Friday, September 14, 2007


2 hour drive with a Bedouin taxi driver - $35 JD

Map of Petra (visitor center man: "Don't tell the others. This is my last map in English" wink wink) - $0 JD

Ticket entrance to Petra - $20 JD

Cross off another Wonder of the World from my list!- Priceless

Two days of our vacation were spent in Petra, Jordan. Amazing! It is so hard to describe how incredible this place is. These huge temples and burial tombs are carved out of the red rock walls in the middle of nowhere. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the person who discovered this gem. To get there you have to walk through a narrow canyon about a mile long and then it opens up to reveal the Treasury.

The first night we were there we did "Petra by Night". They line the walkways and fill the Treasury with 1,500 candles. It was so cool to walk through the canyon and into the Treasury in the dark with just the light of the candles and the moon. Then they served herbal tea and played traditional Bedouin music. It was so great and definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

The next morning we got up early and went to Petra to hike around and explore. The day was so fantastic including riding camels, breathtaking views, standing in awe at the Monastery, having fun taking pictures in the caves (which were inhabited until 1980 - one of the local guides showed us the cave he was born in!)
"Shalom in the Home!"

"Cingular in Petra - More bars in more places""Do I look like an American tourist or what?"

Jordan was such an interesting country. Very Arab, obviously. But it was my first time seeing women totally veiled in person. In this picture you can see the wife completely covered and her husband in shorts and a shirt with the sleeves cut off.

After two fun filled days in Petra we headed back to Israel. We crossed the border to Eilat, a city on the Red Sea, hung out on the beach and even tried to part the seas. We randomly stumbled upon a concert at the Hilton and partied with the Israeli's in style. The singer sounded like Sting, if Sting were to sing in Hebrew! Then it was a long bus ride back to Jerusalem, followed by a few winks of sleep before another big day in the Holy Land!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Old City

I think one of my favorite things about this vacation was to just wander through the Old City and mingle with people. Give me an open air market in a foreign country and I am a happy camper!

Our first full day in Jerusalem we walked the Via Dolorosa through the city supposedly following the last steps Christ took before his crucifixion and burial. It starts on the Mount of Olives/ Garden of Gethsemane with an incredible view and then takes you through the Kidron Valley into Jerusalem, the Pools of Bethesda, an incredible view of the Dome of the Rock from inside a madrasa (which some local guy showed us and then asked if either of us wanted to marry him,) and finally ending up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which has been covered with gold and ornate mosaics, etc. It was so interesting to see the pilgrims that were there falling and weeping over sites where Christ may have been crucified and buried. (a stark contrast to the Garden Tomb which we visited later in our trip.)

After walking around the Old City we met up with Kyler and went out to eat in the New City. We had laf laf (traditional Israeli dish.) It was tasty! And then walked around Ben Yehuda which is the hip place for young people to hang out at.

It was such a fun day and full of new information and so many questions about the culture and religions and politics. Poor Kyler got bombarded each evening with all our inquiries!


What a fascinating trip! And such an adventure! Sarah and I were all packed and ready to go Saturday. We got to the airport and boarded our plane, still trying to let the fact settle in that we were on our way to Israel! But alas, due to weather our flights got cancelled so we deboarded and desperately tried to find a flight to get us to Paris in time to connect. But the crazy "summer weather" wouldn't allow us to fly out. So we called Chelsea and she came and picked us up at the airport. We were so bummed. You know how it is... we were so pumped to be on a 13 hour plane ride to Israel and then it didn't happen. So we went home kind of depressed and just moped. Come Sunday morning however we were determined to get on a plane. So we went to the airport and flew out on the first flight to JFK. We just were glad to be on the first leg of our journey. From there everything went smoothly and we arrived in Tel Aviv.
(our welcoming committee - jk)

We made it to Kyler's place (which is so nice) and got settled in. That evening our "personal tour guide", Kyler, drove us around Jerusalem so we could get a feel for the city and then we spent sometime at the Western Wall. It was incredible!
I was so amazed by the city and the people and knew that I was going to love this vacation......more to come!

Friday, September 7, 2007

new "most embarrassing moment"

So I was strolling through the aisles in Target with my trusty sidekick Taryn, holding all the essential trip treats in my hand and thinking about how tasty the Milano cookies would be on my long flight to Israel, when all of a sudden I stepped into a puddle of water. Not wanting to fall I tried to catch my balance - which was a little tricky to do in my no traction flip flops. And then the inevitable happened. In my head I imagined it looked something like that scene from "Home Alone" when Marv slips on the slime in the basement and goes flying across the floor arms and legs flailing in the air. It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was falling face first towards the floor. I tried to catch myself with my hand but it was occupied with the cookies so I ended up face planting it in Target! Yep, there I was laying face first on the floor!

Some ladies turned around to make sure I was ok and one of them said "Talk about a most embarrassing moment." As Taryn was helping me get up I heard some people passing by say "Dude, did you just see that girl fall!?"

As I was trying to get up I slipped again and this time landed on my backside, soaking my shorts and bruising my hip. I'm not quite sure how but I managed to land on all sides of my body - face, left hand, left hip, right knee, etc. Thankfully Taryn went and got some ice for my lip, which started to swell immediately, and knee and then I filled out an accident report. Needless to say I was a little embarrassed.

Later that night my hand really started to hurt and I wanted to get it checked out before I left on vaca so Chels, my dear roommate, took me to the ER and they took some x-rays. It was just a sprain thank goodness. But you better believe Target will be picking up that bill!