Monday, October 26, 2009

Shalom from Jerusalem

Hello from Jerusalem. We arrived here Sunday night after leaving the Dead Sea area. Let me back up here and share with you our experiences.

Where to begin. First of all, no picts again. Anyway we arrived at the Dead Sea about 7:30pm Saturday night after spending the previous two days around the Sea of Gallilee. Please forgive me if I mispell names here. So many have two or three or more spellings so I'll just use the ones I can remember. Now I'm wondering if I spelled "mispell" correctly. Bear with me. Oh, and you might want to grab a cup of coffee or a beer. This may be a long post as I purchased a 24 hour card.

OK, so we get to our Dead Sea hotel Saturday night and it was late and we couldn't see the sea... ha ha ha. We had dinner and it had been a long day in the bus. We are now rotating four seats each day. I discovered there are more dumb shits on the bus than I first thought. But I'm living with that now that I have a new outlook. I hope this lasts for a while. Anyway, we decided to just eat and briefly use the internet and get to bed, which we did about 11pm. The next day was the first time on our trip we could sleep past 6am. Our checkout wasn't untl 11am.  We were sooo looking forward to sleeping in. Well, at 5:03am we heard a beeping. Sounded like someone's watch alarm going off and since we have been at hotels with many tour groups we didn't think much of it and it stopped after a moment. Then, it did it again in a few minutes and stopped again. Sounded like something one of our bus compadres would do. Set their alarm so it would wake two rooms on either side of them. Well, it did it again so Alan stuck his head out the door and found the fire doors had closed. Curious that someone's wake up alarm would do that. Just about then the Russian across the hallway stuck his head out too and muttered something. Supposing it was Russian he was speaking I said "da, das verdanya". I remembered James Bond uttering something like that in one of his movies but now that I think of it, he was speaking to a woman at the time. Anyway, he looked at me and shook his head. He had a lovely pair of briefs, I think. Not sure what he thought about mine. I tried to call the lobby but no one answered.

So I went back to bed and then the alarm went off again and I decided I had better check it out. I put on my pants and headed down to the lobby fearing there may be some issue with fire. Being as how I was way up on the third floor, I decided to take the elevator. When I got on the elevator I was thinking to myself, "this is stupid". Not surprisingly, that was the first thing someone in the lobby said to me as I left the elevator. Behind the desk was one frantic young lady telling about 35-40 of us who had come down "there is no fire, there is no fire". Now think about it. This hotel had at least 200 people in it and only 35-40 of us came down to find out why the fire alarm was going off. But on second thought, it was probably just as well as a few seconds after she said there was "no fire", two young men came racing up the stairs jabbering (you know, they don't speak English here) and they ran around behind the desk and each grabbed a fire extinguisher and oxygen tank. I called Belinda and told her to get down here and she was smart enough to take the stairs. By the time she arrived we could smell smoke and the young lady was still saying "there is no fire, there is no fire."

So after reading the above, please select the best answer to the following question:

"The fire alarm sounded because:
1. There was a fire
2. There was a malfunction in the alarm system
3. There was a short-circuit in the laundry room
4. There was no fire
5. All of the above

Please tell me you selected #5 because I know all of you are very smart people.

Anyway, since we were up, we headed to the Dead Sea and floated around for a while, came back and took a shower, then headed to the bus and off to Masada and a couple of other places I've already forgotten.  The floating was very surreal.  And Belinda says "the exfoliating was wonderful."  Not sure what she meant.

This morning, after the riots, we left for the Wailing Wall, the Temple Tunnels (which Alan couldn't do because of his stupid claustrophobia so he went walking through the Muslim Quarter with a couple of other wussies) and also the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem is under Palestinian Authority so it was two check points in and two out.  Men with machine guns all over the place.  Oh, do you know how you can tell if they are Arab or Israeli guards?  Arabs use AK-47's and Israeli's use M-16's.  A little trivia for your next encounter with someone who thinks they know everything.

By the way, some of you have emailed saying you are living through our blog.  Try living like this:

    1. Drink only bottled water, including brushing your teeth
    2. No ice in drinks
    3. Use only four squares of toilet paper
    4. Leave 10 cents in the bathroom every time you use it


Others of you have asked about the last photo of the butts of people leaning over a rail.  That was the finest example of a cluster***k I have ever seen.  I assume you read about the process to get on the ferry.  The process getting off was much easier.  "Here's your passports.  There's your luggage.  Get it on the bus."

We're thinking this is the last tour we go on.  At least the last cheap tour.  Next time it's five-star.  At least that's what I'm telling Belinda.

OK, you should have finished your coffee or beer by now.  We're headed to bed.  Then up at 6am, assuming no fire or any other alarms, and back to the old city and maybe the Temple Mount, if it has calmed down, and then maybe the Garden of Gethsemane, or something like that.

Goodnight from peaceful Jerusalem.

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