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Dr. Jack Wheeler

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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LION ON A CAT

lion-on-a-cat Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania. Ngorongoro is one of the world’s great natural wonders, created over two million years ago when the cone of a gigantic volcano collapsed in on itself. The crater floor is over 100 square miles, teeming with African wildlife that includes the densest population of lions in the world. You’re only allowed to drive on certain dirt roads to see them, but lions sometime have different ideas. Here’s a lioness we found sunning herself on the hood of a Caterpillar road-grader, completely unconcerned by our presence. We spend a few days exploring Ngorongoro to cap off our safaris in isolated roadless areas of the Serengeti. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #286, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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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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ELEPHANTS IN THE SAHARA

©2019 Jack Wheeler10,000 years ago, the Sahara was green, with lakes, rivers, and such an abundance of animals it was a hunting paradise for people who lived here. You’ll find their petroglyphs carved on to rock outcroppings like this that my son Jackson and I found on a Trans-Sahara Expedition in 2003.

The Milankovitch astronomical cycles that drive Earth’s climate produced a West African monsoon that greened the Sahara back then. When the cycles shifted ending the monsoon, the Sahara turned dry desert as it remains today. Political cycles that permitted a peaceful crossing of the world’s greatest desert have also shifted, making this too dangerous now.

A Trans-Sahara Expedition is one of the world’s great adventures. Hopefully, one will be possible again in the not-too-distant future. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #7 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY PEACEFUL PLACE IN IRELAND

st-finnbarrs-oratory

St. Finnbarr’s Oratory, Gougane Barra, County Cork. St. Finnbarr (550-623) is the patron saint of the city of Cork, now Ireland’s second largest city, on the south coast of the Emerald Isle. He established this tiny church in the late 500s, and has been built and rebuilt on a small island on Lake Gougane, with the one you see finished some 150 years ago.

Gougane Barra is a remote valley distant from Cork, almost uninhabited, of legendary beauty. The oratory or chapel has been a holy place of summer pilgrimage for Christians for fifteen centuries, revered for its complete serenity and peacefulness. Rarely visited outside of summer due to its remoteness, you may have this holy place all to yourself. Here is where you come to rest and reinvigorate your soul. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #218 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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BEYOND THE PALE

reagan-in-ballyporeen[This Monday’s Archive is TTP’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with its “nutshell history” of Ireland, first written in 2006. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all TTPers!]

Ronald Reagan’s origins are even more humble than Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin.

His great-grandfather, Michael O’Regan, was born in a hut of mud and slats in farmland called Doolis near the village of Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, in 1829.

In June 1984, Ronald Reagan came to Ballyporeen as President of the United States. In his speech to the townspeople in the village square, he said, “I can’t think of a place on the planet I would rather claim as my roots more than Ballyporeen, County Tipperary.”

A friend of mine was there as a member of Reagan’s staff. After the speech, the President commented to him, “I really am proud to be from here.” With a wink, he explained: “You see, I’m from Beyond the Pale.”

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – TIGER LEAPING GORGE

tiger-leaping-gorgeMany centuries ago, a tiger was plaguing the Naxi people who live in the mountains where the Yangtse River cascades off the plateau of Tibet. He was eating the goats the Naxi needed to feed themselves. So Naxi hunters chased the tiger into a deep narrow gorge of the Yangtse where they were sure they had him trapped. Suddenly, the tiger sprang onto a large rock in the center of the raging river and from there leapt to the other side and escaped, never to be seen again.

Ever since, where this took place has been known as Tiger Leaping Gorge. Here you see Tiger Leaping Rock. I was first here in July 2002 on our overland expedition across eastern Tibet. Last time 2015. Maybe again? (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #141 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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A VIEW OF MOUNT EVEREST YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE

everest-2019Photo taken at an altitude of 22,000 feet (6,700 meters) in a AS 350 B3 ultra-high altitude Eurocopter on our Himalaya Helicopter Expedition. We are looking into the Western Cwm (valley), West Shoulder of Everest in the left forefront, entire Southwest Face of Everest summit (29,029 ft-8,848m) to base on the left, Lhotse (4th highest on earth at 27,949ft-8,516m) straight ahead, the flank of Nuptse on the right.

