Puerto Rico: Bacardi Distillery

photo of El Morro

The beautiful island of Puerto Rico

Bacardi was initially founded in Cuba in 1862. After many years of conflict with the Cuban government during which time members of the family were jailed for their opposition to the government, they moved their headquarter to Bermuda and established a distillery in Puerto Rico.

More photos of Puerto Rico

In 1964 Bacardi opened its new US headquarters in Miami, Florida. Exiled Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez created a building that was hurricane-proof, using a system of steel cables and pulleys which allow the building to move slightly in the event of a strong shock. The steel cables are anchored into the bedrock and extend through marble-covered shafts up to the top floor, where they are led over large pulleys. Outside, on both sides of the eight-story building, more than 28,000 tiles painted and fired by Brazilian artist Francisco Brennard, depicting abstract blue flowers, were placed on the walls according to the artist’s exact specifications

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

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You Know You Live in California When

photo fo two people, a child and an adult looking at a sunset over the ocean

Life was a lot slower and simpler in the fifties and sixties.

You Know You Live In California When…

You make over $250,000 a year and still can’t afford a house.

It’s sprinkling outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all
the weather-related accidents.

Your child’s third grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is
named Breeze.

You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown,
and can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.

You know which restaurant serves the freshest arugula.

A really great parking space can move you to tears.

The guy in line at Starbucks, wearing the baseball cap, sunglasses, and
looks like George Clooney, IS George Clooney.

Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.

It’s sprinkling out, and there’s a report on every news channel about “THE
STORM!”

Over 85% of the cities, towns, and streets start with San, Los, El, La,
Santa, De La, or De Los.

Two overcast days in a row drive you mad.

A family of four owns six vehicles.

Everyone who lives here knows that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and
snowstorms are way worse than earthquakes, which are, after all, over
almost as soon as you realize what’s happening.

Even if the store is across the street, you drive there.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Albert Pike: Charity

photo of shriner walking up masonic stairs

The Masonic Influence on World History

Charity is a duty. “It is to give that which he to whom you give has no right to take or demand. ” Known as Sadaqa in the Muslim Faith, it is a duty to give freely , to honor the vertical relationship between God and man by demonstrating the horizontal relationship between men. Man must do good, be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

The Best Of Both Worlds

photo fo two people, a child and an adult looking at a sunset over the ocean

Life was a lot slower and simpler in the fifties and sixties.

Written by Gary Wonning

My dad was sick for a couple of weeks when I was in the eighth grade. I said I could do the milking by myself, but dad insisted on getting my cousin to help. Of course, if you put two teenagers together, things happen. We did a good job of milking the cows, but somehow it seemed to take longer and we never could make it to school for the first morning class.

That didn’t bother me, we just happened to be studying Macbeth those two weeks in eighth grade literature and I hated it.

It was the best of two worlds, I got to make money milking cows and I missed studying Macbeth, and got credit for being there.

Art Prints

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

 

Defining Reality: Part Two

 

photo of the Egyptian Sphinx at sunset

A journey into the unknown. Open new avenues in your spiritual journey

Written by Gary Wonning

It was a cold Sunday January morning in southern Indiana, the previous evening a cold front had blown through and deposited a few inches of snow on the stark winter landscape .The day began under a  bright winter sun, with the temperature hovering near zero.

My three teenage daughters and I were preparing to leave for Sunday school, when suddenly this ear piercing noise resonated from the field across from our rural home.

My oldest daughter and I curiously peered out the large bay window overlooking a pasture across the road.

What we saw was almost unbelievable. We saw a large black panther just waking up from his sleep, stretching and growling, ready to start it’s day. After doing it’s morning yoga, he looked around and  hastened into the adjoining forest, never to be seen again.

We stood in awe, what was this big cat, larger than anything we had ever seen before doing here in the frozen northland of Indiana?

My two younger daughters didn’t see  the panther, they were in the back of the house getting dressed for church.

Aside from the physical abnormalities, what did it represent on a spiritual level and was there a message being conveyed to us through the symbolism?

It was unheard of to see a panther in Indiana, and the weather certainly wasn’t conducive to what a panther would gravitate to in real life. It was black, what did the color black represent, and what does a panther represent in the spiritual world?

At the time, none of this entered my mind, we were just overwhelmed about what we had seen and that was enough of a jolt last us for some time.

It would take several years before the full meaning of that vision would be understood and the message spirit was trying to convey.

Many times these revelations come during times of emotional stress or extreme weather changes, the cold front and snow certainly created an extreme weather change.

The black panther can symbolize many things that warn us of coming events that could be construed as negative. In this case it was a reminder of a marriage that was on the rocks and the resulting disappointment in love.

The marriage had been on the rocks for several years, and we were divorced a short time after that.

In retrospect, the whole scenario was a message from beyond reminding us of our current life situation.

I never interpreted it at the time,but over time, because of it, I learned to interpret such messages from other realities and be forewarned or informed of current or future coming events.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

Defining Reality: Part One

photo of the Egyptian Sphinx at sunset

A journey into the unknown. Open new avenues in your spiritual journey

Written by Gary Wonning

Many times it is impossible to define reality.

