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Dr. Jack Wheeler

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AMERICA AT MOUNT RUSHMORE

mount-rushmoreI took this photo of Mount Rushmore looking straight on from a helicopter – so it may be from an angle you have not seen before. This Thanksgiving weekend, it may be worthwhile to think of these four heroic Americans from a different perspective, to reflect on the almost unimaginable -- in the light of our comfortable lives we live today – challenges they faced and triumphed over to create and sustain our America. It is worth asking what would they say to us today, what advice and counsel would they give us on how to face and triumph over what unimaginable – to them during their lives – challenges of ours as Americans today. Look into their eyes. What are they saying to you? Thanksgiving is a time of deep reflection on the meaning of being American. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #173 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 11/26/21

akhal-tekeThis is an Akhal-Teke horse in Turkmenistan, known for its speed, endurance, and intelligence, considered by many horse lovers to be the most beautiful horse breed in the world.  Is this clickbait to lure you in to knowing more about my expedition next May to all Five Stans of Central Asia (Turkmenistan being one where I took this photo)? No, it’s clickbait for an explanation of why Ivermectin stops the Chicom covid virus of whatever mutation, and why there’s a war against it for doing so. That’s just one example of why this HFR may be the most informative ever.  Read on and decide…

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING WITH NO BUTS

Thanksgiving TurkeyThanksgiving is the unique American holiday. We share Christmas and Easter with every other Christian nation. Most every country celebrates its Independence Day, and the birthdays of their founding heroes. Thanksgiving is ours, where we give our deepest thanks to Providence for the extraordinary gift of America to mankind. Other countries have their special times to celebrate their uniqueness, when their citizens take justifiable pride in their country's achievements, and all to the good. Thanksgiving is America's Day, the time when all Americans – all – get to celebrate the achievements of the most successful society in human history. Tragically, however, there are Americans who do not have the capacity to celebrate being American. They are called liberals or “progressives.” Especially those dominating the Democrat Party. Beyond the pale in this regard are the Anti-American “woke.” The purpose of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for being American. Thankful with no buts. This is the day to celebrate the goodness of our country – the moral goodness, the moral decency of American institutions, American history, and the character of the American people. No whining and moaning about what happened to the Indians, or about slavery and poverty and racism. No buts. Think that Democrats can do this? Let's see. Ask any you might know to agree that:

*America is the least racist nation on earth (to disagree, another country must be named and knowledgeably described with less racial turmoil and animosity).

*Americans are the most charitable and generous people on our planet; no other people or country comes remotely close.

* America has more religious freedom than any other nation.

* American capitalism has created more wealth for more people than any economy in the world history.

* American soldiers have brought more freedom to more people throughout the world than those of any country in world history.

* Western Civilization, of which America is the pre-eminent example, has brought incalculable benefits to mankind, compared to which its blemishes seem negligible.

* I love being American. I am proud to be an American with no shame, embarrassment, or apology. (Exceptions allowed for 2021.)

The number of Democrats in the Senate who could agree to these statements are few – such as Joe Manchin. The number of Democrats in the House, not any come to mind. The Impostor in the White House would choke and gag on them. So would Nancy Pelosi. We are not talking about the Woketard Left here, the professional America-haters in Congress, the media, academia, BLM and Antifa et al. Thanksgiving for them is a day to curse their country, not praise it. Today is not happy for them at all, and that’s their problem, not ours. You should not be able to care less about them today. On the other hand, millions of Democrat non-Woke Americans will celebrate today, and we should be happy for them – but tinged with pity, for what they can't really celebrate is being American, feeling guilty and embarrassed about it. Conservatives are not troubled with guilt and embarrassment. Conservatives can revel in the fact that Americans have so impossibly much to celebrate on this Thanksgiving. That the flaws of our country don't really matter as the virtues so greatly exceed them. That America is the noblest nation in the history of humanity. That we are members of history's greatest civilization. That America will triumph over its domestic enemies currently waging war against it, and soon flourish as before. Take the time to savor your presence in history, the incredible blessing Providence has bestowed upon you in being an American, on this day. Drain the goblet of gratitude while the Democrats quaff their cup of guilt and woketards drain their cup of soul-destroying hate. Gratitude to Providence for the existence of America, gratitude for the privilege of being American. That's a Happy Thanksgiving. Thankful with no buts.

