|Tel Aviv Yafo|
Upon arrival, I expected to be questioned further, but I just had one question from the passport check, and then I was out. In about 20 minutes from setting foot outside of the aircraft I cleared passport control and got my luggage. I was there. In Israel. With American soldiers (there was a US Air Force aircraft on the tarmac).
|Security Check at Chain Gate, Jerusalem|
We rented a really nice place on AirBnB for our stay in Tel Aviv. As I was the first of the group, I acted as an explorer. From the train station I walked about 20 minutes to the place, found the key and let myself into my temporary home in Tel Aviv Yafo.
Some quick facts:
- There are a lot of kebab/falafel shops;
- Shopkeepers are mostly a tad gruff and unwelcoming;
- General population seems quite welcoming and friendly;
- There are a lot of tensions between Jews and Muslims, but that you already know.
In seven days we managed to see some of Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. During the two latter, we met Laura (Fucking Waller) the American on a pilgrimage to Israel. We took her along to the Dead Sea, and she also joined us in Tel Aviv for a couple of days. She's also a very fine lady. We also met Naima, a muslim girl from the UK who was doing a spiritual journey in Jerusalem. She only dared to go walking outside the hostel located next to a gate to the mosque for buying food. Otherwise she would either stay in or go to the mosque.
Police are guarding the entrances of both synagogues and mosques. As our hostel was in a dead end street (except for the gate to the mosque), the police would always tell us the mosque is closed when we got back from visiting something else. Until we managed to tell them we're going to the hostel.
|Floating in the Dead Sea|
The Dead Sea was a pretty intense experience. First of all, you drive out into the Negev desert which is really dry. The vegetation between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is Mediterranean and looks like Southern France. But there, it was yellow-brown dryness. We passed the sea level mark and went further down. The Dead Sea lies at 429m below sea level. We floated in the sea without effort. It was quite funny. Afterwards we also experienced the mud.