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Israel Is Surreal

Floating In The Dead Sea

Flying to Israel. On American ice leaked out of the air vent holes above my seat.  Had to shlep a lot to get to the Israeli terminal. Then the security interrogation.  I passed. Then dinner: Oye, somebody ordered the stinky fish. You could smell it throughout the whole plane. It took them a half an hour to remove my tray. And there was very little water so I choked a bit. I called the attendant and no one showed up even after ringing the buzzer 3 times.   Watched an independent Israeli movie about “Noise”.  Great idea as he confronts the noisy neighbors all around him.  Beautiful blonde hairdresser lays down next to me.

This 15 hr flight takes forever!   Said my prayers away from the rabbis.

Finally rough landed in Tel Aviv and said goodbye to her since she lives near Galilee and I was headed on a plane to Eilat.  But I didn’t and didn’t realize what it took to get there.  I picked up my bags and asked information for the way to Eilat.  They said that I had to go to another airport and take a taxi there. I did that and got a bad impression that Tel Aviv was run down. The cab ride ended up at this really funky little airport that resembled a bus station.  There was a reason for that because you had to take a bus to the plane.  The airline was called Israir.  It was a nice little plane, seemed organized.  Had saxophone music constantly playing until take off. I wanted to fly before dark but that didn’t seem likely. It was one of those planes where you have to walk  some rickety steps to get on.  After the smoothest take off, we were in the air over the intricate lights of Eilat at night. The were unique, like some kind of  necklace.  A young brunette girl in her 20’s slept next to me the whole time but didn’t pay much attention to me. We landed, smooth as a baby’s tochass and I was told taxis are the way to get around here. So I caught one easily. I told the driver the name of my hotel and he drove me there, but when I entered the building, it looked like they were still working on it and a man told me it was closed! Don’t tell me that I had flown half way around the world to stay at a closed hotel! He immediately corrected himself and said I was to stay at the hotel across the street called the Astral Palma for the night.        Dreamed I had a massive erection a couple of times after masturbating. Due to my rupture or prostate or something else. Forgot what. Felt better that I have in a while. Nice blue lit hotel. Fancy chocolates. In the morning, they told me that I had to check out because I was part of the tour so I had to stay at the hotel that I originally arrived at called  the Astral Village hotel  and now it was ready. Frustrated, I wheeled my bags over there and put them in my new room, which I have to admit, wasn’t as nice.  It looked old and I found out after a while it didn’t have any WiFi. That’s a huge bummer for me.  You had to go to the lobby to connect. The pool I passed on the way to the room was beautiful, but few people swam in it because it was winter.

After a brief rest, I went to the group welcome, which was in the hotel lobby.  I met the leader of our group, Tamar, who was an Israeli ginger woman who hugged me right away. It felt nice. Then were on our own for a while.   Pretty soon it was dinner time and I found out the group had grown from 5 people to 30 people.  I got my food which was a delicious buffet. The chicken and potato kinish were the best items, along with the halavah.  I struggled to find a way to sit down and was welcomed. However, I realized that not many people liked to speak English as most of them were speaking Hebrew. Oh sure, they asked me where I was from and why I was here, in English but beyond that they were all content to speak Hebrew and leave me mostly out of the conversation. I ate my dinner with a wall of Hebrew words between us. When you travel to a foreign country, you must accept this. People here in America say that people speak English all around the world, but mostly to help you. Not to really socialize with you. So they won’t explain what they are laughing about or upset about.  Anyway the food was good, so I said goodbye to them and retired to my room and TV.  I woke up and talked to a few guys who spoke English from Tel Aviv.  He asked me why I was here and I told him my parents lived here now, which they do.  And he asked me if I had children.  I told him I didn’t. And he asked me if I thought that something was missing from my life because I don’t, I told him that I do in some ways, but in other ways I don’t. Because I have less responsibility, peace and quiet and time to do my writing like this. He asked me why I didn’t have any kids and I told him that I didn’t meet my girlfriend till I was older. He said he didn’t believe me and that he thought I was handsome. I thought at that point that he was gay. And started to decide not to get too close, just in case he was hitting on me.  But he was already traveling with another guy so I figured I was not for him.   When I told everyone that I was from San Diego, they all got excited and one woman said she always wanted to go there.  She was not bad looking, but kinda portly.

