Member Login

You are not currently logged in.








» Register
» Lost your Password?
Article Archives

Dr. Jack Wheeler

1 2 3 85

MAYA RUINS AND STAR WARS

maya-ruins

This is Temple IV at the ancient Mayan capital of Tikal, now in northern Guatemala. It was from the top of Temple IV that the shot in the original 1977 Star Wars movie was filmed of the Millennium Falcon landing (at 44 seconds) near jungle temples (Temples II and III) at the Rebel Base on the moon of Yavin 4.

Built in 740 AD, at 230 feet it is the tallest pre-Columbian structure in all the Americas. While Tikal’s earliest buildings date to the 4th century BC, it was from 300 to 800 AD that Tikal flourished as one of the Mayan Empires most powerful kingdoms.

Then decline set in, with drought, deforestation, overpopulation, and constant warfare with rival kingdoms. With Tikal abandoned by the end of the 900s, it remained covered by rainforest jungle for over a thousand years. American archaeologists began excavations in the 1950s. Today with its major temples restored, Tikal is the most impressive example you can visit of Mayan civilization. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #118 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

AMONG A MILLION PENGUINS IN SOUTH GEORGIA

million-s-georgia-penguins

The Antarctic island of South Georgia is home to a million King penguins, plus countless fur seals, gigantic elephant seals, staggering numbers of seabirds such as albatrosses, amidst a backdrop of towering mountains with massive glaciers spilling off them.

Nothing can prepare you for the incomprehensible size of the penguin rookeries here, densely packed as far as the eye can see (all those white dots on the hills behind are penguins). Nor for the size of bull elephant seals weighing up to 8,000 pounds, especially when they rise up and crash their chests against each other in mating challenges emitting deafening bellows. Nor being surrounded by a thousand fur seals unafraid of you. The density of wildlife combined with the magnificent beauty of the island is completely overwhelming.

Here also is the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken where the heroic explorer Ernest Shackleton is buried. You can only get here by expedition cruise ship. South Georgia is one of the great experiences on our planet. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #96 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE SULTAN ASTRONOMER

ancient-observatory

You’re looking at something historically and scientifically astonishing. It is what remains of an astronomical observatory built 600 years ago – in 1420 – by a Sultan in Central Asia who loved science and mathematics more than war and conquest.

It was in Samarkand, the most fabled oasis of the Silk Road, that Sultan Ulugh Beg built his circular observatory, three stories high of white marble. All that’s left today is part of the underground sextant that you see in the photo.

For the full story of what he achieved, with many more photos, click on The Sultan Astronomer in TTP I wrote in 2020.

This Glimpse is to whet your appetite to learn about this amazing Sultan and his scientific achievements.

It’s also to whet your appetite for joining your fellow TTPers on our Heart of Central Asia expedition this September. The story of The Sultan Astronomer is but one example of what awaits you in exploring Central Asia, an enrichment of your life beyond description. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #212 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – SLEEPING IN AN IGLOO

jw-bw-iglooApril 1990. When our oldest son Brandon was six years old, I took him with me to the North Pole. It was my 14th expedition there, and as always, we stopped to visit friends at Canada’s northernmost community, the Inuit hunting village of Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island. Brandon thought it would be cool to sleep in an igloo, which the Inuit do only when they’re hunting seals or walrus far out on the ice.

So the villagers happily complied, showing him how they built one, carving out blocks of wind-blown snow, shaping and placing them in an inward-sloped spiral with one block on top, and packing snow as mortar between the blocks. When it was bedtime – still daylight with 24-hour sunshine by April – they lined the inside with caribou skins, which shed like crazy with hairs everywhere but sure are warm. Snuggled into our arctic down sleeping bags, we slept like stones.

It was an experience both of us will never forget. Never pass up an opportunity to have an adventure with your kids they’ll always remember. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #50 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 06/24/22

fetusThey did it. Six to three, Roberts included.  Or rather, POTUS did it, by getting Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh on the Court – even though he gave God the credit as befits such a historical triumph of good over evil.

Let’s revel in this extraordinary victory for life over murder – and also realize the extraordinary consequences beyond it:  America is now clearly on the road to getting its Constitution back, to having a government that obeys the restrictions the Constitution places upon it, rather than one that flaunts it with glee and impunity.