The climbing route is from Base Camp to Camp I past the top of the Khumbu Ice Fall (bottom of photo), up the Cwm to Camp II at the foot of the Lhotse wall, scale via fixed ropes to Camp III perched on the wall, then up to the notch between Everest and Lhotse (on the horizon in the photo) that is the South Col and Camp IV. The summit is reached from there via the Southeast Ridge on the other side of the photo.

We’ll be here again in late April-early May next year and we hope you can come along with us (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #91 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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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 ITCHAN KALA OF KHIVA

itchan-kalaThe inner town (Itchan Kala) of the ancient Silk Road oasis of Khiva has been unchanged for centuries. Surrounded by 40ft-high snake walls that writhe around the city, its labyrinth of narrow lanes adorned with blue and aquamarine tile mosaics is a living museum for you to explore.

On the Oxus or Amu Darya River in deepest Central Asia, Khiva was ancient when Alexander the Great seized it in 329 BC. It survived the depredations of Arabs in the 7th century, Mongols in the 12th, Tamerlane in the 13th. The Khanate of Khiva continued to flourish on the Silk Road until conquered by the Russians in the 19th. Today in Uzbekistan, it remains as the best-preserved of the ancient oases of the Silk Road, yet unknown to the outside world. We look forward to visiting this ancient place once again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #118 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE TOMB OF TAMERLANE

tomb-of-tamerlaneThis is the interior of “Gur Emir,” the tomb of Tamerlane (1336-1405) in Samarkand, the great Silk Road city now in Uzbekistan. Tamerlane was the last of the nomadic conquerors of Eurasia, a Turkic-Mongol whose conquests extended from New Delhi to eastern Turkey.

Gur Emir is only one of a multitude of extraordinary sights in legendary Samarkand that make being here a life-memorable experience. We’ll be here on a return exploration of Central Asia. We hope you can join us then. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #59 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

 

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THE MOSLEM MYTH OF JERUSALEM

mohammeds-night-journey

Mohammed’s “Night Journey”

[This Monday’s TTP Archives feature was originally published on December 3, 2003. "From the river to the sea," the Palestinian battle cry that woke Wikipedia describes as an Arabic "focus on freedom," is based on the lie that Jerusalem is one of the holy sites of Islam. While the libs weep over Israel's "aggression" against the Palestinians "who just want peace," let's take another look at the evidence for the Moslem claim]

It is a commonplace in a story or article about the Arab-Israeli conflict that mentions Jerusalem to repeat the Moslem mantra that “Jerusalem is the third holiest city in all Islam, next to Mecca and Medina.”

You’ve heard this innumerable times — but how come? Just why is Jerusalem so important to not just Jews and Christians but Moslems as well?

The reason is one single line in the Koran.  If it can be shown by Islamic scholars that it has been misinterpreted, then Jerusalem ceases to be a holy city to Islam.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: A DAZZLE OF ZEBRAS

dazzle-of-zebrasGroups of animals have collective nouns, like a pride of lions or a school of fish.  A group of zebras is called a dazzle.  The term is excellently appropriate.  You may wonder why zebras have such clearly obvious stripes that any predator can see.  The reason is that predators like lions or hyenas always target a specific individual in the group that’s weak, young or vulnerable.  To be dazzled is to be confused or bewildered, and that’s just what zebra stripes do to attacking predators.  As the zebras merge on the run, it’s far more difficult for the predator keep focused on the selected target – so the zebras escape unscathed far more often than not.  Their stripes are a marvel of evolutionary survival.  This photo was taken on the plains of the Serengeti.  (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #285, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HAWAII IN EUROPE

Equivalent to the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific are the Azores in the European Atlantic. You’re looking at Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Lagoon of the Seven Cities), an example of the Azores’ astounding beauty. As Hawaii is a part of the US, the Azores are a part of Portugal – since the 1430s first discovered uninhabited.

Everything grows here, cedar forest to giant tropical tree ferns, fruit from citrus to tropical, plants from corn to taro. Flowers are riotously everywhere. The sea swarms with fish being on the main Atlantic migration route for whales and dolphins. The islands are immaculately cared for by Azoreans, no pollution, air sparkling clear, weather in the 60s in winter, 70s in summer, so peaceful they are virtually crime-free.

