Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hey all.
Been having a great time so far in Israel. It is so good to be back. There is something so wonderful about this place that I can't quite put my finger on- and each time I have been here I know that it will not be the last time that I will come. I am staying in hostel that is in the old city which is a walled in section of Jerusalem. The hostel is in this old cave like building with lots of little couches and people sleeping all over the place- as well as on the roof- which I thought about doing because it is cheaper- however the nights here are actually a bit cold. Apparently it is a pretty Israeli thing to do to sleep on the roof however.

Last night I went out for dinner with someone from the hostel and we got some over priced armenian food in the armenian quarter- which was interesting- and one of the only meals I have had in Israel that mixed milk and meat. However, afterwards we walked around the Jewish Quarter and we came accross an Orthodox Jewish wedding party that was right in the sort of lowered courtyard area of the Four Sepharidic Synagogues- so we were able to sort of look down and watch the party. They were partying hard- let me tell you- dancing away to the sort of modern Klezmer band that was playing. It was prettty areobic looking dancing too. There was a womens area and a mens area for dancing, which was generally respected- through not always. it was pretty cool watching them all. See picture below!

Today I slept way later than I meant to again- for some reason I am just exhausted- but I went out finally and got some shwarma and looked out over Jerusalem. I got sort of lost as I wandered through the quarters and I walked along the outer wall for some time. Later I wandered out of the Old City for the first time- looking for this modern art museum which is focused on political/social work- which I finally found after walking through the Muslim- and not so touristy- section of town. Thankfully today I wore a long skirt and loose sweater- making me blend in a little bit which has kept me from being hassled as much-- I have learned that the right clothes and a confident walk can go a long way. Finally I got to the museum- called Museum on the Seam- which I quite enjoyed, and headed back for a rest at the hostel.

Went out again after a rest and some rain with another guy from the hostel and got some dinner (more felafel- hey it is the right price what can I say?) and walked around the new part of the city- which I have to say is less exciting than the old for sightseeing. However when we got back we found a rooftop walk where we could see the city at night, and then we went to the Western wall- something I would have never thought of doing at night- but it turned out to be a great idea. It was less crowded and really beautiful. Definitley a different experience than last time.
It was still pretty crowded thought. It is open 24 hours aday apparently-I wonder if there are always people there.

When I have gone there it has been an intense experience for me- not so much because I believe the site to be all that holy in itself... but I find the way in which people pray there to be so special. That is what makes the place holy to me. And in touching the wall I really did feel that I had a physical sensation of sort of awe and calm- perhaps because of all the energy so many millions of people have poured into those stones. I really love it there.
Anyways. I really love israel. Just like last time I feel a part of it somehow even though I am very clearly a tourist. I also feel very proud of it- for better or for worse- since of course I am not proud of all the horrible things that have also happened here.
Only one negative experience so far where I got duped out of about 20 american dollars while changing money the other day. But..... life goes on... what can I say?

Oh!-- other photos:
This was a sign in a Jewelry shop I was in.

An attempted photo of myself of me in the holy city :)

Alright- good night all- more thoughts to come- Israel still tops my list as one of the most thought provoking destinations I have ever been to!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey all!

I am in Jerusalem right now. I got into Tel Aviv around five in the morning ( 3 am London time) and took a bus right to Jerusalem. I am not sure how long it took because I slept through most of the ride. It was kind of a rough trip because I flew out a ten thirty London time- so it was an over night flight- but it was only 5 hours so it wasn't really enough to get any sort of rest. I came and crashed at the hostel here- first on the floor couch thing that they had because my room wasn't ready ( the owner came over while I was sleeping and put a sheet over me- which was so nice I thought) and then I moved up to my room and I slept away half the day unfortunately. However many hours and a few prayers to Allah later ( you can hear the 5x a day prayer broadcast throughout the whole city- this happened in Morrocco too by the way) I got up and got myself a falafel sandwich and some fresh squeezed pomegranate juice that they squeezed right in front of me. Pretty great. Then I was confronted with some pretty intense sales men - however I am getting better at the whole thing- and am starting to have fun talking to salespeople while still hanging on to my purse- and it's contents.

I was reading my Lonely Planet book about Israel and I thought I would share an interesting concept with you that I read in it. Basically it is about this phenomenon called the "Jerusalem Syndrome" and ( I quote) :
" Every year tens of thousands of tourists descend on Jerusalem to walk in the footsteps of the prophets, and a handful come away from the journet thinking they ARE the prophets. This medically recognized ailment, called the Jerusalem Syndrome, occurs when visitors become overwhelmed by the historical signifigance of the holy city and come to the conclusion that they are biblical characters or that the Apocalypse is near. " -Lonely Planet

Apparently this can be pretty serious and people will burn things down and stuff because they thing it is part of their holy mission- many times affecting people with no previous history of mental health problems at all. There is even a psychiatric ward nearby that deals with these patients.

