Friday, August 31, 2007

Israel Recap

Nothing too exciting happened in Israel aside from the wedding in the previous post, but I'll give a little recap of what I did.

The week of the wedding I just hung out around the pimp 5-star hotel I was staying at, wandered around the old city in Jerusalem, went online a lot, caught up on my falafel eating, and went drinking almost every night with my cousin (brother of the one getting married). Was also able to meet up with 2 friends from college, one who turned into a religious jew and has been studying in israel for the last 2 years, the other is getting paid to be here by some fellowship (Jewish agencies love to throw money at Jews going to Israel, for instance if I decided to move here they would pay for my plane ticket, give me several hundred dollars a month for the first few months, and cheap loans for buying a house or furniture or whatever).

After Jerusalem I went down to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, where I met up with my dad's old business partner Avi, who I've met several times in the US and Israel. He hosted me for a couple days. I'd had a bad cough the past week and a half and finally went to see a doctor who quickly diagnosed me with a lung infection and gave me antibiotics (they worked, everything's fine now). I didn't feel sick at all, just had a horrible sounding cough and some wheezing.

3rd day there I met my dad's other business associate at the kibbutz. He is very interested in me helping them out exporting their olive oil to the US, been discussing it with him a lot and it might be an interesting project to take on when I return home in November. That day he drove me to Tel Aviv and I met up with my old friend Eitan...known him since I was a camp counselor almost 6 years ago. Went out with him one night and met some interesting characters like a massive Georgian (the country) guy who runs a liquor shop that sells triple shots of vodka for $1 and one of his philosopher friends who likes to turn every conversation into a philosophical poetic rhyming and flowing match.

Next day I took the bus to Herzeliya and met up with my friend Rachel from home, she moved here 7 years ago, went through the army here, traveled a bit, and is now going through college. She had a very nice apartment with an extra mattress, stayed there for the weekend, went to the beach both days. The first day went out in Tel Aviv to a sushi restaurant (delicious) and to the hottest bar in Tel Aviv...dropped so much cash that night and didn't even get drunk (f obscenely expensive bottle service).

After Herzeliya, took the train up to Haifa and hung out with 2 of my friends from camp 10 years ago. I saw them 4 years ago, and it's always cool to see everyone is still in the military, a chief engineer on a ship in the navy. He told me he just did a training exercise with the US and Turkish Navies and was having a drink with all the US officers, they couldn't believe he was so highly ranked at 24 yrs old, but that's how they have to do it in Israel. My other friend is a student at Technion, considered the MIT of Israel. We played poker one night with their friends, of course I kicked all their asses for a $10 profit (only played about $2.50 buy in per person). Next day hung out at the beach and went out for a few drinks that night.

Now I'm back in Tel Aviv. Was able to get my ticket to Thailand changed and will be leaving tomorrow for Thailand. Will spend a week there, get my visa to China, then fly to china on Sept 8th. Looking forward to getting back to the East...been a long road. Hard to believe i'm more than 2/3 of the way through my trip.

As a side note, started playing poker online again , have had too much free time when my friends were at work and me just sitting around doing nothing. Was down about $140, but last night won $ I'm back in the game! Might play some more in Thailand if I get bored, but probably won't play in China.

Another side note, since I am a huge nerd, I published a spreadsheet of my costs to date...completely up to date, can be viewed here. Israel cut my daily cost a bit due to being treated to so many meals by my relatives and friends, and not having to pay once for housing. Literally all my money was spent on food and with a little on buses/taxis/trains. Thanks friends!


Post a Comment

<< Home