Israel · travel

This, That, and Everything Else

More of Jess’s adventures in Israel:

I was certain I was prepared for this trip. More so than I had been for any of my other trips. I was wrong. Of course I was. When are we ever truly prepared, 100%? Never. I feel I get closer with each trip, but there is always something missing. The good news? I brought enough to at least bundle up in layers, clothes dries, and walking barefoot in the rain (okay, I was not barefoot, I was wearing Chaco-type shoes) isn’t so bad when the water is cool and refreshing. As Tony (a new friend, that I made in Nazareth – we are hiking together, tomorrow) and I were strolling through the twining, wet streets and up barely upward hills, I was reminded that leaving behind a warmer jacket, waterproof boots, and an umbrella wasn’t so bad. Vendors were scooping up rain water as it was falling off rooftops and dripping through cracks. The clothes, fruits and vegetables, and other things were either floating away or drowning in the water. Things were drenched. Things were flying this way and that way. People were diligently and quickly scooping up and sweeping away the water. At the same time, we knew that the rain was good. It was so good. It doesn’t rain enough here, and it’s needed. I can’t stop thinking about that. Let that resonate. Let it speak volumes to your mind, and let it challenge you. Let it humble you. We can’t always be prepared, regardless of how hard we try. We can make lists, and we can run through them multiple times. We can ask others to run through them with us. We can tell ourselves, “This time, I am prepared. I have learned my lesson. I will not leave my toothbrush. I will prepare clothing for different temperatures and climates. I will bring this and that. The more I travel, the more familiar I become with what to bring and how much of this or that to bring. I will not be without. I will even be more prepared than I need to be, but hey, that is better than forgetting things!” Guess what? The rain will still fall, and it will do so when you least expect it. You will need to improvise. You will need to hurry. You will need to do this and that to be okay. But it will all be so good for one reason or another. As we were roaming through the streets, I noticed that the first thing people did was not to try and bring things inside. It was to tackle the water. It was to face the rain, to stand in it as it was coming down, and to take action.

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We need rain. We need to be humbled. We need to reminded that we cannot foresee what’s to come. We can ready our hearts, minds, and spirits for the unexpected. We can take action. We can move.

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While in Tiberias and Nazareth, the day consisted of both rain and clear skies. For 10 minutes, it would rain and the winds would blow. For another 10 minutes, the skies were blue and clear. Between the raining and the clearing of the skies, there were thick, grey clouds. I was wearing my rain jacket, and then I wasn’t. I would walk through the rain, my feet covered in ice cold water. I was even eating a baguette shawarma. It was delicious.
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I have eaten way too much throughout the past week. I have no shame. The food is delicious. It’s flavorful, juicy, watery, fresh, spicy, salty, sweet, tender, and now I want more food simply talking about it. The lamb and the chicken and the hummus, oh my.

Also, most people at most of the restaurants and bars and stores that I have been to are welcoming, helpful, and kind. They are loving. Of course, I have met some knuckleheads here and there, but that is inevitable in any country, any city or town, at any time. I went out to eat while exploring around the Mahane Yehuda Market (also known as The Shuk), and some pretty cool people told me about a hostel that has live music on Tuesday nights. I was psyched to find that I didn’t have to be a guest nor did I have to pay a cover. I only had to buy a drink – I tried another Israel beer – and mingle with the awesome employees and guests. I had such a great night at this hostel – The Post – in the heart of Jerusalem. This place is energetic, it’s lively. Not just the hostel, but the market and all that surrounds the two places. If you ever go to Jerusalem, both the market and hostel are worth your time and shekels.

I like the food. I like the music. I like the markets and coffee shops and tucked away pubs and restaurants. I like the people. I like the various sights. I have so much to share, and can only cover a smidgen through this post. I have more to tell you. And I shall do so. Later.
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