Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
Trip End Mar 01, 2008

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

I had been looking forward to seeing the Rubins for many months, since we made the visiting plans at Kirsten's wedding, and it was particularly nice to be with a family after having traveled for about a month. Got to Haifa on a rainy night, and took the bus to the top of Mt. Carmel, where their apartment is. This old guy kept falling asleep on my shoulder on the bus. He was drunk. I kicked him a few times, but that didn't work.

Met Laurie at the international landmark: McDonalds. There apartment has an incredible view down onto Haifa and up the coast to Acre. It was a rainy night, and we stayined in for a delicious pesto dinner, followed by jelly donuts to celebrate Hanukkah. Had a great time telling the stories of my trip so far, and it was nice to have an interested audience (or at least nice enough to listen...I think I talked a lot).

The next day, Daniel was back too, so we all went to check out their apartment to see the renovation progress. After admiring the changes, we had lunch at a Druze village (a kind of insular religious community, I think). Also did a quick walk by the Bah'ai gardens that morning (19 terraces of impeccable gardens going down the slopes of Mt. Carmel). It was a great day, a lot of fun to relax and hang out with Miles, Laurie, and Daniel. Adam came up to Haifa that night, and Miles Adam and I braved the sporadically torrential rain for a walk along the beach. They pointed out another restaurant that had been bombed, a kind of reluctant acceptance of the reality of living here it seems. When you think about it statistically, it's not really any more dangerous than the threat of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a school or mall shooting in the states, but somehow it's more frightening. Chicken dinner was excellent, celebrating the convergence of Hanukkah, Shabbat, and Adam and Daniel being home.

Saturday had a lazy morning hanging out with everybody before we headed down the mountain to Wadi Nisnas, a festival/market celebrating the seasonal holidays of the 3 major religions in the area. The streets were hopping, and after passing through the ubiquitous bag check barricades, wandered around the colorful food stalls with decadent sweets, the craft booths, and the stages with dancers and musicians. It was fun to see everybody out in the post-rain freshness. We headed down to the water front for a milk/veggie lunch (because of Kosher laws, you get veggies/milk product places and separate places that serve meat) for a huge, Pluto's times 10 salad. Definitely hit the spot. By the time we finished, Adam and I had to get ready to head down to Tel Aviv on the first bus after sundown, marking the end of Shabbat.

Staying with Miles, Laurie, Daniel, and Adam was really special, and made me feel like I was home with family. It was strange to think how little time we had spent together before this visit. It seems like you know people that much better when familial intertwining is present, and it was nice how everything fell into place. They might come to Australia, so we may see each other soon.
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