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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

mcway-waterfallIn these trying times, it’s important to appreciate the beauty of America – both the physical beauty like here at the McWay Waterfall in California’s Big Sur, and the moral beauty of America’s founding principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Driving through all 50 US states as I have done with my sons gives you an awareness of the astounding beauty you discover, together with the cheerful friendliness you’re met with, in every state. They overwhelm whatever ugliness and unfriendliness you may chance upon. Studying American history in an unjaundiced way gives you an awareness of how a moral foundation of every individual American’s inalienable right to their own personal life and liberty and the pursuit of their own personal happiness has enabled the creation of the most successful nation ever to exist – a success of widespread freedom and prosperity that overwhelms the multitude of imperfections afflicting our country. Earth is not Heaven, humans are no angels, America is far from perfect – and we must never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is only with love and respect can we help America strive towards what Aristotle called the Kalon, the morally beautiful. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #8, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE MYSTERY OF THE REEF OF HEAVEN

reef-of-heavenIn a remote corner of the Pacific Ocean, off the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia lies one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries: the only ancient stone city built on a coral reef. No one knows who built it or how. Micronesians say their ancestors called it Soun Nan-leng, The Reef of Heaven. Their name for it today is Nan Madol, the City of Ghosts. On artificial islets connected by a series of canals are massive walls up to 25 feet high enclosing temples, tombs, ritual centers, and platforms for thatch homes – all made of giant columnar basalt stone. Eons ago, lava flows on Pohnpei cooled into vertical pillars. Over a thousand years ago, ancient Micronesians began hauling these basalt logs miles away to build this stone city. With an average weight of 5 tons, 10,000 pounds – and some up to 25 tons, 50,000 pounds each – how they did this remains unexplained. It lies deserted today, abandoned and lost for centuries. Paddling a kayak through the canal maze of Nan Madol to clamber over these monumental stone complexes in solitary silence – for visitors are rarely here – leaves you in a state of unforgettable awe. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #6 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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WHERE IS THE AMERICA THAT USED TO BE?

america-normal-againI grew up in Glendale, California, a suburb of LA, in the 1950s.  If I had a time machine and went back there to describe to the kids I grew up with what America is like today, they would throw up.  No metaphor, they would literally get sick to their stomachs and barf their guts out, so impossibly disgustingly immoral 2021 America would be to them. I don’t need to provide details as you’ll be inundated with them upon clicking on any news site from Fox to Breitbart to CNN or New York Times. So I have a question to all TTPers.

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HORSESHOE BEND

horseshoe-bendLooking down 1,000 feet above world-famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River at sunset is one of most iconic views our planet offers us. It is to be found near Page, Arizona near the border with Utah. Yet in truth, the number of different mind-blowing iconic views is uncountable in this part of the American West. Close by are the Vermillion Cliffs, and the simply psychedelic Antelope Canyon. Just a bit further is the Grand Escalante Staircase, a little bit further Zion and Bryce Canyons and Monument Valley. And of course, right next door is something called The Grand Canyon. There are people who have explored this region for years and will tell you there’s so much they’ve yet to see. You can explore the world over – what I’ve done my whole life – and yet there is so much of Creation to be soul-thrilled by just in this one region of northern Arizona and southern Utah – and I haven’t mentioned Moab which is a total mind-blow all by itself. Take a break from all the worries of the world to come to here. Pick a place that will thrill your soul for a few days. That’s what’s needed now. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #134 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE NATURAL INFINITY POOL OF SOCOTRA

