People speak of Petra as though it were Oz: the source of all amazement, the end of the rainbow, the most/least obscure/impressive man-made monument in the Middle East, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
On the way to the Dead Sea, Zohar warned us that the water was greasy because of the natural salts concentrated therein (magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc.). We should shower immediately after our dunk. Zohar, who seems a bit of a worry wart anyway, but has 39 grownups to herd, also advised that we not dive in, or swim, not to splash, to watch for the rocks underwater, and to never, never let the water into your eyes. Something dreadful would ensue. We were no longer sure that a dip was a good idea. We were nearly ready to pull the senior citizen card.
On a wall at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem is a bas relief portrait of Uziel Spiegel (pictured above), who died at age 2 in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. He is chubby, smiling, adorable.
Judy and I like history well enough, but we also like to sneak off the tour and have fun.
After our visit to the Christian Quarter, we spent a day in the Jewish Quarter. The sacred spot is the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall), built by King Herod in 20 BC, the only extant part of the Second Temple.
This entry in the Expat Almanac features a slightly different cast of characters: I am traveling in Israel with one of my college roommates, Judy Jewell, and 37 motley folks. We are on a tour in a bright purple bus that we can see from anywhere. We are in Israel, and on our way to Jordan.
We made a speedy exit from Dublin. It was Saturday, May 19th, and we needed to get to the Club House Hotel in Kilkenny in time for The Wedding. I had booked the hotel only after the front desk assured us that we could watch the festivities in their bar. Previous research had revealed that the wedding would not be on every single pub TV in Ireland, because, well, soccer.
Box 5 was always reserved for the Opera Ghost. If management dared to sell it to the public, dire consequences ensued. A stagehand murdered in a deep basement. An 8-ton chandelier falling on an innocent patron. A great soprano who suddenly can only croak. The Ghost had the Paris Opera in its clutches, a possible curse always at the ready.