That’s the real reason behind all the berserk rage Dems are engaging in now.  They’ve suffered a grievous blow to their Cult of Death, but worse, a perhaps mortal blow to their path to fascist power through the perversion of the founding law of our nation.

Read more...

THE KASBAH OF AÏT BENHADDOU

ait-benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou is a thousand year-old kasbah or fortified village on the ancient trade route from the Sahara to Marrakech in Morocco. It’s constructed entirely of rammed earth, adobe, and wood.

Remember the famous scene in Gladiator where Maximus shouts “Are you not entertained?!” to the bloodthirsty crowd? It was filmed here, as were scenes in many other movies such as “The Jewel of the Nile,” and “The Mummy,” or the series ”The Game of Thrones.”

Yet this is no location set – people live here, scores of families, as they have for a millennium. You’re welcome to come here to see how they live for real – as here Hollywood is far, far away. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #181 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

BALLOONS OVER BURMA

burma-balloons

From the 900s to the 1200s, the Pagan Empire built over 10,000 Buddhist temples. 2,200 remain on the plains of Pagan today, one of the world’s most wondrous sights – especially if you see them from above in a hot air balloon. It is truly astounding how much there is to explore and experience in Burma. We’ll be there once more for it all next February. I hope you will be one of your fellow TTPers to join us. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #33 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE TO SUA SWIMMING HOLE OF SAMOA

samoa-swimhole “To Sua” means “giant swimming hole” in Samoan. It’s a collapsed lava tube hole on the south coast of Upolu in Samoa. On top of lava cliffs overlooking the South Pacific, you clamber down the ladder for a memorable swim. To Sua is but one of the attractions of Samoa: gorgeous waterfalls, marvelously friendly people, and the historic home named “Valima,” of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), where he and his wife Fanny spent his last years.

On a hilltop rising above Valima is the gravesite of “Tusitala” – Stevenson’s Samoan name, meaning “Telling of Tales.” Engraved on the side of his tomb is his famous epitaph he wrote himself:

Under the wide and starry sky

Dig the grave and let me lie:

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:

Here he lies where he long'd to be;

Home is the sailor, home from the sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.

Should you be lucky enough to come here, you’ll fall in love with Samoa as did Tusitala. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #136 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE ARK OF BUKHARA

ark-of-bukhara

The ”Ark” was the palace-fortress of Bukhara rulers since 500 BC. The ancient Silk Road oasis has a history of 5,000 years. Today Bukhara is in Uzbekistan, one the Stans of Central Asia. Each are uniquely enchanting. Together they comprise one of the most culturally, historically, and scenically spectacular, yet mysterious and unknown, regions on our Earth. Let me know if you’d like to experience them with me by joining your fellow TTPers to explore The Heart of Central Asia – Sept 18-Oct 4, 2022. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #36 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – THE MAN-EATER OF DALAT

jw-man-eating-tiger Dalat, South Viet Nam, 1961. I was 17 years old. A friend of my father’s, Herb Klein, came by our house. He was a prominent businessman whose passion was big-game hunting. He had just returned from the mountain jungle highlands of South Viet Nam and regaled us with stories of the Montagnard tribespeople who were plagued by tigers with a taste for human flesh. He told me that after climbing the Matterhorn, living with Amazon headhunters, and swimming the Hellespont, hunting a man-eating tiger should be my next adventure.

“You’d be saving so many lives, Jack,” he told me. “There’s one I heard about from the Co Ho Montagnards that’s killed and eaten almost 20 of them in the forests outside the town of Dalat. I know who can guide you, he was mine, his name is Ngo Van Chi.”

Somehow, I talked my parents into letting me do this. I had saved up the money from giving tennis and judo lessons. So there I was, in pitch dark in a “mirador” of branches and leaves, holding a .300 Weatherby with a flashlight wired to the barrel, waiting for this man-eating tiger to come for the rotting water buffalo we set out as bait. Chi and I heard the tiger, I put the rifle barrel out, Chi clicked on the flashlight, I saw these two enormous red eyes, and fired.