pool-of-socotraNational Geographic calls the remote island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen in the Indian Ocean “the most alien-looking place on our planet,” because of its incredibly weird and bizarre plant life like the Dragon’s Blood Tree. Yet it is safely far away from anarchic Yemen, peaceful and serene in its isolation. And it contains places of mesmerizing beauty – like this natural infinity pool on a cliff edge high above the ocean in full view. Socotra is spectacularly exotic, like nowhere else in our world. It is truly life-memorable to experience it. Wheeler Expeditions was there in the Spring of 2014 – and we’ll be there again in the Spring of ’22. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #129 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – CLIMBING THE GREAT PYRAMID

jw-at-the-pyramidFifty years ago – August 1971 – I was able to climb the Great Pyramid of Cheops all the way to the top. 450 feet high, 4,000 years old, the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World to still exist, it was my first time in Egypt and I had to give it a go. Of course, this is illegal. So I waited near sunset and all the tourists had gone, walked around to the northwest corner hidden from most views where there was one lonely guard. I gave him 20 Egyptian pounds which made him very happy, and up I went. Each block at the bottom is about five feet tall and gets smaller as you climb, with over 200 stone layers or “courses” base to apex. The top is flat, about 10-foot square – the limestone casing reaching a point gone long ago. I was a philosophy doctoral student back then, so I sat down, took out from my daypack Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and read my idol’s wisdom in the light of the setting sun. It was a sunset I’ll never forget, too mesmerized by the moment to take a picture. The photo is of me taken recently where I began my climb of decades ago. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #126 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 11/19/21

great-killer-wallThis brilliant cartoon of Ben Garrison, which he entitled China’s Great Wall of Murder, goes a long way in explaining why the Chinese Communist Party is the greatest enemy of the entire world, not just America. Garrison pokes fun at Xi as Winnie the Pooh (banned in China for making fun of the resemblance) at the controls of the CCP Dragon, but is deadly serious otherwise.  For the Red Chinese Dragon is even more evil than this.  To see why, we’ll visit the Health Ministry of Spain. Then we’ll discuss the collapse of the Vax Mandate, the inspiring court victory of a heroic young man, and have fun too.  Here we go!

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IMPRESSIONISM’S ISLAND

lakshadweepBangaram 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)

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THE WORLD’S BEST MOONSHINE

best-moonshineSanto Antão island, Cape Verde. The world’s best moonshine, which the islanders call grogue, is made here.  There are ten islands comprising the country of Cape Verde, some 400 miles off the West African coast of Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean.  For hundreds of years, Cape Verdeans have been making grogue but the folks like the fellow here on Santo Antão have perfected it. You’ll find their stills out in the sugar cane fields, where they put the cane in to a press called a trapiche, then cook down the molasses in an old oil drum into a clear distilled rum that’s up to 140 proof or more. This fellow is pouring me a sample to taste in a coconut shell.  You have to be really careful because it’s so smooth and silky it goes down like water – making it very easy to get quickly wasted. If you like it – which of course you will – he’ll pour fresh grogue into an empty plastic liter water bottle and sell it to you for six bucks.  People are always partying in Cape Verde, and why not with all this grogue.  They don’t mix it with anything except some lime juice and an ice cube.  Really fantastic.  Come to Cape Verde and have great time yourself! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #171 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE ROCK PALACE OF YEMEN

rock-palaceDar 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)

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HOLY TOLEDO!

