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Old 5th June 2006, 05:11 AM   #1
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Default What to do in Israel while on vacation?

Well, to put it simply, I'm being dragged on a vacation to Israel by my parents. My grades are'nt good enough to get a scholarship, and they're the ones with the funding, so I don't have much choice. (Being under the age of 18 also contributes to my decision. Or, more accurately, the fact that they're legally able to tie me up and stuff me in the back of the car.)

So, what in the bloody blazes do I do in Israel?

My folks have planned many trips to assorted ruins and museums, including Petra, which is, unless I misread the map, located in Jordan. Are'nt there a lot of Hamas activists there? (Too bad Prime Minister Sharon died; he actually managed to make steps twoards peace. Wether this was just preliminary brain damage leading up to his stroke is up for debate, but hey, peace is peace!)

However, having travelled with my parents for extended periods before, I can honestly say that I don't give a pair of fetid dingoe's kidneys for the things that interest them. While they like Monet and Masada, I prefer things that are a bit more high-tech, or socially involved.

I should also mention that, despite my inherently geeky nature, I'm a reasonably skilled spoken-word poet. (I competed at this year's Youth Speaks slam poetry nationals in NY.) To put it simply, providing the audience can speak english, I can hold my own at an open mic.

We'll be staying in Tel Aviv for most of our three week trip, which begins at the end of the week. Any suggestions?

Also, if anyone on the forum happens to live in the area...mind letting me listen to some of the stuff you've built? I'm still trying to decide what type of speaker to build, and I need some help with my Gainclone.

Thanks,
Joe.
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Old 5th June 2006, 07:15 AM   #2
Netlist is offline Netlist  Belgium
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Joe,
I donít mind you asking but avoid mixing politics in this thread.
Never been to Israel but I think there is a lot to learn in that ancient country.
Enjoy your trip.

/Hugo
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Old 5th June 2006, 07:20 AM   #3
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I apologize for the comments on Sharon. However, my comments on Hamas are more personal safety oriented than anything else; flying shrapnel does not make exceptions based on political affiliation, and I enjoy living.
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Old 6th June 2006, 01:58 AM   #4
Wombat2 is offline Wombat2  Australia
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When our son was 16 we took him to a visiting Rembrant exhibition His attitude and body language was not unlike your feelings above. We stood him in front of "Self Portrait" and said look this it is over 400 years old and it's as fresh and alive as if done yesterday. His response was "So"

A year later he was sent (kicking and screaming ) on a 12 month youth exchange to Mexico where he discovered ancient history. He was blown away and now loves reading and watching documentories on the development of civilization. He has been back to Mexico 3 times and every trip made time to visit a different historic site.

In time you too will change
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Old 6th June 2006, 02:36 AM   #5
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I visited there in 1971. I was 16. It was an amazing experience. But, of course, I wasn't with my parents...

There's more history per square meter there than any other place on Earth. That's really worth appreciating.
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Old 6th June 2006, 05:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wombat2
When our son was 16 we took him to a visiting Rembrant exhibition His attitude and body language was not unlike your feelings above. We stood him in front of "Self Portrait" and said look this it is over 400 years old and it's as fresh and alive as if done yesterday. His response was "So"

A year later he was sent (kicking and screaming ) on a 12 month youth exchange to Mexico where he discovered ancient history. He was blown away and now loves reading and watching documentories on the development of civilization. He has been back to Mexico 3 times and every trip made time to visit a different historic site.

In time you too will change
Don't judge a book by its cover.

Despite my age and apparent ignorance, I'm familar with the area's history in relatively decent detail. I'm familiar with the history of the Kotel, the Dome of the Rock, and Masada, amongst other locations of great holiness and past violence. I just really could'nt care less about them, having studied them for a mandated period of several years during a stint at a Jewish private school. The temperatures, which often reach 105 degrees or more this time of year, are also a major incentive to stay where it's air-conditioned. (Masada is on the top of a mesa. Mesas get HOT in the summer.)

My comments on art museums are not so much an issue of my dislike of art as my dislike of my parents, who are perhaps the least pleasant travelling companions this side of Alpha Centauri. Although I appreciate art, I lack the concentration necessary to appreciate the same piece of art for hours on end. In additon, while my parents are fascinated primarily with realism and still lifes, I prefer more modern art, especially the art deco movement. I'm also a reasonably proficient metalworker in my own right, and study art of my own free will.

Although I do find historical sites interesting, I have studied much of Israel to the point where it makes me honestly want to vomit. As an ex-Jewish athiest, the area has no more personal or religious signifigance for me than a tuna fish sandwich. (Actually, less. I can eat the sandwich.)

On the other hand, I've heard of an excellent musem of modern technology in Tel Aviv or Haifa, and I'd very much like to visit the sort of open market where one can find mechanical implements and power transformers in addition to the standard tourist-y rugs and jewelry.

Also, it appears that we'll be in Haifa for a good bit of the trip. Can anyone reccomend a restaurant? Kosher is not important; however, my family shares a distaste for barbecued goat's head. (I've heard you can buy it from carts.)

