August 02, 2010

Visiting the Motherland - Israel

I finally had the chance to visit the country where my whole existence roots from. Thanks to HP, I got to visit Israel and learned more in a week then I did in my entire high school career.

The airport security is insane when you go to a country with violence. My terminal at the US airport was completely blocked off with tall plastic walls. Our carry-ons had to be researched just to get into the terminal seating area! Fucking insane. And when I got to Israel, my passport almost got me detained because of a frickin coffee stain...yes a COFFEE STAIN.

Airport Security: Vat iz dis thing on your passaport?

Me: Ummm...a coffee stain....

Airport Security: Dat iz an insult to government property! Do you not ave rezpect for da government??

Me: *about to say something really mean like "it's my fucking property and I like coffee, so fuck you"*

EW: *increases his grip on my hand to the point that my blood flow is constricted*

Me: *realize that I will be arrested if I talk back* Ummm....sorry Mam....

Airport Security: *stares at passport for another 10 minutes* Get a new von! Bye!

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I swear to God, every single guy in Israel was so effin gorgeous I had to fight to keep my eyes off of them in respect to EW. There must be something in the water because how is it possible that the entire male population of a country is blessed with tan skin and a model physique? And why are all of their female counterparts not good looking at all? Weird...


I stayed at the Hilton in Tel Aviv which was right on the Mediterranean Sea. I kept saying I was at the Red Sea on my Facebook but someone corrected me and told me that I had the wrong sea.


The beaches in Israel are beyond gorgeous which came as a huge surprise to me as I expected a desert wasteland. Can you say naive western tourist?


View of the Mediterranean sea from my balcony.


And here we take a 180 degree turn on my balcony to see a stunning view of Tel Aviv.


The Hilton pool was unlike any pool I've ever been too. It contained salt water which was pumped from the sea every morning. This is because of the water shortages that Israel is currently experiencing. And the pool chairs were on different layers, kind of like a stadium. For those of you who think Israel is a conservative country, you are seriously wrong. Tel Aviv is a hip and young city with some of the best nightlife in the world. I saw plenty of itty bitty thongs walking around that pool.


On our first day out in Tel Aviv, we visited a quaint little village that reminded me very much of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. The streets were cobblestone with a ton of over priced boutique stores to shop around in. We had breakfast at an outdoor terrace cafe which gave us our first taste of Mediterranean food. And OMG yum!!! I thought I would hate the food in Israel but it was by far some of the best food I have tried in my life and I have tried some of the best.


EW stuffing his face with a double cheese, tomato and basil baguette.


YUM!


My breakfast was even more YUM!


We then took a a stroll to the Caramel Market. (I called it the Camel market the whole time because some people *ahem* can't read the map right)

So imagine like a thousand people stuffed under a mile long canopy with vendors selling cool cheap stuff on both sides...and you get the Caramel Market


Why do we not have stuff like this in Philly? I would die and go to heaven. Because of our stupid health laws and blah blah blah we cannot experience the wonders of "real" open air markets.


Later that night, we went to a place called Lauren's Gallery for a cocktail party, dinner, and dancing. All of the HP crew was invited so they rented the entire restaurant and roof deck for us.


We were entertained by not so cute belly dancers but they could definitely shake it!!!


After a few cocktails, I tried it out myself. What I previously thought was not so hard turned out to be close to impossible to do. I just can't shake my booty like that.


The night ended with about 40 or so drunk people from HP playing the bongos on the floor while the belly dancers performed their tantalizing routines. EW got so into the the bongo drums, his hands were swollen for the next 2 days.

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Later that night, we went to a beach bar that reminded me of something you would see in South Beach. It was so chic and I loved everything about it. Our bartender was so surfer/Israeli cool, think Zohan. Loved it!


After 10 minutes in the humid sea air, my hair was a big poof ball and my face was super oily. But it didn't matter because I was drunk and lovin it.


Talk to the hand bitch! Stumbling back to the hotel room. Did you know that no one in Israel knows what a Cosmo is??? It's the weirdest thing, I had teach all of my bartenders how to make one. I hope they keep the recipe in mind for the future.


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Another fun day we had in Israel was our trip to the holy city of Jerusalem. Seriously, this city has to be on everybody's bucket list because it is beyond words and explanation. As a non-believer, I expected to not enjoy myself very much but ended up having the time of my life!

Our first stop was to Mount Olives where we saw all of old Jerusalem.