king-alfonso-vi-of-leon-and-castileToledo, Spain.   As you drive up the hill upon which this ancient city sits, at the city’s entrance you are greeted by this statue.  It is of King Alfonso VI of León and Castile (1040-1109) holding his sword as the Christian cross symbolizing his liberating Toledo from Moslem rule. The sword has been the symbol of Toledo for over two millennia.  In 193 BC, Romans founded the city as Toletum, where their  blacksmiths developed a process of making swords of layered steel with different carbon contents, known to history as “Toledo steel,” the finest in the world for millennia until the hi-tech methods of today. With Fall of Rome, Christian Visigoths ruled Spain from their capital here at Toledo – known as “Holy Toledo,” the center of a flourishing Christian civilization for 300 years until it was overrun by Moslems spreading Islam from Africa in the early 700s. It was Alfonso VI who liberated Toledo from the Moslems in 1085.  It was his great-grandson, Alfonso VIII (1155-1214) who led 30,000 knights in a surprise attack on 200,000 Moslems at the Plains of Tolosa in 1212 to destroy Moslem rule in Spain. Today, Toledo is a small town of some 50,000, charming, historic, and peaceful.  It’s one of the special places we’ll visit exploring Holy Spain this coming March. Hope you’ll be with us. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #170 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 11/12/21

kenosha-mile-challengeFor the second time – the first was in HFR 08/28/20 – Kyle Rittenhouse is the HFR Hero of the Week. First a quick summation.  The first BLM rioter chased after Kyle yelling threats and was grabbing his rifle barrel (shown by the soot on his hand in the autopsy photos and verified by witness testimony) when Kyle shot him dead in the head.  The second chased after Kyle, knocked him down with a skateboard and was grabbing his rifle when Kyle shot him dead in the chest.  The third pulled a loaded pistol and was aiming it at Kyle when Kyle blew his gun arm half off. Your first conclusion is these three in attacking a guy with an AR-15 are clear Darwin Awardees, doing humanity a favor by getting removed from the gene pool.  Good job, Kyle. There’s a lot in this HFR, which closes with a video and quotes from an extraordinary speech by America’s heroic president.  Oh, and don’t miss the advice on how to rid your body of those ghastly vax spike proteins if you’ve been vaxxed.

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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)

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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)

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A COUNTRY TO BE PROUD OF

conquest-of-ceutaI took this picture last week.  It is a painting made of azuelos (Portuguese glazed tiles) portraying Prince Henry the Navigator’s Conquest of Ceuta – the stronghold of Barbary Coast Moslem pirates – on August 21, 1415. Ceuta was on the African side of the Straits of Gibraltar, from where the Moslem pirates incessantly raided the Portuguese coast depopulating entire villages, carting off men for labor slaves and women for sex slaves sold in the Arab slave markets across North Africa. Prince Henry (1394-1460) is legendary in history for launching the entire Age of Discovery, when, starting with the Portuguese, Western explorers mapped the world.  Yet it was at Ceuta at age 21, that he first performed an act of heroism still celebrated by the Portuguese people today. The azuelos painting is proudly displayed on the foyer wall of the main train station of Porto, where Prince Henry was born.  I invite you take a close look at it, as I did to my TTPer travelers who were with me here last week. I asked them to look at the fire in Henry’s unyielding eyes, the terrified Moslems on their knees surrendering their swords and bowing to him in submission.  Then I asked, “Can you imagine something like this being publicly displayed in America today, as a source of pride for all Americans to feel in their country’s history?”

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WHAT A REAL CANNIBAL LOOKS LIKE

nambas-cannibalOn the remote north side of the island of Malekula in Vanuatu, there lives a cannibal tribe called the Big Nambas. The men wear a penis gourd wrapped in pandamus fibers, and eat “man long pig,” cooked human enemies. You have to trek over mountains of thick jungle to reach them. When I was able to years ago, there were a few men who continued the practice. This gentleman is one of them. I was in no danger as they were very kind and gracious to me. That wasn’t the case a century ago when the first explorers, Martin & Osa Johnson, reached them. Their 1918 film, “Cannibals of the South Seas,” made the Johnsons famous, and you can see it on YouTube. Today they are far more benign. It is an extraordinary experience to meet a culture of fearsome reputation and realize they are people like you and me. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #103 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES!

tun-tavern Today, all American patriots celebrate the founding of our country’s most fabled fighting force, the United States Marines, at the historic Tun Tavern in Philadelphia 246 years ago. As a token of this celebration, I’d like to tell you a little known story of USMC history --  how John Wayne saved the Marine Corps. Not in a movie but in real life. Then we’ll go to Iwo Jima and the memorial atop Mount Suribachi.  We’ll close with a tribute to those who have always been at the tip of America’s protective spear.

