Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have you ever had a day where everything just wouldn't go right...?
Well, my someone, his family, and yours truly, have recently had such a day. So where do I begin...
I've mentioned we are in the midst of holiday season in my previous posts, and so after we've celebrated Rosh Ha'Shanna & Yom Kippur, it is time for Sukkot. It's an 8 days holiday, which means many many people vacationing and touring the country. Usually that's the kind of time to avoid touristic areas, as you're bound to be stuck in heavy traffic, as well as over-packed crowds wherever you go. But since we were all on vacation at the same time (my someone, his family & yours truly), we decided to brave it and hit the road. I should mention that to top it all, the weather forecast for that day called for an increase in (the already high) temperatures. My someone's parents decided to keep it a secret from the rest of us as to where we were headed. We only knew it was to the Jerusalem area, and we knew it would involve water, as we had to bring a change of pants, and shoes for walking in water. We headed out from our place in Tel Aviv. His parents were in one car, in-front of us, while we were in the second car with his two brothers. Our first stop was in Ramla, an unusual stop as it's not really a touristic city, nor does it have any attractive/interesting spots... Turns out there is one. We arrived at The Pool of Arches which was built to provide Ramla and the area a steady supply of water. We entered the site, and went down to the underground pool, where we were told we can take two boats and paddle.... We then realized it was a 20 by 20 meter space... Nonetheless, as funny as it was, we entered two boats and paddled between the arches. After circling the entire grounds, we docked the boats and continued with our day. We had a short stop at the White Mosque where we climbed up the 30 meter tower, and then escaped the blazing heat back to the air-conditioned cars. We made another stop on the way for brunch at a picnic area in the woods. After brunch we were headed towards Jerusalem.
His parents lead us through some side roads, that run through the forests on the outskirts of the city, which was beautiful. It was also smart as the main road to Jerusalem was over crowded with heavy traffic. Eventually though we had no choice but to join that traffic. So we were on the road, climbing up as Jerusalem is higher, it was about 36 Celsius outside, the air-conditioner at its highest... and our car's temperature was climbing. By the time we were inside the city, stuck in heavy traffic, and no place to hide from the sun, the engine was boiling. We had to stop and open the hood to try and cool it down. After pouring a few bottles of water, we decided to give it another go, and try and get the car to the near by parking structure. Then, at the next light, right in the middle of the intersection, the other car, the one his parents were driving, broke down. Seriously ?!! My someone passed over to his parents car to help them out, while I continued with his brothers in our extremely heated car towards the parking, a ride which in normal days shouldn't take more than 5 minutes, but on that day it was a complete traffic mess and it took us about 20 minutes (and a second stop for the engine to cool down) before we reached the entrance to the parking lot. The engine's temperature arm was almost at it's highest point (that point in which smoke starts coming out...) when we were finally in. We parked at the first spot we found and opened the hood to let it cool off. We waited for a while until my someone and his mom showed up informing us that his dad stayed behind with the other car, waiting for a replacement car (it's a leased car). The leasing company told him there was someone on the way & he should arrive there shortly. After his mom revealed our destination was Hezekiah's Tunnel (Nikbat Ha'Shiloach), we made our way through the over-crowded Old City towards City of David. It was about 2pm when we reached City of David. We bought tickets for all of us (including his dad who was still back at the car) and we waited. We found a few benches in the shade where we sat and passed  the time waiting for his dad to join us. We played a few rounds of 21 questions, snacked a bit, walked around the premises, and the time passed. By 4:45pm we had to make a decision, as his dad wasn't there yet, and after 5pm you couldn't enter the tunnel any more. Though we all said we wouldn't go without his dad, his mom said he'd be real upset if we all missed it... so we went in. There's a bit of a path before you reach the point where you actually enter the narrow tunnel, and the water. That was no problem. But as soon as we reached the water and I put my two feet in I shrugged. The water was freezing! I had just gotten out of a cold and I knew that it wouldn't do me any good to walk in freezing water now, and so I said goodbye to my shocked someone, told him I'd meet them back at rest area, and I made my way out. While waiting for them to return, his dad had finally made it and we waited together. By 6pm we were all together again. We headed back to the Old City to stroll the Mamilla open mall. We found a nice restaurant over-looking the walls of the city, where we had our dinner. We laughed about the days adventures and concluded that all in all, no matter what happened, at least we had some family time together, and we actually had fun!

