Back from the Holy land, Israel (re-titled and revised)

If you can bypass everything, the security hassles, the rudeness, and the politcs and do the sight seeing, you’ll enjoy Israel.

There’s a lot of history and things to see in the small country.

I said I want adventure and I got adventure, alright.

My plane departed Israel on Sunday (April 5th) morning at 5am to Frankfurt, Germany where I had a connecting flight to Toronto. Since I had to be at the airport at 3am I didn’t get an ounce of sleep until I got home yesterday afternoon. There are direct flights to and from Israel, but I cut my vacation short and left Israel sooner than planned, I took any flight back home. I would highly recommend first class or business class if flying for a long period of time, it’s worth the investment because economy class sucked big time as you end up with a flat ass and leg cramps.

It was a full flight from Germany to Toronto, 300 passengers. Frankfurt airport is outdated and old. I’m not too crazy about Air Canada. I took Lufthansa Airlines from Israel to Frankfurt, a very good airline with better food , however prisoners get better food than what’s served on Air Canada, you can literally use the bread roll as a weapon, it’s so hard. But both were on time. The flight attendants on Air Canada appeared burnt out and tired. On the direct flight to Israel, a flight attendant actually took the last row at the back,, laid down and took a nap.

Israel is one of those countries that you would need to only visit once. There’s no need to revisit after you have seen it all, it’s definitely not a place to relax. And being street smart would work in your favor and save you from being eaten alive.

Even though it’s the norm for the Israeli people to go through annoying security checks everywhere including malls, stores, highways and everything in between (search of bags etc), it’s a hassle, annoying and a huge inconvenience for someone such as myself who is not used to it. And if you’re a foreign single male traveling alone by train in Israel like I did, be prepared to be questioned on why, where and to show your passport as they’re prejudice towards foreign single males traveling alone.

Have you heard of a Gay Canadian Terrorist?  I should of been feminine. HELLO!

If you don’t speak Hebrew, you’re given attitude. And only 4 out of 10 people speak English. Taxi drivers and hotel staff take advantage of tourists, little did they know I understand Hebrew and too smart and quick.

For the most part, I wasn’t enjoying myself,  only the sight-seeing. I was staying at my aunt’s until a few days before I left. It turned sour and no other details will be revealed. Another one bites the dust!

I saw majority of what I had to see,  from the most southern tip of Israel, Eliat, the top of the mountain of Masada where King Harold resided in 37 BCE, (they made a movie of this place), stopped in one of the oldest cities in the world Jerusalem,  passed by  the middle of the country in Haifa,had a picnic at the lowest place on earth the Dead Sea, climbed mountains and drank water directly fromt he falls in Ein Gedi, and took the train and bus to  the most northern part of Israel, (I promised my mother I would visit her birthplace), way up in the mountains in Zefat.

I love adventure, and this trip was just that.

On the way back from Eliat we got stranded in the desert for 3 hours enroute back from Eliat (a 5 hour drive from Tel Aviv) because of my aunt’s friend 1950’s car broke down (well, it looked that old) and almost gagged from gas fume inhalation. If I were to get paid for every “I told you so”, I would be a millionaire. But nonetheless, it was breathtaking to be stranded on the top of the mountains in the middle of the desert, pitch dark with the deep blue sky. It was just amazing. How often can I do that in Toronto? Never.  The only thing we have not even close to that is never-ending flat land and cattle up north.

 

A few other details about Israel; Israeli’s are mostly fit as I rarely saw overweight people in Tel Aviv, most people there walk and I would assume that %80 of the population smoke cigarette’s. For the most part, Israeli’s are rude. There is no such thing as “excuse me”, holding the door, moving out of the way or anything in the polite category. Another tourist who I conversed with at the hotel concurred with that finding.

Leaving Israel was not fun. The security at the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel is nothing like I’ve seen before. When you arrive at the entrance at the airport you are greeted by the army, who make sure you’re not an Arab or look like a terrorist. At the airport at checkin someone approaches you and asks lots of questions, and it was irritating. (I have an Israeli and Canadian passport. I was advised to get an Israeli one to avoid hassle, obviously that didn’t help. I didn’t want to obtain one because I am 100% Canadian, born and raised and that’s the bottom line and just because my mother is from Israel, it doesn’t make me an Israeli, I don’t care what “they” say, the Israeli passport is useless.) Then after the short interview with the idiot (she kept talking to me in Hebrew when I clearly told her I didn’t understand it fully, she was fluent in English), then they put your luggage through an X-Ray machine, but something looked suspicious in my luggage so I had to go through another security zone, so they looked at the on screen image and couldn’t figure out exactly why I was stopped, in conversation between them two they said “Why did they send him here, there’s nothing in his luggage that’s suspicious”.  GO after the real enemies, not some Canadian.

If you’re planning of going to Israel, all you need is one week. Anything more would be a waste of time and money. And don’t travel alone if you’re a male, they’ll assume you’re a terrorist. God forbid you travel alone which I did for the latter part of my trip.

Don’t feed into their scams, the hotel charged me taxes when they’re weren’t supposed to if you have a foreign passport as per Israeli law. Don’t pay a flat rate to the airport (or as he described it “midnight fare”), you’ll be paying 30 or more shekels. When I told him I am not paying a flat rate he later called dispatch and was complained to them that I wanted the meter on (little did the dummy know, I understood what they were saying in Hebrew), I refused to pay the flat rate because I caught on what they were doing. The hotel offers to get the taxi for you, the taxi driver comes in and leaves them 20 or so shekels for giving him business, and the driver in turn tells you it’s 150 shekels to the airport. Which is about $55 or so CAD. He makes an additional 30 or more shekels on this scheme, but not with me.

On several occasions when taking a cab, they acted as if they didn’t know where they were going until I told them to stop the meter until they did or else I take another cab.

Everywhere you go, you’ll see soldiers with big guns strapped around their body, this is how they show their patriotism. It was an interesting sight to see for someone such as myself. It’s not a liveable country. In Israel everyone lives on the edge, on the look out, suspicious of anything and everything and that’s why I wasn’t enjoying myself. I was homesick the 5th day I got there. I’ve traveled to a lot of places in my lifetime and this was the only time I felt homesick.

But overall, if you enjoy sightseeing and history, Israel has a lot to offer. That was the most enjoyable part of the trip. So if you’re planning of going, spend little time in the city and do a lot of sightseeing especially the biblical and historic places.

The more I travel and come back home to Toronto, the more I appreciate things and realize what we take for granted.

 A couple things I regret not doing, bring back the Dead Sea water in a bottle,  pictures of being stranded in the desert and not sleeping around with an Arab..lol..oh if you just knew all the eye candy I had. Everywhere.

Who knew Arabs can be that hot?