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THE GOLDEN THRONE OF KING TUT

king-tuts-golden-throne Now on display in National Museum of Egypt in Cairo, the 3,340 year-old artistic masterpiece of Pharoah Tutankhamun and his wife Ankhesenamun portrayed on facing back of the king’s throne chair was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. I was stunned beyond words when I first saw it in 1971, and every time I’ve seen it since, I’m shocked into the same state of awe.  It’s not simply the sheer beauty of the blue lapis lazuli, the red carnelian, the silver and the solid gold plate, nor the breathtaking skill of artistry.  It’s that the scene is so profoundly, so touchingly human.  As she gently rubs oil on to his arms, they are looking into each other’s eyes with the tenderness of love. This is not some God-King high and mighty ruler and haughty Queen far above their lowly subjects, but a very human man and wife in love.  This golden throne speaks to us from 33 centuries ago that back then people were people like us.  Our connection to history is our common humanity.  I hope someday you will be able to see the Golden Throne of King Tut in Cairo, and be in awe of it for yourself. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #168 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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TANTRIC BHUTAN

tantric-bhutanThe most fabulously exotic country on earth is the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The Bhutanese religion of Tantric Buddhism is here exemplified by a prayer hall wall painting of Yab-Yum – the physical union of Compassion and Wisdom. Male compassion is personified as the deity Samvara with a blue body, multiple faces and arms. He embraces his consort of female wisdom Vajra-varahi. It is important to understand that Yab-Yum is considered a sacred act as a path to Enlightenment. It is just one example of how Bhutan may stretch our comfort zone to learn ancient ways and practices, giving us a broader perspective on our humanity. For an in-depth understanding of Bhutan’s extraordinary culture, consider joining our Wheeler Expedition to the Land of the Thunder Dragon next year. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #16 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – WITH MBUTI PYGMIES IN THE CONGO

jw-pygmiesAugust, 1971. The gentle Mbuti people live in the Ituri rainforest, one of the world’s densest jungles, in northeastern DR Congo. They are among the most ancient of all human populations, with their ancestors having hunted in these forests for over 60,000 years. The tallest among them is under five feet. It was on my first visit to Africa that I was able to spend time with them. They live in scattered bands of a few dozen each, always on the move in search of game, sleeping in small makeshift huts of branches and leaves, and far away from villages of Bantus who always try to enslave them. Their music is hypnotic. To the beat of drums of hollowed-out logs, they sing with a polyphonic complexity that is extraordinary. I’ll never forget the performance they gave for me. Alas, no tape recorder – much less videocam back then! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #65 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 11/05/21

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Yes, Gloom, Despair, and Agony is the Dem-Woketard theme song this week.  What sweet music it is. Of course, the amazing total sweep of Virginia made the most headlines. Yet the GOP Tide swept across the entire country – from Jersey and Pennsylvania, to Ohio, Seattle, Texas, and more. However…. All this great news is not the best news of the week.  It really isn’t.  So what is? Read on to find out, and to know the two fatal errors the Dems made this week.  Believe me, the second one and what to do about it will blow your mind.

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THE SECRET SAHARA

tassili-rock-art 12,000 years ago, the Sahara – the world’s largest desert – was green, with forests, lakes, streams, woodlands, and an astonishing abundance of wildlife, making it a Paleolithic hunting paradise.  One small remnant remains, in the deepest heart of the Sahara, high on a roadless uninhabited plateau where the ancient hunters left the greatest profusion of prehistoric rock art on our planet amidst an extraordinary geological wonderland.  It is called the Tassili n’Ajjer. I first explored it almost 20 years ago.  Now I’m going to do it again.  My son Jackson was with me when he was 10 years old.  He loved every minute of what was a fabulously memorable adventure.  So will you if you decide to join me.  Here’s a glimpse of what we’ll experience. tassili-jackson

