I feel like I am recovering quickly from this upper respiratory infection. Yesterday’s stay home and rest day is paying off. All I did today was go to my networking meeting and I drove Elizabethe to her class at the library.
This is an irritating one, but I don’t want to end up with pneumonia like my friend Matt did. So, I’m taking it slow.
It’s a repeated discussion in our networking group why other business owners won’t join. I’ve heard excuses from, “It’s too early”, to “I’m too busy”. As to the latter, in one breath they say they are too busy, and in the other they complain about not getting any work. Aye, yi, yi. You can’t have it both ways.
The weather continues to be cold. We haven’t got any snow the last few days, but the temperatures are so low nothing is melting either. It’s just COLD.
I understand people in the southeast United States are getting colder than usual weather. Places that usually don’t get cold enough to snow are getting snow. Airports have closed and people are actually dying because of the cold.
Having grown up where it is cold it baffles my mind that people would let themselves get so cold they die. I can understand getting stranded in a storm and getting hypothermia because you weren’t prepared. It sounds like some emergency preparedness instruction is due.
Several people at church came and said, “Welcome home.” It’s not like I was gone that long, but it is nice to feel missed and appreciated. And, it is a big deal going to Israel for 10 days. Some of these people will never visit. I hope I can be their eyes (through my camera).
Right after Sacrament Meeting I was nabbed to play piano in Primary. It was fun. The kids were sure wound up, however.
It is cold today. It’s in the low teens. As a result, I came home from church and sought warmth.
My fingers, knees and toes are all cold. I don’t remember my knees getting cold like this before. It must have something to do with my baker’s cysts.
At dinner I gave the sisters a 10 Argot coin from Israel. I picked up several while I was there. Most of them are going to grandchildren.
100 Argots make 1 shekel. They don’t make 1 Argot coins. The smallest denomination is 10. They were worth about 3 cents at today’s exchange rate.
They are also about the same size as a 10 Shekel coin. However, a 10 Shekel coin is worth about $3. Unscrupulous shop owners may try to pass a 10 Argot off as a 10 Shekel coin.
I often welcome snow, but this dang snow is very COLD. It started off at 9″ and is now about 12″ (and has stopped for the day.) It took a while to clear the driveway because the snow would fall to the side of the blower and I’d have to go back for a second pass.
Someone posted a picture on Facebook complaining about the 18″ snow. They showed two things in the picture that were points of reference: 1) a small snow shovel with a blade about 8″ hight, and 2) the 4″ clapboard on their house. It was 12″, not 18″.
Snowstorms, like fish, are always bigger than reality.
I’m working on blog updates for days missed while I was traveling. It is a lot of work, but the feedback has been positive.
It is so cold in the studio that I can’t get things warm enough for my fingers to move quickly. Brrr… this cold snap is a strong one. However, I keep plodding (blogging) along.
I have not touched my winter projects yet. Of course, the year started with a 10 day trip overseas, and now I’m playing catch up.
One of my winter projects is a posing corner for my Phicen figures. Elizabethe gave me a hard time that I wasn’t this interested when she was doing Barbie stuff. Hmmm… I think part of it is Barbie is not realistic, and Barbie doesn’t pose well.
I ordered an older version that is hard plastic so Elizabethe can use it as a dress form. The silicone ones are too expensive and fragile.
Toronto traffic sucks. To save about $200 I decided to drive to Toronto and fly form there to Tel Aviv. Let’s see how that worked out…
drive there – 3+ hours (This was because it was New Year’s day and no commuters on the road.)
Parking for 10 days in Toronto – about $270
Drive home 6+ hours (I’ve since learned it has some of the worst traffic in the world.)
Will I do that again? Probably not. I might do like my friends the Harmers did. Fly to Toronto from Rochester and there to Tel Aviv. I would have come out ahead.
On the bright side, I made it home safely.
I also came home to a mess left by a tenant who simply vacated on his lease. I’ve never seen such filth in my life. It looks like I have to replace a microwave oven, carpet, mattress and box springs, as well as paying to have it professionally cleaned.
We live and learn. One lesson I’ve learned from this is if they are slow getting their initial deposit paid, you probably don’t want them for a tenant.
How do people live in such filth. (This photo doesn’t do it justice. That orange spot, center bottom is a bleach mark (and there are many) where he tried to clean the carpet with who-knows-what. The sad part is, why bother cleaning the carpet when you live in filth?
