Toronto Traffic

Toronto Traffic

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.

Other Messes

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.

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Living in Filth

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.

Toronto to Tel Aviv

Toronto to Tel Aviv

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 Flight

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…

  1. The seats are too narrow.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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?

Tel Aviv

We touched down in Tel Aviv and were on our way to pass through the passport checks and getting our luggage.

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On Our Way Out of the Airport
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Passing Through Passport Checks
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Passing Through Passport Checks

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.

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Worn out from the flight
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Jumpy – A good name for this van
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In the Van en Route to Jerusalem

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.

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Father Abraham

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.

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A Jewish Funeral Procession

Traffic was held up and Matt spotted this funeral procession.  He stopped so I could jump out and get this picture (above).

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Outside the Orson Hyde Gardens
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Matt and Becca Baker
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John and Linda Harmer
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Matt Baker Describing the Location


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.

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What Are They Looking At? (I can’t remember)

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.

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A Nice Burger with a Mid-Eastern Flavor
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Our Little Sidewalk Cafe
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The Jewish Market Area

It’s back to the hostel (the building with Abraham at the top) to get rested for a big day tomorrow.

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Our Hostel


Packing Up

Packing Up

I’m packing up for my trip to Israel.  I leave in the morning.  I fly from Rochester to Philadelphia, have a 9 hour layover, and then meet up with the McBrides and fly from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv.

I reduced and simplified what I was taking.  I felt a prompting last night that I should take less “technical” stuff and just take the bare minimum.  So, I repacked.

My alarm clock is set so I will get up and make it to the airport on time.  I’m a little anxious about traveling on standby alone, but something tells me it will all work out okay.  After all, I have 9 extra hours to get to Philadelphia.

My wallet is full too.  So, I removed credit cards I won’t need while I’m there, as well as things like my B.J.’s card and other cards that would be unnecessary while I’m there.

Elizabethe is all anxious.  I think she fears something will happen to me there.  That fear I blame on the media.  Israel is probably safer than the U.S.A.

Israel Day 0 – Getting There

My friend Matt called and said the flights from Rochester to Philly weren’t looking good and suggested we head to Syracuse instead.  I picked Matt up and started driving towards Syracuse.

About 1/2 way there (as he was looking at the flights on his iPhone), he said, we should head towards Binghamton.  The flights out of Binghamton were looking better.  (We are flying standby, and so we have to watch for available seats.)  Parking at Binghamton was nice and convenient.  It’s a small airport in the middle of nowhere.

We made it  on time and there were plenty of seats.  Matt introduced me to two co-workers:  Elizabethe Buttemiller and Kelly Babcock.

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The 4 of Us Ready to Go

We boarded our flight after grabbing a sandwich at Subway, and we were off to Philadelphia.

We arrived in Philadelphia where we met up with Doug and Diane Ellsworth.  Matt’s son is married to their daughter, and I know them from the temple.  They served a temple mission in Palmyra.  I also photographed one of their daughter’s weddings, so it was a nice reunion with some old friends.

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Matt Stowing His Bag

We got our flight to Tel Aviv, and the two sisters upgraded to First Class.  Matt and I got a row with 4 seats between the two of us.  It was nice to be able to spread out a little.

It was now time to get a little sleep before we land in Tel Aviv.