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MONGOL NOMADS ARE OBLIVIOUS TO US

mongol-nomadsThese Mongol nomads in the vast grasslands of central Mongolia milking their goats have a way of life unchanged for centuries. All of our concerns, worries and fears that plague us are totally irrelevant to them. They don’t know about them and wouldn’t care if they did. Spending time with people such as these gives you an invaluably broader perspective of life on our planet. Our concerns, the issues that dominate our headline news, suddenly seem more parochial and far less important. An evening drinking kumiss (Mongol beer, fermented mare’s milk) in their yurts, telling stories, laughing at jokes – you realize how easy it is to relate to them through the core humanity we all have in our souls. Exploring Mongolia in this way is a priceless adventure. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #9 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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WINSOME!

Last night (11/02) had an overabundance of bellwethers – but one really stands out: A black woman from Jamaica who joined the US Marines and became a US citizen, married a fellow Marine, is pro-traditional family with two daughters, is pro-life, despises “Critical Race Theory,” is a conservative patriot who would “die for my country,” and is now the Lt. Governor-Elect of Virginia, becoming the first female of any race (much less black) and any party (much less Republican) to win state-wide office in the history of the Virginia Commonwealth. She’s Winsome Sears. Here is her victory speech last night. Winsome is a living breathing refutation of the Dem narrative that the GOP is “racist.” Look at all those white hands cheering for her. Enjoy…
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ROME IN AFRICA

roman-theatreThe best place to see Roman ruins is not in Rome or anywhere in Italy. It’s in Africa – specifically on the Mediterranean coast of Libya. This is the Roman theatre at Sabratha built in the 1st century BC. Over 2,000 years old, it’s still mostly intact. Starting as a Berber village, the Phoenicians founded the city as Sabrat by 500 BC. Then came the Greeks, then the Carthaginians, and after the Punic Wars came Rome. The Libyan coast was a lush fertile place back then. So much so that Sabratha and the other major Roman city nearby, Leptis Magna, produced several million pounds of olive oil per year – sale of which to Rome enabled them to achieve great wealth. It’s a shame that Libya remains today in chaotic civil war. Hopefully the day is not off when experiencing Rome’s most magnificent remains will be possible here again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #79 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE MOST BRITISH ISLES

anglican-christ-church-cathedral This is the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, consecrated in 1892.  In front is its famous Whale Bone Arch, made from the jaw bones of two blue whales (the largest creature to have ever lived, bigger than any dinosaur, and still swimming in our oceans today). The Falklands are in far southern Atlantic some 300 miles east of the tip of South America. Claimed by Britain in 1782, an ongoing dispute first with Spain then Argentine resulted in Britain declaring it a Crown Colony and establishing a settlement, Stanley, in 1840.  In 1982, after constantly claiming the islands were theirs, Argentina militarily invaded.  The Falklands War was won by Margaret Thatcher ordering the British Navy, Army, and Royal Marines to take the islands back at gunpoint. Today, Falklanders are the most patriotic people of all British possessions.  They are wonderfully cheerful and friendly.  There’s no more British place on earth.  Don’t ever pass a chance to come here. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #167 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY — “THIS IS YOUR LIFE”

jw-life-at-17June 15, 1961. It was quite a shock to me when I was the surprise guest on Ralph Edwards’ famous television show. My “Life” at age 17? How could that be? The show’s producers were intrigued by a recent Life Magazine story of my swimming the Hellespont as did Leander in Greek mythology (December 12, 1960 issue) that also had photos of me on top of the Matterhorn and with a Jivaro headhunter. Without my knowing, they flew my guide for the Hellespont swim, Huseyin Uluarslan, from Turkey to LA, the same for my guide on the Matterhorn, Alfons Franzen, from Switzerland, to be on the show. Most amazing of all, they got the Chief Prefect of Police for Ecuador, Jaime Duran, to pick up Tangamashi (the Jivaro who adopted me) and his brother Naita by helicopter from their Amazon encampment, then fly them from Quito to LA. I was dumbfounded. So there we are in the photo, left to right: Ralph Edwards, Jaime Duran, Tangamashi, Naita, a very young yours truly, and Ralph Ferguson, son of medical researcher Dr. Wilburn Ferguson who translated for Tangamashi. Quite a moment for a 17 year-old boy – and no doubt for Tangamashi! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #10)