Azoreans love drinking parties, cheerful festivals, and bright colors – with their charming homes painted the color of key lime pie, raspberry mousse, or oceanic blue. They love liberty so much they’ve had this motto emblazoned on their coat of arms for centuries: “Antes morrer livres que em paz sujeitos”—" Rather die free than live in peaceful subjugation.”

This is one of our planet’s truly magical places. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #11 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE GREAT BLACK OF MAKALU

black-of-makaluThe 5th highest mountain on earth at 8,463 meters/27,765ft, Makalu is Sanskrit for “Great Black” – a name for Shiva, the Hindu god of creative destruction, as here is one of his homes.  You’re looking face on the Southeast Ridge (the right side in sun, the left side in shade), which is the primary climbing route.

You’re seeing the entire south side of Makalu in Nepal, while the north side is in Tibet with the border running along the horizon crestline.  Makalu Base Camp lies below the bottom right corner of the photo.  This was taken at over 20,000 feet on our approach from Everest and Lhotse – 12 miles away – during our Himalaya Helicopter Expedition, or “HHE.”

Everyone is understandably entranced with Everest – yet the other 8,000 meter Himalayan giants are breathtakingly magnificent in their own right, and you can see why with Makalu.  On our HHE, we went to them all! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #37 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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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 KASBAH OF AÏT BENHADDOU

ait-benhaddouAït 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)

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MEXICO AS TAKFIRISTAN

migrants-overwhelm-borderAlmost 20 years ago to the day TTP warned about the disaster looming on our southern border. It was checked for a while, but now it has reached critical mass. It is not enough, now, to simply choke off the flood -- we must find a way to eject the invaders already here and/or to imbue those Latinos who remain with true American values. The question is twofold:  Is it possible? And how?

April 1 2004

The Moslem terrorists who bombed the Madrid trains last month are members of an Islamic movement called Takfir wal Hijra (Repentance and Migration). Originally formed in Egypt in the 1970s as part of Iqwan Muslimi (The Moslem Brotherhood), it was responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, and scores of savage atrocities in Algeria. The organizer of the Madrid terrorism, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is a Takfir. (See Michael Ledeen’s column on Zarqawi in this week’s TTP report.)

The Takfiris are now leading a “reorganized” Al Qaeda as the main Islamic threat to the West. For not only do they advocate the most purposefully vicious terrorist acts they can conceive, but also using immigration as a Trojan horse to conduct Jihad inside Western countries.

As a recent Wall Street Journal article (3/29/04, pA16) puts it: Takfiris see immigration as “a key way to extend the radical ideas into Western Europe. One Takfiri scholar, Abu Basir, wrote in 2001 that ‘jihad and immigration go together...the one cannot be achieved without the other.’”

Which brings me to Mexico.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – MEETING THE DALAI LAMA

jw-dalai-lamaEighteen years ago, October 9, 2003, I had the privilege to meet and have an unforgettable conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was at a luncheon hosted by India’s Ambassador to the US at his residence in Washington. His Holiness loved my telling him how I had passed out over a thousand pictures of him during my three overland expeditions crisscrossing Tibet. “Illegally, yes?” he asked, as the Chinese make this a crime. “Oh, very illegally!” I answered as we both chuckled.

The Ambassador asked where he was born. His answer, “very remote village in far northern Tibet.” He was startled when I interjected, “Yes, I know, I’ve been there – I even bought a doonchen (telescoping 15 foot-long Tibetan prayer horn) in your village.” “A doonchen?” he exclaimed. “You mean…?” and put his hands to his lips to make this really loud WHOOOH like the horn makes. I nodded and did the same, WHOOOH. We belly laughed, while all the diplomats and Congressmen did not know what was going on.

Then he wrapped his hands around mine and I felt an electric energy run through my body. It was his blessing. I will treasure it all my life. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #60 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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AZENHAS DO MAR

A cliff-top fishing village on the Italian Riviera? Nope, Azenhas (ah-zhane-yas) 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 calm and serene than here.

If you’d like a personal experience of the best of Portugal, Wheeler Expeditions can arrange it for you. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #87 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHTS OF MALTA

christian-knights-of-maltaThey look real, don’t they?  Ready to defend their Christian land with their lives.  We are in the Palace Armory Museum of Malta, where you realize there is no nation on earth more proud of their Christian heritage.  It was on Malta in 1565 that a few thousand Christian Knights led by 70 year-old Jean de Vallette defeated in utter humiliation a massive horde of Moslem Ottomans led by Suleiman the Magnificent.

