Saturday, May 14, 2005

Israel Day One

We departed early on May 13th from Denver for our trip to Israel sponsored by the Heritage Christian Center. We had a lay over in Newark where I got my first glimpse of the Empire State Building.

After the long flight from Newark to Tel Aviv we checked in to the Carlton which is right on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea. On the way to the hotel we stopped in Jaffa to see the House of Simon the Tanner. The sea port here is the oldest in the world. It is next to a hill which provided great protection and has a natural break water. Legend has it that a mermaid died here to create the rocks which sit just below sea level.

Michelle was jet lagged so I spent the afternoon checking out the beach. It was Saturday (sabbath) so there were plenty of people enjoying the beach. Being American I naturally enjoyed the topless girls tanning here and there. I also noticed one of the popular past times is playing paddle tennis. The board game of choice on the beach was backgammon.

One of my first cultural experiences was (of all things) when ordering a beer. I went up to the bar and dutifully waited in line. After quite a few people crowded in front of me, I got the message that you must press the issue in this country. They accept US dollars, but the bar tender did check that my bill was authentic by holding it up and looking for the "stripe".

A walk along the break water revealed 3 gay boys skinny dipping. Fun. The fishermen were using poles with no reels, just a string attached to the end.

There was also a restricted beach... I guess for the orthodox Jews who cannot be in mixed company on the beach.

A great start to the trip! I'll post more "scripture later.

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