Just Got HOME! (Last Pictures from Israel)

I just arrived home after a long flight.   I was fortunate (read that with sarcasm) to sit in the same row as two very large men.   I was by the window and every time someone would walk down the aisle, or bring the cart down the aisle, the two gentleman would have to squish into the row which crushed me into the side of the airplane.   This happened the entire flight…  twice while I was asleep… knocking the wind out of me.  Luckily the flight was only 11 hours (read that again with sarcasm).   I didn’t think that things could get worse but the very large man in the middle seat fell asleep on me.   When he finally woke up the left side of me was soaking wet with his sweat.  (wow I probably shouldn’t complain…   I am sure it could have been a little bit worse… you know like the plane going down and killing us all)

I want to share my last day with all of you.   I had hoped to have at least half of a day open to go visit somewhere cool… or even just somewhere other than work and the hotel.  Unfortunately I had too much work… or maybe it was not enough time… either way I was not able to go site seeing.   (I am going to just share my last day… next time I will make sure I have enough time… maybe even visit Petra)

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Here was my last breakfast…   yep… desert for breakfast.   I am going to have to go on a serious diet to make up for all of the eating I have done this past week.  I tried supplementing my meals with a little bit of healthy options.  (Enough to take away the guilt… )   I fell in love with the pears in the picture below.  I have no idea what kind of pear they are but they are “mini” sized.   I was able to eat one of these and not ruin my appetite for the real food… you know cheese cakes, fruit tartes, Belgium waffles and of course halva.

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After my breakfast feast I went on my last morning walk.   Here are some picture from that walk.

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This fish was on the walk way… being guarded by a cat.   I pulled out my camera and the cat ran off and hid.  I have never seen a camera shy cat before… imagine… scared enough to leave behind this prize (still got his picture of it… see below)

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I didn’t have much time for this walk otherwise I would have sat on this toilet… pretending to go…you know… just to watch other people’s reactions.   (Next time I really need to plan to have more time for the important things like toilet pranks)

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In Israel Sunday is the beginning day for work and Thursday is Israel’s “Friday”.  In our office Thursday you can count on two large challah loafs on every floor.   I am going to have to find a recipe for this brioche like bread… (am still working on my halva recipe… looking for help if you know how to make halva… please leave a comment)

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When I visit other countries I love visiting the grocery stores.  It is always fun to see what is the same and what is different.  Plus it is free to visit unlike  a lot of monuments and museums… you just have to put yourself in a “zoo visiting” state of mind.    Especially when looking at the people.  People watching is fantastic at the store since people are most like themselves while shopping. (you know… seeing them in their natural habitat… just don’t try to feed them… ).  I love seeing everything written in Hebrew…   I am still struggling to learn Hebrew and my mind keeps changing the Hebrew characters into English ones.  I didn’t realize that the store’s logo was English and Hebrew.   I thought it read “stop!  Open”.   I noticed that the second word was not English on the last day.

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Speaking of Hebrew… “Shin” is the first letter I learned… and it’s sound is “sh”.  (This was also the first letter in a word I learned during a meeting שתוק“shutup”) I remember this letter because you see it alone everywhere.  Many of you know what you are looking at… but I had no clue until I asked.   This was on my hotel door and you will find these little tubes with this letter on many doors.  (Every door at my office has one).  I learned that these are called mezuzah and have a small prayer written inside.

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Not all of the stores have Hebrew words… like this store…   “Gentleman It’s a Man’s World”…. what a long name for a store.  When I entered I was glad I had a beard… you know proving my manliness.  I wonder if they let women shop there?

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And then there are places with no English… (other than a coke advertisement).   This is where I had lunch on my last day.   I went with co-workers and they wanted to eat hummus.   I thought I didn’t like hummus, since I had only eaten the hummus you buy in the store… plus in my ignorance I thought hummus was just a chip dip.   They offered to go somewhere else but I wanted to see how you could make a meal out of this adult baby food.

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I practiced the name of what I wanted… which meant everything… and ordered it here.  (picture above and darn it… I have already forgotten how to say the name).   Watching this gentleman prepare my dish was like watching an artist.  He painted on tahini and hummus, plopped in onions, parsley, and courser ground chickpeas (not quit hummus), and swirled in sauces and oils.  I caught him before he plunged the egg… not sure I wanted hard boiled egg mixed with all of that stuff.  He signed the work of art with red spices… not sure what kind of spice but I imagine paprika.

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Here is my lunch and I was not sure how I was going to eat this…   But it was fantastic.  I was completely wrong about hummus and it is definitely “meal worthy”.   I think I only got about half of the bowl eaten.   I mentioned not being able to do any site seeing but this lunch on its own was an interesting view of this regions culture.   I think we often forget that a meal can be an exotic vacation alone in itself… plus the food doesn’t mind when you stare or take pictures.

