Hello from Israel. We made it! Flight number two was very smooth, and full of other Christians coming on religious tours--there were two other groups in addition to ours, one of which was over a hundred! After several films and a mere ninety minutes of sleep, we landed. I made it! I'm here! THE DREAM IS COMING TRUE.
Also, I think we saw the Russian National Basketball team at the airport.
Passport control was the easiest experience of my life, except we Americans were slightly concerned that the visa slip we were given would only last until 2/5/2016--until I realized that it probably meant May 2 and not February 5, so that is alright.
I had assumed that the signs here would all be in Hebrew, but they are in a mix and there is usually something in English. See exhibit A, the vending machine.
Exhibit B, the water bottle.
Apparently almost everyone here accepts dollars, which goes completely against my plan of finding an ATM and spending Shekels. And I had been getting rid of all of my dollars ahead of this trip, too. Ah, well. Wish I had been told though.
I knew that the Bay Area, and really all of California, had a Mediterranean climate, and that is proving true. If I just randomly woke up here I would assume I was in a (non-drought) Bay Area. The temperature is quite mild, with a few high clouds, and the fauna is shades of brown and brownish-green. The sunset was a lovely red, peeking through the clouds--probably my favorite sunset of all time.
We went down one of the main toll roads in Israel, from the Tel-Aviv airport up to the Galilee area. The drivers here are you average overly aggressive sort, so I'm glad I am not driving. Apparently, this freeway used to be a main road that traders would travel on, called the Sea Road. When people decided to build a highway down the country, the builders realized that the traders had the right idea all along and built on the Sea Road.
Now we are in Galilee. It's absolutely pitch black outside, but apparently we have a nice view of the sea from our hotel room. And tomorrow I will go out on a boat! Yay. Tomorrow is going to be awesome sauce.
Food report: Just dinner and dessert so far.
We have, from the top and going clockwise, kebabs (presumably lamb), hummus (!!), schnitzel, green beans, a pickle, dolma and tzatziki, cucumbers and tahini, corn, fish, and turkey, with carrots in the middle.
The kebab was mostly like a meatball. The hummus was thicker than I expected and very creamy, but didn't taste too different from hummuses (hummi?) I've had from home. The schnitzel was essentially an extra crunchy Burger Kong chicken fry, which I is surprising because someone told me they were his favorite. The pickle was just like the sort you get in shawarma. The dolma was warm, which was weird, but really tasty. The cucumber and tahini was DELICIOUS. Omnomnom. The corn was Nicole crunchy. The fish was a little too fishy for me. The turkey was my favorite; it was a little like a mild curry and very juicy. The carrots were good too, but they were very excited carrots, with raisins and plums and pineapple.
Some red mousse, a poached pear, chocolate cake, an egg roll that I meant to get earlier but didn't, apples, and a strange white jelly.
The mousse wasn't super sweet but was really sense. The pear was perfectly poached; I could survive on those pears. The cake, like the mousse, was very dense. It was like someone took two pieces of cake and made it into one piece. The egg roll was play, but didn't seem to fit with everything else. I was hoping there would be something special about it, but no. The apples were in orange juice and a little soft.
Now, the white pudding. I have no idea what that jelly was. It tasted a teensy bit like rose water, but not enough to convince me. My table went around trying to guess what it was, and we asked one of the workers but they didn't know the ingredient name in English. Will we solve the mystery of the white jelly? Find out tomorrow!
Bedtime now. Zzzzzz.