And there he is, the Man-Eater of Dalat, who would never kill another human being ever again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #175 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 06/17/22

waiting-for-lifeWill Mike Ramirez’s prayer – the prayer of everyone pro-life – be answered at 10AM DC time this Monday June 20?  The Chief Justice may hold out one more week – the 27th being the latest delay possible – but odds are rapidly increasing the 20th will be D-Day, with D for Dobbs.

Per the May 2 leak of the draft decision, should the Court as expected repeal Roe by deciding there is no constitutional right to abortion, a dangerously large number of Lefties are going to violently lose their minds.  That’s why it’s imperative for pro-lifers to make plans now for physically going to their nearest Catholic church or pro-life pregnancy center immediately upon the decision’s announcement to prevent attacks upon it.

Bring mace, bear or pepper spray, be armed if you’re in a can-carry state or district, and be prepared to use whatever you have in defense.  Adequate self-defense is the only proper response to the initiation of violence.

As you know, such attacks on pro-life centers and churches have been occurring all over the country since May 2 and are going to explode if Dobbs repeals Roe.  This violent madness of crowds must be stopped by whatever defensive force is necessary.

Read more...

THE PILLARS OF HERCULES

pillars-of-herculesOn either side of the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar there are two small mountains known since great antiquity as the Pillars of Hercules. The pillar on the northern, European side is the famous Rock of Gibraltar. That on the southern, African side is Mount Abyla, Phoenician for “lofty mountain.”

The legend for the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans was that Hercules pushed the two pillars apart to join the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. We think today of Hercules as a comic-book bodybuilder, while the truth is opposite. The entire ancient Mediterranean world very seriously worshipped him. For the Phoenicians, he was Melqart, King of the Earth. For the Greeks, he was Heracles, Divine Protector of Mankind. He was the same for the Romans, who pronounced his name as Hercules.

The Phoenician trading port of Abyla has a history of 3,000 years, from Phoenician to Carthaginian to Roman to Byzantine to Christian Visigoths to Islamic Berbers to Portuguese – and since 1668 to Spain, which continues to govern it today as the Spanish Autonomous City of Ceuta on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.

Ceuta is a charming European city with beautiful beaches, open air cafés with great sangria, very relaxed and pleasant. It is here you find the statue of Hercules separating his Pillars commemorating the legend pictured above. Easy to get to with high-speed ferries from Algeciras near Gibraltar, Ceuta is definitely worth your while to experience. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #137 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

BADAB-E-SURT

springs-of-intensityThe “Springs of Intensity” in Persian are a series travertine terraces in remote northern Iran of such impressionist beauty they look like a masterpiece of Claude Monet. For thousands of years, water flowing down a mountainside from two hot mineral springs depositing carbonates have built these natural multi-colored staircases.

Iran is an enormous country – almost the size of Alaska, four times the size of California – filled with wonders, natural and cultural. We were welcomed in every part of the country in our exploration of it in 2014. While the current political climate does not allow that today, the day will come before long when we will return. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #130 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLAG DAY SKYDIVE

©Jack Wheeler

What better Glimpse could I post than this on Flag Day, June 14. I’m on the right, my skydiving buddy Chris Wentzel is on the left. The jump was performed at the Skydive Perris drop zone in Perris, California. The photo was taken by famed skydiver cameraman Norman Kent. Long may Old Glory wave over the country we love and cherish. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #211 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

SKARA BRAE

skara-brae

North of Scotland are the Orkney Islands. On a windswept bluff above the North Atlantic, archaeologists have unearthed an intact Neolithic village of farmers and cattle herders that’s 5,000 years old (3200 BC) – centuries older than the Pyramids of Egypt. Their homes had beds, chairs, cupboards, flush toilets, running water, cozy, warm, and comfortable.

