Friday, April 29, 2016

The Blue Zones

Reaching the age of 100, is a common phenomenon in certain parts of the globe.  Among these places, named by researchers 'blue zones', are the islands of Ikaria
 (Greece), Sardinia (Italy), and Okinawa (Japan); the peninsula of Nikoya (Costa Rica), and the city of Loma Linda (California).

The explorer and writer Dan Buettner is the one who has popularized the term 'blue zones' through his books, articles, and lectures on the above locations.

There's no big secret or  mystery behind this phenomenon of living to 100 and beyond.  According to geographic and demographic experts - people in the blue zones owe their longevity to some or all of the following conditions: minimum pollution, no food processing, a relaxed way of life , sufficient exposure to sun, family and community support, faith, genetics. 

In short, good genes, good habits, good environment, to which I would also add  - a bit of good luck.

It seems to me that  'a relaxed way of life'  is a tough one for us in the so-called developed world, as we're used to live in a "never a dull moment" scenario, with all sorts of slogans pushing us to "make a difference in the world". 

Personally, I must admit that as I advance in age  I feel I'm becoming more appreciative of those dull moments, of slowing down to  doing  almost nothing, of enjoying the small, simple pleasures of life. What I first have in mind is not the possibility of being a centenerian , but rather the prospect of living a life free of pain, dissabilities, and dependence that usually come with old age.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sister Cities

The lovely little square in the above picture has a french name displayed on it :  Saint Maur des Fosses. (If you enlarge the photo you can see the name of the square in both languages: french and hebrew).  

Until quite recently I had no idea who or what was behind that name.  Well,  Saint Maur des Fosses is a city in France,  not far from Paris, and it happens to be one of my hometown's four 'sister cities'.

 poster with the emblem of the  french city

maintenance guy on his vehicle

flowers- close up

Sister cities or Twin towns are  bound by a formal agreement between the respective municipalities, to promote educational, cultural, touristic, commercial, and other ties - through all sorts of exchange activities  focusing on mutual interests.

It appears the municipality of my hometown  (Ramat-Hasharon), has signed such an agreement with two french cities (Dunkirk and Saint- Maur- des- Fosses), a  german city (Georgsmarienhutte), and an american city (Tallahassee, the capital of Florida). 

Usually,  the "sisters" are supposed to be more or less  in the same category as far as relevant characteristics are concerned, namely: geographical size, status (urban, rural), population statistics etc.. It's not a rule, but it makes things easier.

The whole concept of sister cities (conceived after the Second World War)  sounds  nice and beneficial to all sides. The exchange of knowledge and delegations, could open doors to everyone involved, and above all,  foster friendship , respect, and understanding between people of different nations. 
It should definitely be encouraged.

Does your city/village/region/state have any sister cities?

Monday, April 4, 2016

April , weather, and... more

I like it in April; the cold of the winter is gone, the heat of the summer is not here yet ( except for a day or two of desert-like weather called 'hamsin'). The windows are wide open; no heating/ cooling devices needed (and thus lower electricity bills).

I feel better and happier in  the warm weather of April.  In winter - cloudiness ,cold, and rain  affect my health; these winter elements make it easy for me to catch a cold  (which weakens the immunity system), and arouse the dull pain in my lower back (which might cause problems with my knees and legs) . 

The declutter process I've started to carry out lately, in anticipation of the upcoming Passover holiday, is spoiling my mood ; not an easy task, for someone like me who gets foolishly attached to things. On top of all, I haven't got yet  my latest purchase - the compact home Paper Shredder which is to help me get rid of old paper stuff, safely and elegantly.

Almost  three weeks till Passover. This is the time to replace a pot or two in the kitchen with new ones. I like doing this as I believe old pots are a source of toxicity even if they are considered of decent quality.

April is a good month for trips and picnics in blooming and greening Nature. Cameras, road maps, bicycles, etc.. are ready to serve their masters . Caution is  required, though, as there are many road accidents at this time of the year.