Sunday, August 30, 2009

Traveling up North

Been traveling around since I finished working on the farm. Nothing crazy or exciting, just having a really good time. and I put up some more pictures (link is in a previous post).

I went to Nahariya with the other girl that was working on the farm. There we stayed with a girl from couchsurfing and her parents, and like most CSers they were very nice. Nahariya is pretty small so we went to Rosh Hanikra to see some really cool caves and to the old city in Akko which had many things to see and really good hummus. We also got some hummus in a small town after seeing the caves in Rosh Hanikra. Hummus mmmm if only you knew how good it is. And one night in Nahariya there was a free concert. The music wasn't great, but there was some very good people watching there.

From there we went really north to a kibbutz called Kfar Blum. We stayed with a girl, Ayla, that I had met about a month ago when I was hitchhiking. She had given me and another girl a ride and her phone number in case we'd be back up north. It was a nice little kibbutz, and in her backyard was the Jordan River, not bad eh? So we went hiking/being carried by the current down the river. The first day doing it we found some tubes which helped us along. The second time I went by myself and there were no tubes. But both times I had a machete to cut any crap that might be in the way (ok so the first day I didn't really need it, but it's pretty going down the river with a machete. but when I went back it ended up being really useful). Also, at some point there's a hammack hanging in one of the trees that sorta grew across the river instead of up. So we chilled in that for a while. Ayla also took me to a few other kibbutzim that were nearby, each one has its own special little place. One night there was a really good show at a pub by a group called J Viewz.

Next was Haifa. Stayed with a family friend, went into the city a couple of nights with them and also went hiking on my last day there. The hiking was awesome, it's really cool how you have the city then a few miles away quite a few good trails going through the mountains and then not too long in the car and you can be in the desert. ooh and the beach is closeby too.

Just 3 more weeks and I leave Israel and onto adventures in other places

Friday, August 21, 2009

The farm on the Moshav...

So it's been interesting on the farm that I worked on this past week, but I left yesterday because it was enough at this place for me. I got to the farm through WWOOF, a website where you can work on an organic farm in many countries in exchange for a place to sleep and food, etc...

The place I worked at was on a small moshav in the northern negev (desert) right next to Gaza. One lady lives there and runs the place and occasionally has volunteers coming to work. She is trying to make the farm self-sustainable and economically friendly. Another volunteer and I slept outside in a tent (not really a tent, but almost). We showered in an outdoor shower where we would fill up a bucket with water and shower by pouring the water on us (saves even more water then a 'green' showerhead) and went to the bathroom in a transportable composting toilet. Everytime the hole for the toilet fills up she moves it to another spot and grows a tree in the previous one. There was also a solar oven that could be improved, but it was enough to get food or drinks pretty hot. Also, everything in her house gets reused. For example, all of the water coming out of her kitchen sink fell into a big compost pile/tree/garden along with all the vegetable and fruit peels. The water from the washer goes to water a tree... you get the idea, anything that can be reused is reused.

During the week we spent some time weeding the field. There were tons of weeds, I don't think anyone had worked the field for a looonng time. We also made a water catch system so that she can collect the water from the roof when it rains. Pretty much we attached some piping to the gutter and through a filter it falls into a barrel so that it can be used to water the plants when there's no rain. Israel has a problem of not having enough water. And we converted a spot in front of her house from a big pile of weeds into a good-looking and fertile raised garden bed so she can grow some more vegetables. One of the days we also helped another older lady in the moshav with some work that she wasn't able to do herself.

A lot of what we ate during the week was from her yard. Herbs for tea and vegetables and fruit for eating. There was a Passion Fruit vine growing on her house so everyday I was able to eat lots of passion fruit... mmmm it was sooo good. Also, I learned quite a bit about permaculture and plants and lots of other stuff. But for certain reasons I didn't want to stay there any longer. So, in a couple of days I'm going to go travel in the north again, hopefully couchsurfing in small places in the middle of nowhere where it's really nice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I've posted many pics. Israel Pics and Pics from Egypt and Jordan.

The past week's been good. I've been to Ein Gedi Reserve, where we hiked around a bit, went swimming in the small pools being fed by waterfalls and saw some animals. Afterwards we went floating in the Dead Sea.... very cool feeling and relaxing also. But careful because any cuts you have will burrnnn, actually it's not that bad.

Also went to a few other places. One night we went to an Irish pub and had a couple Leffe Browns, mmmm it was good. It's funny how all over the world, Irish pubs are almost the same. Not that it's a bad thing, Irish pubs are always good fun! And another cool thing was in Abu Gosh we went to see a church but while we were waiting, so were a bunch of soldiers. But they were waiting to have a tour with one of the monks and they took us in with them. The monk seemed like a really nice and funny guy but I didn't understand most of what he said because it was in Hebrew.

