I found this update I sent to some of my friends from Israel. I was overtired, restless and in a silly mood. I change from 1st person to 3rd in the span of a few sentences, but you’re welcome to have a read. Cos that’s why you came here, right?
Israel: The food servings are big, the fruit is super sweet, the beaches are many and some of the hombres are pretty. But salad for breakfast? No please.
And me so far:
Arrived to catch flight from Bangkok to Tel Aviv, got taken aside and questioned for 40 minutes on why I wanted to enter Israel, why I went to Morocco, why I was travelling alone and didn’t know anyone here, did anyone pay for my trip, did anyone put a bomb in my bag, why would I want to come to Israel. Had my bags searched through twice before I could board the plane. Most backpackers went through this too and apparently it’s worse on the way out. Looking forward to it.
Tel Aviv great hostel excellent people from everywhere mostly Europeans on their 2 week summer holiday. Friend hired a car and a few of us watched the meteor shower out in the middle of nowhere huddled up with ppl around me to fight off the cold in the desert (apparently this is what they do in the army —-snuggly times!!!! Stayed in Florentine area like the Brunswick of Tel Aviv cool cafes, bars and younger people. Went out a couple nights, danced and got burned on the beach and then lost my voice and couldn’t socialise and got frustrated but then went to the beach again and it was good. Beachy sunsets with pomegranate juice.
Met a dude at previous hostel made friend stayed at his house free accommodation and home cooked meals and learned about Jerusalem and the crazy religious people. Tension in the air, but parts of the city are beautiful remind me of Italy but really I’ve never been to Italy. Old city like 2000 years old I can’t believe people actually live there in the most amazing tiny houses there’s so many colourful flowers everywhere. Felt nothing spiritual at the Western Wall except for sore feet (thats not spiritual) people pushing past me to pray to their god. Israelis at the bus station are rude and to get in to station I had to wait in line for 20 minutes to walk through metal detector or bomb detector or something then have bags scanned to get on a bus but I guess when buses have blown up before you don’t want it to happen again. (There are memorials of ppl that have died in bus bombings next to some of the bus stops…this makes me uncomfortable).
On bus I fall asleep with my head hanging over the aisle I wake up with a gun slamming into my face as Israeli soldiers walk past. I doubt they’re loaded but it’s no fun ride.
Dear Dead Sea,
I floated! Even after all that hummus and falafel. Your water is incredibly salty and I bounce around and it’s very cool. I hope if people go they don’t have any cuts cos that would sting and I certainly wouldn’t recommend shaving that day. For some reason after a while it started to sting our bums so we got out and then snuck into a hotel so we could swim in their pool and we made up room numbers in case anyone should ask but that they did not. Met two Melbourne people who were with me on the bus back and they were complaining we had to stand for all the way back along with many others and one was a lawyer and he was taking pictures with his iPhone and threatening to put it all over the internet and complaining because it’s dangerous and I pretended I wasn’t with them you’re in the Middle East get over it so just sit down and..oh no wait ….you can’t. Bummer!
Early border crossing because it was 40 freaking degrees and my head was thumpy I was with friend from Jerusalem and 2 French ppl we met and border patrol on Jordan side were very friendly and I got a few winky winks so maybe a little too friendly. Taxi ride speeeeeeeeding many ‘almost’ crashes and driver stopping to spit every 10 minutes. Camels there too! But I didn’t see them spit, only taxi drivers.
Palm trees out in the middle of nowhere in the desert it seemed strange, land so incredibly beautiful lots of mountains and rocks and like being on another planet. Jordanians exceptionally nice, Petra was at times touristy but amazing hike up the mountains and tough in the sun and I felt like an Indiana Jones. That night we slept at a Bedouin Camp in tents the people so welcoming and humble and we smoked shisha together, drank tea and the stars oh my god there were so many. we were out in the middle of nowhere with no lights it was like the sky had a big glowing rash. Second time this trip that I spent hours and hours watching the sky ..amazing. Woke up at 4.30am to prayer time, it was really beautiful and surprisingly not irritating. Ok, maybe a little. Very catchy Allaaaaah Akh-baaaaar…
Cross border back to Israel, go through passport control get bags checked and there’s Michael Jackson playing in the background and I see the little room with the curtain where some people get strip searched and I imagine what it would be like to get strip searched with MJ playing in the background.