100,000 tombs of corpses waiting for the doors of Jerusalem to open. The tombs on the bottom of the mountain are like thousands of years old!


Some of the newer tombs. They are super expensive because space is limited on the mountain.


This is the location of the Last Supper. Kind of had an eerie feeling while looking at it. Sorry for the bad quality of the image but we were very far away and had to zoom in like 12 times with my camera.

The day before Jesus was crucified, he came to this building to pray to god. CRAZY.


Entrance to Jesus' tomb. This building was built over the area where Jesus was crucified.


Huge stairs make me look like a little person.


Listening to our tour guide before we enter Jesus' tomb in the 100 degree sun!


This display is right over the exact area where the crucifix was placed. There was a hole that you could crawl through to touch and pray on the actual rock that the crucifix was placed in. The line was enormous so I didn't go but EW went to say his prayers.


Prayer candles.


And here is Jesus' tomb. I had an interesting convo with someone over it.

Me: So the body is actually in there??!???!!

Random Guy: Ummm....noo...

Me: Ugh, so how is it his tomb? Where is the body then?

Random Guy: *points up* He was resurrected remember?

Me: Well pretend like its real life and resurrection isn't real...where would his body be then?

Random Guy: *pause*

Me: So people are standing in line to see a box with nothing in it??

EW: *pulls me away before Random Guy beats me up*

Whatever, I can express my own beliefs if I want to. I have a very scientific mind and would like to know where exactly the actual dead body is. It would be a historical find. And if stupid religious people are hiding it somewhere just for the sake of people believing that he did rise from the dead, then that is the stupidest thing EVER.


More prayer candles by the tomb.

Next, we visited the Wailing Wall which is now called the Western wall. It was the wall that the Jews cried upon when everything else in their city was destroyed. It is a holy wall that many people come to pray to. You must be covered when you enter the vicinity of the wall.


I wore my mom's shawl. Don't ask my why I look three months pregnant in this photo. Too much yummy Israeli food I guess.


EW standing in front of the Wailing Wall. Shame on you EW! You're not supposed to turn your back to the Wailing Wall. It's like turning your back to God! You're actually supposed to walk away from it backwards.

The wall is separated into a female and male section so that neither sex distracts the other from prayer. You can see all of the guys praying on the wall behind EW. They have all written a tiny note of prayers which they fold and put into a crack in the wall.


EW's prayer note.

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After a long day in Jerusalem we were treated to these huge bagel/pretzel looking things with a creamy cheese and olive oil dip with little capers. OMG so delicious.


Washed it down with alcohol-free mojito drinks.


EW looks like such a tourist haha!


Taking a bathroom break in a caged walkway. Only in Jerusalem! Notice the boob sweat. Yes, it was that hot!


And of course we did some shopping in the world famous Arabian Market. This market is like a HUGE labyrinth that you can easily get lost in. It's totally like something out of Aladdin.


Look! I even found Aladdin's shirt for sale!


They sell so many cool things from clothes to jewelry to religious stuff. The best part is haggling with them. I bought a shirt that went from $60 to $20. Score.


HOLY JUICE!!! LOL


And a camel! Don't they always look like they are smiling at you?

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Ok, this post is way too long now so I won't write about the 3 other wonderful days I had there, but here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure.


Private HP rooftop cocktail reception. Fruit for dessert! No fattening American crap.


Poolside lunch. Different dips for my pita bread. Hummus bottom right was delicious! Bottom left crap had a furry texture and tasted like poop. Top right had a herb flavor and was alright. Top left was eggplant and garlic and I love anything eggplant.


Kosher McDonald's! That means no cheeseburgers...WTF?


I don't know?


Go-go girls! Strippers!


I think Obama and Lady Gaga are a little gender confused.


Fat Julie! Gross...never never never EVER

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Alright y'all. Thanks for reading! I will be visiting Amsterdam in October so more exciting stuff to come soon!



Shalom!


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9 comments:

Mariano said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Sonya Verny said...

Cute album =)

Amanda Mazzucca said...

Love it!

Keith Gunther said...

Great job, great pix! Like it!

Matt Guthan said...

great pics and story!

Bob Amadio said...

Great Pix! Wow Im sure you had a great time!

MaviDeniz said...

Loved this post, im originally from Tel Aviv, but grew up in the states. I would love to visit Israel again. It's so beautiful.

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