship. He wasn’t around the ancient Buddhist scriptures or at the giant leaning Buddha or the Grand Palace. I heard he was on the sky train but I missed him. I thought I saw him in the night market eating fried crickets on a stick. It turned out to be an old man with a beautiful smile. (it might have been gas- crickets are apparently better for the digestive system when eaten raw).  I didn’t see him  at Starbucks, nor was he having the most fabulous Thai  Massage.  I thought I saw him at the flower market among the beautiful orchids but it was just another Buddha wanna be.  He wasn’t having Pad Thai , Thai Coffee and Thai Mango at the restaurant on the river. He was not on any of the riverboats that I have been on today. I will look again tomorrow.

Day 2. No, not today.

Day 3. He wasn’t at the floating market.  Someone swore he ate lunch there everyday.  He wasn’t at the train market either.   The train runs through the market to Bangkok eight times a day. Eight times a day, they pack up and put out their food. The people help each other do it.  It is not very tranquil. No one seems to mind. They all have their shrines to him and they all smile. I think he has been there before.

Day 4. Buddha is not shopping at Siam Paragon Mall or MBK.  However, there is a monk on a cell phone and two other monks with shopping bags. I hope he is not begging for rice in the food court.   He is not at Best Quality Fakes either. Though, I’m sure he would know how to find them.

Day 5. The real Buddha is not at the old  capital city of Ayuthetta. There are many Buddha statues and many more decapitated ones. It is the ruined city that is  left after the Burmese ravaged the old capital.  it must have been quite beautiful when Buddha was there. I couldn’t see him when I was riding the elephant and I was pretty high up.

Day 6. He was not at Chatuchak  Weekend Market . If he was there on a weekend, I would never see him because it is one of the largest and most crowded  markets in the world. It covers over 27 acres and has more than two  hundred thousand visitors per day.    Surprisingly, He was not at  (BIA) Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives. It is the  most beautifully decorated space combining art and nature dedicated to Thai Buddhism. When I meditated there , I didn’t find   Buddha but I did find peace.

  As I rode to the airport I wondered where was he in this very Buddhist country? Was he in the faces of the children, the kindness of the people, the quiet dignity of the elephants, the beautiful orchids, the peace at the meditation center?  Was he there all the time?  Or, will I just have to look harder on my next visit?

Sa wat dii kha, fly safe

JAZ