Thursday, January 13, 2005

update from Isreal

sorry for the long delay. My parents have been having computer problems.

Have been all over Isreal now. Was down by the Dead Sea last weekend, and took a hike into the mountains up to about 50m above sea level (the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the earth's surface- some 3000ft below sea level or somesuch). Saw a herd of ibex crossing the road, but didn't have my camera (d'oh!). Went to a spa, soaked up some Dead Sea mud and sulphur in the hot springs. Went to Masada, which was an old fort, then a temple under Herod the Great around the turn of BC to AD, then a stronghold for some Jewish rebels 60 years laterwho were fighting the Romans and, realizing they were horribly outnumbered, decided to kill themselves along with their women and children instead of be captured and enslaved.
Took a tour of Jerusalem on Monday. Saw a whole bunch of stuff, like the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (where I got assaulted by a Greek Orthodox priest), and the Holacaust Museum. That was really moving. THey have a very well done tribute to the 1.5 million chidren who were killed (onw part was a reading of all their names with age and where they were from. that alone will take somwthing like 20 years to get through), in adition to a lot of things that I didn't have time to see.
Was in Ceasarea today looking at another HErodian palace that was also a fort before he got there, and was also used repeatedly after he was done with it for various things. Went and met my 2nd cousin once removed (my father's mother's mother's sister's grandson). He's my father's generation, but is much older-he has great grandchildren who are in grade school (the reason for the age difference is that my grandmother was born late- her mother was 45 at the time with two grown children already). He's a neat old guy with a great sense of humor, and his wife is an excellent cook (she insisted on sending me home with more food). They were both survivors of the second World War, and hearing their stories of fleeing from Germany and Egypt respectively was interesting. I'm always learning more things about my family than I thought I could. Guess that's a side-effect of all this traveling my parents' do-- we're bound to have relatives in at least some of te countries they go to.

My parent's took me out for Indian food Monday night, which was a real treat. I get horrible craving living in Meadville. The lady who owns the place has apparently taken a shine to my parents-- she insisted on sending us more food than we could possibly eat "in honour or your son being here". I've been living on the leftovers the last couple days. I was sorely tempted by the chicken tikka, but I've managed to hold out so far. She apparent;y has a twin sister who runs a restaurant in Buffalo-- sounds like a road trip to me! Also, she has a line of frozen Indian dinners that she's marketed here and in Europe, and is trying to get into the States. She runs several restaurants, her family, a business... It's quite amazing really.

Took it easy yesterday- did some reading, worked on a puzzle (one of those mystery ones where you don't know what it looks like), walked along the beach and collected old Roman glass bits (there's this Crusader castle that's collapsed over a cliff into the water, so there are wall fragments and columns just scattered over the beach).

We're going to the Galilee tomorrow, so I'll see Nazareth and some stuff like that. I've taken a bunch of photos, so it'll be interesting to getthem developed and see how much of everything I can remember at that point. There's still so much I want to see, but I'll be back at some point.


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