Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I've been rather busy the last few days. I don't really have much time to blog, so I'll do it in bullet points:
1. No water at the "tzimmer" (guest house) for 4 days.
2. Sick child with a fever of 39.5 degrees C.
3. Sick and tired MamaWombat packs everything and moves to expensive hotel at Hadassah.
4. Hotel is awesome. Hot water! Clean beds! Towels that don't stink of cigarette smoke! Woohoo!
5. Breakfast is included.
6. Tzimmer owner not only doesn't reimburse for 4 days without water, but wants to charge an extra 4 days because "the electricity bill was really high". I don't even know how to respond, I'm so stunned. Maybe it was high because the central heating didn't work half the time, the roof leaked, and the doors and windows don't close properly, so we had to use the a/c a lot??
Summary: One more week here without hubby will not be easy but now that we're out of the tzimmer-from-hell, and Junior seems to be getting better, it should be ok.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Food, glorious food

Currently sipping a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, I wanted to tell you about some of the wonderful food experiences I've had here in Israel.
The food in general is just great - simple, but yummy and usually rather healthy as well. Lots of fresh veggies and fruits; fresh, thick pita bread; amazing olive oil.
We were rather disappointed by the food at the Dead Sea hotel. I remembered Israeli hotel breakfasts as huge feasts, but the food there was more like army dining room food. The problem is, there's nowhere else to buy food there in the middle of the desert. And on a Saturday there's no cooked food either!
But on our drive back we stopped at a little place next to a gas station. There were lots of Harleys parked outside. The food at Muza was just awesome and we ate enough to make up for the 3 days of meager fare at the hotel.The other day we had breakfast at Bar BaHar. No, it's not a bar, it's a restaurant overlooking the Jerusalem hills with a few walking tracks in the surrounding forests. The food was sumptuous: freshly baked home-made pita bread, fresh salad, yummy cheese with zaatar, fresh herbs from the garden. The coffee was excellent too.
With all this great food, I'm surprised I haven't gained a few extra kilos!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


An Ein Gedi tree
Almonds and a weird lemon in Sataf:

Dead Sea pics

Last weekend I surprised hubby for his birthday. My mom agreed to babysit for the entire weekend and we drove to the Dead Sea for a relaxing stay at hotel + spa.
Here are the Kumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found:

This is on the way to the caves: in the centre of the picture you can see a person rappeling down the cliff. Some more people are waiting at the bottom.Here's a view to the Dead Sea with some of the many hot-houses where fruits and veggies are grown.
Driving to Masada:

From Masada, at the top of the cable car ride:
Tristram birds on Masada
The view from our hotel room. The mountains are in Jordan.
The view to the other side from the hotel room.
The hotel's Dead Sea beach. The water was too cold to swim in, but they have a thermal pool of sea water that you can bob around in.
It's not easy being a Dead Sea hotel elevator door!Here's something you don't see much at the Dead Sea: a boat, stranded on the salty sand.
Heavy machinery is more common than boats.

Jerusalem pics

ok, I know I owe lots of photos, so here we go.
These are from Sataf, where crops are grown on a hillside as they were in biblical times.

There are several springs and their water is channeled to the crops.
And there's Hadassah on the hill! That winding road is my daily commute.


Yesterday I took hubby to the airport for his flight back to Sydney.
Junior and I are staying here for another 2 weeks.
I can't help but feel that the only thing that I really miss in Sydney now, is hubby. I would happily stay here for longer if I could. But I have a job to go back to, and Junior has his friends and routine to go back to.

It was hard yesterday, saying goodbye at the airport. But not so much because of the next 2 weeks for me; if they go by as fast as the previous month has, then it won't be any problem.
No, it was hard to see hubby say goodbye to his parents, and his brothers. I couldn't help but think of my own goodbye in two weeks. How old will Junior be when he next sees his family? It's just too hard.

I sat at lunch today, looking at the gorgeous view of the Jerusalem hills on a sunny day. I very much feel that I belong here. With all the good and bad in it, Israel is my home, and it doesn't matter how many years I live in another country.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Too many passports, too many options

I have a problem.
I'm having too much fun here.

I didn't expect to enjoy myself so much here in Israel. I thought I would miss Sydney. But I don't. I miss the weather, but on gorgeous sunny days like today I don't even miss that.

My work here is 10 times more interesting. The people are genuinely friendly and warm. I'm surrounded by family and my son has all his cousins to play with and his four grandparents to spoil him. I have as much fun hanging out with my girlfriends as we did in high-school. Life is good.

Hubby is going back in a few days, and then I'll have 2 weeks here without him. I'm stressing about that already, and when I think of leaving and going back to Sydney I get all depressed.

I didn't expect this.

Add to this quite a few job offers that we both have already got at several universities here, and it all becomes too confusing.

I think it will take me a while to think things over and come to some sort of conclusion.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Zoo pics

Since I got to work each day, and hubby mostly goes travelling, guess who gets to take the camera?
So today I have some pics that I didn't actually take myself, from the Jerusalem zoo.
Hanging around: can you do that??

Elephants and giraffes, oh my!

This is an area with some type of gophers or something, and kids can crawl underneath in tunnels, and stick their heads out in these bubbles to see the creatures at eye level.

Taronga zoo is not the only zoo with a view!

Cafe Hillel karma

I walked over to the Hadassah shopping centre for lunch. There was a plastic bottle on the floor and a man, middle-aged, bitterly kicked it. From behind came a young man, picked up the bottle and threw it in the trash can. I could see from his apron that he's a waiter at Cafe Hillel.

Can you guess where I had lunch?

The salads at Cafe Hillel are huge... colourful and fresh. The country bread is hot from the oven, and the juice is freshly squeezed.

And the waiter got a nice tip.


Teddy Kollek died yesterday at 95. He pretty much turned Jerusalem into everything it is today, and was admired and loved by all.
Yesterday hubby and Junior went to the Jerusalem Zoo - it turns out this was one of Teddy's final projects. The eldest elephant there is named after him...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hair stylists gone mad

It had been several months since I got a haircut. My favourite salon in Sydney closed unexpectedly and I didn't know where to go. I was so busy preparing for the big trip, I told myself I'd get a haircut here in Israel instead. I saw a sign in Jerusalem, not far from work, advertising a hair stylist who specialises in short hair. So I made an appointment.

I walked in and one of the junior hair stylists immediately demanded to know how many sugars. Huh? oh. I got a lovely espresso.

I had my hair washed and sat down in front of the mirror. The Hair Stylist Extraordinaire asked "So what kind of haircut do you want?" "Well, I'd like a b.." "No, it doesn't matter because I'll cut it the way I want to anyway, I know just what to do."

And he proceeded to cut for about 5 furious minutes in a frenzied whirlwind of scissors and combs. I nearly fainted when I saw how short he was cutting. He stopped and said, "neshama, I can feel your heart beating. Do me a favor, take another sip of the coffee and calm down a bit before I continue."

My shaking hand reached for the coffee. Soon after he was done and I was sent over to a lesser mortal for final product spraying. Then I was sent to sit under this rotating heater thingy. I nearly fell asleep there until I was told that I'm done and that's it.

Overall it was quite an experience. The cut is shorter than I wanted, but it does look good and doesn't require any special styling, blow drying, or products, which is rare. I'll give it a few more days before I decide my final verdict.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

On the day that it snowed here, I didn't have my camera with me, so no snow pics.
Here are some other pics instead.
Some bike riders on the road to Bet Shemesh:

A freaky, and freezing, cat at Hadassah. Check out the eyes!
Sunset from the bus stop: