Israel Trip 2004

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In fall 2004 (November), Sonia and I went to Israel (via Boston on the way there and Pittsburgh on the way back).

Boston

Boston was pretty good, if you don't count the fact that I was sick for most of it, had to work for much of it, and Sonia got sick toward the end. Got to see my brother's new house, hang out with relatives, etc. Missed my grandmother's 80th birthday by two days (it was after we left for Israel).

Elat
After we arrived in Tel Aviv, we drove down to Elat, on the Red sea. (At this point, I was mostly over my sick, and Sonia was in the midst of hers.) Fairly nice resort place, wedged between Jordan and Egypt. In this photo, you can see the Jordanian city of Aqaba in the background, and if you look close, you can see a huge flag flying over the city, clearly meant to be seen by the other countries.

I went swimming in the red sea. It was warm, and the view was pretty amazing. Slippers recommended because of the pointy rocks and sea urchins (my brother trod upon one of the latter).

Camels
We went camel riding while in Elat.

The camels are entertaining to ride. Kind of like a motorized couch - very large. Sonia's camel was young and enamored of the camera. She had a knack for sticking her head into the shot to block us out.

All the camels were female, they were clean and did not spit. Stop stereotyping. After the camel ride, the guide made us pita bread and Bedouin tea. The Bedouin tea was insanely sweet (not quite sweet enough for Sonia, but pretty close). The pita was good. The goat cheese optionally smeared upon the pita was questionable. I am not sure cheese is supposed to crunch when you bite down on it.

Dead Sea
I almost got turned into a pillar of salt.

Sadly, there are no photos of us on the Dead Sea worth posting. There is, however, an excellent clip of me attempting to swim in the Dead Sea. I'm sure it'll make its circuit at some point.

Haifa with Grandmother
We came to Haifa where we met with my grandmother on my father's side who lives there, and my brother Alex and his wife Mariya.

Nazareth
The icons/murals in Nazareth were pretty cool.

Church was nice, too.

The bazaar in Nazareth was very entertaining. Everyone in Israel bargains over everything. Except maybe in the grocery store. (Malls are fair game.)

Jerusalem
There is a huge bazaar in the old city. See above re: bargaining. This isn't a very good shot of it, but it's a pretty good photo overall.

The Wailing Wall

View of the old city from Mount of Olives.

Not much to add about this. Worthwhile place to visit.

Oddly enough, we survived the sojourn to Israel. Everyone seems really shocked at this. We were not in any danger. There were people with assault rifles everywhere. You get used to it. They check your bags and pass you through a metal detector at the entrance to every public place (malls, etc). You get used to that, too.

The horrible cottage cheese people in ultra-low jeans and belly tops are another story. Ditto for the pregnant chicks and 10 year olds in the same attire.

Pittsburgh
We went to Pittsburgh after Israel. This will be of no interest to anyone except the people involved. Met up with Wik and Bernie. This is Wik (with chicken pot pie):

This is Bernie (with Sonia):