It took me a while to come up with the best title to describe my past 15 days experience in Israel... Finally I was inspired by "full of ingredients" and just a little change -- full of adventures.
I think I am the kind of person who loves to travel alone. I seldom make a travel plan -- last time when I traveled to Tibet and Nepal I didn't even book a round-way ticket. That's the unpredictable part of traveling: I don't know what's going to happen, so everything is a surprise and I enjoy the process of discovery.
This time to Israel was in fact better organized. It was a business trip; otherwise it would be very hard for me to get a visa to Israel. I had to stay in office on workdays; but that was not too bad either, because I could chat with Israeli colleagues and learn from them. Of course weekends were my adventure time.
600 KM Drive
The most remarkable day was the second Friday (Sunday-Thursday are workdays in Israel), when I drove 600 km by myself up to the north. Haifa, Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights. I watched the most beautiful moon-rise in my life when the moon rose up from mountains over the Galilee Sea. I could not stop myself from constantly driving around Sea of Galilee until the sky went completely dark and my GPS kept correcting me to the right route back to Tel Aviv. It was too amazing to be rational. Time flew without awareness.
When I walked to a Cafe on top of the Bahai Garden for a short afternoon tea, it turned out to be a coincidence that a painter was drawing a painting that very similar to me! I wish I was in a long light dress so I could have matched the painting much better!
Israeli people were also active, open and hospitable. My colleagues took me to stunning places every noon for lunch and underground bars for midnight parties. Even random people on the street were keen to chat with me. In Haifa, a young guy who was a Haifa native asked me if he could show me around his city and introduce its histories. He scared me when he asked if I wanted to stay in Haifa for that night and even I was willing to move to Israel and get married...I was shocked but the second day my colleagues told me that was normal. That was just the way how Jewish people expressed themselves. Similarly in Tel Aviv when I asked a group of energetic men to take a photo of me on the beach, they even asked me if I just wanted a photo of myself or a photo of both of us. I felt that people were just curious to meet an East-Asian girl.
The Jewish Culture
The Jewish culture was also my main interest during this trip. Fortunately I managed to pay a visit to the Beit Hatfutsot, Museum of the Jewish People. The museum recorded history of Jewish movements around the world: how they spread to other continents and how they finally made it back to Israel. The most impressive picture was when I saw a sculpture that demonstrated Jewish people's attitude towards education:
"The Jewish family put the child's education above everything".
Also unity sits in the heart of the Jews:
"All Jews are responsible for one another".
Jewish People and China
They also had a synagogue (means church for Jewish people to get-together) in China from 1000 years ago. It happened to be the 70th Anniversary of World Anti-Fascist War and Israel consulate in Shanghai made a short video to thank Shanghai for refuge.
Sleepless Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is 24 hours sleepless. We arrived on Sunday midnight (1am) and everything was open on the beach! Families and children were enjoying their times playing on the beach...Bars and restaurants were open to accommodate friends and parties. One beef Carpaccio and a glass of cocktail...night life starts and never ends.
At my last night in Tel Aviv I ran into a musical concert in the Old Jaffa City. Vigorous band, devoted singer and amazed audiences when you sit in a historical open-air theater next to the Mediterranean Sea.
Tel Aviv is also open to homosexuals. Although from the legal perspective gay marriage is not recognized officially yet, they can enjoy their lives anyway and easily in Tel Aviv. Look at their graffiti on the street.
I also made a short trip to Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park. The park is famous for big caves:
For thousands of years people have been cutting into the rock beneath the nari as quarries, burial caves, storerooms, industrial facilities, hideouts and dovecotes.
Some of the caves were huge and people actually lived inside -- very cool compared to the outside heat. A residential cave can consist of several rooms for different purposes: bedroom, storage, oil press etc.
< to be continued?>