She complained that she hated it here, and the only thing good about living in Israel was the healthcare.  It was the opposite of the United States in that respect.  Next morning, I woke up and went down to breakfast and saw about the same faces.  I tried to sit next to her and talk to her, but she was talking to her more attractive sister in Hebrew so I really couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Remember overseas, anyone who speaks English or your language immediately becomes your best friend.

I ended up eating some spicy thing by accident that gave me a terribly, painful  hemorrhoid which felt like razor blades up my ass. If you’ve never had one, it is the worst. I purposely left my hemorrhoid cream at home so it wouldn’t explode on the plane and now I was paying the price for it. Ouch!   So, I went to the local store to find a replacement product.  I asked the store clerk for preparation H.  And they  looked at me like I was crazy.  They didn’t know what it was.  So I tried to explain it to the clerk and they said they didn’t have any.  So I went down the aisles to check for myself.  The only thing I could find was some dead sea butt wipes for babies . I took them to the counter and a woman that worked there, told me that she gets hemorrhoids too sometimes and she can’t even walk then.  She said when she had that, she took a garlic clove and inserted it into her rectum overnight and she never had that  problem again.  While she was telling me this story, she lead me to the garlic in the produce aisle.

I told her I didn’t think this was for me and left with the Dead Sea butt wipes instead.  However, I was very curious to see what people said about this online.

I checked WebMD and other sources and it actually is a thing.  Some people have been healed this way. Don’t think I’ll try it though. Unfortunately,salt in the Dead Sea is bad for it too.

One guy online said he had a hemorrhoid and went in the water and it burned his butt for 4 days. No Thanks! I’m passing that up.

The next day we all walked to the yacht we were scheduled to sail on in Eilat.  Here are some pictures of it. My camera died so I can’t show it to you, but many people were dancing on the boat. Here’s the non-dancing photos.

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Look How Blue the Red Sea Is!

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Some people on the boat decided to float.

The boat offered a waterslide into the deep blue, if you  dare.

Coming back up to slide in again!

Our Yacht Captain

Our Tour Guide Borrowed a Baby From One of the Water Sliders.

When we pulled back into the harbor, here’s a great fish sculpture I saw there.

(To Be Continued)

On the way back to our hotel, I walked around Eilat’s carnival amusements on the water to the Queen of Sheba hotel.

Here’s a great window view of the hotel.

Here’s the hotel’s incredibly beautiful dome ceiling.

After a great TV nap, where I learned that Trump was unamericanly banning Muslims, I woke up and decided to go out to a nightclub but it wasn’t open when I got there.  Nightclubs only open at 11:30 pm and not before. I went to an open restaurant next door and when I told them I was from San Diego, they said the beer I ordered was on the house.

The next day, I decided to go to the undersea park called ” Coral World.”

Here’s an octopus from there.

(To Be Continued)

I chased this fish all over the aquarium to get this shot.

Here’s a happy couple.

The kelp forest.

Clownfish swimming in the sunlight.

The view from the wharf.

I climbed the 90 stairs all the way from the bottom of the Red Sea which contains another aquarium,  ate at the restaurant, which has a perfect ocean view through the windows, all the way to the top of tower with a 360 view. Beautiful!

Sharks & other creatures in the tower aquarium.

From there, I decided to save money and take a bus back to the hotel which was about 1/4 price of a taxi. The bus arrives quickly. Israeli buses, called Egged buses, are somewhat luxurious. Seats are comfortable and you can plug-in your phone into the ceiling to charge it. Free Wi-Fi is also available. I got back to the hotel pretty fast and was encouraged to take the bus again by the leader of our group, instead of an expensive guided tour.