What crazy people. Thankfully Messiah Rebecca has just arrived to guide the masses away from their lunacy.

Anyways Messiah Rebecca is pretty tired- so she is now going to sign off.

But she shall return..... tomorrow.....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Night Flight to Tel Aviv

Hi all.

Just a quick check in. Been moping around in london all week instead of going to Israel as planned because when I got back to London last week the Doc said the foot did not look so good so we took some biospies and he said to lay low. after much frustration, and still no test results, I am getting on the plane tonight to go to Tel Aviv- shortly actually. I still have to fly through London again ( on my route) before I continue on anywhere else- so this does not mean that I will never be visiting this doctor again in London- it just means that I have made the exectutive decision to go to Israel for a week while the doctors get together the test results that I was supposed to get back last Friday.

Despite my (hopefully not too obvious) pissy tone- I am thrilled to be going to Israel tonight. I promise to keep you all better posted- I have just been a little grumpy this week. I have lots of things to write about that never finished from morocco and Spain as well.

More to come! Miss you all!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn in London

Taken on Kyle's iphone- mostly by Kyle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Inside Alhambra in Granada
Inside Alhambra in Granada
Road Trip Pics ( not my own) in Tarifa, Spain -- accross from Africa

Gibraltar with a Cloud over it haha

Morrocco in the Market

Back in London. I have lots to write about but I am feeling lazy so I am just going to post some pictures for now.

More soon~

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hey all,

So I am still plugging along.. learning some spanish etc.
A few things that I forgot to write about last post that were cool:
-This weekend we also tried to go to Gibraltar- which ( for those of you who don´t know) is this tiny bit of territory off the coast of Spain that is owned by Great Britain- so that they have control over the Mediterranean basically. Anyways- it is pretty much a big rock with some monkeys on it, some red telephone booths, English people, the English language, and a few pubs. We joked as we drove there that the rock would be the only place in Southern Spain with a cloud over it ( because it is owned by Great Britain)- and sure enough... it did! which was pretty funny. Anyways- we didn´´t get to go in because one of out group did not have her passport or id- and they are pretty strict, but we did see the big rock from a afar which was cool. And also I think I will pass by it again this weekend ( when I go to Morocco--- which is really happening yay!)

Another cool thing about Granada ( there are so many!) is that is is surrounded my mountains (specifically the Sierra Nevada)-- so you will look down the street, or peek outside the autobus and see a magnificent back drop. It really is pretty amazing- and supposedly all the more beautiful when there is snow on the mountains.

Yesterday I walked around the Albaicin, which is one of two very old neighborhoods in Granada and this one is mostly made up of pedestrian walkways which climb up a hillside. At the top is an iglesia and a little park, where you can look out over all of Granada and, more importantly, look out over Alhambra (on which there is more information to come- but basically it is a spectacular example of Moorish architecture, and apparently considered by many to be a wonder of the world- though it is not officially one). There were a few guys playing guitar and I just sat up there taking in the view, the mountains, and the sunset and listening. It was pretty wonderful. And though there were other tourists up didn´t exactly feel touristy- because it was such a beautiful place that it seems that even the locals hang out there pretty often. Afterwards I went down to a little restaurant on the same hillside to take in the view with sangria in hand- which was even better haha.

The only other major thing I did yesterday was go to a dinner for the students sponsored by the school. It was a pretty fun experience because I met a couple French people- one of which spoke little to no Spanish and no English- so I dusted off my french skills- which were even worse than before ( I was sort of speaking Spench haha) and we all had this conversation in a little bit of English, a little bit of Spanish, and a little bit of French. By the end my mind was a little bit warped, but I had so much fun trying to communicate. The hilarious thing was too that I ended up being the French translator for part of the night ( for those of you who have ever tried to speak french with me- you understand). However, the french people assured me over and over again that I spoke good French- which was generous of them. I felt so cool and international haha!

Today was slow... took a long siesta--- and only because I am supposed to here in Spain ( not at all because of the partying this weekend- haha) and had some cerveza and tapas and (my new love) gazpacho.

Getting geared up for a packed next few days- I am trying to squeeze everything in here and I am taking the trip to Morocco- so I have a lot of cool stuff coming my way.

Oh and I fixed the (crappy) camera so I have some pictures for you!!

more soon!

A view from my room\ the balcony of the apartment that I am in. Beautiful!

My room!-- and I actually have been making my bed ( for once in my life)-- this was just after siesta today haha!

Me and Alhambra

Off the coast of Tarifa
A view from the park that I describe in my post. Alhambra


The church in Sevilla ( the third biggest Cathedral in the World!)
This was so Spanish to me haha. A guy in his horsecart in Sevilla taking a siesta

Near my school in Granada
A Moroccan Tea Room in Granada

Artsy Granada

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey guys,

I am slow with the posting for some reason here in Spain. I guess that I am permanently on siesta.