What you see here is just one section of the village. What I found particularly interesting was this sign at the entrance to the site.

reasons-to-settle-in-skara-brae

These villagers enjoyed a warmer climate than today, more fertile land. Skara Brae is a 5,000 year-old refutation of the Global Warming Hoax. If you ever get to Scotland, be sure the Orkneys are on your itinerary. Skara Brae is only one of the places you’ll find fascinating. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #210 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY SMUGGLERS PARADISE

jw-with-merchant-on-boat Khasab, Musendam, Enclave of Oman, October 2006. The sharp tip of Arabia, known as the Musandam Point, sticks into the Persian Gulf, separating it from the Indian Ocean. The Strait of Hormuz is only 30 miles wide from Musandam Point to the coast of Iran, and through it passes a substantial fraction of the world's crude oil.

enclave-of-oman

I came here to see the Persian smugglers. Go down to the wharves in Khasab and you will see them piled high with waterproof-wrapped bales of clothes, cases of soft drinks and juice, cartons of children's toys and electronic goods, an entire shopping mall of stuff, all ready to be crammed and tied down into 20 ft. long open speedboats with powerful outboard motors capable of outrunning Iranian Navy patrols.

There are dozens, scores, of waiting speedboats. The run from Khasab harbor to coves on the Iranian coast or the Iranian island of Qeshm takes about three hours. An average night will see dozens of speedboats racing across the Strait of Hormuz smuggling goods into Iran. The smugglers couldn’t have been more friendly to me. They hate the mullahs and are proud they are helping poor people in Iran. I had a great time with them. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #169 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 06/10/22

swampy-achievements Wow… talk about living in Desperation City.  Dems expect their prime time snoozefest of the Jan6 Committee hearings to save them from midterm wipeout five months from now?

It’s funny enough to read the hyperventilating tweets of Hollywood has-beens over this old news.  Then comes the real ROTFLMAO: Bloomberg’s undies in a tizzy - Capitol Riot Apologists Go Unpunished as Memories of Horror Fade.

Here’s what’s worrisome, however.  Every deception trick the Dems have tried now to avoid their November wipeout has failed…

wiped-out

So what’s next?  Will their descent into ever-deeper desperation drive them towards more futile foolishness like these go-nowhere Jan6 hearings? Or towards something truly sinister?

Read more...

SURREALISM IN CENTRAL ASIA

pearl-of-shing-lake It only looks surreal – as so much of Central Asia can be. That’s why it’s one of the most magically entrancing parts of our planet. In a hidden valley high in the mountains of Tajikistan there is a stepping-stone series of lakes called The Seven Pearls of Shing. This is one of them at early sunrise.

The number of magically surrealistic-yet-real sights and experiences like this throughout Central Asia, be they in nature, in Silk Road history, in culture or with welcoming people everywhere, are as innumerable and they are unforgettable.

You owe it to yourself to at least browse through the photos of The Heart of Central Asia – Sept 18-Oct 4, 2022 so you can immerse yourself in imagining being there for real. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #209 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE DONGBA SPIRIT OF NATURE

shv-statue

Originally nomads from the Tibetan Plateau, the Nashi people settled in the fertile Himalayan foothills of Yunnan over 2,000 years ago. From the ancient Tibetan religion of Bön, they developed a unique religion of nature-worship called Dongba. The progenitors of humanity and nature were two half-brothers, two mothers with the same father. Nature is controlled by a human-snake chimera called Shv – a statue of whom you see here.

The Nashi are a peaceful gentle people whose ideal is living in accordance with nature. They dress very colorfully, women have equal respect with men, they write with the world’s only still-functioning pictographic script, and are proud of preserving their culture for millennia. It is an enchanting experience to be among them. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #163 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING OF YELLOWSTONE

yellowstone-prismatic-spring

There are places in our world so staggeringly beautiful to have to see them to believe they exist.  Yet those people walking along the foot bridge can’t see what you’re looking at.  That has to be in the air, hovering from high above in a helicopter.  We live in a world of such beauty it really does take your breath away. And best of all, the beauty of the Grand Prismatic Spring  of Yellowstone is right here in America.

Here we are at Yellowstone in Wyoming, a wonderland by itself.  Just to the south are the Grand Tetons. To the west is the Sawtooth Range and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River – one of the best whitewater runs on the planet.  It goes endlessly on and on.  America the Beautiful is not just a song – it’s glorious reality. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World 135, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

GRAND ESCALANTE STAIRCASE

grand-escalante

As you can see, this place is aptly named. It is simply phantasmagorical – nature on LSD. Then again, so much of southern Utah is too, for close by Escalante are the Vermillion Cliffs, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Monument Valley and a lot more.

