I continue to fail at blogging. Since I wrote last, I have been on seven flights, making a path from Accra to London to Tel Aviv to Nairobi, Kampala, and back to Nairobi. Fun ride. I had a bit of a 'workacation' in London - meaning I worked 8 hour days and played the other 16, taking full advantage of the late summer nights of the northern hemisphere.
In London, I did not see the Big Ben, Tower or Westminster. This trip was more about absorbing good friends, good food, and double-dip recession shopping - oh, Google food again! Big Dave, Aaron, Hannah, Mike, Dave and Joseph were just what the witch doctor ordered to cure a coming case of burn out, and a great way to celebrate the 4th of July (or Rebellion Day as the Brits call it).
After five memorable days, I rushed off to Heathrow to hop a flight to Tel Aviv. It was not that fast. When I arrived at El AL, the Israeli national airline, I was greeted with hostility, interrogated, forced to demonstrate that all my electronics functioned, stripped of all my belongings except my phone and passport, escorted by security guards to my gate airport and then amusingly noted that my bra took a trip a security conveyer belt on its own. To top it off, one of my Israeli armed escorts, asked me out on a date - he said he never saw someone so amused during an 1.5 hour security briefing :). Moral of the story, don't by a one way ticket on an Israeli airline, and try to explain you are living a nomadic African life working for a tech company. In general, they find it very unplausible.
Israel is amazing. This was my second time to visit the historic epicenter, it just keeps getting better. I stayed in Tel Aviv right on the coast of the Mediterranean. Tel Aviv is the secular center, the king of night life, the Miami of the Mediterranean, not to mention, full of incredibly gorgeous people. If only I was Jewish.
My work brought me between Haifa and Tel Aviv. The first afternoon, I spent working at a colleagues house in a small coastal village and then the entire night wrestling and playing on the beach with her three kids. During the week, I reveled in some World Cup action, went on a date with the Israeli security guard from Heathrow, enjoyed great music, hot summer nights and fell back in love with hummus.
I took a three day weekend as Friday is a not a working day in Israel. I walked the Old City of Jaffa,(the longest inhabited city in the world), strolled some markets, and met up with Kurt Hoyer, a friend who is stationed with the State Department. Sadly, his family was out of town but he was an absolutely fantastic host. We explored the old ruins of Caesarea. As Kurt says, Herod the Great had an eye for real estate.
Sunday, we drove through the West Bank to Jerusalem. The Old City was as fastinating as I remember but much hotter. We walked the tops of the city walls, roamed the ancient streets, spend time on the temple mount and to cool down, walked through the Hezekiah's Tunnel (Chronicles II, 32:30) in the City of David.
The tunnel a is narrow man-made water channel that built by King Hezekiah i to divert the potable liquid into the city wall and protect it from invadors. Kurt and couldn't have had better timing. WIth 45 feet of dirt above us, we submerged ourselves in pitch black tunnel up to our knees in water to walk the half mile length of the tunnel with about 20, thirteen year old girls on a school trip who screamed, yelped and shrilled their way through the reverberant tunnel.
Now I am back in Africa, working tons but with a bit of time for running, Karaoke and up coming, rafting the Nile. This weekend, I am sorting out a temporary apartment in Nairobi as it looks like need to be in East Africa for the next 7 weeks minus two small trips to South Africa and Liberia. I departed Ghana for London June 29th with one carry-on which is now going to last me until September 10th. Need to do laundry.....again.