Where in the world are Wendy and Wayne??? We love to travel and explore other cultures and foods and the beauty of the Earth. And we love to share all these adventures with you!! When you travel with us, no cost, no shots, no hassles, and no risk of Montezuma's revenge! The slideshow below shows some of the places we've visited. The individual posts have all the details.
Highs and Lows (Part 1)
On Friday through Monday, we were exposed to the broadest range
of Israel / Palestine experiences possible--evoking emotions all over the map (as well as altitudes!).
Friday began with a tour of West Jerusalem and then a visit to the
wonderful Mahne Yehuda Market (a definite high). Beautiful produce, olives,
bread and pastries, nuts, fish, meat, cheese and more varieties of Halavah than
I've ever seen in my life!!!
There's lots of graffiti here--
pictures and words. While strolling around West Jerusalem, Yuval pointed out
the graffiti below:
"Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies"-- with the "refuse
to be" partially scrubbed out and repainted several times. Indeed, we have also seen plenty of folks
wearing T-shirts with that same slogan . So, there is hope.
Also this one:
Emily: Saw this today on the side of a
building, driving through Bethlehem in the West Bank. I feel like my eyes are
being opened and mind being blown as I am exposed to the complicated realities
of life in this storied land. Our tour guide today compared it to something
from a fantasy novel and I see it now - joy and beauty co-existing with despair
and injustice, the history of thousands of years playing out in real time. No
And that's a nice
segue to our next stop, Tent of Nations-- which (like Neve Shalom) is
predicated on the notion of working together. We spent the afternoon there, on the
West Bank near Bethlehem. Some of the signage near the checkpoints is
absolutely terrifying. Alternate routes are available.
While the landscape is desolate and the situation desperate,
thisis an inspirational program run by
Daoud Nasser--whose family's farm has been properly documented with the
authorities (whether those be the Ottomans, the British, or the Israelis) since
1916, yet that ownership is constantly being contested in the courts. In the
meantime, the land is being encroached upon by Settlements, access roads have
been cut off, and there isno running
water or government-provided electricity. Last spring, most of Daoud's fields
were destroyed by settlers. Daoud invites groups for olive / apricot picking,
reconciliation, and other programs. While his story is heart-wrenching, he is a visionary who refuses to
give up and continues to protest via peaceful, legal means. This visit was a
high (in that we were inspired) and a low (in that the family's circumstances
are so depressing and emblematic of the property issues facing many
We needed our spirits lifted, so we had an extraordinary meal at
Mona-- Israeli fusion. We were honored to be joined by our Israeli guide Yuval.
Yuval and I started with deconstructed Caprese salads that were as delectable
as they were striking to the eye. Emily enjoyed crab bisque and Susan feasted
on soft polenta with truffle oil and mushrooms. Can you spell delicious? (Whoever told me that dining in Israel is boringdidnot know what they were
talking about or went to the wrong places to eat!)Yuval and I had salmon in miso for our mains.
Emily had pasta with clams and Susan went back to the sea bream with quinoa (twice this week)! We shared a lemon tart and chocolate fantasy desserts. No
fantasy-- this meal was tremendous!
After dinner, we visited
with some Hands of Peace alumsfor an
exhilarating, emotional, and inspirational candle-lighting tribute to those
who lost their lives this last summer in the violence.
Saturday was an altogether different kind of day. We visited
Masada and the Dead Sea. Both are way below sea level-- thus the
"low" experience-- but they have been definite 'high points" on
the trip. While both were fascinating, the visit to Masada took a dual
narrative twist as Husam explained a good portion of the site from Herod's
perspective. Apparently, the story of the heroic Jews who withstood a horrific
siege from the Romans only to kill themselves at the end rather than lose their
freedom has been challenged as of late. I greatly prefer the narrative I was
brought up on (read The Dove Keepersby Alice Hoffman if you want a
romanticized version). Regardless of which narrative you believe, the fortress
at Masada has truly withstood the test of time.
After Masada, we journeyed to the Dead Sea where our visit was
totally relaxing and fun and included a mudpack for one of us-- guess who?
Yes!!!! You can float without really trying!
Our post-Shabbat dinner on Saturday was at Eucalyptus in West
highly-touted Kosher restaurant with an inventive menutied to Biblical themes. We passed up the
"KingDavid" and "Queen of Sheba" tasting
menus in favor of more reasonable (as in fewer courses) fare.Truly, if they ate like this in Biblical
times, they would have had a hard time crossing the desert!We enjoyed smoked eggplant and fish falafel
appetizers, followed by a trio of soups (Jerusalem artichoke, mint tomato, and
red lentil). These were absolutely scrumptious. The main courses we chose were
neither particularly notable nor Biblical-- but the desserts more than made up
for it-- baklava and chocolate. We are eating well here!
The next blog will detail the juxtaposition of two challenging
and emotional touring days--- on Sunday, we visited a refugee camp and Hebron--
an ancient and important city where we walked throughthe Tombof the Patriarchs and wandered the streets of this occupied town of
250,000 Palestinians and about 800 Jewish settlers. Then,
on Monday we visited Yad Vashem (holocaust memorial) and S'derot-- an Israeli
town located very close to Gaza.