The entire area is Navaho country, so it is no surprise their native religion is based on peyote, a cactus containing the hallucinogen, mescaline, with the Navaho belief that nature surrounding them was designed by the Peyote Bird.

However, it is not necessary to take any hallucinogen to achieve a sense of ecstasy being here – just a deep appreciation of what a wondrous world – a breathtaking world – it is that we are all privileged to be alive in. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #180 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – WITH THE ANTI-COMMUNIST GUERILLAS IN CAMBODIA

jw-w-guerillas-in-cambodiaJuly, 1984. The KPNLF – Khmer People’s National Liberation Front – was the Anti-Communist guerrilla movement fighting the Soviet-backed Vietnamese Communists in Cambodia. When I was first there in 1961, Cambodia was then a land of serenity, with a gentle and tranquil people who were at peace with themselves and the world. Now it was a land of indescribable Communist horror.

It was such a privilege to be with these brave men willing to wage war against that horror and bring freedom to their country. I told their tale in Turning Back the Terror, the February 1985 cover story for Reason magazine. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #20 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 06/03/22

gun-or-cultureThe old cliché that “guns don’t kill people, people do” is still true and now more than ever, as the Dems desperately search for a diversion away from disaster at the polls five months from now.  How gin-clear can it be with headlines like this last night (6/02): Joe Biden Says Radical Gun Control Should Be ‘Central’ to Voting in November?

How more hysterically demagogic can DDs (Desperate Dems) be when they scream:  “Republicans are on the side of killers of our kids”?

This is no surprise, as you and I well know that Democrats and the Left are advocates of fascism not freedom, and that a disarmed citizenry is a necessary condition to achieve the fascist power they crave.  And next November, any ability to have that power will be rudely ripped from their smarmy hands without a massive diversion.

Enjoy watching the Congresslady from Rifle, Colorado, Lauren Boebert, eviscerate the Dem gun control mania on the floor of the House yesterday (6/02).  Prepare to stand up and cheer:

Read more...

THE IDEAL ESCAPE HATCH

portugal-rivieraWhat would be an ideal place to escape from all the lunacy washing over our country – for a few days to a second home?

Let’s see… it would have to be a First World country with all the civilized amenities of modern life, and a cultured, educated, and welcoming people many, many of whom speak English.

A First World country that brushes aside all Woke nuttiness engulfing the US as silly rubbish to be ignored, and traditional Christian family values revered instead. That is not much farther away than a US cross-country flight. That has Goldilocks weather, not too hot, not too cold. That has sunsets in the ocean, fabulous food and wine, incredible castles in the sky, history that’s thousands of years old yet so hip and current it’s the cultural capital of its continent.

We’ve had Glimpses of this place before: The Europe That’s Still There, and The Portuguese Riviera. Yes, the Ideal Escape Hatch for us is Portugal – a quick overnight flight getting there, a morning flight return.

For 10 days in mid-October, Rebel and I are conducting a Portugal Exploration for TTPers. Please consider joining us – Rebel and I and your fellow TTPers will love to have you. Just click on Portugal Exploration – Oct 12-21, 2022 -- you owe it to yourself to be entranced by the photos, for a glimpse of this ideal place. (Glimpses of our Breathtaking World #157 ©photo Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE MOST CHRISTIAN ISLAND

waitangi-bay-chatham-islandWaitangi Bay, Chatham Island. 530 miles east of New Zealand lies an isolated island of windswept rugged beauty that few people have ever heard of. Yet Chatham Island may be an ultimate Christian example of how to prevail over monstrous evil.

In the early 1400s, a Polynesian people calling themselves Moriori sailed from New Zealand across an unknown empty sea to reach an island they named Rekohu, meaning “misty sky.” For 400 years they lived in peace among themselves – and in utter isolation from the world.

But in 1835, another people arrived, and brought Hell with them. They were a group of 500 Maori cannibals from New Zealand determined to take Rekohu for themselves. The Maori killed them like sheep, men, women, children, and babies, and ate them.