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THE YEZIDI BLACK SNAKE SACRED SPRING

At the Temple of the Peacock Angel in the Yezidi holy city of Lalish, you find this entrance to a Sacred Spring with a carved black snake, revered by Yezidis as they believe a black snake stuck itself into a hole in Noah’s Ark and saved humanity. The Yezidis are among the most ancient of all peoples in the Middle East. Their heartland is in what is now Northern Iraq, or Iraqi Kurdistan. You may know of them through the horrific butchery perpetrated upon them by the medieval terrorists of ISIS which gained worldwide notoriety. They are a fascinating people whose syncretic beliefs are a mélange of Zoroastrianism, Syriac Christianity, Sufi Islam spiced with their own interpretation of all three. In other words, they are their own people, no one else like them – peaceful, at ease with themselves, and immensely likeable. Their protectors are the Kurds – an extraordinary people in their own right. We’ll be visiting Iraqi Kurdistan and the Yezidis once more next year. ((Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #89 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE SUPERTREE GARDEN

gardens-by-the-bayThe world’s most spectacular nature park is the 130-acre Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. In the gigantic greenhouse of the Flower Dome, virtually every rare flower on earth flourishes in abundance, while the Cloud Forest is a wonderland of tropical waterfalls seemingly falling out of the sky high above. Dominating the park are the 160-foot high Supertrees, towering vertical gardens covered in orchids, ferns, vines, and exotic plants. There are elevated canopies and walkways between them. Exploring the astonishing display of hi-tech botanical artistry and genius that is Gardens by the Bay is absolutely awe-inspiring. TTPer Cassowary was kind enough to guide me through the park as Singapore is his home. Perhaps he’ll tell us more about it on the Forum. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #102 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE ARK OF BUKHARA

ark-of-bukharaThe ”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 Five Stans of Central Asia. Each of the five – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrghizstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan – 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 all five with me this coming May 2022. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #36 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE RIGALEIRA INITIATION WELL

Do an internet search for “25 Most Mysterious Places on Earth” or similar listing, and almost always the Regaleira Initiation Well in Sintra, Portugal will be there.  Since the photo is almost always looking from the top down, I thought you might like to see one from the bottom up, which is just as dramatic. The Regaleira is a spectacular Gothic mansion with acres of gorgeous gardens built by a 19th century Portuguese-Brazilian millionaire, Carvalho Monteiro (1848-1920).  I love it that his exotic eccentric extravaganza, his Regaleira Palace, was built by private capitalist with his own money – not some feudal king with money extracted from the peasantry. I took this picture today (10/25) with fellow TTPers on our Portugal Exploration.  Portugal really is a land of wonders, which I hope you’ll someday experience yourself. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #167 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – QARI BABA

jw-with-qari-babaAfghanistan, 1984. Yes, that’s me with the legendary Qari Baba, Commander of the Harakat Mujahaddin waging a war of liberation against the Red Army of the Soviet Union – and my dear friend. I told him he looked like a combination of Genghiz Khan and Buddha, and he couldn’t stop laughing. We had so many extraordinary experiences together – like blowing up the Soviet High Command of Bala Hissar in Ghazni. After the war was won with the final Soviet retreat in February, 1989, Qari Baba became the Governor of Ghazi Province. Then Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) created the Taliban to seize control of the country. Qari Baba had to take up arms anew against them. In March of 2006, he was assassinated by a Taliban hit team on orders from the ISI. I will never ever forget him. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #111 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE ISLAND OF SARK