To Do List
I have a major to-do list for today. This is just one item. I will be updating and adding updates from my trip in the next few days.
It’s nice that we don’t have Toronto traffic in Rochester, because I have some errands to run.
Today we visit several sacred sites. We start with Capernaum, then where Jesus fed the 5,000. From there we go see a 1st Century boat (like what Peter might have owned), Mount Tabor (the Mount of Transfiguration), and end with some good shawarma.
But first, a good breakfast…
This is where Jesus begins calling his apostles. This small lakeside village was the place of many miracles.
After Capernaum we drove a little west to where Christ would have fed the 5,000 from two loaves and five fishes. It is also near here where the resurrected Christ came and told Peter to ‘Feed my sheep’.
John had a great idea. He brought some bread and pieces of fish. We partook and thought about that great miracle performed here over 2,000 years ago.
An Ancient Boat
We saw an ancient boat that dates back to Jesus’ time. We couldn’t photograph the boat, but here’s a model of what it would have looked like. All that remains today is a large portion of the hull. It is preserved in a climate controlled room, and thus, they don’t allow photography in that room.
This is a favorite of mine in the Holy Land. It is here that Peter, James and John went with Jesus. As Jesus prayed, they were witness to Elijah and Moses appearing and passing on sacred keys.
Something is funny about WordPress. If I add too many photos it crashes on me. So, here’s the Dead Sea II, as in Part II.
When I last left you we were at the Baptismal Site of Jesus. Well, here I am at the site.
John wanted to put his feet in the water. While I’m perfectly content to keep my feet dry, I have no problem photographing those who want to get wet.
Across the river is the Country of Jordan. Many visitors come to that side too. I found it interesting how two years ago, Google Maps would take you to either side. Now, it acts as though the Israli side doesn’t exist. Hmmm… I smell politics at Google.
We chatted with two IDF soldiers. They were friendly and nice. U.S. relations with Israel are at a peak right now.
Masada is our next destination. It is an amazing place to visit. It gives insight to Herod. Herod is the man who ordered all baby boys killed in an attempt to kill the Promised Messiah. Well, we know how that turned out, and we also know how things turned out at Masada.
I rode the tram to the top with Linda and Becca. In the pictures you can see a square below. That’s one of the Roman encampments.
In the above picture, there is a hairpin turn. Those two dark specs on the trail are John and Matt.
Now they are quite a bit closer.
How Low Can You Go
I love this spot. The lowest place on earth. It’s something to say you’ve been there, and you’d go back if you need to.
We watched the sun go down and it was a beautiful sunset.
When we got back to Jerusalem we found a shawarma shop. I decided to try falafel again. This time it wasn’t as bad as the first time. Becca convinced me when she said how much she loves the stuff.
Verdict – it was better this time, but not something I’m wild about.
The Dead Sea is our destination today. A good healthy breakfast is what’s required for a visit to Masada. (My heel is killing me. I’m hoping I’m not a slow-down for the group.)
The breakfast here is different for Americans. They eat salad for breakfast, however, salad to them is chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. They also have chocolate/hazelnut spread on bread, boiled eggs and apples or oranges.
Yes, that is a foosball table in the background.
The hostel in Jerusalem is pretty low budget. You rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher racks. Matt volunteered to do the dishes today. (Matt’s a great guy.)
The view from the hostel isn’t the most picturesque, but it tells a story. Below we load in to Jumpy for a trip down to the lowest place on earth – – the Dead Sea.
As you drive from Jerusalem you drop down to a valley. It is dry, desert land. Part way down the mountain is a sea level marker. It’s a good place to stop for a picture or two.
Each time I visit here I see Sushi the Camel and his owner. This is the guy’s full time business, and this is his location.
When we reached the bottom of the valley, guess what?
We saw an entire herd of camels!
I remember incorrectly. I thought the baptismal site was quite a ways from the main highway from Jerusalem going east. We drove to it first.
There are many improvements since I was here two years ago. The road is paved all the way. Before it was dirt. While there are signs warning about mines, there are fewer.
The water’s edge has been set up to accommodate tourist as well as people wanting to be baptized. I found it interesting so many people were baptizing themselves. They put on a white shift, entered the water, and dipped down.
I picked up Matt and Becca Baker at their home and the three of us drove to Toronto to catch our flight to Tel Aviv. Toronto to Tel Aviv is cheaper than JFK (New York City) to Tel Aviv. So, we’re doing it this way.