Plan to stay 2 nights and you stay for 5 cos you’re lazy and enjoy meeting people and not moving your bag which is a little heavy. Basai gardens (not bonsai) not interesting and glad it’s a free tour. Go out that night with a nice Dutch girl and French girl to the beach and have a beer there and talk until good looking men join you but then you soon find out they’re Americans in the Navy patrolling the seas looking out making sure Syria don’t attack. Then maybe us three dig into them a little bit too hard and they don’t seem to appreciate being called mindless drones and they walk away and find 2 very drunk Israeli girls to impress and those girls seem much more interested in their Navy stories cos they leave together and I think the Israeli girls thanked them (very well) for their protection.
Dutch girl and French girl leaves Haifa I wonder what to do tonight and oh whats this there’s people setting up for a street party RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR FRIKKIN HOSTEL. You go chat to the handsome Israeli men to find out the details they’re very friendly and you walk away all cool and happy with yourself but then you trip over and fall almost on your face. Nice one. There is some laughter. Dignity almost back a couple hours later, join the party and have the best dance you’ve had in long time and it’s fucking balmy weather and everyone is covered in sweat and Israelis know how to do a street party. Then they say Shabbat Shalom cos it’s the HOLY FREAKIN SABBATH.
Pass out in bed after a few hours of partying wake up and there’s all this Spanish in your dorm what the hell? There’s all these Spaniards in my room so of course the next day I latch on and they adopt a new little Australian friend and we all go for a day trip to Akko, visit a Mosque, eat falafel and sit on a beach and chat with an Arabic guy who has the most amazing eyes I have ever seen. He has a dog named Chico and that makes the Spaniards happy. ON way home someone throws a huge rock at us from a balcony but it misses and for a second we stand there shocked and 2 seconds later we run to the main street….WTF.
Travelling with 8 ppl is fun and I practice my Spanish but to decide what to do takes about an hour with so many mouths talking and I remember why I chose to travel alone but it’s nice for a change and they’re lots of fun and one of them I like ‘especially a lot.’ I go to see them again in 2 weeks when I go to Spain….
Anyhoo the following day the group splits up and it’s just me and the ‘especially a lot’ and we go to a town called Tzfat and there are religious hippy jews and it’s strange because they have the weird long payers (long hair in front of ears) and religious clothing but they’re also wearing tie-dye and they look stoned and they’re freakin hippies. We visit the artist colony and it’s really beautiful and colourful and it’s the town where the Kabbalah was born (you know, the one Madonna was into for a while).
That night we get hammered because it’s the Spanish’s’s last night in Israel we play backgammon but I dont understand enough of their spanish and Im confused and I meet an Australian guy who is travelling with a large group of French people he has met because he speaks a bit of French and then after Israel he is moving to France and we laugh about how much we are the same but different. It was very funny but maybe you had to be there.
NAZARETH and BEYOND!!!!!
I only just got here to the ‘Zeth ok so I don’t have much to say except most of the population here is Arabic (Christian and Islamic) and they are the friendliest people so far so much nicer than ppl in other cities. Hostel is beautiful 200 year old building. Only here for 2 nights (I promise, no getting stuck this time!) then I would like to go to the West Bank and do some tours and hear more of the story from the Palestinian side apparently very interesting, disturbing and sad. Such a complicated history and difficult to understand but I’m trying to get there. Everyone here seems to want peace and they’re tired of the flighting and the killing but there’s still so far to go and some people are hopeful but many just see more wars with the Palestininians, Iran and Syria and the Jews and it’s very frustrating because ultimately they’ve got so much in common.
AND ….how are you??