The next day, most of my fellow travelers were scheduled to leave the hotel for other parts of Israel and so was I felt some fear while waiting for a bus with all of my luggage to take me to the Dead Sea, but again it arrived quickly. It even has a baggage compartment underneath.  I got on the bus and was nervous about not finding a hotel room right away.The tour was over and I was on the open road, experiencing the unexpected, just as I planned for this part of the journey. I found a hotel online, which was actually a little cottage. There are fancy Vegas style hotels on the Dead Sea, but they were pretty expensive.  So I booked one of these Zimmer Dora cottages in Neve Zohar, which is down the hill from Ein Bokek, the fancy shmancy resort area.

Here’s the Ein Bokek Dead Sea Beach area where you must pay a few shekels just to lay down on the lounge chairs. & you can’t even enter the Leonardo Club hotel without a reservation.Here’s some of the fancy resorts there.

Here’s the Dead Sea near Neve Zohar, close to where I stayed.It’s a little industrial for a vacation.

This is a mineral separation plant along the way to the Dead Sea.

Here I am before I put Dead Sea mud on me.

Here I am with a few friends after. (Just Kidding!)

Here’s some more pictures on the road to the Dead Sea.

Here’s a few Israeli soldiers at the bus station. 20170123_164622

There are lots of beautiful Farrell cats all around Israel and in other countries in the middle east.  I have seen two movies about how these unwanted cats are only cared for by a few people and most of them go hungry or get sick.  Some even die. They need to be appreciated because  they have gotten rid of the mice, but they also need to be spayed & neutered.

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the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Here’s an Orthodox Temple in the Old City.

Statue of King David

King David’s Tomb

Selfie in Jerusalem.

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Southern Fried Judaism

Yarmulke Anyone?

Here’s the gateway to the women’s section of the Western Wall.

Roman Columns In The Old City

Old City Cobblestone Streets

Jewish People Praying @ The Western Wall

A Bridge Leading To The Western Wall

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A Cave Restaurant @The Western Wall in Jerusalem

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The Old City of Jerusalem

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It’s not always about you honey!

I wanted to show a view of the beautiful forest from the bus I was on.  This woman hid her face because she thought I was taking her picture

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Here’s another view of the forest between Jerusalem, on the way to Beit Shemmesh, my parents town.  Too bad the bus didn’t make a rest stop there.

A funny thing happened when I got to Beit Shemmesh. My parents said they would pick me up from the bus stop, but when I arrived, they weren’t there.  Even though I bought the international phone service, I found out you couldn’t call anywhere in Israel with it.

So we had to resort to emailing each other back and forth. I emailed them but was tired from traveling when a taxi drove by and I decided to take it. The cab driver knew exactly where my parents lived and it felt like a miracle when I arrived  and saw my parents names on the door.  I was finally here! I knocked and rang the doorbell but no one was home.  I felt frustrated from dragging my bags all across the country, when an orthodox Jewish guy appeared and I asked him if he knew my parents. It turned out he was the landlord who lived upstairs. He was neighborly enough to invite me up to his apartment and served me a snack and a glass of water. He spoke perfect English and told me he moved here from Florida.  Suddenly, he realized that he had the key to my parents apartment so we went downstairs and he let me in. Once inside, I called my sister to let her know I was here. My parents don’t have cellphones. So she couldn’t call them. They were kind of shocked to know I was already there, but their place was kinda messy because a shipment of their stuff they expected just arrived a day before I did. And the

apartment didn’t come with closets. I offered to help them clean up, but they refused.

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Oh well, at least we were all together again and had a nice Shabbos with my sister’s grandchildren. My Mom  and Dad in their 80’s just miraculously move here a few months ago after I sold their condo in Oceanside for them.

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Here’s my cute grand-niece and grand-nephew on Shabbos In Beit Shmmesh.

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Here’s a sculpture of an upside down monkey on the beach in Tel Aviv around the corner from my hotel.

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Here’s a school that teaches tolerance between Jews and Palestinians that was featured on my free tour of Tel Aviv.