Photos will follow (on my next post...)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My very own Prince Albert

After a long day at work, I spent my Friday evening at home with the TV as my companion. My someone and I had alternating shifts today, and so when I was done with my morning shift, he was just starting his evening one.
As I was flipping through the channels, concluding there was absolutely nothing to watch on TV, I stumbled upon a movie that had just began. It seemed intriguing enough to let the remote out of my hand, and give it a chance. It did not fail. The movie was The Young Victoria, and I enjoyed it immensely! First because the actors were brilliant, and second, because of the story line, which is a true story, a fact that made it even more amazing to me!
I've seen movies and read books about love. I've also seen movies and read books about the royal family. I must say, they rarely come together. As soon as the movie was over I had to rush over and search the web to see if indeed it were true, or did Hollywood romanticize their relationship more than what it was. It is true! One of my resources had this to say "Their relationship was one of great love and admiration"
Towards the end of the movie it hit me. I know what a relationship like theirs feels like. I have it too. My someone is my very own Prince Albert. I think it came to me at the scene where they fight. They fight at night, and Albert leaves in the middle, which make Queen Victoria even more upset. The next morning, still upset, she gets on her carriage and when Albert follows she says to him he didn't need to come. He answers that he said he would, and he is, and you can see it is nothing but a fight that could be forgotten in his eyes. She later says to him she thought she had lost him and he replies that she is the only wife he'll ever have, and he shall love her till the day he dies. I know my someone feels just that towards me, as I do towards him, and for the first time in my life I know that no matter how big or small we fight, it is never the end of the world with us. Our relationship just like theirs, is one of great love and admiration.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Good Friends' Wedding

A couple of weeks ago, Dvora and I had the privilege of photographing the wedding of a good friend of ours. She married the love of her life in a magical spot by a lake not too far from Tel Aviv. They were a beautiful couple and the wedding was a blast! There was also an added bonus here... Since we're all good friends, there were a few of our friends on the guest list, including my very own someone! (and I got to dance with him!)
Here are some photos of the happy couple...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No Cars Day (or Yom Kippur)

If any of you are Jewish, or have any good Jewish friends, you probably know that us Jews have quite a few religious holidays to celebrate throughout the year. Our busiest holiday time is somewhere around Sept. and lasts until mid to end of Oct. (The dates change every year on the Civil Calendar as we use the Hebrew Calendar when it comes to following our holidays). For instance, last year Rosh Ha'Shanna, our new year celebration, was celebrated on Sept. 19th, but this year it was celebrated on Sept. 9th. (Change the year here and see the differences in holidays dates). It can get a bit confusing, I know.
Well, after Rosh Ha'Shanna which was celebrated last week, comes Yom Kippur which is The Day of Atonement. As I am writing this post we are in the midst of this holiday. Well, not really a holiday per-say rather a holy day. For religious folks it is the holiest day of all, in which for about 25 hours they fast and pray and hope for forgiveness of their sins, all in hopes to be inscribed in the book of life for the coming year.
I've mentioned in the past that I am not a religious person, though I do celebrate most of our holidays. I do so for two reasons. First is more spiritual. While I am not religious I am Jewish and for me being Jewish is not a religious thing. The second reason, and more important one, is that the holidays are family times. It's when we all get together with our loved ones and enjoy each others company (though I know in some families, the getting together part is not that enjoyable...).
Both my someone and myself have fasted in previous years on Yom Kippur. I don't know his reason for fasting, for me it was tradition, as well as an opportunity to cleanse my body. But this year we had both decided not to fast. We wanted to take advantage of the quietness of this holiday and the empty streets (there are no cars on the roads throughout the entire time of the fast) and take some photos we could only take on this day of the year.
At the start of the fast, as the sun was just about to say goodnight, we hopped on our bikes, with my camera at hand (and a mask we bought in Venice) and we hit the big roads and intersections of Tel Aviv

We started off on  street, and headed towards the La Guardia intersection (and tunnel). Go here to see a video of the road

Then we turned on to Ayalon Highway heading towards the Azrieli Center and Towers. This is what Ayalon usually looks like on a normal day

We took the exit there and road on Begin Road heading towards Maariv Bridge

We sat at the top of the bridge, something we couldn't do on a normal day, as it's for cars only- there are no sidewalks for pedestrians, and we enjoyed the view overlooking Maariv House