Finally in Israel!

Trip Start Sep 12, 2013
Trip End May 10, 2014

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

WELL, have you ever been taken into the back rooms of an airport, had all of your bags unpacked, and were forced to drop your pants for a full body search? Yep, that happened. Luckily, when he put on the rubber gloves, they were not for me. It started with a very violating search, and when he told me to drop my pants, I thought to myself, in my smart ass mind, “Care to buy me dinner first?”. I am sure that if I had said that, things would not have proceeded so smoothly. They unpacked everything and put it all through the X-ray machine, and informed me which items in my carry-on that had to now be packed into my check-in baggage. I was instructed to turn on my camera, computer, and even plug in my hard drive to show them that they all functioned properly. After repacking all of things, and charging me $100 for my guitar, an hour and a half had passed, and one of the security guards had to escort me to the plane in order to make the flight on time. Thankfully, with him by my side, it was like VIP access, and I made it through security, and to the gate in five minutes. Walking to the plane, I asked him if it was always this intense for foreigners, and he chuckled. He explained that it was because my story did not really add up, and what I was doing was not considered a common adventure, especially since I have no family in Israel and no real plans. He also informed me that due to purchasing my ticket two days ago, and arriving at the airport two hours before the flight instead of three hours, it was suspicious. He handed my laptop to the flight attendant to be stowed away, and I was seated way at the back; the scare was over! On the plane, I sat beside this lovely Peruvian woman who had been living in Israel for twenty three years. She encouraged my travels, and continuously told me that I had made the best decision ever. Her recommendations for Israel were very helpful in figuring out what to see, and she also warned me that I might be required to go through another extensive security check once I landed in Israel, yet thankfully, that was not the case. Since landing in Israel, everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. At local shops, they are always curious to learn where you are from and are willing to help you find what you are looking for. The city itself has a very warm vibe to it. Back in Budapest I had made a friend from Austria right before leaving, named Rinehart, who happened to be heading to the same destinations in Israel. Today, he and I went into town to explore, unfortunately, due to last nights festivities, we missed the free walking tour at ten (we will go tomorrow hopefully!). We walked along the boardwalk, and avoided the Old City as that will be covered in the tour tomorrow. I had some shawarma for breakfast, and it proved to be the best shawarma I have ever eaten. The owner was very friendly, and we talked about his family in Canada. Our conversation seemed to motivate him to put even more work into my shawarma, and it was overflowing with meat. We walked all the way to the Carmel Market, which was interesting. It was neat to see the differences between Hungarian markets and the ones situated in the heart of Tel Aviv. Shop owners yelled, almost like a chant, to attract attention and notify everyone about prices. There were also other shop owners yelling across the crowds, having casual conversations. I failed to bargain for the price on a pair of sunglasses. The market began at one end with random things like sunglasses, wallets, watches, shirts, paintings, the average contents of a flea market. Then there reached a halfway point where it switched over to fresh foods. We tried some fresh baklava, and just enjoyed the whole aspect of the market. Once again, I am afraid that I have not taken enough time in Tel Aviv! At this moment, I am trying to work out the best route to see as much as I can. Two weeks might be a good amount of time, but it tends to fly by without even noticing. I already love Israel, and feel very comfortable making my way around the city.  
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Dad on

Tel Aviv looks really nice. Sex, drugs and olive oil!

Nana & Pop on

You certainly had an interesting search at the Tel Aviv airport. Being Christmas Eve, we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas. We will miss you, but you will be in Bethlehem on Christmas, what better place that that could you be at this time of year. Cheers
Love you lots.

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