A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6

Netanya 2

sunny 20 °C

DSCF0099.jpgThe morning was spent getting organised on the computer so that I could keep recording what was happening on this trip and the Lucy and I went for a long walk along the beach of Netanya. The beaches of Israel are one of the best kept secrets because of peoples fear of what might happen but Netanya beach was lovely white sand, wide and clean and with all the facilities that one requires at the beach although being winter not a great deal of patronage was taking place.

We met Millie who walked with us for a while and who took our picture with the beach in the background, and we walked and talked for the good part of 90 minutes. It was inspiring to hear Lucy talk about ‘making Aliya’ which for us means returning home to Israel, even though they had never lived here before. We talked about hopes and dreams and how happy and settled they are here in their new 'old land'. There is a great sense of community and both Lucy and Allan have settled well and are part of the local community.DSCF0106.jpg

Netanya, as noted yesterday is a concrete utilitarian city with a mass of people from all over the world. A figure quoted yesterday was that there over 70,000 Russian immigrants in Netanya alone and Lucy seemed to know lots of people as we strolled along the beach.

Our day continued with coffee in the main square which was becoming very quiet as the town prepared for the Sabbath but it was fascinating to see the multitude of people from young women handing out little boxes of Sabbath lights to the old one legged veteran in a wheelchair who was worrying some of the people in the square and so one of the Shop Keepers came along and pushed him away from where the tables were.

I was privileged to share Kiddush with Alan and Lucy and to break bread with them in their tradition. It was an honour to be part of a ritual that unites people around a common aim. We shared a meal and afterwards chatted until it was time to go to bed.

It was great day with some great people getting to know more about them and their new life in their new land.DSCF0109.jpg

Tomorrow the adventure continues with a trip to Masada where I hope to climb the snake path, but will see how I feel when I am confronted with it.

Posted by Fletch1 11:46 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Day 5


sunny 18 °C

DSCF0071.jpgThe Trip from HK to Israel was in two legs and like most trips through the night was not one to be envied. Leg one was to Bangkok with Thai airways and was one of the big 747-400’s and was virtually empty, it was only 2 hours and when I asked if I could move to the window seat one of the brightly colourfully clad flight attendants indicated that I could have all the row to myself and any of the other rows that I might like. Service was of course great.

At Bangkok I had to transfer to and Al El with just a few moments to spare and I was possibly one of the last passengers on Board. Security was very tight, as it has to be, and the security person was very personable but her questioning was very focussed on why had I come from Hong Kong to Bangkok “did you not know there was a direct flight from HK?” “Why did you not go through the transit area?” However I finally got to the booking in desk and found that if I had been a transit passenger I would not have to have paid the extra 700 Bhat (Thai currency) and they would only take cash. So that was a bit of a hold up while they found someone who could authorize a credit card payment. Then it was off to the check in line and everything had to be checked; bags were opened, shoes and belt had to be removed, and all the time I could see the time ticking away. I finally took my seat on a very crowded plane and was surprised at the amount of luggage that people had. It seemed that there had been no restrictions on the number of items and there was one family that had two children and I think when they got off they had about 3 large items each.

When it was announced that everyone was to return to their seat for the descent it seemed like code for everyone to get up and say hello to all the other passengers, quite perplexing really but when the Stewardesses started moving through the cabin to check; people were quite obliging and did as they were told. Then I sensed an eerie quietness descend on the cabin which lasted until the wheels touched down and then cheering and clapping broke out like someone had kicked a goal to get their team into the World Cup. It was challenging flight but I arrived at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport.

DSCF0090.jpgI then Found my way to the station and Made my way to Netanya where my former colleague met me. Netanya is a ‘concrete town and is not given to all the niceties of some towns but it has a lovely feel to it and after we had a coffee and some pastries we set out for the local ‘Souk’, where Allan and Lucy did their weekend shopping. Markets are marvellous places and this one was no exception and I have included a couple of pictures that will give some idea of what it as like. We had a coffee at a special cake shop and then went for lunch. My adventurous spirit took over and I ordered ‘Shamsouka’ a spicy tomato dish that is cooked in a skillet and delivered to your table with a couple of eggs poaching in its heat. It was very tasty although a little too spicy and I am afraid that when we returned home it decided that it didn’t like my tender insides and decided to return to the world it knew best, (not in my stomach). DSCF0087.jpg

However after a rest and a lie down I am ready for the next adventure.

