A Travellerspoint blog

Surviving on the border of the West Bank

Pictures! I was able to upload two pictures today, and now I have 5 minutes until the bus leaves. The last several days have been exciting. We have been to the border of Lebenon, Syria, Jordan and the West Bank. If you want to know Israel's relation with any of these countries or "areas," they are sketchy at best. Lebenon is supported by Iran -- Israelies understand terrorism all too well. There is currently a "peace" agreement with Jordan.

We visited a 7,000 acre cattle ranch yesterday with 1,000 head. The area is in the mountains, all you see are planted pine trees and rocks. We went right up to the fence seperating Israel from the West Bank. There was a very scary feeling in the air, this particular Palestine village has given Israel the most problems. An army jeep came flying down the hill and told us to get out. IMG_8687.jpg

Just to leave you with a better picture of Israel, here are some cliffs above the city of Magdel, the home of Mary Magdelin. This view is from the Kibbutz we have stayed at on the Sea of Galilee for the last few days. IMG_8499.jpg

Today we will be heading south to the Dead Sea and then to the Negev -- the southern desert. Have to run and catch breakfast, hope all is well.

Posted by foltz.45 06:43 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Into Galilee

Sorry, no pictures yet.

I had apparently forgotten what traveling in a large group is like -- a frustrating experience at times. The biggest problem is something I was first introduced to in the Dominican Republic, it was called Caribbean time there -- here it must be called Mediterranean time. The definition of both go something like this: have explicit times to be certian places as scheduled; always be tardy. I believe my old junior high math teacher, Mr. Dale, would blow a gasket giving out tardy slips to everyone. The worst part is that our guides seem to have the most problem meeting our schedule.

Anyways, I have learned a great deal in a short time in Israel. To say the least, you know the history of Israel is a mess. To prove my point, it is important to greet everyone you meet with the appropriate word. This word is simply "shalom." In a country where you are constantly at war and surrounded by your enemies, peace is always on your mind -- it is what you are hoping for. Today we traveled through the valley of armageddon, the biblical place of the final battle. As if right on cue, to set the scene, several jet fighters filled the sky with noise on a reconisence mission to Lebenon while we toured a Kibbutz. (Please put your mind at easy however, as like many things, the media publicizes the terrible acts of a few while the rest are much more decent.)

Kibbutz: is an Israeli collective intentional community combining socialism and zionism. Historically, before and after the country of Israel began (1948) Jewish people needed a place to live and a way to survive. These communities will have their own industry, today they are mostly agriculture and tourism based, although I understand there are Kibbutz for everything. They often have hotels and are great places to stay as a visitor.

A visit to an aquaculture kibbutz today proved to be very interesting. A man I met there was working on his master's degree in marine biology in genetics and knew several people I know, small world huh. They have a huge opporation on 800 acres from raising koi to be sold >$1500 per fish to R&D. Their newest research project using aenemonies pnematocyte cells to painlessly inject medicine will be on the market within the next year.

I will have to say that I am impressed with the Jewish people, their intelligence and their ability to survive. Understand that Israel is smaller than New Jersey and the nation is a world leader in many industries. My personal observation, although, when given the opportunity a Jew can talk. By talk, I mean they can go on and on very passionately about whatever their interests are. This is part of the reason for our group troubles.

We traveled up the western shore of Israel, westward through Nazarith and now are on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. I wish I could post some pictures, but do not have the capability from this computer, hopefully soon to come.

Until next time, Shalom.

Posted by foltz.45 21:33 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

On the shores of the Mediterranean

Arival in Tel Aviv

overcast 20 °C

6'5", 220 pound quarterback, laser-rocket arm... I know exactly how Peyton Manning feels, well except for the part about being a quarterback, and maybe I just have a modest arm. But, I do know how he feels when taking a trip by plane.

After leaving Columbus Ohio on February 21, I am now writing to you from Tel Aviv, Israel. I cannot complain about the long plane ride, everything went smoothly, my luggage is not lost and I made it to a bed. I even slept for a few minutes, my internal clock has not had a chance to catch up. It is currently 4:30am, I am just killing time waiting to meet up with the rest of the group later this morning.

My first half day in Israel has been comfortable. To my extreem joy, just about everyone I have had to converse with will speak to me in English. I hope this is the trend as I trek accross the country, but I am not holding my breath. The keys on this keyboard have the Hebrew alphabet, as well as Latin. Today we will be making the trip to Jaffa, another city on the shore of the Mediterranean. I hope to have some pictures and stories to add while I have internet access.

Just a quick story on internation travel to give you a laugh. When arriving in Frankfurt Germany to make a connection to Tel Aviv, I got off the plane in search of my connecting gate and some food. The Frankfurt airport is somewhat different than those you might expect in the USA. Among other things, signs are in German (some have English subtitles) and I found that the representing pictures -- for the baggage claim area, connections, etc. -- didn't represent their intentions in my mind. If you haven't already figured, my foreign language skills are sketchy at best, my biggest cultural dilema is communication. So, in search for some food, I over heard some people speaking english who were also looking to eat. I discretely followed them to a McDonalds. In an international terminal, you can hear all sorts of languages. In this case, German, Hebrew, French, some Indian Dialects, and English among other. It is also not always quickly obvious what language someone is speaking, especially from any distance. So as I approach the counter to get food, I am trying to figure out first, if I can pay with Dollars or must I use Euros, and secondly how I am going to communicate my order? I wanted to just give a number of a meal as you can often do at home. I know about 10 german words, and three of them are the numbers one through three and was prepared to settle for whatever those choices were. So I reach the counter, expecting to find a struggle, and my waiter speaks perfect English! I was not expecting this at all, on previous trips abroad, I have either been in an english speaking country or had to use my survival spanish. I enjoyed a warm bacon egg and cheese mcmuffin and orange juice all while being relieved and hoping that this was a good sign for my future travels.

Posted by foltz.45 04:09 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

Final Countdown

Hey all, I am now a day and a half from heading to Israel. From here on out I am planning to post pictures and updates using this webpage. You can subscribe to this blog (sending you an email to say that it has been updated) or periodically check this site whenever it strikes you. I will try and keep it less of an update and more of a story and post pitures. This entry is mainly a test and ment to be informative.

The first leg of my journey will be a guided tour through Israel. I do not know Hebrew and have no desire to wing it there. I will be accompanied by 33 others in the group including my Grandparents, John and Anne Foltz.

The second leg of my journey will hopefully be a thrifty three month voyage through Europe. I will wish my grandparents a safe trip back to the U.S. and aquire a new travel companion in Germany.

I hope everyone is doing well, please check back for updates.

-John

Posted by foltz.45 20:28 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

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