Wednesday, August 4, 2010
By Amali :)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Then a visit to Kibbutz Gesher Haziv -- very nostalgic for chuck -- since he spent an amazing year there in 1982.
While my mom, I and my girls were traveling about, Becky was volunteering at the Hakoura center in Jenin, in Palestine. If you want an account of her amazing experiences, you will need to ask her.
We were reunited with Becky three days ago and spent a night in a Druze village B&B in the Western Galilee.
We are now a much larger group!!! There are the four of us gordon-buxbaums, my mom (bubbie bunny buxbaum), four buxbaum-bashners (my older sister and family), Liat Epstein (my biological daughter), Aviva Epstein (her mom), and Shosh Epstein (her grandmother). We have set up camp at the Epstein family's kibbutz -- Kfar Hanasi -- about 10 km north of the sea of galilee. Beautiful views, but in the midst of a severe heat wave. Each day involves new and exciting ways to get wet. We bathed in the Banias spring in the Golan heights (after a long hot tour of a mountaintop Mamluk fortress from the 13th century) yesterday. Today we paddled the upper jordan river -- water is low -- so more boulders are exposed and we have big bruises to prove it. Liat and her friends and my daughters made a wonderful Sushi dinner tonight. Tomorrow we will bathe in the sea of galilee -- I will try to walk on the water...but I'm not going to hold my breath -- actually maybe I should, since I might not succeed (unless a miracle happens) -- which is unlikely...
Anyway, everyone is enjoying the family time -- with old and newer family.
Five more days...
Monday, July 26, 2010
By Amali :)
Sunday, July 25, 2010
While we were there, we took a trip down to Eilat. There, we snorkled in the Red Sea. I was amazed at all the sea life I saw. There bright-colored corals, long needle-fish, and spiky black sea urchins. Everyone looked funny in the snorkels and life jackets!
By Amali :)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Becky and I are both disturbed by the depth and nature of the divisions we have observed and by the activity of Settlers within East Jerusalem, displacing and destroying neighborhoods that have been traditionally Palestinian (South of the old city, in the area called "David's City" -- historically the site of Jerusalem in the time of King David -- Arab homes were demolished and families rendered homeless in order to build a parking lot!). The tragedy of Jerusalem's expansion and systematic displacement of it's Arab population has definitely made this a rough stay for those of us who were here 20 years ago. On the other hand, the development and improvements in West Jerusalem, are exciting and stimulating. See the pictures above.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Next morning slept in again -- then after noon headed in to Tel Aviv for some lunch and beach time with Becky's dear Chicago childhood friend Gili Sherman and her daughters and son. Then dinner in Herzeliya with my former Habonim shaliach and co-worker Yaron Raz and his family -- his son, now 32 was 12 when I last saw him, and his daughter was only 5. Amazing what 20 years will do to a 5 year old. Then we woke at 6 am to hit the road by 7 to Dimona to see Sivan's and Amali's half-sister, Liat, which is where we are now. Ate two great meals in Beer Sheva, and enjoyed meeting Liat's friends and coworkers and learning about their amazing accomplishments. Terrific experiences.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sad, but we'd only have about 2 hours in town and it is important to be healthy for the next stage of our journey. Europe will just have to wait. Anyway we shared (Actually, I ate, and Sivan picked at) some Viennese pastry and gelato, while I had a wonderful cappucino. Amali and Becky should be back soon with pictures to upload.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This morning, we took a motorboat to the Temple of Isis. Because of the Aswan High Dam, the temple had to be taken apart and built back together somewhere else. Isis would not have been happy if her temple was flooded! A lot of the carvings showed Isis with her child Horus. A chapel for Osiris was built and there was a little side temple for the goddess Hathor. I'm glad we went to that temple for our last because I found it really exciting as did the rest of my family.