The day quickly ended and I had a plane to catch… but had three hours to waste and I spent it on the beach.

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I got to spend the last night on the beach with a sunset… so romantic… made me really miss Isabelle.  (I am not sure I should say it was romantic without her… don’t want her to get any ideas.)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

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20 thoughts on “Just Got HOME! (Last Pictures from Israel)”

  1. As always beautiful photos! I love your perspective on visiting a new place.
    Now you must tell me- what is different about the hummus? I love the smell of the grocery store stuff in the plastic packages but the gritty texture and what I swear is a background flavor of plastic turns me off.

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    1. The taste is not at all the same… nor the texture. The difference is as great as that of canned peas and fresh peas. (texture and taste). There is not a gritty texture… was surprised they added tahini but that also adds so much to the taste (tahini is like peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts).

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  2. I am so glad you are a real hummus convert! What you get in the store just isn’t hummus. I say it’s labeled incorrectly. I thought I didn’t like it either, until someone made me the real thing. So much more flavorful and delicious!

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  3. Yes, that’s how real hummus should look like – freshly made, warm and with all the additions. The packaged stuff is just not it, nor the versions made with canned chickpeas. Glad you had a chance to try it.

    As for Tahini Halva – it can be made at home, but it will not have the same texture as the ready made ones. The difference is that the commercial ones add a stabilizer called “Saponaria officinalis”, which as much as I know, is not available in the market, as it can be toxic and needs special handling.

    For a quick spread that will have a somewhat similar taste to Halva – mix equal amounts of raw Tahini paste with date syrup or honey, or sugar. So very delicious!

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  4. Oh, my gosh!!!! I’m sorry to be so heartless, but your account of your unfortunate flight made me laugh out loud!!! I’m smiling just thinking about it right now…and, if I allow myself to imagine your (poker/polite) face, I will be at risk of not being able to focus long enough to comment on the rest of your glorious post. It’s quite surprising that that cat would shy away from the camera at the expense of a gourmet meal (in the feline world)…perhaps he’s some kind of reclusive celebrity cat who can afford to live on the edge. 🙂 As for grocery stores, I’ve never been a fan (not sure why…well, I don’t like shopping, period) but you made it sound quite appealing (and amusing). Lastly, worthy of special mention was “adult baby food” and your description of your meal that was signed with spices…you made it sound so enchanting and mouth watering…I love your way with words–and the beautiful images you capture. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    1. I shouldn’t complain… the poor guy in the middle looked so uncomfortable… he really had a hard time fitting into his seat… and he had to fold his arms in front of himself… (kind of like when you stuff your self into a sweater that is too tight and your arms no longer are able to move)

      I like the idea of a celebrity cat… except that makes me paparazzi… wonder if some tabloid will give me lots of money for my pictures….

      thanks for reading my blog and making me feel like it was worth sharing!

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      1. You made me laugh again….and cringe…the too-tight sweater image makes me think of a cotton tunic that I almost had to cut off myself because it was too tight for me to cross my arms and pull it up over my head…hahahahahahah. I’d bought it on sale and loved it and was determined to wear it….stubborn. It’s still in my closet, waiting for the magical day when it strikes my fancy (I’m still holding a grudge and it’s colored how I see it…haha). As for you being paparazzi, if that pans out, hook me up with some photos of Matt Dillon (actor huge in the 80’s and still going strong today…I’ve had a celeb crush on him since I was 18) 🙂

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          1. I first saw him in “Tex”, then “The Outsiders”….then everything after that…is there an actor or actress you particularly like (I don’t mean have a crush on)?

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          2. The outsiders had a great cast… and was a great movie…. I have many actors/actresses that I like so I am struggling to pick, I have always liked Clair Danes (especially in “my so called life”)… Michael Keaton (favorite “my life”)…

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          3. I’ve heard of the show, “My So Called Life” but have never seen it. And, I did see “My Life” and bawled (no surprise there)…it’s a wonderful and moving movie…and Michael Keaton is admirable, as is Clair Danes.

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  5. ” I am sure it could have been a little bit worse… you know like the plane going down and killing us all)” ummmmm, what would be worse was the guy sweating on you for 12 hours instead of 11!

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  6. I ate some fabulous hummos served in a similar manner decades ago now in Syria – it was amazing. I hope the cat got to eat the fish. Your flight home is making my airport travails seem not quite so bad.

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    1. Hummus is delicious!… I hope you have a good flight home… (you never know who you will sit by…. but at least it won’t be too long). Frankfurt is not my favorite airport to hang out in…

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