Winter Trip 2010: Post #5

Currently, I am sitting in David Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel-Aviv waiting for my flight through Berlin to London. 

Last night I slept in Jerusalem at the Romm’s.  The past two days have flown by.  And I was basically flying – as in the weather has been crazy all over Israel.  The storms and huge wind gusts were especially bad in Tel-Aviv and worse where I was staying near the Mediterranean Sea.  I would have ended up in the road one time if a light pole had not gotten in my way.  The past two days in Tel-Aviv were really good, but went by quickly.  I also could have done more if the weather had cooperated.  Oh well, Israel needs the rain.

Sunday

I left for Tel-Aviv and made my way to my hostel (including navigating through Tel-Aviv’s crazy complex central bus station).  I was staying at Hayarkon 48 Hostel, one block from the beach.  I met a guy from Sweden in the hostel and he came with me as we tried to make it to the Eretz Yisrael Museum.  On the way, we went by the beach to look at the huge waves and see the damage.  After getting to the museum, we tried to make it between buildings without getting destroyed by the weather.  It was more difficult than it sounds.  Back at the hostel, I met another guy from Sweden and a guy from Canada.  We went across the street to a building/mall with restaurants and a cinema.  On the way across the street, we got completely soaked and I have been at least damp since then.  We ate dinner, with a good special from Burger Ranch, and then saw Eat Pray Love – a good movie.  Now I think I need to find the word of who I am… (see the movie).  Back at the hostel, I met a number of people with whom I discussed Israel, the weather, Tel-Aviv clubs, World War II, and other random topics.  I had wanted to go out and do something exciting, but the weather basically prevented that from happening.

Monday

I woke up early (i.e. before my alarm) and then waited for a few other people to wake up.  I ate breakfast in the hostel while talking to some people from Germany.  I then went with the two Swedish guys to the Diaspora Museum.  We took a cab because it was raining and on the way, I had a conversation with the driver in Hebrew!  He said my Hebrew was good, but I know the truth.  It was fun anyway.  The museum was very interesting recounting the history of Jewish exile and return to Israel.  We then went to lunch in a cafeteria in Tel-Aviv University (the museum was on the university campus).  The two Swedish guys went back to the hostel and I went to the Palmach Museum where I waited for Ella and then we went on a tour.  It was a Hebrew tour so we had English audio guides.  The museum is rather untraditional – more of an interactive theatre experience.  Very interesting.  After the museum, we went to the hostel to get my bags and then to the bus station and I returned to Jerusalem. 

I had hoped to see more in Tel-Aviv but the weather did not cooperate.  I planned on walking up the beach and visiting the flea market in Yaffo (Jaffa), perhaps visiting some small museums, and checking out Disengoff I spent the night at the Romm’s.

Tuesday – Part 1

Today, I got up early and got ready for my flight.  I then went to the Fuschberg Center, where Rabbi Romm works.  I was to get picked up there by a sheirut, a shared taxi.  While I waited, I walked around the center of Jerusalem.  I visited Ben Yehuda Street and read historical markers on buildings.  I then said goodbye to Rabbi Romm (The Romms are my adopted family in Israel.  I will miss them all very much.) and got on the sheirut.  We picked several other people up in Jerusalem and drove to the airport.  On the way we seemed to be following much of the security wall around the West Bank and I saw several check points.  There were two other people on the sheirut who had the same flight as me so when we got to the airport, I waited with them since we were two early to check in, after going through the first security.  I am now checked in and have eaten lunch.  My flight to Berlin has already been delayed twice though.  I hope not to miss my flight from Berlin to London.  My layover was not very long to begin with.  My luggage is tagged to go on without me picking it up.  I still have to get my boarding pass though since they could not check me in in Tel-Aviv.

Israel has been a great experience.  I knew it would be, however much I worried at the beginning of my trip.  These two weeks have flown by and I hope to return soon.  I now look forward to the next leg of my trip – a week in Europe.

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Winter Trip 2010: Post #1

I am currently sitting on a couch in an apartment in Jerusalem!  It’s been two years since I could say that.  I am very happy to be back.

I just got into Israel this afternoon (it is about 10:30 p.m. now.  Below is a basic outline of what’s happened so far:

  • I got to the St. Louis airport, later than planned of course, around 12:00 p.m. Monday.  I avoided the full body scanner and went through a metal detector while a Catholic Priest was being frisked in the line next to me.
  • I got into Philadelphia a bit early and did some last minute emails and phone calls.  In the middle of it, everyone in the gate area for the upcoming Israel flight was asked to leave so security could get it ready for the flight.  When I went back, they had put up a seperate wall.  We all had to go through a second line of bag screening and metal detectors to go to Israel.
  • My flight to Israel was long, but quite nice.  I sat by some interesting people, slept a bit, read, and watched two movies.  I was able to get Kosher meals, even though I had not requested them in advance.
  • I went through passport control, retrieved my bags from baggage claim, and tried to rent a cell phone.  Apparently you can no longer rent cell phones in Ben-Gurion Airport.  I wish I had known about that change in advance.
  • I took the train from the airport to Tel-Aviv Haganah train station.  In the station I tried to rent a phone, no luck.
  • I walked to the Tel-Aviv bus station down the street to catch a bus to Jerusalem.  I also tried to rent a phone there.  With no luck again, I bought a go phone.
  • I experienced the Tel-Aviv/Jerusalem evening traffic.
  • I went through the bus station in Jerusalem and got a bus to French Hill.  The bus was very busy.
  • In French Hill, I met the family I am spending the night with, had dinner, walked the dog, etc.

Tomorrow I plan to go to the newly renovated Israel Museum and who knows what else.  In the evening, I go to a wedding outside of Jerusalem and it is also the first night of Chanukah.  I’m excited!

Hopefully, I will be able to solidify more plans tomorrow.  I don’t know how often (or detailed) I will be writing, but there should be an update here in a few days or this weekend at the latest.