We’re back from the trip!

Sept. 2008

Hi there!
We’re back….and exhausted!! It’s 7 hours ahead there so we’re struggling with the time change,and the first flight(Athens to Amsterdam,and there was an armed soldier in the Amsterdam airport) was 3 hours and the second was 8 hours,and this jerk-off sat behind me on the long one and kept shutting my window shade(I put it back up again) and kept on kicking and harshly pushing up, my seat, loudly snarling I was “in his lap”(I wasn’t even reclined that far back) and “inconsiderate” etc… every time I reclined my seat even a small bit and threatened he’d “make my entire flight really uncomfortable” unless I put my seat up.( with over 400 people on the plane why DO all the assholes *always* have to sit near ME?)….so I had to sit bolt upright for 8 hours and ended up even *more* sore, stiff,and achy than I usually am.
For the connection in Amsterdam they also pulled us aside and extra scanned and scrutinized our passports saying they “need more info for their computer”(whatever that means!) and we worried they wouldn’t let us board!
I only slept 4 hours last night,and we arrived home at Midnight.It usually takes me 1-2 weeks to adjust and this trip was so exhausting, up 6:30 am and back 8pm from tours, which were alot of walking in oppressive heat and crushing crowds,and with limited bathroom facilities.I got 6 bleeding blisters on my feet! Now I’m home I need to rest from my trip!!
We went to Egypt, Israel,Greece,Turkey,and Croatia. In Egypt we had an armed guard sitting at the front of the tour bus,and his gun was hidden but I saw it peeking thru his jacket at the back.We also had police escort(with siren) and both there and Israel several visibly armed military check-points, where AK-47 assault rifles hung from their waists.It was a bit unsettling and unnerving.In Egypt an old man offered me 5000 camels to marry him(I guess they’re desperate for women there, or something?) and my hubby laughed I should have taken him up on it; they cost between 1 and 2 thousand dollars apiece!
Croatia(we were on the Dalmatian coast) is so dry as is the entire Mediterranean region) they typically have 200 fires each summer. It’s sad as well the wars they recently endured and amazing and a testimony to the human spirit they can rebuild and life goes on.In Israel it’s divided by sector;Jewish or Palestinian and when we crossed borders(it was a wall with barbed wire,and military check-point zone, reminding me of the former Berlin wall) we even had to switch tour guides; they won’t let the others in.In Egypt it was a scalding 42 degrees C and the make-up melted off my face! We saw the pyramids and Sphinx,harrassed and followed by zealous vendors, following us, shoving stuff into our arms! Cairo and Alexandria were so congested and crowded, and buildings run-down and derilict, but I loved the market place; the bazarrs; the rhythm of the city; the sounds and smells of the market; exotic,aromatic spices, calls from the minaret,Arabic music.We saw camels, donkey carts,and many fascinating things.My photos I took are not only of the famous landmarks but of the ordinary life and local people; a man sweeping the street, a veiled woman, an Orthodox Jew, a bent over old crone dressed all in black, people in flowing robes, street signs,donkey carts, oil refineries,deserts,etc..( it was like stepping back into time,into another century).to get a feel of the culture and lifestyle.
In Israel we ate lunch at a Kibbutz(commune)  and saw where Jesus lived as a boy, the exact spot He was born, died, was buried, walked to His crucifixion,and the exact little “cave” house He grew up in.I waded in the Jordan River where He was baptized,saw the Garden of Gesemane,and Mount of Olives,and the Wailing Wall.We were in Nazareth,Jerusalem,Galilee,Bethlehem,Haifa,Ashdod,Capernaum, Sea of Galilee, and even the former “danger zones”: Golan Heights, West Bank,and Gaza Strip. Even up to just 2 years ago they had snipers and bombings there,and there’s still always a risk.I can’t even imagine living like that!We saw a few UN vehicle go by.2/3 is desert and they have a severe water crisis, like the entire region.
In Turkey(Kusadasi) we went to the ruins of  Ephesus, the ancient city where St. Paul preached, and  saw a carpet weaving demo,a salamander on a rock,incredible mountains,…and a harrowing adventure:my mother could have ended up in a Turkish prison! At a market shop she accidently knocked over several bottles of perfume with her bag and they were mad and demanded she pay for it,and she refused….so they chased us and we RAN; they followed us in hot pursuit until we reached the secure zone of the ship only passengers can go…terrified they’d call the cops and they’d come on board and arrest her….we were scared until the ship finally left port! I was shitting bricks, that’s for sure!
In Greece we went to Patmos,  an island on the Aegean sea where St. John was exiled and wrote the Bible Book of Revelation. We saw monestariesand churches(and here they build churches over holy relics with a clear glass over top for viewing)  and ate at a traditional taverna and saw folk dancing.We also went to Santorini, built  by volcanoes,as are several of the small islands.The bus went up narrow, steep, winding perilous mountain cliff side roads(I was afraid we’d plunge off the cliff and into the sea!) and I walked down(stupidly) as the cable car line was 10 blocks long….it took me an hour and there was donkey pee and ca-ca everywhere and I had sandals and it was all slippery cobblestones as well.I saw topless women tanning on a beach and waded in the sea.I also got scolded by an Orthodox priest for crossing my legs in church…I guess it’s a no-no there, or something?
We had an amazing time, but we’re dead tired.Travelling disrupts your body needs: sleep.,eating,and going to the bathroom.I foolishly go thru it again and again! 🙂
See ya!

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