By Amali :)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
After seeing Karnak Temple at night, we went to see it in the morning. We went to a lot more parts of the temple during the day. An amazing thing is that sometimes, there was still paint on the carvings from more than 200 years ago! In the part that Ramses III made, it showed his family on the walls. The carvings on the columns in the Hypostyle Hall were very deep. I thought about how long it would take to do that on 134 columns. It was amazing to see Karnak Temple up close, at night and day.
By Amali :)
On monday night ,we went back in time with a cheesy sound and light show at Karnak Temple. The narrators were supposed to be the different pharaohs who built parts of the temple. Red and white lights lit up the hundreds of giant columns in the Hypostyle Hall. It reminded me of being in the set of the movie "The Ten Commandments". The show ended at Sacred Reflection Lake, where it was believed that the egyptian gods and goddesses would purify themselves. As we left it that night, we were excited to explore more of Karnak Temple the next morning.
By Amali :)
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Day 6 -- early rise, breakfast of omelets and fresh feta, whole wheat pita, fresh tomatoes and cucumber slices, oversweetened lemonade, and yogurt with honey, all eaten with the dawn breaking over the nile on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel. Then rush downstairs to meet our donkeys which our guides assured us would get us to the Valley of the Kings in half an hour. 90 minutes later, after riding west into the hills above the nile valley, climbing a narrow trail that ran along the top of a daunting cliff below us (a few moments of nervousness, when I wondered if my donkey could keep its' footing on the weathered shale), over the Temple of Hatshepsut, and down into the valley of the Kings. We left our guides to take our mounts back to town, while we descended into the Valley. The girls were hot and tired as the temperature at 10 am rose past 37C. We hoped the deep tombs would offer a respite from the heat, but our first, Tuthmosis III, went so deep into the mountain that we were clearly inhaling the exhaled breaths of previous tourists. Stiffled by the heat, we persisted and perspired looking at the comic-strip style account of the book of the dead -- how the pharaohs were transported to the realm of the gods -- in detailed color paintings and heiroglyphs -- painted by artists of the middle kingdom, 3,500 years ago. All this in lofty Cartouche shaped rooms carved 350 feet into the limestone.
No photos allowed, but you can see what we saw by finding the photos posted by those who broke the rules about no photos. We went to two other tombs -- Ramses III and the combined tombs of a king and his daughter-who-became-queen after her husband died and she simply extended his tomb a bit deeper and made a burial chamber for herself. All beautifully painted and carved with images of gods and pharaohs and baboons and crocodiles and a 3 headed winged snake with legs and beheaded prisoners and slaves being flogged and harpists serenading gods...
Just when we thought things would get really hot, we got in an airconditioned cab to hatshepsut temple. This scene is reminiscent of something out of Kipling or Edgar Rice Borroughs -- 3 flights of steps the width of a road rising out of the desert to the tiered temple carved into the cliff walls above. The heat really set in here and Sivan and Amali just wanted to get back to the cool of the pool...which is what we did...and where we are right now...
Just us at the nile valley hotel. Later we will cross the nile and head to the Luxor bazaar for --- more shopping!!! Seems to be Sivan's favorite part of each day... go figure.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
The taxi dropped us of at a corner where they gave camel and horse rides through the pyramids. We were going to ride camels to the pyramids and the sphinx!!! We ordered two camels and one horse. I started off on the horse. Three younger boys led the horse and camels while the guide rode his own horse. It was awesome!!! We went right from lots of apartements to the sandy, barren desert. And as soon as we started walking through the desert, we saw the pyramids right there almost in front of us. We rode through and saw the pyramids and the sphinx (see pics) and met some nice people who sold souvenirs.
After seeing the pyramids the owner of the camels brought us to his son's perfume and oil shop. they were very hospitable. He gave us samples and then we bought some for my aunt. He also gave us two small hand made glass perfume bottles as gifts.
Then we went to the museum...
by SIVAN :-)
Day 2 to be added by Sivan and Amali -- Pyramids, Egyptian Museum, and Shwarma.