Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So, what have I been up to lately?

Considering I haven't added a post to this blog in way to long, I fully expect to have been really busy with what life has thrown my way.

That isn't really true.

For while I have tried to take a trip every weekend (more on those in a bit), most of my time has been spent working in the dining room of the Kibbutz, operating a dishwasher and other souse chef obligations. Yes, I rather prefer the term souse chef over dishboy, even though I'll be neither in ten days. 'Cause in ten days lambing season begins and given my extraordinary experience with animals *cough, cough* I managed to wrangle a job as a midwife.

It's gonna be totally awesome!

But now to the weekends and what spectacular places I've seen so far.

In short:

  • The Golan Heights
  • The Sea of Galilee
  • Castle Nimrod (most awesome castle name ever!)
  • Nazareth (on Christmas Day, ha!)
  • River Jordan
  • The country Jordan (though only from a distance)
  • Lebanon (same as Jordan)
  • Syria (ditto)

And come Friday I'll be heading off to Jerusalem over the weekend, which will be pretty cool.

I'll try to post some pictures here when I get around to it, but otherwise you can find quite a few of them f.ex here.

Now, I'll wish you all;

All the best for the Holiday Season and a Very Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kibbutz Geva

That would be the name where I'm currently living.

It's a pretty small Kibbutz with around 650 kibbutzim (that would be folks who live there full time), a bunch of people who only work there and about 20 volunteers (that would include your own personal Icelandic writer dude, aka me).

It's located just south of Nazareth, about 15 km from the Jordanian border, overlooking mount Gilsomethingorother. It's in the Bible, look it up if you want to. I'm gonna try to hike up it on Saturday and then I promise to find out what it's actually called.

Geva makes its living from a big-ass factory that makes something with air-pressure-valves; also they have orange groves, almond trees, about 700 cows, 50 horses, tons of sheep, scores of cats and heaps of dogs (a heap would be aproxomately 5 scores if you're interested).

But let's focus on the dogs this time. Dogs are, after all, the single most leet animal in the world... maybe excluding hippos. But as there are no hippos on the Kibbutz, I'm sticking with dogs. These particular dogs are of a very lazy breed as most of them seem to spend most of their time lying on the ground, tongue out while waiting for nice people to walk by and scratch them on their tummies.

Yeah, they are true suckers for that. You pretty much only have to get within five meters of a dog and it rolls over, looking at you with begging eyes, mentally commanding you to scratch it.

Who can resist?

I know I can't.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Morning walk

I took a walk around the Kibbutz this morning and saw "everything". Everything ranging from the library (with a memorial room) to the lamb-pens.

The latter is much cooler according to your own personal Icelandic reporting guy. We (I and a french guy who also arrived yesterday) saw that they had put the calfs in their own little pens and he showed me the coolest trick!

If you reach out like three fingers the calfs start sucking and licking them. It felt really friggnn awesome and waay cool to this city slicker. And the same thing with all the little lambs (no worries, they're still too small for my killing instincts to set in).

Animals are great!

But then, as we had decided to take the scenic rounabout way back to our place, we walked past this grapefruit tree and noticed that it was fruiting (blooming?). So simple as that, we picked us a fresh grapefruit straight from the tree... man! It was the best piece of fruit I've ever had.

Life really is great!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Landat i Israel

Får bli på engelska, eftersom jag kände för det:

After far too many hours in the sky, stuck in a crammed airplane, eating lame food, not getting any beers and neither many hours of sleep, I finally touched down in Tel Aviv at around 4.30 this morning (local time, whatever that's called).

As I've just walked out of the plane, this guy in a funny red beard, wearing a vest with something written in weird characters on it, asks me if he can ask me some questions. I, having just woken up from the aforementioned far too few hours of sleep, manage to grunt out a "sure" after which he swings into full action... first asking to see my passport, tickets, travel itinerary (spelling?), why I'm here, what I'm gonna do, what my shoe size is, why I'm wearing hiking boots and probably several thousand more questions.

Apparently he's not to amuzed with my muttered answers and asks me to follow him somewhere else. Somewhere else turns out to be next to the passport control where this Ziva David-like superagent starts asking me the exact same questions all over again. Having woken up a bit due to my mind having to think and since it was quite a walk from the plane to the nice comfy sofa where I'm now being interviewed I manage to answer more coherently.

Not that it matters to her.

Apparently she thinks it's very weird that ANYONE should come to Israel to work at a Kibbutz and believes my three pieces of plastic are waaay too little money to survive for two months in the Holy Land.

Now, I'm getting quite a bit grumpy, having not been offered any coffee and not being allowed to go back to sleep in the comfy sofa, so I actually start thinking about the answers I give her.

Very well, after a one hour interrogation she finally gives in and lets me proceed towards passport control....

Guess what?

Passport control stops me, asks me to walk with them for a bit and then proceeds to ask me THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS.

Let's then fast forward an hour, to when I've finally found my luggage (obviously it had been removed from the luggage belt) and am let loose on Israeli soil.

My ride into Tel Aviv has just left...

So now I have to buy a new sim-card for my phone and give up all sorts of interesting information to the cute girl in the phone shop, call my rides boyfriend who calls her and we set up a meeting at the Central Busstation in Tel Aviv.

To get into that station I have to let an unknown dude rummage through all my luggage and give me a very thorough body-search, just to make sure I'm not a suicide bomber.

But done with that, things start too change for the waay better.

My ride meets me, offers me a cup of coffee (SCORE 1) and waits with me for my bus. Turns out we grew up in the same town in Sweden and I'm probably aquainted with her boyfriend (SCORE 2). Then I get to take an awesome busride through Israel and get my umpteenth surprise of the day. Turns out the entire IDF is composed of babes! 'Cause at every stop, a new babe dressed in uniform, carrying an assault rifle, comes on board.

And of course, now having arrived at the Kibbutz; I'm writing this post, sitting on my porch, seriously wondering if I should put on shorts since it is just a tad too warm for long pants.

So it all worked out in the end