Map of the world...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Check out my pictures!

Thanks everyone for reading the stories, now it's time to see some pictures.
Click here to see my pictures.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Going South!

Well, so where did I leave off with my stories. Oh, yeah, we drove by a waterfall.
Ok, so we were on our way down south. We drove south by the Jordan River, through the West Bank and down toward the Dead Sea. Here is a list of some of the things we did on the rest of our tour.
1. Got to float in the Dead Sea pool at our hotel (it was warmer than the real Dead Sea). I did however step in the Dead Sea. Feels a little oily.
2. Visited Masada on top of the mountain. Nice view from there.
3. Drove down to Beer Sheva (28 miles from Gaza). Our next hotel was here and we got to go to a mall where a security guard had to check our purses before heading inside.
4. Next we were in Jerusalem. We stayed at a beautiful hotel. Grand Court.
5. Walking distance from downtown and the old City.
6. We went to Bethlehem. We had to drive through the wall that was built by the Israeli around the city. Real sad.
7. After visiting the church where they remember the birth of Jesus, we went to Herod's castle.
8. Went up on Shepherd's Field and talked about the meaning of Psalm 23.
9. We had to leave Bethlehem early due to the riots starting.
10. Dude at the check point came on our bus and checked our passport.
11. In the evenings we walked downtown and saw all the crazy people dressed up for Purim (a Jewish holiday where they remember the good done by Esther for the Jewish people). They dress up in costumes and they have one day where they are allowed to get drunk. Wow, they sure know how to party.
12. The next day we walked down the Mount of Olives as a group stopping continuously to discuss different events in the Bible.
13. Had the Lord's Supper at the Garden Tomb ( a place remembered as the place of Calvary and Jesus' resurrection - not real just man made).
14. Visited a place known as the upper room.
15. Visited the Old City. Walked the Via Dolorosa. Much better with a tour guide who knows what he is doing and where he is going.
16. Shopping, shopping and more shopping in the Old City.
17. Walked on the rampwalk (on top of the wall of the Old City). Good view from there.
18. Met people who work at the hotel. One was Romanian.
19. Holocaust museum.
20. I met wonderful people in my group. There were 40 of us. Great group dynamics. Prepare to come home.

I had an amazing time there and I will never forget all I have seen and learned.
Sorry about the list, but I think it's easier to read than paragraph form. If you have any other questions regarding my trip feel free to ask me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The next few days!

Our next stop was Tiberias, where we stayed at the Golden Tulip for the next couple of nights. During the time that we were there we got to go on a boat over the Sea of Galilee. We also saw many parks that were closed by and drove up close enough to see Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. We saw many military bases on the hills looking out toward Lebanon and Syria. The very northern part of Israel is very cold. While we were visiting one park (where no other tourists were) we were met by a rain/lightening/thunder storm. Good thing that day we went to the hotel early and we got a chance to hang out at the pool and in the sauna. Good times.
While we were driving by the borders I saw many fenced areas that had signs on them saying "Danger Land Mines". We drove by such a fence no more than a foot away. Sorry no pictures we were going way too fast. While up north we were close to Mt. Hermon which is a mountain near the Lebanon Syria border, about 2000 feet above sea level. It snows on this mountain and there are a few ski resorts only open a couple of days a year. When it does snow, a few days later people get excited about the water that they will get from the result of the snow melting. We went to a point near the bottom of the mountain were we got to see a waterfall that everyone was so excited about, but to us who have seen waterfalls many times it was a small dirty waterfall. It is here that we got to try the famous Israeli apples. They look like the red delicious apples of Washington but quite smaller.
Well enough for today, I'm getting sleepy.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

First day of my tour!

