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.
Ennis, Letterfrack, and Hodson. Sounds like a legal firm you might hire to defend your son on a charge of animal abuse with a laser pointer. (“Really, Your Honor: Whiskers had a healthy relationship with that red dot for years. I can only assume it was his old age that led him to confuse it with the barbecue.”)
Free upgrades are one of life’s little rewards, cherished and remembered. First class. Room with a view. Bigger car.
Unless you’re in Ireland. If you’re renting a car in Ireland, a free upgrade can be a burden.
We got a free upgrade.
One fine Irish afternoon, sitting in a Kinsale pub, I asked the bartender if there are any local beers. “Oh, yes!” interrupted the fellow occupying the stool to my right. “Have a pint of Blacks,” he said. “I got properly pissed on it last night.” The bartender never had a chance to reply.