Thursday, April 28, 2005

Israel, arrival

Again, the flight wasn't bad. The one bad thing was that we'd had to check out of the hotel at noon and then our flight wasn't until 10pm. We were able to store some bags at the hotel, so that was OK, but William and I didn't get our afternoon nap. William fell asleep at the airport after driving me and Kip nearly insane and making me reconsider any plans I had about future travel with children. He woke up for the first part of the flight and then went to sleep again. But I wasn't able to get comfortable on the plane and thus got next to no sleep at all. We got in at 5:30am Israeli time and drove to Haifa. It was Saturday, which is the Jewish sabbath, so when we got to the hotel we were informed that there was no real check-out time on the sabbath so they could not tell us how soon our room would be available. I was beginning to feel sick with exhaustion and all I wanted to do was crash somewhere and sleep for about 24 hours. This news did not make me happy.

Instead of crashing at the hotel, we headed to Bowden's apartment. They are another Intel family from Oregon and kindly offered to take us in until the hotel became available. I was curious about the branch we'll be attending, so instead of taking them up on the offer to sleep on their guest bed, we followed them on the 1 1/2 hour drive to church. I slept much of the way while Kip drove and finally realized he was also really tired.

Church was interesting. There is a lot of diversity, so everything was presented in English, Russian and Spanish, or sometimes just Hebrew and English. I had a major struggle staying awake through the second hour, but luckily they only do 2 hours, so I was saved.

We spent the afternoon at Bowden's, waiting for our hotel to call. They finally let us check in at about 8pm. Our hotel room is quite nice. We have a king size bed and 1 1/2 bathrooms. William has a crib in the sitting room. The kitchen is desperately small. Oh, and they left a note requesting that for the duration of Passover, we not bring in any outside food. Technically, Passover starts Friday, but our hotel seems to be dragging it out a little - like a whole extra week. What this means for us is that we aren't supposed to have things like bread and pasta and alcohol in our rooms. I can live with no alcohol, but I'm not too excited about giving up bread and pasta for 2 whole weeks. I've decided to try to be creative and create Passover-worthy meals for next week, but I refuse to start that until Friday. Until then, I'm cooking my pasta and eating my sandwiches if that's what I want. We'll probably do some eating out next week, but even local restaurants won't be cooking non-Passover food. They say that McDonalds has a way of making unraised bread buns but they taste disgusting. The pizza place must have some plan for dough, but I can't guess what it would be. And what about the sandwich shops and the bakery down the street? I'm beginning to think this isn't the best time to be a non-Jewish visitor to Israel.

Meanwhile, William is doing well. There is a great park with a carousel that William adores and a huge play structure just down the street from our hotel. There's a zoo behind it, but admission is about $7, so we haven't gone in yet. We'll check it out when daddy can come. He likes the Bowden's apartment (who wouldn't - it's the top floor of their building with a GREAT view of the sea and city) and their 2 kids, 3 years and 18 mos. So we're getting adjusted pretty well.


Josh Bancroft said...

Wow. So the branch meets on Saturday, and only for two hours? Interesting.

Glad you've arrived and are getting settled. These are great blog posts! Just the kind of stuff we want to hear.

Blogging is about having a conversation, and doing it with your voice, so keep it up! We're anxiously waiting for more (but no pressure...).

Janean said...

This is a beautiful blog. Nice work, Josh.

And yes, I love reading of your adventures, Kristin. Keep it up.