The British Governor of New Zealand ignored the Maori Genocide. There were about 2,000 Moriori on Rekohu (renamed Chatham) when the Maoris arrived in 1835. Only 101 Moriori were still alive by 1862. It was Western Christian missionaries who put an end to Maori killing, eating, and enslaving Moriori. Today on Chatham Island there is a Moriori resurgence – but without rancor. The past is past, they say, what counts is the future. Like few other peoples on earth, the Moriori understand the Christian power of abandoning resentment and grievance.

Come to Chatham to experience a unique place in our world, and a people with their souls at peace. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #176 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE TIGERS OF SAMARKAND

tigers-of-samarkandThe magnificent Sher-Dor Madrassa, built in the early 1600s, is part of the Registan public square complex of the ancient Silk Road oasis of Samarkand. “Sher-Dor” means “Adorned with Tigers” in Persian – flaunting Islamic blasphemy of living beings in art. Here is the mosaic depiction of a tiger chasing a deer and on its back a rising sun deity with a human face. This is honoring the pre-Islamic history of Samarkand that goes back almost 3,000 years.

It was centuries old when Alexander conquered it in 329 BC. For a thousand years as Central Asia’s great entrepot on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean, it was a cosmopolitan center for Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Nestorian Christianity. Incorporated into the Islamic world in the 700s, sacked by Genghiz Khan in 1220, rebuilt by the time Marco Polo in 1272 described it as “a large and splendid city,” Tamerlane made it his capital in 1370.

Colonized by Czar Alexander II in the 1860s within the Russian Imperial Empire, and by the Soviets in the 1920s within the Uzbek SSR, Samarkand is flourishing today in independent Uzbekistan. Come with me to explore Samarkand and so many other wonders of The Heart of Central Asia this September. It will be like a dream come true. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #208 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY MEMORIAL DAY SKYDIVE

 

©Jack Wheeler

My skydiving buddy Chris Wentzel and I made this flag jump on Memorial Day years ago to pay tribute to those in our military who gave their lives for America. I’m on the right, Chris on the left. The jump was performed at the Skydive Perris drop zone in Perris, California. It’s only fitting I post this on TTP in honor of those whom we memorialize in gratitude on this Memorial Day weekend. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #207 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 05/27/22

“A single death is a tragedy – a million deaths is a statistic” --Stalin

“A single death is a tragedy – a million deaths is a statistic” --Stalin

Here are the world’s two most infamous mass-murdering psychopaths of this week.  It’s understandable that the shock, horror, and mourning over the victims of the one on the left is now far greater than over those of the one on the right.

You see the pictures of the 19 4th grade children (along with their two teachers) senselessly slaughtered in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday (5/24) and your heart breaks.  The only miniscule bit of recompense is that the monster who took their lives got his head blown off as he deserved.

Such a fate should be the least of what the other monster above deserves, since his senseless crimes in Ukraine dwarf those of Uvalde by many orders of magnitude.  Yet that is the terrible irony of Stalin’s observation.  The crimes being perpetrated on the people of Ukraine are so massive it overwhelms us.

*****

As Russia continues its slide into collapse, let’s take a look at its big neighbor to the east – China.  What’s going on there right now has to be the strangest event currently on earth: Chicom China is in the process of committing suicide.

Read more...

THE REMOTEST CHURCH

baihanluo-catholic-church

Baihanluo Catholic Church is the remotest Christian Church on earth. The isolated village is in a roadless region high on a Himalayan mountain ridge deep in “The Great River Trenches of Asia” – one of our planet’s most dramatic geological features where four major rivers – the Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze all spill off the Tibetan Plateau coursing south in tight parallel for 100 miles.

catholic-mission-in-laos

In the late 1800’s, French Catholic missionaries made their way far, far up the Mekong from the French colony of Laos to befriend the Nu and Lisu tribespeople up here. They responded by building this beautiful wooden church that has been lovingly cared for by the local parishioners ever since.