In seeking to use Malta as his launchpad to conquer all of Christian Europe, Suleiman was bitter in defeat: “This cursed island is like a barrier interposed between us and our possessions,” believing that Allah ordained all Christian lands need be taken for Islam by the sword.

Vallette knew what he and his Knights faced: “It is the great battle of the Cross and the Koran which is now to be fought. A formidable army of infidels is at the point of invading our island.”

The incredibly heroic saga of the Knights’ victory is told in The Siege of Malta, on TTP since 2009.  What’s critical to understand now is that, after 5½ centuries, the Maltese people are just as proud of their history and Christian heritage as ever.  So here’s the question:

What would it mean for you to come to Malta and meet such people yourself?  How uplifting and spiritually thrilling would it be for you to take a break from the mental illness of the Woke Anti-Christian culture you’re surrounded by, and immerse yourself in the absolute antithesis of it?

That’s the way fellow TTPers felt when they experienced The Magic of Malta with me in October of last year.  And we hope you could join us when we plan to do this again very soon. Trust me, you owe this to yourself.   (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #264 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE FOURTH PEARL OF SHING

4th-pearl-of-shingThere is a series of stepping-stone lakes in a hidden valley in Tajikistan known as The Seven Pearls of Shing. This is the fourth, taken at dawn’s early light with the lake a mirror reflecting the sky and surrounding mountains. Each Pearl are of different colors, each of uniquely mesmerizing allure. It is one of the many wonders – natural, cultural, historical – we’ll experience this again soon in our exploration of all Five Stans of Hidden Central Asia. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #52 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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PANTELLERIA’S MIRROR OF VENUS

pantelleriasBetween Sicily and Tunisia in the Mediterranean lies a secret hideaway of Europe’s rich and famous – the small Italian island of Pantelleria. Peaceful and quiet, the opposite of glitzy places like Ibiza, wealthy elite retreat here in luxurious yet very understated villas to get away from it all. It helps that the shoreline is all volcanic rock cliffs, which dissuades hordes of African “migrants” attempted to claim “asylum” in the EU welfare state by landing here.

The most beautiful spot on Pantelleria is this volcano crater lake known as “The Mirror of Venus” – of such magic color that, the legend goes, the goddess Venus would admire herself in its reflection. Come here for a tranquil escape of your own. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #164 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE GOLDEN FLEECE OF FREEDOM

jason-and-the-golden-fleece[This Archive was originally published on May 12, 2005. It's been nearly 19 years, but Putin and his cronies still think the same way. Understanding how their definition of peace differs from ours is crucial to understanding their propaganda.] 

TTP, April 28, 2005

When you were a kid, do you remember reading the great epic of Greek mythology called Jason and the Argonauts? Sent on a mission he is not expected to survive by the man who has usurped his throne, Jason assembles a crew of heroes, including Hercules, Orpheus, Castor and Pollux, and sails in the great ship Argo across the Euxine Sea to the distant land of Colchis to capture the legendary Golden Fleece.

It's a marvelous adventure story which the ancient Greeks believed was not myth but true. And sure enough - it turns out that Colchis was a real place and there really was a Golden Fleece. At the east end of the Black Sea (the Greeks called it the Euxine), there is a range of huge mountains called the Caucasus. The mountain streams that poured down the Caucasus and into the Euxine carried so many particles of gold that the folks who lived there - the Colchians - would peg sheep skins in the streams to trap the gold particles in the wool.

Colchis is one of the most ancient lands in the world. It's where the original Caucasians came from. Today it is called Georgia. This week, George Bush sailed in Air Force One to modern Colchis to be wildly welcomed by hundreds of thousands of Georgian Argonauts thanking him for rescuing the Georgian Golden Fleece from its former conqueror, Russia.

The people of Georgia recognize George Bush as the savior and protector of freedom that he is. Why can't the Russians? Churchill said Russia was an enigma wrapped in a riddle inside a puzzle. Why can't they live in peace with their neighbors instead of always wanting a piece of their neighbors? Part of the answer must lie in there being no word for 'peace' in the Russian language.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: AFGHAN MUJAHADDIN?

jw-the-mujahaddinWhen my son Brandon was a cadet at Virginia Military Academy, his professor teaching Modern Military History gave a lecture on the 1980s War in Afghanistan fought by Afghan Mujahaddin against the Soviet Red Army occupation of their country. One of the pictures he showed was the one above of “three typical Mujahaddin fighters.”