Also, a counterpoint to what SY said:
Strictly speaking, much of Iraq (providing it has'nt been eviscerated), Egypt, or Mexico City is a far more historically important place. Israel was and is little more than a small province which was constantly being fought over by irascible and determined peasants. Although it had much in it's past days, the only reason it's considered signifigant is due to the popularity of Abrahamic religions, the spectacular number of people who kept trying to conquer it, and the fact that it's got better documentaton than any other ancient place.
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Old 6th June 2006, 11:29 AM   #7
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I think you're determined not to have a good time.

Israel's presence along the route between Africa, Asia, and Europe has forced its history to be deep and complex in a way no other place can be. When mankind came out of Africa, it was the first place they had to pass through on the way to populating the world; some of the oldest genus homo fossils in the world have been found there. That process never stopped; unlike some of the other places you name, it's been the home to an amazing variety of peoples, conquered by many more, kept as a colony by the Italians and Turks for 2000 years...

But again, if you're determined not to be moved or affected by the amazing history of the region, I can't say much to change that. There are a lot of girls and hashish if you can get away from the parents for a bit; does that help?
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Old 6th June 2006, 04:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
There are a lot of girls and hashish if you can get away from the parents for a bit; does that help?
Ha. Ha.

Okay, I'll admit it: I use the stuff. I have a T-shirt, a necklace I never wear, and a washcloth, all made out of hemp. Good stuff, and less likely to catch on fire than synthetics.

I would not, however, smoke it, or in any other way ingest THC. That's just stupid. Thanks for applying the stereotype!
It just pretty much killed off my last relationship. My girlfriend is no longer the person I once dated, quite possibly as a result of lost neurons and marijuana dependency.

Sorry to be a curmudgeon, but I'm really more interested in high-tech things. I'm likely going to the Technion (Israeli engineering and science museum, which I mentioned earlier.), and would like to see if there's anything else I should take a look at. Israel's got some very advanced biotech research going on; my cousin used to work for an advanced hydroponics startup, and I would'nt say no to taking a tour of some labs.

Also, I am rather fond of bargaining and salvaging interesting objects, and like much of the middle east, Israel has many vast covered markets. If there's a market where I can get salvaged bits of old SCUD missle transports and old Geiger counters, I would'nt mind visiting it. Souvenirs are much more fun if they make the Homeland Security people nervous!

I also would'nt mind meeting some of the Israeli constituents of this forum, or at least having them reccomend where I can get good espresso.
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Old 13th June 2006, 12:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
I think you're determined not to have a good time.

Israel's presence along the route between Africa, Asia, and Europe has forced its history to be deep and complex in a way no other place can be. When mankind came out of Africa, it was the first place they had to pass through on the way to populating the world; some of the oldest genus homo fossils in the world have been found there. That process never stopped; unlike some of the other places you name, it's been the home to an amazing variety of peoples, conquered by many more, kept as a colony by the Italians and Turks for 2000 years...
Actually, thats apparently (aspects of it) up for debate these days, if you've read any of Laurence Gardner's work. Interesting stuff.
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Old 16th June 2006, 08:10 AM   #10
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Well, I'm in Israel.

I've stayed at a hotel in Eilat for three days; the Israeli-style breakfast buffet was AMAZING. All-you-can-eat smoked fish!

I've visited the "swim with the dolphins" thing (conveniently located within 1km of my hotel), which was quite nice; the dolphins were'nt stuck in swimming pools, and we were told to pretty much leave 'em alone. They even used to let them out into the open sea, but people would often feed them unhealthy things, and one appeared to have had a run-in with a boat.

I've also visited Petra, which was nice but was hard to enjoy due to the searing heat, and visited Timna park, where I saw King Solomon's Pillars, and the remains of an Egyptian temple. I strongly reccomend visiting Timna; it's only about 8$ USD to get in, and you can collect bits of copper ore. (Let's see if I can smelt them!) At petra, after consulting the tour guide, I managed to snag two authentic (or at least I'm pretty sure to be authentic) Roman silver coins. Although I'm hardly a master silversmith, I should have little trouble making rings out of them; all I need do is attach the band to the sides.


I'm hoping to make my way to a proper market or bazzaar at some point; I've got a digital camera, mp3 player, and PalmPilot which I would'nt mind trading for something local. (I can likely re-sell some of what I get for profit in the States).

I'm currently at my cousin's house in Beersheva, and will tomorrow be departing for Haifa.

So, now for more questions:

1. Where can I find a place to engage in some old-fashioned trade? I can likely cajole someone I know to act as translator; many years of garage sales have left me with decent bargaining skills, and I'd like to try them in a more skilled environment. (Sounds silly, but trading has a major advantage over gambling: If you find yourself doing badly, you can just back out!)

2. What's the best place to get small R/C toys in Israel? I'm rather fond of 1:64 (or wherabouts) R/C stuff, and there's a variety availible in Europe and the Middle East, but not the US, due to FCC regulations. I'd like to try and snag one. (No, they won't knock aircraft out of the sky. The 40mhz band is pretty much empty.)
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