I was scared.
And I never get scared. Well, at least not traveling.
But, like always, I was excited. It was something different, a road less traveled by my family.
We landed in Tel Aviv and the first thing I thought was how loud everything was. Even though it’s a bustling city with a lot of noisy cars, cool restaurants, and sightseeing, the best part of Tel Aviv is the old city, Jaffa.
It’s an art district with yellowing tunnels and alleyways, all twisting and winding. It’s the kind of city you want to get lost in. How cool though, these artists get to work in a 4,000 year old city, tourists like me coming into their galleries and splurging on gifts to take back home.
On our tour we saw the Floating Orange Tree of artist Ran Morin. As the title suggests it is literally a live orange tree suspended by cables. Its modernity gets lost within the antiquated walls of Jaffa.
Sometime later, we took a day to see Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. It was smotheringly hot, so we tip-toed around in the gardens from one shady tree to the next. The gardens started at the top behind the Temple and elevated down gradually, as if they were going to slowly slide down the mountain and into the Mediterranean Sea.
Before coming to one of the spiritual capitals of the world, and despite my grandmother’s protests, we swam the Dead Sea, which is completely deserving of the name. It looked like Mars on earth. Like a hallucination from a desert mind. We only stayed a couple hours because the 90+ degree water doesn’t go well with the 100+ degree heat. And one thing I thought I’d never do: walk on salt. Literally, the bottom of the sea was condensed NaCl because the water is just too salty.
But I’m just glad I didn’t get in my eyes.
Then finally we made it to the Golden City of Jerusalem. There we saw the conflicts of the Israeli territories: the second you saw the fences, you know where the territories lay. But despite ongoing conflict, there is something very raw about Jerusalem. In a city of so much belief, a reflectiveness sets over everyone. I thought about what mattered to me and what I believed in. I wrote it all down and gave it away forever in a prayer to the Wailing Wall.
P.S. New editing technique, which I learned from the amazing photographer/person, Helena.