Thought I would give you a little update. Thanks to all of you who responded to the Granada vs. Sevilla poll- Granada is beautiful! I haven´t even seen that much of the old part of the city- which is the most beautiful part- and it is beautiful. Warm, sunny, orange trees with oranges on them all over even the ugly streets- winding roads that are just for pedestrians, spanish and moorish architecture. Basically it is gorgeous. Sadly my good camera is still in the shop in London being fixed for 400 dollars (thank god I got the insurance) andmy crap one even stopped workign this weekend- so I am out of luck for the moment with photo taking.

The other thing that makes Granada heaven is the free tapas. There is tapas culture everywhere in Spain, but here it is the only place that it s free. You can get away with ordering just a drink, and they will bring you enough tapas that you can eat lunch off it- seriously. I don´t know how they stay in business here, but it is quite lovely and cost effective.

Mostly though I have been eating with my host family- who are great. I was pretty intimidated when I first arrived, because I basically dont ( didn´t?) know spanish at all, and no one in the family speaks any English whatsoever except for the son- who isn´t always around. There are two parents and two kids, who are both around my age ( as is custom here-- to live with your parents until you are married). Funnily enough it was the most intimidated I have been on this whole trip to try and communicate to the family and to the people of Granada ( who also generally don´t speak english either). I felt like I would do anything to not have to try to speak spanish. But the need for survival has soon killed this fear- and my spanish is really improving- especially thanks to the homestay even more than the school. ( I take 4 hours spanish a day). Granada is the perfect place to study because unlike other parts of Europe, I actually do know more spanish ( generally) than locals do english- so I don´t feel like a jerk stumbling through ordering and asking for directions, or making small talk with the parents. Also- it makes for many a good laugh with the family when all means of communcation just seem to fail ( miming included). So all in all it is pretty fun. I am glad in a way that I am stranded here. haha. I actually wish I had more time here... though at the same time I am worried about my itinerary and willing my foot to heal faster than it already is.

This weekend I hopped in a rental car with a few other students from the school who I met last week and went for a road trip of Andalucia ( this part of Spain). We went to Sevilla for a night, and then to Tarifa which is a little surf town accross the way from Morrocco ( you could see it accross the water). The beach was gorgeous- even though I couldn´t go for a swim because of the foot foot foot. ( should I talk about my foot some more? haha) I had a lot of fun, and it was a good experience because all of us on the trip were pretty different. And I was the only American. Everyone else was from Europe. We did party a little more than I am used to ( dragging ourselves back after 4 am 2 or 3 nights in a row)- but that was good for me too I reckon.

I have a lot of sightseeing to do here in Granada still- and I think that I am going to go to it. I might join a little tour to Morrocco this weekend as well. But only if I get in everything I want to do here first!

More to come. Sorry I have been lazy on the writing front.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

regroup replan


so I am in the process of regrouping... and after a few more hours of sorting things out with British Airways, I thought I would update you on the new itinerary:

NOW-- until 19th of October I am in GRANADA

19th-21st Back to guess where..... London for a doctors appointment where he hopefully gives me the A OK to get out of Europe.... forever..... just kidding.. not forever
WED 21OCT   -FRI 30OCT        TEL AVIV

FRI 30OCT--THU 12NOV DELHI IN and still hopefully Varanasi.


THU NOV 19-- THU 03DEC SYDNEY / still trying to resort out some
volunteer on
the Great Barrier Reef

THU 03DEC --- sun dec 06 SANTIAGO




SUN 27DEC --- SAT 09 DEC Costa Rica

SAT 09JAN----????????? REAL LIFE

Still obviously a great trip, but much has been shortened. And I sort of feel
that my trip is just beginning again now that
I am in Spain because London feels so much like New York to me.
My trip is actually halfway done in time ( almost!)



more later

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

some pics from the last week!

Wow! I have not written in a long time! I am now in Granada ( things happened really fast once I got the ok from the doctor--- I still have to check in with him in two weeks though)! I have lots to say about Spain, but for now i just wanted to post some photos from the weekend back though my home away from home ( ie my London base).

Kyle and I went to the museum of Natural History.... and had a little too much fun at the Darwin exhibit.

And before that we spent way too long at Harrod´s trying to be chic.

But when we gave up on being chic, we found solace at the Harrod´s Krispy Krime doughnuts--- bringing chicness to our doughnut experience.

The Krispy Kreme man, who gave us free doughnuts because some rude woman pushed Kyle in her mad rush to the cash register when she was trying to buy her doughnuts. If you can see below, he is standing infront of the Harrod´s Krispy Kreme doughnuts specialty00 which is a doughnut with the name Harrods on it. Very nice.

Dinner with my London family! I crashed the NYU RADA London dinner party to hang with my adler peeps--- plus a few new friends. It was nice to just have a home made meal with a bunch of friends.

Ok! More to come soon!