Posted by Fletch1 01:40 Archived in Israel Tagged souk netaqnya Comments (0)

Day 4

Getting ready to Fly

19 °C

DSCF0066.jpgIt was an interesting day; I caught the ferry over to the island and had a morning coffee with a fascinating HK Fundraiser who I had met through LinkedIn. She is an American ex pat in HK with her husband, and has become involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals; she is also President of the American Women’s Association and a real live wire. It is always exciting to meet people with energy and enthusiasm. When I return to HK after this little Odyssey I will be attending a social gathering of the Chapter and I am looking forward to meeting a few more fundraisers here in this corner of the Fundraising World.

Then it was back to Discovery Bay on the ferry packing and repacking, just to try and make sure that I have got all that I think that I might need. I have one of the kids back packs and yes I got it all in but I am now concerned where I am going to put all those souvenirs that I might gather along the way. I did have a thought that I might get a couple more Starbucks mugs to add to the collection but I was under the impression that Israel and Russia did not have Starbucks, but Susan tells me that she is sure that they have one in Red Square, now that would be a prize. There will not be many Red Square Starbucks mugs in Riverton, but then again I would possibly be the only person in the world who would be concerned at that ‘cultural lack’.DSCF0067.jpg

HK Airport is really something else again. After getting the Bus from Discovery Bay for the massive fare of $32 HK ($3.87AUD) it took me three trains to get to the boarding gate and so I was grateful for a coffee and a sarnie as I looked out on the sunset of this small part of the airport. I will arrive back her just after sunrise in 28 days time and I wonder what adventures I will have had?DSCF0056.jpg

Posted by Fletch1 01:27 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged getting ready Comments (0)

Day 3

Being Pampered and the Mong Kok Markets.

semi-overcast 17 °C

DSCF0049.jpgThis morning we took Ilse to school and I went for my massage and pedicure at Sense of Touch at Discovery Bay.

I was a little early so I decided to have coffee. There is always something happening in a coffee shop and at the table next to me were two women who were deep in earnest conversation, I could not hear what was being said but there were a few tears and a very supportive hug ensued between them; While this was all happening another woman came in wearing a bright shocking pink coat and the only snippet of conversation I heard as she passed my table was that she was so excited about something .... I guess just one of the reasons I like coffee shops because it is a place where emotions can be shared with friends and significant connections can be made. DSCF0052.jpg

Discovery Bay is a community that has a large proportion of ex pats and they cater for every taste and whim. There are martial arts classes’, dog obedience classes’, cooking and counselling and there are shops from a little handyman shop to a major supermarket with fish swimming in huge tanks for you to choose a fish that you think has a smile on its face, temporarily of course.

But on this occasion I went and had a ‘Deep Tissue Massage’. It was generally pretty good and relaxing but there a few times when I was a little startled at how deep is seemed to go. However the Pedicure was good and should be good for the next couple of legs of this trip.

Then it was on the train to Mong Kok to shop for shoes. I did not realise that there were that many shoe shops in the world let alone here in what is reputedly one of the most populace areas i the world. Again there were people everywhere and I was chased through the streets by another Chinese dragon and Lion dancing troupe. The noise and colour are something to behold and there is no doubt that their Gods will hear them. So; I got the shoes and the train back to HK for a night out with the family.DSCF0050.jpg

Tomorrow is the day.....

Posted by Fletch1 04:18 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Day 2


overcast 19 °C

DSCF0034.jpgThis is the most amazing city and it jumps between the poor and the uber rich in the blink of an eye. I am currently in Kowloon after coming across on the Star Ferry where there is also two classes and upstairs is first class and downstairs is second class, and the prices are $2.00 HK and $1.40 HK, which if you are an Australian is $0.24HK and $0.16HK respectively. Of course I travelled second class befitting my station in life. It is one of the historic ferry companies and has been in operation for 124 years and the crew are all dressed in old fashioned sailors uniforms with a big white star on them. The ferries appear old with a great big clunking 6 cylinder diesel engine but I am sure that they have all the modern technology and safety equipment.

Once you hit Kowloon you arrive at a place where money seems no object and there are often queues outside some of the high end stores that no one I have ever met would frequent and then there are the street markets for the masses and so I will do most of my shopping there.DSCF0043.jpg

I have had my first Starbucks Coffee for a few months and so I am good to keep going for a few more hours.

Tomorrow I have booked in for a ‘Deep Tissue Massage’ and Pedicure at the local beauty salon (stop laughing) and get myself packed and organised for Wednesday when I fly to Tel Aviv via Bangkok.

There are times when I am overwhelmed with the world and all that there is to see and I truly hope that I will never lose the wonder of it all.

I feel a bit like Benjamin Disraeli who once said “Like all travellers, I have seen more than I can remember and remember more than I have seen” so you will forgive me, I am sure, if my naratives are not as accurate as they could be because I have seen it with my eyes.

Posted by Fletch1 04:44 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

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