Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

We've been hanging out in Tel Aviv for the past couple of days. Among the highlights have been the beach, wandering around Old Jaffa, exploring the Carmel Market and enjoying one of Tel Aviv's many eclectic restaurants(Crap, I'm starting to sound like a guidebook. I need to go home.)

View of Tel Aviv from Jaffa
Katie enjoying the beach
The Port of Jaffa (known as Joppa in biblical times). This would have been the port both Jonah and Paul sailed from.
Sunset on the Mediterranean. A fitting end to our trip.
Kind of end anyway. We still have a fair bit of traveling ahead of us. We will catch a taxi to the Tel Aviv airport in about 30 minutes. From there we will be in airports or on airplanes for the next 26 hours before landing in Chicago. From Chicago we will have a 20 hour train ride and a rental car to take before we arrive back in Oklahoma on Friday. If you think of us over the next couple of days, please pray for our safe travels.

I'm going to go get one last coke before I leave. They make them with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and they taste a lot better here.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The sun is setting...

...on our time in Jerusalem and on our time abroad. We leave for Tel Aviv tomorrow, and will be there for 2 days before flying out of Israel and back to the U.S. Won't get to hang out with these cool people much longer...Without further ado...
Sunsets on the Sea of Galilee
On Mt. SinaiOn the NileOver Jerusalem


Friday, July 4, 2008

Egypt Highlights

Some pictures from our time in Egypt.

St. Katherines Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is the traditional site of God talking to Moses from the burning bush. It also has a phenomenal collection of icons.
View from the top of Mt. Sinai
Tough climb to the top.Classic.My beautiful wife. Oh, and the pyramids. :)
The Cairo Museum, which contains many of the pharonic treasures. We saw King Tut's treasure here, among other things. Church of the Virgin Mary. Traditional site of Mary's (along with Joseph and Jesus) visit to Egypt while fleeing from Herod. The Nile river close to the Church of the Virgin Mary. Traditional site where Moses was found in the bulrushes.
The Citadel in Alexandria. The site of the ancient Pharos Lighthouse.
The modern Library of Alexandria.


Thursday, July 3, 2008


We just arrived back at the apartment in Jerusalem, capping a full day of traveling. It is almost midnight our time. We left our relative's apartment in Cairo at 4:30 this morning (due to last minute socializing, my procrastination in packing, and my overactive brain, I didn't really get any sleep that night). It's been a solid day. It went as follows:

4:30 AM - Left the Cairo apartment for Turgoman Bus station.

6:00 AM - Left the bus station on the East Delta bus to Taba, the Egyptian border city to Israel

12:30 PM - Arrived at the Taba border crossing

5:00 PM - Finished the rigorous process of crossing into Israel (Due to the interrogation and background/story checks, it took us nearly as long to traverse the 50 yards from Egypt to Israel as it did for us to go all the way from Cairo to Taba. Ironic, yet frustrating. On another side note, I'm now convinced the the border security for the majority of the state of Israel is run by 19 year old girls with meticulous hair and nails. This is based on multiple entries into Israel. They have quite the stylish military, but I digress.)

5:15 PM - Arrived in Eilat (the Israeli border town). We missed our bus to Jerusalem due to the border snafu, so we got a sherut (shared taxi). However, there were none going to Jerusalem, only Tel Aviv (north of Jerusalem).

10:45 PM - Arrived in Tel Aviv. Got another sherut from the Central Bus Station there to Jerusalem.

11:30 PM - Dropped off by Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. It's not that bad a walk from here to the apartment (we've done it several times), but by this point none of us really cared about saving the extra 40 shekels.

11:45 PM - Taxi drops us off at the apartment.

Final numbers:

1 bus, 3 sheruts, and 3 taxi cabs.
A grand total of roughly $40 per person for the whole trip (woohoo!).
A little over 900 kilometers.
19 1/2 hours traveling.

All in all, the amount we saved by not flying was worth the extra time. Plus, we got to see some cool landscapes along the way. The final feather in my cap was that I was able to tell the last cab driver where to go and negotiate the payment and change in Hebrew. Granted, this required the knowledge of about 8 words on my part, but it's a victory none the less. I wouldn't say we are all ready to do it again right away, but the trip was definitely a good experience.

39+ hours and counting without any significant sleep for me, so I'm going to crash now. Am looking forward to waking up tomorrow in Jerusalem with Vernon and Aubrey and the roomies.