Friday, August 7, 2009

Totally Random, Disconnected Musings About Israel

Israeli drivers drive like bats (you know, "bats out of.....") BUT we didn't see a single red-light runner.

Traffic lights in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are timed so that you can only get half-way across the street at a time. Fortunately, there's a median in the middle where you can wait until the light indicates it's safe to cross the second half of the steet.

No right turn on red meant we didn't have to play dodge 'em with cars wanting to turn right while we were crossing the street.

Didn't see any "don't block the box" signs.... but also didn't see anyone blocking the box.

North of Tel Aviv, we began to see some green stuff growing; almost totally covering the brown soil. But still too much brown and not enough green for my psyche.

(Left) Jerusalem hills from the Old City, in August.

(Right) Wisconsin farmland, early summer

Next time, we'll make a conscious effort to see more green spaces - the Golan and the Galilee are supposed to be beautiful and green. Our son says there's nothing like a walk around the Kinnert after dark.

Neither of the Israeli hotels we stayed in had washclothes. Getting a towel wet to cool down our faces seemed like over-kill. Next time, we'll bring a few extra washclothes.

Speaking of hot faces, next time, we'll cut up some old t-shirts into wash-cloth sized pieces. I'll stash several in my purse. As we are out "enjoying" the heat, I'll have something to dry my face and neck with during our "pause that refreshes."

We'll do a better job of looking for brochures about the places we see. There was a lot of verbal information, but very little written info to jog the memory a couple of days later.

We'll continue to take cabs everywhere. How much fun not to have to drive!

Probably won't do a July or August visit - one cab driver said, "I don't understand you tourists. I'm glad you're here, it helps the economy. But why don't you come in October or November or December when it's really beautiful? January and February aren't so great. And I'd avoid March. But October and November - that's when you should come." I think we'll take him up on his advice.

If we go during the school year and class is in session, I'd like to sit in on a class at Meled, if that wouldn't be a violation of any kid's privacy. I love to watch experts at work - I get really revved up again and think all things are possible.

When we go again, I'll pack a bunch of good sci fi for Caryn Green's library at Crossroads. I'm thinking maybe some Heinlein and Assimov.

We'll have dinner at the Village Green again in Jerusalem and we'll hit Benedict's for shashuka again. Maybe Renee (pictured right, waving) will still be working there: that would be awesome!

We'll make a conscious effort to find a felafal stand and some schwarma - didn't get either this time, which was a mild disappointment balanced (for me) by my discovery of shashuka.

We really didn't meet any rude Israelis.... I kept waiting to see if we would. We weren't crazy about our tour guide - but he wasn't rude: just not the right guide for us.

Next time, perhaps we'll rent a guide and do a self-designed tours. But if we'd done that, we wouldn't have met Susan and Steve Grad.

Next time, we'll look for a non-stop flight from Ben Gurion to either Newark or Philadephia. The six hour-layover in Madrid was very frustrating.

I'm really glad we took our first trip together - that it was new for each of us: no preconceived notions or prior experiences to live up to.

Neal got his dream of swimming in the Mediterranean and was thrilled when he watched a ball game on TV and found he could understand enough of what was going on.

The El Al security desk in Madrid (going into Ben Gurion) was curious about our names: "Meyerson," he said, "Isn't that the name of someone famous? Are you related?" "Golda," we answered "was a Myerson before she became Meier." "No," he shook his head, "Someone other that Golda. Who was it?" We had no clue and only later remembered that Neal's grandfather Philip had received several thank you letters written shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel for his work in fundraising. Letters thanking him came from Chaim Weitzman, Albert Einstein, and Eddie Cantor. Maybe this young man was taking a course about that time and came across those letters? Who knows? In any event, Irv's making copies for us. Next time, maybe we'll take the letters with us.

I was surprised by how many words of Hebrew I was understanding by the end of the trip, compared to the beginning.

Next time....

1 comment:

Steve Kerbel said...

Great tips and observations. I bring a stack of bandanas and use them for all kinds of things. We have more to do there together too.