la-coupeeThere are five Channel Islands in the English Channel. Best known are Guernsey and Jersey. Least visited is Alderney, along with tiny Herm. Most fascinating is Sark, Europe’s only remaining feudal fiefdom. No motor vehicles are allowed, excepting a few farmers’ small tractors. The governor and chief constable is called the Seneschal. He rides to his office on his bicycle. It’s an ancient office with a tradition of many centuries. When I was there in 2010, it was held by Reginald Guille, a very friendly fellow as all Sarkese are. We rode our bikes around the island, even along La Coupée, the connecting path along the razor sharp high isthmus connecting two parts of the island – it’s pictured above. There are gorgeous pocket beaches here, and beautiful natural swimming pools. Flower gardens are everywhere, the island could not be safer, cleaner, calmer, and more exquisitely charming. A few days here will do wonders for you. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #131 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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GGANTIJA

ggantijaThe small European island country of Malta in the Mediterranean south of Sicily and close to the north coast of Africa is where civilization emerged from the Stone Age. The story begins over 7,000 years ago, when a handful of Stone Age tribes in Sicily rafted 55 miles south to land on the twin islands of Gozo and Malta.  They lived in caves, then huts, fished, hunted, farmed with primitive tools for they had no metal – and over a period of more than a thousand years taught themselves how to construct massive buildings of stone. This is the Temple of Ggantija (zhee-gan-tee-zha).  Built almost 6,000 years ago (around 3600 BC), it is the oldest free standing structure in the world.  It is older than the pyramids in Egypt by a thousand years, older than Stonehenge by 15 centuries.  The enormous stones weighing several tons were cut from the limestone bedrock with tools of stone and antler horn for they had no metal, and moved using small round-cut rocks as ball bearings for they had no wheels. These folks figured out all by themselves how to build this and other massive stone temples to their gods and goddesses so many millennia ago.  Nobody taught them.  They were the first.  (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #166 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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CLIMBING JACOB’S LADDER ON THE ISLAND OF SAINTS

jacobs-ladderJamestown on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic is two blocks wide and a mile long in a narrow deep ravine. One of the world’s longest straight staircases, Jacob’s Ladder, was an original way to get out – 699 steps each 11 inches high – and it’s a workout. People who live here call themselves “Saints” and pronounce their island “sent-uhl-LEEN-ah.” It’s famous of course for where the Brits exiled Napoleon after Waterloo. His residence and gardens on a high promontory, Longwood House, is preserved with original furnishings and his death bed. Dying in 1821, he was buried in a beautiful peaceful glen nearby (in 1840 he was reinterred at Les Invalides in Paris). After climbing the Ladder and visiting Longwood, you’d want to refresh yourself at one of Jamestown’s pubs, where local Saints will be happy to hoist a pint with you. And don’t pass up a visit to the Saint Helena Distillery, the world’s remotest distillery, to learn how Head Distiller Paul Hickling makes his memorable Prickly Pear Whiskey, White Lion Spiced Rum, and Jamestown Gin – all in unique stepping stone bottles in honor of Jacob’s Ladder. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #46 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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AGIOS LAZAROS

agios-lazarosWe’re all familiar with the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead four days after his entombment in John 11:1-44.  But what happened to Lazarus afterwards – what did he do with the rest of his (second) life? He left Judea to live on the island of Cyprus.  There he met Paul the Apostle and his evangelizing partner Barnabas who was a Cypriot. They appointed him the first Bishop of Kition (present day Lanarca), where he lived for another 30 years, then upon his second death was buried for the last time. A church was built over his marble sarcophagus which has undergone many resurrections itself over the last two millennia.  But here it stands today after all those ravages of time, Agios Lazaros, the Church of St. Lazarus, over his still-preserved sarcophagus.  On every Lazarus Saturday (eight says before Easter), an icon of St. Lazarus is taken in procession through the streets of Lanarca. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #165 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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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)

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