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Armando’s Restaurant across the street on the beach, in Tel Aviv.

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Armando’s has delicious food! Here’s the rest of my chicken kabob after I ate all the chicken out of it. Reasonable prices too! Look at all the sauces it comes with.

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Beautiful Tel Aviv winter beach scene.

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Winter beach solitude.

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Tel Aviv beach sunset from Armando’s.

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Tel Aviv street scene

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A Tel Aviv cistern.

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Tel Aviv beach and city

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Tel Aviv beach head on my free tour

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Beach Minaret

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Nice!

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My free Tel Aviv English tour guide. You can tip her if you liked the tour.

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Famous Tel Aviv graffiti

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A beautiful Yemeni costume from a poster in the Tel Aviv art section

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Ethereal Tel Aviv abstract art.

After this tour, I went back to the Hotel Le Mer, where I was staying near the coast. It was my last day in Israel at this drafty, overpriced place and construction went on all day, preparing for the summer tourist season. I overpaid by one day and they refused a refund.  I wouldn’t use Booking.com again because they referred me here. But I did get a free breakfast and tour from my stay.  I packed and realized that my airline ticket wouldn’t be valid unless I flew back to Eilat then came back to Tel Aviv to fly to LA and home to San Diego. Otherwise it will cost hundreds more. So I found a great cheap flight on Kiwi.com and took a bus to the airport. The line was so long. It took two hours. I went through security one day  before Trump tried to enact his 1st travel ban. The line took two hours and included a standard Israeli travel interview about what I had for dinner last night. Not to mention taking off my shoes and inspecting my passport. I flew to Eilat  on a small airline call Isra Air. And back again. A waste of time but it saved money. Then back in line for more of the same. When I finally got to the end of the line to board my El Al plane for LA, the ticket taker walked away so I boarded the plane anyway so I wouldn’t hold up the line.  I was relaxing on the plane, ready for take off when a flight attendant approached me and asked me for my passport.  I was exhausted from the long line and the unnecessary flight back to Eilat and all the inspections and just wanted to leave so I showed her the passport and blurted out “I can’t wait to get out of this country.”  I feel guilty for that now and hope the government will still let me come back when I visit my family.  The flight on the way back was okay but there was a baby who cried all the way  back to the US.  When I got back to San Diego my suitcase was missing and  I had to wait a day till it arrived at my apartment.  My sister, who was also there for the family reunion, had her flight delayed 3 days and she is a religious jew. She said it was because of a pilot strike but interestingly it happened the same day as Trump’s 1st travel ban. I am now home San Diego and working as a political fundraiser for Democrats against his regime.

 

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A Little Early For Halloween In La Jolla

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After closing the sale of my parents home in Oceanside,  unfortunately, my Dad fell down and ended up in the La Jolla VA hospital at the escrow office.  A beautiful sweet woman in the parking lot saw it happen, helped me lift him up and gave him some bandages. She really reaffirmed my faith in human nature.

Afterwards, we went to visit him at the hospital.  Then, my date & I went to La Jolla shores for dinner.  We saw this restaurant  called Barbarella that was decorated thoroughly with these scary animated Halloween characters. In fact, it was so scary that my date didn’t want to eat there because of the giant fake spiders, even if they were near a romantic fireplace.

Since my “Day of the Dead” pictures from a few years ago became my most popular blog, I figured that I should share some of these fun early resHalloween  images as well.  My Dad is feeling better now too.

Jetpack @ Point Loma

Memorial Day Travels

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These are floating cabins at one of the 7 Santee Lakes. Nice and simple. But they are all booked up till September so we couldn’t stay there.

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Here’s another beautiful view of one of the Santee Lakes. 

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This is a map of the Lake locations. We had to pay 5 dollars for parking since it’s privately owned.  Though they are pretty, I’ve seen cleaner lakes at Lake Murray and Lake Miramar. Supposedly they stock the lakes with fish since the lakes are manmade, but when I asked a fisherman, if he saw anything, he said all he saw a dead bass  floating upsidedown in the water. Still, the lakes make a nice San Diego staycation escape, even though I’ve seen better.