I think we all have had moments in time when objects or living beings appeared to make us question our definition of reality.

There are many stories I have heard about people seeing objects or their relatives that have passed on, appearing before their eyes in three dimensional reality.

These instances suddenly occur, we see them, think about them, maybe we even related them to those we think may be receptive and then the moment is stored away in our subconscious mind, often to never be thought of again.

We contemplate the singular circumstance, maybe even find someone else who has had a similar experience, and after finding no logical explanation, we go on with our lives.

These holes in reality can occur and do occur anywhere on planet earth, but can be more prevalent in areas like Sedona Arizona where the vortex energy leads to a more favorable environment for such activity.

Often times they occur because the individual is trying to deal with a life changing event or they are ready to begin a new spiritual enlightenment, or maybe, because of the symbolism involved, it may be a forewarning of events to come in their life.

I have heard of several such events in people lives soon after the passing of a loved relative or friend where the person who has passed suddenly appears before their own eyes.

Often times, no words are spoken and before the observer can comprehend what is happening, the entity leaves without a trace. The observer is often left  perplexed, astonished, and questioning his sanity.

In my own humble existence on planet earth, there have been several such reality shattering events.

To be continued tomorrow

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

Key West Florida: A World of it’s Own

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

For more beautiful photos of Florida, please click on the photos below.

Aside from the beauty of the Florida Keys, they have a unique history. Many have forgotten they actually tried to seceded form the union in the 80s. 

Back in the early ’80s, the U.S. Border Patrol set up shop at the top of Highway 1, roadblocking all traffic leaving the Keys and checking cars for illegal drugs and immigrants. This negatively impacted tourism to the area and locals felt it cast an ugly shadow on the free-spirited islands. They demanded this roadblock be removed, and when it wasn’t, they took matters into their own hands. Then-mayor Dennis Wardlow declared war on the U.S. by throwing up a Conch Republic flag in Key West’s Mallory Square and hitting a local Navy officer over the head with a loaf of stale Cuban bread. But within one minute of the tongue-in-cheek bread beating, he surrendered and demanded one billion dollars in foreign aid. While they never received the aid, the roadblocks were soon removed. Each year, Key West still celebrates the anniversary of the Conch Republic independence. What’s more, the Conch Republic adopted the motto, “We seceded where others failed.” 

 

Secession plaque

As you can imagine, the Keys are an important port city. However, you may not know that they used their southernmost positioning differently during the Civil War. Unlike other southern U.S. states, including Florida, Key West rebelled against the Confederacy and remained part of the Union. In fact, it was the only southern city to remain in Union hands during the Civil War. The heavy number of Union supporters at the military base of Fort Zachary Taylor were enough to extinguish any naysayers, and eventually, they held celebrations for the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Fort East Malatto

Robert Eugene Otto – or Gene, as his family called him – was just a young boy in the early 1900s when his family’s maid gave him a strange, straw-filled doll to play with. Gene loved his life-sized doll and brought it along everywhere, even naming it “Robert” after himself. It wasn’t long, however, before people began noticing signs of Robert the Doll’s evil and mischievous nature

As rumor has it, the Ottos and their servants would often hear Gene in his bedroom, having conversations with himself in two entirely different voices. Furthermore, the Ottos would wake up in the middle of the night to Gene’s screaming, only to find the frightened boy in bed, surrounded by overturned furniture. Gene would blame Robert the Doll for messing up the bedroom, while Robert would glare at Gene from the foot of the bed.

Soon after, mutilated toys and mysterious happenings would appear in the home, only to have Gene proclaim each time: “Robert did it!”. Though the Ottos didn’t quite believe Gene, it was reported that they could hear the eerie sound of Robert giggling around the house, and passersby even claimed to see a small doll moving from window to window. Robert was eventually moved to the attic, where he remained for a number of years.

Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll now lives at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where some believe his hair color – and soul – are both slowly fading. Visitor beware, though, as Robert’s current favorite mischievous act involves casting curses on those who take his photo without first asking permission. To date, the walls near his glass case are covered in numerous letters from previous visitors and naysayers, begging for Robert’s forgiveness and asking him to remove any hex he has cast.

 

For a period in the 19th century, Key West was the country’s most prosperous city, per capita. During this time, the island collected their riches from the numerous shipwrecks off their coast.

During the time when fires were built on the coast to guide the ships away from the reefs, there were some unscrupulous entrepreneurs who would build the fires in the wrong places so the ships would crash on the reefs, thus creating a cash flow for the scoundrels. 

And while all the treasure may be gone, you can still snorkel and dive several of the shipwreck sights. There’s even a Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, maintained by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Here, you’ll find nine historic underwater shipwrecks and artificial reefs extending from Key Largo to Key West.

Ship wreck Museum

The Florida Keys collectively make up a chain of more than 800 islands, though a road trip is fairly convenient thanks to a 113-mile, 42-bridge Overseas Highway that connects all the major Keys. There used to be an Overseas Railroad that connected all above-ground Keys, but it was destroyed by a powerful hurricane in 1935. 

Ship Wreck Museum

The Keys hold the title for the highest year-round average temperature. At a balmy 77.8-degree average, you can almost always count on packing a suitcase full of shorts and dresses. 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.