Thursday, November 10, 2005
Well, this is my last post from the Holy Land. Things did not go as planned while I was here, but such is life. I regret nothing, as it was a full experience..... some good and some bad. I'm not sure when I will be back here in Israel so I intend to soak up as much as I can this morning before I leave. My flight leaves at 6:15pm Israeli time but I intend to be there far in advance to make sure there are no problems picking up the ticket and getting through security. I know I am going to pay an awful price for my overweight but there is little I can do about it. When I packed originally I didn't know I would be traveling around on this side of the hemisphere, where weight restrictions are much tighter. MUCH.

Looking back on my time here there are things that make me smile. Chocolate-Banana popsicles. My favourite, and I ate *many* while I was here. In fact, there were countless banana products in this country that made me happy. Halva, a tasty snack made from ground sesame seed and honey (or sugar) and pressed into a flaky chunk of goodness, also makes me smile. As does the cereal here, my favourites being Ugi and Kokomon. And the fact that I managed to have a conversation with a cab driver in my extremely broken Hebrew because he asked that I speak in Hebrew since his English wasn't so good (for the record, his English was light years ahead of mine).

There are also things that perplex me about Israel. Like the fact that the police cars here drive around with their (flashing blue) lights on all the time! Great for visibility, especially if you're a bad guy up to no good. The cost of things here confuses me. Random items seem to be incredibly expensive. Shaving cream is 3 times the cost it is in Canada and is apricot face scrub, toothbrushes and paste. Worst of all cereal, my food of choice, is *extremely* expensive here. For anyone who knows me and my love for breakfast cereal you can understand what a devastating blow this is. When watching TV I am greatly perplexed by the fact that all the shows, even those in Hebrew, have Hebrew subtitles. Why would a show in Hebrew need Hebrew subtitles? And please don't tell me it's for the deaf because that's just not washing with me. Given my time in this country I'm not going to believe that in this is a place that is so forward thinking that it will change ALL TV programming for the .. what? 2? 3%? ... of the population. So why all the Hebrew subtitles??

Then there are the things that drive me crazy in this country. Like the plumbing. The taps for most sinks are miles above the actual sink so that by the time the water gets down to it's target it splashes all over. A little splatter... a little spray. But enough that it can make things messy in short order. And I have yet to find a great shower in this country, but I hear it's possible. Where, I can't be sure. The Post Office. As yes... the Israeli postal system. On more than one occasion I have arrived at the post office only to find it closed. Upon reading the hours of operation on the door I see that it is supposed to close at, say, 4pm. And there I am at 3pm, and find it closed. The hours are erratic at best, with it often closing mid-day only to re-open again for a few hours later in the day. I can't figure it out, but just yesterday I missed it being open again. Stupid me, of course it closes at 1pm! And of course there are a few other things that drove me mad... mosquitoes, flies, talking at volumes that most would consider yelling, etc...

All this rounds out a great experience. I have made some great friends, some that I hope I will keep for life. I have managed to see some old friends again and spend time with my greatest of friends, Mulder. He has welcomed me into his home with open arms and great patience. And he has fed my addiction to TV. :-) I have met some great people, Israelis included. Israelis are often stereotyped for being rude, and sometimes that's true. But it's all part of the charm.

I leave you now with a few pictures:

What I like to call, the breakfast of champions. A cereal (Energy Dreams??? what does that even mean??) with a crunchy yet flaky exterior and a creamy banana interior..... served up in a bowl of banana milk!!!!! Life is good, ladies and gentlemen.

I love the crosswalk/pedestrian crossing signs in Israel. They look so delightfully formal. Just look at that man in his snazzy suit and hat! He looks like a guy who is really going places, so give him room!

I took this picture of these lovely flowers outside a post office. I loved that they had pink and yellow AND white all on one beautiful flower.

As most of you know I love the Hebrew language. Therefore, I love things that I recognize, written in Hebrew. Like this poster for the new movie, The Legend of Zoro. It was the first movie I had seen in over 2 months and I was thrilled to be in a theatre again. I also took a pic of the Harry Potter movie poster but I won't bother you with that.

Now THIS is an amusing thing that I found when out with my friend dark1r, while in Netanya. This goes under the "only in Israel" category. You know those games you seen in carnivals/malls/theatres/bowling alleys in which you pay a small fee to move a crane around within a big glass box in order to choose a prize within and then drop it in the slot so that you may claim your winnings? Usually they have keychains, mini stuffed animals, etc. Well I found one where you can actually win packs of cigarettes. (Dark1r informed me that it was better the week before when the packs had a lighter taped to them, like a bonus prize!)

And last but not least, here is a pic of me enjoying yet another fine banana product, a vanilla-banana milkshake. And it was DAMN good.

Ok, I need to rush to the post office before I miss it yet again. I will drop everyone a line when I get to England to let you know I have arrived at my new adventure. Thanks for all your support and encouragement thus far on my journey, it has meant a lot to me. Cheers!