I was supposed to start work yesterday on a farm in the south, but it's been delayed so I'll start Sunday. And a couple more things, the falafel and the schwarma are amazing here. Also have you ever had freshly made hummus? wow... it's insanely delicious. I haven't cooked for so long but I could go for something really spicy. Most food here isn't spicy, I guess Israelis can't handle it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Petra, Amman, and back to Israel

Hello again.

Much has happened since the last post. We spent another day in Dahab just relaxing on the beach, in the house, and hanging out with Maya's camels (they have 2 camels). The next morning it was time to cross to Jordan by ferry. What I originally thought would be just a few hours took the entire day. In short, all of the tourists were lied to so that we could pay more money for the 'fast ferry' and we waited many many hours until actually getting on the ferry and crossing over to Aqaba, Jordan. The 'slow ferry' would have got us there much earlier I think. But it wasn't that bad because we met many other travelers that were waiting with us and it's always fun exchanging stories with other people.

We took a taxi with a spanish couple from Aqaba to Wadi Musa (next to Petra) where we then got a taxi to our host's house. Our host here, also from couchsurfing, was a 20 year old girl named Ameera who was part of a bedoin family (name: Abushadi). We were nicely welcomed in their home with some bedoin tea and some really good food and just talked to the dad for a while.

So, 20 some years ago, all the bedoins in Petra actually used to live in the caves in Petra, born and raised there and working with tourists. But then the government kicked most of them out of the caves and built all of them small homes on the top of a hill in a place now known as Bedoin Village, this is where we were staying. The homes were no longer small. Our host dad said that most of the bedoins knocked down the homes and built bigger and nicer ones. This would explain the huuge house that we were staying in with flatscreen TVs and a nice car (not what you would expect when you hear 'Bedoin'). Either way, our host was born in a cave along with many others here... pretty sweeet

The next morning the dad took us to the entrance to Petra to get tickets. It seems like he knew everyone here because everyone he walked by shook his hand and ssaid something then Abushadi. We got the tickets and I realized I need a hat. I went to buy one from one of those people that sell all kinds of tourists stuff on the street but the guy gave me the hat for free and said 'no price for you, Abushadi good friend of mine'. I thanked him a few times and we went in the park.
It's tough to describe Petra but it is amazing! Walking through Petra, we went in many of the caves and other places made by the Nabatean people many years ago. I could spend weeks just hiking around this place. There's the normal walkthrough through the site but there are also many other paths to take and places to see than just that. In one place, Aushrine bought some jewelry from a bedoin. By the time she was done choosing, one of the bedoins invited us to sit and have some tea. We hung out while they got some water, started a small fire and made the tea. Afterwards 2 of the guys, Sammy and Promise (who still live in the caves), started to take us to a nice place where there was some fresh springwater and small stream and not one other person around. They made some more tea, found a bushel of grapes and we hung out and walked a little around the mountain. It was getting late so we started to head back to Bedoin Village. As soon as we got to Bedoin Village, a million people seemed excited to see us (probably because tourists are usually never there just walking around) and sat us down to have some tea. I think that these Bedoins really love their tea. After a cup we went back to the house and ate and relaxed a bit. Later we went to the bedoin wedding. They celebrate for 3 nights when someone gets married. All the guys are together dancing, drinking tea, and on the 3rd night eating. The women are separate and from what Aushrine told me, they just sit and don't do much. But the guys are all having lots of fun. I danced for a bit, or at least tried to. But what a day... walking through Petra, chillin' with some cavemen and then going to a bedoin wedding.

The next day we also went into Petra to see more places and at night went to the last night of celebration for the wedding where everyone eats. There were many tables with all the guys sitting around them and they brought out plates the size of each table. Each plate had a goat head in the middle, with the meat, rice and some other stuff around it. Everyone around the table ate with their hands and then the leftovers went to the women and children.. I was lucky to be a guy.

We spent 2 days in Amman with a really cool host, KK, from couchsurfing. It's a big city with a few cool things to see. The second night we hung out with my friend that was living there. I met her at Drexel because she studied english for a couple months there. It was fun, she drove us to some different places and we met some of her family and friends.

After Amman, time to go back to Israel. Between the Jordanian and Israeli sides in the border crossing and then getting back to where we were staying in Israel, it was another entire day event. The israelis are strict with letting people in. It makes sense, they have to be careful with safety and whatever other reasons they have to not let people through. But I recommend having a line for Israeli citizens because then I could've saved many hours.

Now back in Israel, I've spent a day in Tel Aviv where I met up with a friend from freshmen year and I started to plan some future travels. I found a cheap ticket from London to Milan so will be stopping there on my way back to the states. Also realized that I have no empty pages on my passport so I went to the US embassy to have more pages added. I'll travel for the next few days and then going to spend one or two weeks working on a farm through WWOOF. Also there's many pictures waiting to be uploaded but I'll do it when I have some more time.