After a sad good-bye, I joined my group for our first of many meals together. Some people ate cow tongue without knowing ( I don't eat mystery meat). We had a short meeting where our tour guide introduced himself to us. He has been training Israeli Tour guides, he is an archaeologist, he has been on the history channel, and has lived and studied in Israel for over 7 years.
I had a roommate who was actually from Maui, also from my church but I didn't know her. There were 8 people from Maui and one from Oahu. 12 students from Ohio, and others from Florida.
During the evening I learned a little bit about Shabat (a Jewish holiday where they seem to be eating and hanging out a lot) there is also a Shabat elevator which stops and goes to whatever floor, you can't push buttons. Don't get on that or you'll never get to your room.
Shabat is observed from sun down on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. After about 7pm on Saturday stores open up and people are out on the town. Around the town they have Shabat lines (which look like power lines) which indicate how far you are allowed to go out of your house during those times. there are many things not allowed to take place during Shabat as it is a time of rest.
So any ways the next day we had to be on the bus with our suitcases at 8am and off we were on our adventure. We went to Caesarea (Acts) where were saw excavations of a palace from the Roman times and aqueducts by the Mediterranean Sea. Then we were off to Nazareth (church of the Annunciation) where the angel appeared to Mary and also where Jesus lived. We learned about the set up of a house during the time of Jesus. Jesus lived in a cave with Mary, Joseph and their animals. It is a cave set up into three rooms the back room is a stable, the middle is a guest or storage room and the front is a main room (where the family lived). Gives you a different perspective on how Jesus lived.
We saw many other things, but these were the highlights of the first few days.
More later.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nightmare at the Airport!

I will start my stories with my last story before getting home.
So I left the wonderful hotel at about 1 am. The airport shuttle picked me (and another couple leaving at the same time) at the hotel and off we were to the airport. The driver seemed old, tired and ? maybe drunk. The worst driving of the trip was left for the last few hours in Israel. The guy was a crazy driver, speeding down dark streets, turning corners and turning around in the middle of the street. He picked up many other people. Orthodox Jews students going home for their spring break. They had some big bags, which of course ended up on top of my small bags. So much for trying to make sure nothing breaks at least before I get to the airport.
So anyways, we get to the airport for $11 at about 2 am. Our flight was scheduled for 5:30am, but we told the driver 4:30am to make sure we got there 3 hours early and I still almost missed my flight.
So I head over to my airline line to check in and as soon as I get there a guy takes my passport and asks me why I was in Israel and how long. In the next few seconds another guy takes my passport and asks me the same questions. He then says "come with me" and that's when the nightmare started. He asks me millions of questions about why I was there, with who, why it was three weeks, what did I see, where do I work, where do I live, who I work with, how many people work there, what is an OT, how many OTs work there, how many kids do I have on my caseload, do I have brochures from where I went, do I remember being there, and blah blah blah. Next he took me to a place to x-ray my suitcases and the people there took me aside again. They took everything out of my purse, backpack, and two suitcases to scan and swab them for any unwanted things. After an hour or so of questioning and scanning a girl took me to a back room where I was scanned with a metal detector. The button on my jeans kept beeping so she had to call someone else to check it out. Close to a strip search.
Next I went back to my suitcases where I tried to re-pack them to make sure nothing will break before it reached Maui. A security girl came and took me to ticketing where I found out my flight from Amsterdam was canceled and I needed to fly through Minneapolis and I would get home on Thursday instead of Wednesday. She told me I needed to got to the travel agent to get that changed, so off I went with my security guard. The travel agent could not find me another route to get home, so with my new security guard off I went back to ticketing. After checking in my luggage he walked me to the security check where I got to go through a special door and didn't have to be checked again like everyone else. A few minutes before boarding I got to my gate and I was off to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I was able to change my flight through LA and get home on Wednesday, since I had to work the next day. I took a little nap in the airport and soon I was on my way to LA. I sat next to a guy from France who was interested in seeing all my pictures from Israel. He was real nice, he actually got headphones and a snack for me, since I was sleeping. After 10 hours of flying I was in LA. Passed passport control and customs and after searching for my gate in a different terminal and going through security I barely made it to my gate. One of the doctors I work with was on the same flight. I got some food and off we were to Maui. The flight was pretty empty, so most people had a row or two seats to themselves. They even gave us some food.
Well that was my first story and there are more to come.
I leave you with a picture from the plane passing over Iceland or close by.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Well, I'm home safe and sound. It was a long flight and I am real tired since I had to work today. Just one more day of work and I will relax all weekend. Thanks for everyone's prayers.
I will soon write about my tour and my airport adventure.