Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Israel part 2

Israel is very patriotic.

We were there on their 'memorial day', and in the middle of the day everyone stops what they are doing, and has a moment of silence. So even if you are driving, you pull over to the side of the road, and get out. Thats what these people are doing. We had an Israeli bus driver and tour guide, so we stopped and all stood up in the bus.
You may think this picture (below) is interesting... and yes we meant to stand far apart from each other like that. We were up on the temple mount where the Dome of the Rock is, and husbands and wives are not allowed to touch each other, or show any kind of affection. It is offensive to the Muslims. Well JUST before we took this pic, we saw this little Muslim man running after this tourist couple, yelling at the top of his lungs in Arabic, and they had no idea why he was so mad. Turns out the husband put his arm around his wife while taking a picture.
Thus our need to stand 5 feet apart from each other. We were a little scared of that man cuz he definitely had his eye on us.

After walking around on the temple mount, we went down to the Western Wall where men and women are separated by a partition. These women facing the wall are all praying. They write their prayers on mini-pieces of paper, and then stick it in the cracks of the wall.

I wrote my own little prayer :)
The men's side of the Western Wall. When Jewish boys reach the age of thirteen, they celebrate their Bar Mitzvah where they read from the Torah and are now responsible for following Jewish Law on their own. The women (mothers/sisters) would throw candy over the wall to congratulate.
oh and Mike, Jake and Larry had to put on these cute little 'Kippahs' when going down to the western wall. All the Jews wore them, and tourists do it out of respect.
These are some Russian Orthodox Jews that I snapped a picture of.
This was in Bethlehem and the exact spot where Christ was born.
This was a replica of the manger that Christ would have been born in. It would have been an animal trough such as this one. There were two babies under a year old that came on the tour with us, and their moms place them in this manger. So cute.
Doin the laundry in the tub. yup. If I wanted the hotel to do it, it would have ended up being close to $100 for two simple loads. no thank you.
We had the opportunity of walking through Hezekiah's Tunnel. It's about 6 football fields in length, and as you can see is very narrow, low ceiling in some places, and we're walking through water. Needless to say if you are claustrophobic, this is not the adventure for you.

We made it out alive! with people behind you and in front of you at all times, you can't let your mind get carried away about flash floods, or anything else catastrophic...
We visited Masada, (<---these links are all just to Wikipedia if you want further information cuz I didn't know these places before I came.) It was incredible! just how many of the ruins remained in tact, and even some colors of paint remained on some of the interior walls!

Overlooking the Dead Sea
This was one of my favorite things! We all lathered up in mineral mud from the Dead Sea (just like a mud mask you would wear on your face), then we went swimming! Since the Dead Sea is 30% salt and minerals (in comparison the Great Salt Lake is only 12%), you FLOAT! It was so neat. you just lay on your back, and relax. I loved it! only you couldn't get any of the water in your eyes or else it would feel like pepper spray. Also if you had any cuts, you knew right where they were at.

Waiting in line for the showers to rinse off
WHEW and that is the end of Israel. sorry it was so long! all that's left is Egypt, and it won't be nearly as long. the funny thing is, I have left out 2-3 activities every day just cuz there is too much!
oh and just as a side-note, the second day I was there, I plugged in my flat iron for no more than 3.5 seconds literally, and it was ruined! completely zapped dead. I was incredibly distraught. The outlets are different over there, and even though I used a converter, my little CHI couldn't handle it :( sad day. so up until Hezekiah's Tunnel, I was wingin it with my hair (trying it curly, doing braids, etc), and then I found my friend KristaLee who let me borrow her flat iron for one beautiful day. ah it was nice. I tried to make it last as long as possible, but I think the Dead Sea took it's toll here. and yes Laura my hair is getting long :) I should prob cut it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Israel part 1

Well since I really don't know where to start with all of the pictures, I will start with some good 'ol camels for the heck of it. They were everywhere...
This is Mike and I on the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Mike thinking he can walk on water...
This is the Jordan River. Some groups even go down and baptize themselves

We went to this place for lunch, and we had two options: FISH or CHICKEN.
Mike chose FISH and this is what came out haha

Then the Garden of Gethsemane was probably one of my favorite spots. It's hard to describe the feelings that come with being in that sacred place.

There was a similar feel at the Garden Tomb

Then the BYU Jerusalem Center had one of the most spectacular views of Jerusalem because it is up on a hill. We were able to sit in this auditorium and listen to beautiful organ music.

The gardens designed by Ann and Truman Madsen were gorgeous!
Caesarea was beautiful! This is where Paul preached to King Agrippa (Acts 26)

This is called a vomitorium. It's behind the stands of where a crowd would be enjoying some sort of a performance. It's where the people would come, someone would stick a feather down their throat, and they would throw up all their food so that they could continue to eat and eat and eat...just to enjoy the show more. gross huhThese stands would be full as chariot races took place.Mike and Jake are sitting on "toilets". During these chariot races, if the wealthy had to go to the bathroom, they would send down their servant to sit on the seat and warm it up for them. haha
Alright I think that's enough for now, hopefully its not boring. I wish I could just explain in detail all that I learned, and what is significant about each picture. If anyone is looking for any good material to learn more about these things, look up books/talks by John L. Lund or S. Michael Wilcox. They were our speakers at these sites, and some of the most knowledgeable men I have ever met. Anything I say, I learned from them. :)