Whoa! When I got to the airport, long term parking is EXPENSIVE here. I’m beginning to wonder if it was such a good deal to fly from here. Oh, but we’re splitting the parking expense. It might workout okay.
Matt and Becca made it on the flight and we met up with John and Linda at the Toronto Airport. We’re all going to be on the same plane together.
The people at Air Canada are nice and friendly. The plane is a new Boeing 787, however, I am not impressed with the cabin. They took the cheap way out. I’m sure it is fun for the pilots and perhaps the crew, but here’s what isn’t good about Air Canada’s rendition of the 787…
The seats are too narrow.
The seats are too close together. (Delta probably has barely 12″. I think this had about 9″ between the front of the seat and the back of the seat in front of you. For a size 11 foot… that’s not enough.)
For a brand new model, the air quality still sucks. When will they figure out how to fix the smells and stuffiness on an airliner?
We touched down in Tel Aviv and were on our way to pass through the passport checks and getting our luggage.
We got our rental car in Tel Aviv and they discovered it had a leaky roof. So, we had to wait about an hour for them to find and clean a van for us.
The van is a Citroen Jumpy. It’s a fitting name for a van with a Jumpy clutch.
We arrived at the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, got checked in, and took some time to get settled. I’m in a 4-bed dorm room, and so far, it looks like only one other person is in it.
The dorm room was too small to photograph and not impressive, but above you can see the hallway. But, for the price… it isn’t bad. 5 nights for about $220 and that includes breakfast and earplugs. (Yes, they have free earplugs so you can blockout your roommates’ snoring.)
Our next stop is the Mount of Olives and the Orson Hyde Gardens. There we viewed the old city and then visited the Catholic’s version of Gethsemane. I say the Catholic’s version because we don’t know exactly where Christ suffered and bled, just that it was somewhere on the Mt. of Olives just outside the city walls.
Traffic was held up and Matt spotted this funeral procession. He stopped so I could jump out and get this picture (above).
Dinner on the first night at any new location is always difficult. Matt and I knew of places, but finding a place was another story since is getting late.
We discovered a market I didn’t know existed. (It’s rather cool!) We went looking around and found a shawarma shop that was closing, and so we kept looking. Finally we found a shawarma/burger place open.
It’s back to the hostel (the building with Abraham at the top) to get rested for a big day tomorrow.
It’s New Years Eve 2017 and I’m going to bed early. I’m doing this because tomorrow I leave for Israel first thing in the morning. I want to be well rested.
Being the 5th Sunday, the Priesthood and Relief Society meetings were about the new curriculum for adults. I see this as a step closer to a Zion Society. It’s an inspired and good move.
Matt, Becca, John and Linda are all excited about the trip. While I’d like to say nobody is excited as I am, it wouldn’t be true. We are all excited.
Elizabethe has been bugging me to make her curried chicken recipe. So, I made it… with my own twist. She told me this is what she’ll be living off while I’m in Israel. I told her I will be eating shawarma.
I get travel anxieties. I anguish over things like… what if they make me check my camera bag (I don’t like being without it when I travel). Or, what if the tell me I can’t take my beef jerky on the plane, etc. They are all based off previous experience. The problem is TSA is not consistent. (Personally, I think some of them confiscate stuff to keep it for themselves.)
That said, I have found travel from this area to be less stressful. Most of my bad experiences were at Oakland. Rochester is great… oh, but I’m not leaving from Rochester. I’m leaving from Toronto and I’ve never flown out of Toronto.
It is too cold for the heater. My little 1500W heater normally keeps my office quite warm. However, today, it just can’t put out enough heat to combat the 7 to 12 degree cold outside.
I have a portrait session at 2pm so I started the big heater in the studio early. It too was struggling to get things warmed up. This is a bad cold snap and I’ll be happy when temperatures get back to normal.
I don’t mind working in the cold as long as my toes and fingers are warm. However, I don’t want my clients to feel uncomfortable. It makes for a bad experience if you’re shivering or have goosebumps. It doesn’t make for a good portrait.
The session was fun. Matt and Becca put a lot in to their wardrobe and planning. Becca’s hair style was PERFECT, and Matt looked like a General Authority from the 1950s. I hope they had as much fun as I did.
Matt also bought a fedora to wear. Boy, when he put that on I thought I was looking at Harold B. Lee (without the glasses).
I looked at a lot of 1940-1950 pictures of movie stars (like Bogart and Bacall) to get ideas for the poses and lighting. This next one is one of my favorites…