Brandon raised his hand. “Yes, Cadet Wheeler,” the professor called on him. “Actually, Professor,” Brandon said, “only the man in the center with the white beard is one. The man on the right is United States Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, while the man on the left is my father.”

The professor was stunned while the rest of the class stifled laughter. “Are you quite sure of that, Cadet Wheeler?” stammered the professor. “Oh, yes sir,” Brandon replied. “I recognize my own father. That photo is framed in my father’s study. It was taken in November 1988. The Afghan Commander’s name is Moli Shakur. I have known Congressman Rohrabacher all my life.”

The cadets all applauded in appreciation. To this day, this remains one of Brandon’s fondest college memories. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #145 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE LESSON OF RABAUL

tavurvur-volcanoThe small black mountain in front of you is a volcano called Tavurvur on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. In 1994, Tavurvur erupted, covering New Britain’s beautiful capital Rabaul in ash. The entire area is volcanic, including the hot springs where I’m standing to take this picture. Tavurvur is very much alive and smoking today – starkly beautiful and dangerous.

History can be like this – beautiful and peaceful, then without warning it explodes in violent destruction. The lesson then is how to overcome, rebuild, and avert its repetition.

It’s an obvious lesson to learn right now, with the destruction of our economy by the Chinese Communists unleashing their virus, and the current attempted theft of the presidency and our entire electoral system by the Democrats. We must overcome these twin evils, and we must make extremely sure that we never allow such travesties to threaten our country ever again.

You can climb to the rocky rim of Tavurvur to stare down into its smoking caldera. There’s fabulous scuba-diving along the coral reefs offshore of Rabaul, and upon sunken Japanese battleships from World War II. It’s a worthwhile experience to come here as you learn the Lesson of Rabaul. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #97 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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MAGIC MOUNTAINS

mongolian-magic-mountains

In a remote valley between the northern escarpment of the Tibetan Plateau and the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia, you find these magic painted mountains of red sandstone created by Himalayan uplift and millions of years of erosion.  It’s at the sunrise light of early dawn that the colors are most apparent before they get sunwashed in the bright of day.  It takes quite a hike in pre-dawn darkness to get to the right viewpoints at the right time, but certainly worth it. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #261 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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TODAY DOESN’T EXIST: THERE IS NO ‘PRESIDENTS DAY’ ONLY WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY

george-washingtons-day[This Monday’s Archive is what TTP posts at this time of year to dispel leftist treachery regarding America’s celebration of its greatest hero.]

This Thursday, February 22, is the 292nd anniversary of the birth of America’s founder, the equal in nobility, heroism, and virtue of any human being who ever lived — George Washington.

What it is not, nor is any day such as today (Monday 2/19), is the phony holiday called “Presidents Day.”  Let’s be quite clear on this.  There is no such holiday.  It exists only in the minds of furniture dealers, car salesmen, and Hate-America leftists.  Read on to understand why…

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THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA

sands-of-iwo-jimaThis is the black sand beach the US Marines stormed on February 19, 1945, beginning the legendary Battle of Iwo Jima.  Overlooking the beach is Mount Suribachi, where four days later Joe Rosenthal took his iconic photo of six Marines planting the US flag on its summit.

You can come here once a year at a commemoration jointly held by the US and Japanese militaries.  Guests of honor are the few Marine veterans of the battle still alive. I attended on the 70th Anniversary of the battle in 2015.  To be here on these sands and on the summit of Suribachi, where the memorial lauds them – “On Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue” – with these heroic men is an indescribable privilege. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #23, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY THE BAMIAN BUDDHA

bamian-buddhaBamian, Afghanistan 1973.  I spent some time in the Bamian Valley north of Kabul 50 years ago.  What you see is the largest of the Bamian Buddhas carved into to sandstone cliffs in 600 AD by a Central Asian people who revered Buddha and called themselves Ebodai.  It stands 180 feet tall. The Bamian Valley was a Buddhist pilgrimage site, with thousands of monks in monasteries and temples from roughly 100 AD until 800 AD, the time of the Moslem conquest of Afghanistan.