Museum of the Living Artist

A few choice photos from the children’s section of the Museum of the Living Artist. This kid in a cup is just too cute!

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Here’s one of the cleaverest things made by  kids I’ve ever seen: A hat with Legos on it.  Wear it proudly!

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Here’s an interesting mask one of the kids
made out of an egg carton.

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This wasn’t at the museum but I still think it’s quite precious. It was a costume for a baby I saw at a Halloween shop.

Day Of The Dead In a Real Cemetery!

Today November 1st, is the Mexican Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. It’s a holiday  with a Halloweenish  flavor. Last week, I was invited by a friend who eats fire and walk on stilts for a living named J7 to go to a Day of the Dead ceremony in a real San Diego cemetery, La Vista Memorial Park in National City on her Facebook page.  It was amazing!

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J7 on the right and her friend

Here I am below with face paint on for the event as the clown of death. The face painter liked my autobiographical novel, “Naked Skydiving” so much, she traded me her work for a signed copy of my book. The face painting cost less than my books so she gave me $5 on top of that!

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The event had a carnival like atmosphere in the cemetery. There was a main stage

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where many people were in costumes wearing day of the Dead skeleton face paintings.

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The one in the middle represents the artist, Frida Kahlo.  Day of the Dead celebrates the passing of relatives in a fun party atmosphere. Food and drinks for the living were also available for purchase right in the cemetery.  Altars were created of the person’s favorite foods and drinks

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and personal items. Here are some altars that are homages to dead relatives:

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This is how we celebrate Day of the Dead, San Diego Style!

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This couple is dressed in traditional Aztec costume and is representative of the San Diego State University sports mascot, the Aztecs.  If you attend this event at a cemetery next year, make sure to tip toe around the graves!

Beatles Exhibit @ the Del Mar Fair

Had a great time at the “Fab Fair” on July 3!   This was an exhibit featured at the fair that included an Abbey Road you can actually walk down to pose for pictures, and a Paul McCartney imitator on piano leading a sing along.  Also saw one of my favorite groups live from the past, the Tubes!

 

 

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Bikini Atoll Dream

 

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A SURREAL FANTASY ABOUT THE ISLAND OF BIKINI ATOLL

Dreamed a few nights ago that I was telemarketing again like I used to for the Welk Resort, and then they needed somebody to write articles.  I thought they picked me to do it but I was in a school like UCLA that had rabbis studying and I had my friend’s phone.  It rang so I tried to call her but she of course couldn’t answer cause I had her phone. I wanted her and her friends to know that I had gone and seen the beautiful blue waters of Bikini Atoll, with smoke coming out of its crater.  I called again and finally got ahold of them and asked them to meet me there. They agreed

This dream mirrors the phases in my life from telemarketer to reporter to student to relationships to explorer of a beautiful but deadly paradise, Bikini Atoll, where the first atomic bomb was tested, which made the whole island so radioactive, that all the natives had to be relocated. Yet, it is still reported to be a beautiful place for scuba diving and finding hidden sunken treasures.  It also reminds me of the cover of my book,” Naked Skydiving,” with its blue and green island on the front of the book. Maybe this dream explains the explosive improvement in sales of my “Naked Skydiving novel that I’m experiencing lately. Creating and living just from your writing or art can be dangerous but beautiful, and with God’s help and my friends, that’s what I’m experiencing now. The book’s price has also gone up, on Amazon. It originally sells for $18.95, yet I saw one Amazon retailer reselling an autograph copy I signed, for $50.00!  Pretty cool and exciting!  You can still order your copy for $18.95 on www.iuniverse.com or if you meet me somewhere in San Diego, I’ll be happy to autograph it for you in person and it’ll still be only $18.95.

 

 

 

 

Kayaking In La Jolla Cove

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The HMS Surprise

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San Diego Embarcadero, San Diego,CA

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