Posts Tagged With: Falafel

Romans and Roaming Camels

Jan 7 2009
Wake up was at 6:15am. It was awful! I went back to bed. I timed it close and ate my breakfast in the room. I only went downstairs for a glass of water. I dropped my bag off in the lobby and we all waited outside the hotel a while. We found out that something was wrong with our bus. We said bye to Hilla and took some pictures with her. I wish she could have stayed longer so I could have gotten to know her better. I went back to our room one more time to make sure we had everything and then I handed our key in.

We found out that we were going to be delayed in Tiberias for awhile because of the bus situation. Shabat had us walk back in to the hotel and use the 2nd floor bridge to cross over to the area by the water. We sat on the rocks as Shabat talked to use about the Sea of Galilee. After a while Anna took out her banjo and started playing and singing. When I was looking around I noticed a sign that said “Go in Peace” and next to it were our two armed guards. Nice contrast. I wasn’t really paying attention to the other members in our group, but all of a sudden I saw Sarit was bent over with her hands on her face. Then she started crying. Anna screamed for Lior, but he didn’t hear her. I screamed for him as well and he finally looked up. It turns out Sarit got hit in the face with a rock. Staci, Lior, Keren, and Guy took her to the hotel.

Not too long after that Shabat told us the bus was fixed and it was time to leave. Ali and I ran to the bus and threw our stuff in. We also reserved seats. We ran to the 2nd floor to use the restroom before our long ride. It took awhile to load the bus and other people had the same restroom idea. Plus others went to the “restaurant” in the hotel to get some eggs to snack on. I was upset we got up at the crack of dawn only to leave at 11:30am. I could have slept another 3 hours.

I enjoyed looking at Tiberias as we left. It made me wish that we could have had more of an opportunity to walk around.

We drove for a bit and then came to a pit stop. Shabat gave us no warning as to what we were about to see. The sign said Bet Shean National Park. Once we got through the gates I was amazed at what I was seeing. It was like stepping back in time and it reminded me of my trip to Athens. Needless to say I was on cloud 9! I noticed an awesome gift shop, but I had a feeling Shabat wouldn’t let us stop there.

As we followed Shabat all I saw were rows of columns. We finally turned a corner and entered into an intact amphitheater. It honestly took my breath away. It was 10 times better than the one I saw in Athens. How did I not know this place existed? Shabat had us sit in the theater and took out his map. He draped it across Anna’s head and body, which was hilarious. He explained that the Romans had left this place after they had taken over Judea. So it wasn’t Greek, but then again the Romans stole their architecture from the Greeks, so of course it looked extremely similar. Shabat gave us a history lesson and I had to jump in at a point. How could I resist not talking about the ancient civilizations? We then forced Julie to go down to the stage and test the acoustics. They worked!!!

Then we walked around the rest of the ruins, which was mainly bath houses and columns. Then Shabat said we had a couple of minutes to use the restrooms before getting back on the bus. My plan was to use the restroom and shop in the amount of time given. So I ran to the restrooms and was first. Then I went straight into the gift shop. It was so big and there was so much to see. I wound up buying a mini replica of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some pens, and some postcards. While I was paying Shabat walked in to rush us to the bus. We got back on our bus and continued our drive to the Bedouin area.

Then we started Bus 804 Karaoke. It was very entertaining. Dror and Roi sang a lot. Then it switched to funny jokes. Ricky told a great one and Lior did as well. I don’t remember the whole thing, but it had something to do with stepping on bunnies, being ugly, and being chained to someone. Shabat told a sexual joke, which surprised a lot of people. He even had this guy sitting on a toilet picture and you had to use your fingers to make him a butt. Then he talked to us about the Judea Desert and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I took a lot of desert shots as we drove.

We stopped for lunch at Beit Haarava, which is the lowest place in the world. It’s 394 meters below sea level. The two options for lunch didn’t look very good or very clean. They were fast foody. Jen didn’t want to buy anything, but Lior convinced her to buy a falafel. I ate my own food and took a bite of Jen’s when she didn’t want anymore. I had promised my NYC falafel guy that I would try some in Israel and compare. The Israeli guys in NYC have better. I liked watching the strange contrasts as we sat there. There were camels, our big tour bus, and a military vehicle.

We got back on our bus and continued our drive. We had to stop at a military/police checkpoint. We drove through lots of desert before we spotted a group of trees in the distance. The trees were where our Bedouin tents were. I was excited and nervous. We really were in the middle of nowhere.

We got our day packs off the bus and went into the giant tent we were directed towards. It was extremely hard to get into the tent. You had to lift this heavy carpet material off the ground and then scoot in under it. For tall people this was a problem especially with having a bag. I placed my stuff near one of the metal poles.

Then we were given an opportunity to shop at the little Bedouin store. A lot of the girls bought hand knit scarves. Ben bought a shirt/jacket/hoodie thing that officially made him look like Moses. I bought a bag for Gayla. We dropped off our purchases and then went to the camel area.