It was left untouched until the Moslem Emperor of India, Aurangzeb (son of Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal), blew off the statue’s legs with artillery in 1700.  Then in 1890, the Moslem Afghan King of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan, ordered the Buddha’s face above the nose sliced off. The same Islamic practice of literal de-facing conducted upon ancient Egyptian statues including the Sphinx.

It was in 2001 that the Afghan Taliban blew up the entire statue you see here along with others as anti-Islamic “idols.”  I consider myself immensely fortunate to witness this extraordinary work of historic art while it still existed.

(Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #260 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 02/16/24

MSNBC legal analyst Caroline Polisi on Fani Willis’ testimony at her eligibility hearing yesterday (2/15):

“This is epic. This is monumental. If things are going in the direction we think Fani Willis lied to the court, it’s game over for her. She will be disqualified. If they had a relationship prior to when they represented truth to the court, it’s a huge deal. I can’t overstate.”
In addition to her lying, she was impossibly obnoxious and had a temper tantrum.  Oh, and she wore her dress on backward:

backward-dress-fani

Now, today (2/16): 'Train Wreck' Fani Willis Avoids 2nd Day On Stand, Will Not Testify For Second Day On 'Improper' Affair With Nathan Wade.

The Spectator puts it best: Fani Willis Self-Immolates In Georgia Court.  Fatty Fani is toast, and so is her persecution of PDJT.

This HFR has just begun. Here we go!

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THE BLUE CITY OF CHEFCHAOUEN

blue-city-of-chefchaouenMy wife Rebel and I love this uniquely picturesque ancient Berber village in Morocco where everything is painted in shades of blue. Suffused in soothing blue, there’s no more relaxed place than just about anywhere. Everyone is welcome from the wealthy staying in sumptuous boutique hotels to backpackers in hostels. There are no “tourist spots,” for every café and bar is where the locals go themselves. (It’s pronounced shef-shah-win, by the way.)

Berbers – “Amazigh” (Unconquered) in their language, are the original people of Morocco having lived there for over 12,000 years. They are directly related to the reindeer-herding Lapps of Lapland in northern Scandinavia (they share the same mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U5b1b). Both are descended from the same stock of Cro-Magnon Ice Age hunters in Western Europe that split in two 15,000 years ago – one moving far north, the other south crossing the Gibraltar Strait to Africa.

One more reason why Morocco is so magical. Would you like to experience the Magic of Morocco with us next year? (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #21 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE FLATTEST PLACE ON EARTH

salar-de-uyuni-768x578_edtThe Salar de Uyuni, 12,000 feet high in the Altiplano of Bolivia, is a 4,000 square mile expanse of salt so flat it is used to calibrate the altimeters of NASA observation satellites of the earth. After a rain, it becomes the world’s largest mirror, 80 miles across. The incredible reflective surface extends to the horizon in every direction – it is both hallucinatingly disorienting and makes for amazing mirror-to-horizon photos (especially at sunrise/sunset).

The brine underneath the salt crust contains 70% of the world’s lithium – critical to our battery-fueled global economy – produced in evaporation pools that are a kaleidoscope of colors.

You can stay here in relative luxury at one of the world’s most unique hotels – the Palacio de Sal, built entirely of salt: walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, sculptures. Being here is one of South America’s more astounding experiences. Let me know if you want a Wheeler Expedition to take you there! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #39 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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WINTER WILDFLOWERS

winter-wildflowersWe’re in Portugal preparing for our WWX Portugal Exploration 2024 (May 3-12) where it’s sunny, clear, 64 degrees, and wildflowers are everywhere.  This as a huge Nor’easter is burying the whole northeast in snow today (2/13). Lisbon, by the way, is at the same latitude as Washington DC where it’s freezing tonight. (Not many know how far north Europe is – Rome, Italy for example, at 41°53’ North latitude, is north of New York City, at 40°44’N.)

The weather here is as benign as the culture.  Portugal is consistently in the top five of the safest, most peaceful and crime-free countries on the planet.  There is a total absence of divisiveness, anger, and woke insanity in this country. It is normal in the way America used to be but tragically is no more.

We all, of course, hope and pray that our country will be normal once again and in the not-distant future.  But if you’d like to experience normality right now, with extraordinary history, spectacular beauty, and fabulous food and wine thrown in, join Rebel and me on our WWX Portugal Exploration 2024.  You’ll have so much fun with your fellow TTPers!

(Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #256 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE SPLENDOURS OF SCOTLAND

scotland-castle

Most of you have noticed my adventure travel company of over 40 years, Wheeler Expeditions, is now Wheeler-Windsor Expeditions.

That’s because of my new partner, Edward Windsor – yes, as in the House of Windsor, the British Royal Family, cousin to King Charles, godson of Princess Diana, and the future Duke of Kent.

Everyone calls him Eddy as he’s such a pleasure to collaborate with and so much fun.  Quite an athlete too, with a passion for cold water swimming.  Here he is at the Seven Pearls of Shing lakes with me in Tajikistan –

edward-windsorRecently, as we’ve had so many requests for Scotland from TTPers, Rebel and I asked Eddy to design his “dream” Scotland trip – and did he ever!  He loves Scotland deeply, having lived in the Scottish Highlands and led several private expeditions there for friends.

This will be a truly extraordinary journey – indeed, just between us, we could call it “Royal Scotland,” as where we go, who we meet, and what we learn could only be done by someone of British Royalty, with personal friendships among the lairds of Scottish nobility. He's even arranging a special visit for us at Balmoral Castle, the favorite home of Queen Elizabeth who was like a grandmother to Eddy.

While Rebel and I are going, of course, this is Eddy’s design and he will be leading. He’s known in England as Eddy Downpatrick after his current title, Lord Downpatrick, and uses the English spelling:

WWX The Splendours of Scotland

When I read what Eddy has planned for us, it simply blew me away – and I think it will do the same to you.  Better hurry, though. Click on the link, be mesmerized by all what we see and do, then tell me, “I’m in, Jack!”, before someone else beats you to it, which they will if you don’t. And FYI, we’ll give priority to couples.  See you in Edinburgh!

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A SHORT HISTORY OF RUSSIA

russian-and-soviet-expansion-on-map[This Monday’s Archive was first written in January 1985 for President Reagan’s National Security Council at the onset of his second term. It was originally posted on TTP in March 2004.  It is relevant today to expose Putin’s “history” claim in his Tucker Carlson interview (2/08) is pure Kremlin propaganda as his lying excuse for invading Ukraine. The above map alone exposes the real history explained in detail below. The Soviet Union was the Russian Imperial Empire with “Marxism-Leninism” as its ideological justification. Putin wishes now to recreate that empire via fictional Russian history.]

A Short History of Russia – January 1985

TTP, March 18, 2004

At various times in her history, America has been at war with and has had as deadly enemies: the French, the English, the Spanish, the Germans, the Italians, the Mexicans, and the Japanese. All are today our friends and allies. There is nothing in the nature of things that makes it impossible for this to someday be the case with the Russians as well.

Yet it is important to understand how the Russians are not like us — how their history enabled them to transform themselves into Soviets running an Evil Empire called the Soviet Union.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY: HAVING A GREAT TIME IN ALBANIA

albania-beer-jack

Rebel and I, along with our friends with us, always have a great time in Albania.  Here’s a pic she took of me with a stein of delicious Birra Tirana lager.  You’re sure to have so much fun yourself by joining us and your fellow TTPers on our Albania Wonderland experience this April.  See you in Tirana.  The beer’s on me! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #284 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 02/09/24

senile-president

Well, my, my, my… what kind of explosive Black Swan do we have here?  So many patriots fear there will be a Civil War II between them and the Deep State.  Who would guess that a civil war has now broken out within the Deep State, two factions warring against each other like rival mafia gangs over turf control. Trés cool, n’est ce pas?

You won’t believe what informative fun this HFR is, and just riddled with great cartoons and memes. Get ready to enjoy!

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THE RED-OCHERED WOMEN OF THE HIMBAS

himba-womanThe Himbas are a tribe of nomadic cattle herders in far northern Namibia. Himba women make a paste of butter fat and red ochre clay called “otjize,” to protect their skin from the burning African sun and braid their hair for beautification.

The Himbas’ exotic practices are not for tourists. This is the way they live as one of Africa’s most genuinely traditional peoples. Living on the move in remote roadless regions, it takes an effort to find them. But when you do, coming with an attitude of respect, you will be welcomed with smiles and hospitality in return. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #66 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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