I led an expedition traversing all three of the great trenches twenty years ago (2001). We were welcomed so warmly by the devout villagers. It’s hard to get more remote than this, yet they have retained their faith for at least four generations now. You can imagine how powerful and experience it was to be with them. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #138 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE ROCK PALACE OF YEMEN

rock-palace Dar al-Hajar, the Rock Palace, was built by Yemen’s ruler, Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin (1869-1948), atop a rock pinnacle as his summer residence. It lies in a valley about 10 miles outside Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. While an iconic example of Yemeni architecture, it’s impossible to visit now with civil war raging in the country. Someday we’ll be able to safely return to Yemen again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #143 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE LION ROCK OF SIGIRIYA

lion-rock-of-sigiriyaRising 600 feet above the jungles of central Ceylon (Sri Lanka) is a gigantic rock column revered for millennia as Sigiriya – Lion Rock from Sanskrit. It’s flat on top, used over centuries as a Buddhist monastery and a fortress by kings. In 480, King Kashyapa had the image of a lion carved into the rock as the entrance gate to his fortress-palace on top. All that’s left are the lion’s paws that you see.

It was a risky climb via stone stairs carved into the rock getting to the top. Today there’s a much safer wooden staircase. It’s a pilgrimage site for Sri Lankans where they get to celebrate their history and enjoy the gorgeous view on top. It’s a marvelous experience for you to participate in. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #158 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

RIZONG GOMPA

rizong-gompa Rizong is a Gompa or monastery for lamas or monks of the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is built like it is virtually glued onto a steep cliff in a hidden side valley of the Upper Indus River in the remote region of Ladakh or Indian Tibet.

Ladakh is culturally and geographically Tibetan, yet the British were able to sequester this region for India and away from Chinese-Occupied Tibet, so it is here that real Tibet still flourishes. Visiting Rizong is one of the many extraordinary sights and experiences we have on our India Tibet Expedition this coming August. Hope you’ll be with us. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #206 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – YESTERDAY AND RIGHT NOW

jack-young-brandon I took my son Brandon on our Indian Tibet expedition when he was 10 years old in 1993. Here we are about to whitewater run the Zanskar River right through the Himalayas. Look at that smile – now there’s an ecstatically happy boy. Wouldn’t you like to see a smile like that on your son or grandson?

You can. Come with me and Brandon with your son or grandson on our Indian Tibet High Adventure – August 14-27, 2022

this summer – or your daughter or granddaughter, ladies are welcome! Don’t say you’re too old – I’m 78!

Indian Tibet 2022 is an absolute true high adventure that both of you will always treasure. Click on the link, absorb the photos, make the experience of actually being there real to you, throw any excuses in the trash, and let me know you’re in. See you in Delhi! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #205 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 05/20/22

zelensky-timeOn Monday (5/23), TIME Magazine will publish its Time 100 issue, listing who its editors, past awardees and readers consider to be the 100 most influential people in the entire world for 2022.  Odds are very high that gracing its cover will be the single most influential of all – Volodymyr Zelensky.

Almost singlehandedly, he has rescued his nation of 44 million from obliteration by a foreign evil the like of which Europe has not seen since Nazi Germany, and is on his way to militarily defeating it.  He has welded his fractious people into a unified, patriotic whole, creating a fully sovereign Ukraine rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of the horrors of Russian attempts to destroy it over the last three centuries until right now.

If Time had an award for Loser of the Year, no doubt it would be Vladimir Putin. Here’s his consolation prize:

nato-salesman-of-year

There’s lots more, and not all about Ukraine!

Read more...

IMPRESSIONISM’S ISLAND

lakshadweep Bangaram Atoll, Laccadive Islands, India. The “Lacquered” islands or Laccadives are legendary for the glossiness of the Indian Ocean surrounding them. There are three dozen of these coral atolls over 150 miles off the coast of southwest India – but moorkh Indian bureaucrats insist on calling them “Lakshadweep,” Sanskrit for “100,000. Go figure.

Paintings of the French Impressionists of the 19th century merged dreams and reality. Here that is for real. The beauty in the Laccadives can be so astonishing that it seems surreal – like when the ocean and sky merge into one in a palette of pastels straight from the brush of Monet. Come to Bangaram and you’ll find yourself living inside a painting. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #172 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

LETHAL BEAUTY

lethal-beauty Want to get this close to a leopard – and safely? Come with me on a safari in Africa and I’ll show you how. Yes, she’s lethal – to the animals she hunts, not you. Yes, you can make such lethal beauty an indelible part of your life.