There weren’t enough camels for everyone. So a little less than half the group could ride into the desert on a camel. The rest would have to be on donkeys. I didn’t want to ride on a donkey so I walked along with a couple of others. I’m glad I didn’t choose a donkey because they were low to the ground so the feet of the people riding them hit a lot of rocks and donkey poop. We got halfway into the desert and it was time to switch. I walked over to the 1st camel and waited for a partner. Ricky joined me. I was in the front of the camel and Ricky was in the back. It was a lot of fun!! Who would have ever thought that I would be riding a camel through the desert as the sun was setting?! The camels had extreme personalities. They made this loud screaming kind of noise and one even tried to eat Jordi’s hair.

After the camels we went to a tent all the way in the back of the village. They made the vegetarians and the meat eaters divide up. I was of course in the veggie group. They gave us this huge elevated tray for our group. It contained rice, bread, water, and vegetable skewers. I stuck to bread, rice, and the water. I had some cookies that I brought for dessert and I gave some to Anna as well.

After that we went into the main tent to listen to some music. It was a lot of fun and very entertaining. It was called a drum circle and pretty much was one big exotic jam session.

After the drum circle we went back to our sleeping tent. The Israelis were in a group talking. They all had dark sunglasses on. We knew something was up. Then they yelled at us to stand in straight lines in rows. They taught us how to salute properly and how to respond to commands/orders. Anyone who laughed or messed up had to do push-up’s. They were showing us what it was like to be in the IDF.

Afterwards we went for a walk in the desert. We sat and laid back in the sand while looking up at the sky. We talked for a while. When we went back to the tents a couple of us hung out at the bonfire outside our tent. I stayed only for a little bit. I preferred to get some sleep.

I waited on a long line for the bathroom area to change and wash. Then I went to bed. There were only a couple of us that chose to go to bed “early.” I slept on the mat and blanket they gave us. I used my coat and scarf for a pillow. Surprisingly, I slept.

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Categories: Asia, Food, History, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going to War

Jan 3 2009
I woke up at 6am and couldn’t fall back asleep. The girls’ alarms went off at 9am and 9:15am for breakfast, which they decided not to attend. I got out of bed and got dressed. I went to breakfast where I ate a lot of chocolate croissants and cake. I then watched everyone while they did yoga. The roof had beautiful views. Yoga looked like a lot of fun. I then went back to my room, but it was locked because the girls were still sleeping.

I went to 1612 to hangout with Jordi, Lindsey, and Jen. We talked for a while and I discovered that one of the memory cards I bought didn’t work. That was a waste of $20. We then went to lunch where I had rice, potatoes, carrots, and cake. I also took chicken and eggs for Ricky in my purse. It was kind of funny.

Lindsey, Jen, Jordy, Emily, Sarah, Chloe, and I got on the shabbat elevator. A guard from another group got on. We got stuck on 17 and the guard was scared. We were teasing him that for being a military guy with a giant gun he was a chicken. He wound up getting off the elevator. Then we had a guy from bus 803 join us. We chatted with him for a while. Then some Israeli girls got on the elevator and started flirting with the 803 guy in Hebrew. However, he doesn’t speak a word of Hebrew. They took his hat. As we stopped on every floor we got more and more annoyed. We wound up being late to the meeting.

At the meeting Shabat went over the rules for the Migash, our schedule, and we got our role call #’s. I’m #8. We went out for a short walk near the hotel. We got to the top of this street that had an amazing view. Then Shabat had us stand in a circle and throw our right shoe in the middle of our circle. Then we each had to pick a shoe and listen to a story from that person. I picked Sara and Collin picked me. The stories were all interesting. Then we walked back. I spoke to my mom when I got back to the room.

Then we drove to a street in Jerusalem for dinner. Everyone got falafel which looked and smelled amazing. I went to the market and spent 50 shekels on chocolate bars, a water, and mints. Leo suggested a chocolate bar so I added it to the bunch. Alan bought postcards, but I didn’t see an open store to get some. I decided to buy a bagel from Holy Bagel because they had just opened so the bagels were right out of the oven. I also bought one for tomorrow’s breakfast. Jen also got one.

Afterwards, we went to Ammunition Hill. We saw an old tank, pics, and a movie. I was so tired that I didn’t really pay much attention. Then we walked around a bunker. I happened to stand near Staci and Anna when Shabat called them over to tell them that Israel had invaded Gaza. That freaked me out! Anna and Staci said, “Thank G-d we are in a bunker!” We then went out to explore a tunnel and I had to turn on my flashlight because it was so dark out. I called my mom to inform her about what was going on.

When I got back to the hotel I packed my bag and we all watched the news. Then we put MTV on and then Pirates of the Caribbean. We wound up going to bed at 1am.

Categories: Asia, History, Israel, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postcards from Israel

Here are my postcards from Israel. This should be all of them. If I find more I will add them to the set on flickr. To view the set click here. To view the slideshow on flickr click here.

Categories: Asia, Israel, Postcards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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