We really do only live once on this Earth. You really do owe it to yourself to make the most of it. You really can’t take it with you. It really is time to live your dream, to fill your soul with life-memorable experiences. Life lasts but a snap of the finger.

So what adventures have you always dreamed of? Let me know and maybe you and I can make them become real together. I’m only an email away: [email protected]. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #204 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE INDIA LESS TRAVELED

This is Mysore Palace, home of the Wadiyar Rajas who ruled Mysore from 1399 to 1950. It is one of the many wonders of Southern India that’s far less known than traveler’s meccas up north like Agra and Rajasthan.

There’s the Nagarhole Tiger Sanctuary, more Asian elephants than anywhere else in the world, over 100 tigers, scores of leopards, their prey in profusion. Christian churches founded by Christ’s disciple St. Thomas in the 1st century AD. Towering Hindu temples covered with tens of thousands of eye-popping multi-colored sculptures. The gorgeous beaches of Goa, the serene peace of the Kerala Backwaters – “one of the most beautiful locations on earth” according to National Geographic, that you explore by luxury houseboat. It goes on and on.

And here also you find the business metropolis of Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. We did all of this and more a few years ago, and may again in ’21 or ’22. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #81 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

THE PORTUGUESE RIVIERA

rh-at-portugues-riviera A cliff-top fishing village on the Italian Riviera? Nope, Azenhas do Mar – Watermills of the Sea – is on the Portuguese Riviera. This is a magic place of fairy tale castles, thousand year-old fortresses, luxury boutique hotels, fabulous food, great wine, gorgeous beaches, and postcard-perfect scenery everywhere.

The Portuguese people are among the kindest in Europe, while Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. Of all the planet’s First World countries, it’s hard to find one more friendly, calm, and welcoming than here.

Who’s the pretty girl? Lucky me – she’s my wife Rebel, mother of our two grown sons, my business partner, and my best friend. We’ve had a home here for many years. Rebel loves Portugal so much she taught herself to be fluent in Portuguese.

If you’d like a personal experience of the best of Portugal, come with Rebel and me on our Portugal Exploration this October. Let me know if you’d like to have too much fun here with your fellow TTPers: [email protected]. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #123 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – CLIMBING MOUNT OLYMPUS

mount-olympusAugust, 1971. Here is where the Ancient Greeks believed their 12 Olympian Gods lived, on the summit of the highest peak of Olympus – Mytikas at 9,571ft/2,918m. There are 52 jagged prominences of Olympus, but if you want to commune with Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, Athena and the rest, this is where you go.

It takes just two days: morning drive from Athens (4 hrs) to Litochoro, then the roadhead at Priona (2,500ft). Afternoon hike of some 3 hours through pretty pine forests to the comfortable Spilios Agapitos refuge (6,700ft) for dinner and a bunk bed overnight. You’re up at dawn for a strenuous but not technical climb up to Skala peak at 9,400ft. In my photo, you’re looking at Mytikas from Skala. It’s a Class B rock scramble – no ropes or gear, but this shouldn’t be your first mountain rodeo. Be careful!

I was by myself at the Mytikas summit and no selfies in those days, so I said my greetings to the gods, and I was back down at the refuge by lunchtime. You’ll be back at the Plaka below the Acropolis in Athens for ouzo and dinner. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #45 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

Read more...

HALF-FULL REPORT 05/13/22

return-of-the-maga-kingWelcome the Friday The 13th HFR!  It’s the only Friday the 13th of the year, 2022, so let’s make the most of it by seeing who’s having a real bad luck day today.

First, though, let me take a moment to thank Mike Ryan for his marvelous HFRs of the last two weeks while I was in the Himalayas.  Thanks so much, Mike!

We start with the Great Impostor, who on Wednesday (5/11) tried to ridicule the man he stole the presidency from as “The Great MAGA King”.  The senile buffoon thought it was an insult, when the majority of Americans think it an accolade. So POTUS quickly riposted with himself as Aragon, hero of the Lord of the Rings.  Classically cool.

The Impostor had an inspiring run of bad luck this week. All par for the course from a man who recently said on the White House lawn that “America is a nation that can be defined by a single word…”

Read more...
1 2 3 85