Location: In my hotel room in Tel Aviv
We’re here! We landed in Israel pretty much right on time, about 17.5 hours after Faith and John dropped me off at O’Hare.
Hanging at O’Hare: 2.5 hours
Flight from Chicago to London: 7.5 hours
Layover in London (which took every minute we had – no free time there): 2.5 hours
Flight from London to Tel Aviv: 5 hours
Total: 17.5 hours
The Tel Aviv airport was small and efficient. We didn’t see much, because we made a bee-line for baggage claim. customs, then straight to the busses. By this time, I was getting pretty tired. I had met a very nice business guy on the flight to Tel Aviv, who sounded like he’d traveled all over the world. But the downside of our conversation was that it kept me up. By the time he turned to other things, I was utterly exhausted. I know I wasn’t a very good conversationalist as a result.
I got an hour or so nap, and then the guy in front of me slammed his seat back into my knees, and that was it for sleep. So, I watched the new G.I. Joe movie (which was fair), got a little more sleep (maybe 30 minutes), and read my way into Israel.
After landing and getting on the bus, we rode 10 miles to the Dan Panorama hotel on the Mediterranean sea, between Joppa to the south and Tel Aviv to the north. Joppa was the site in 800 BC where the prophet Jonah had attempted to flee from God’s call to preach to Nineveh, the great urban center. He set sail from Joppa for Tarshish, was swallowed by a whale, and the spit back up in Joppa after learning to do what God said. From here, then he went to Nineveh. Years before that, Joppa was the port city that received the great cedars of Lebanon (to the north up the coast of the Med) that were used to build Solomon’s temple. Then after Jesus had ascended into heaven, Joppa is where the apostle Peter had his vision of the unclean foods being lowers by angels in a sheet, which ignited a new crusade to take the gospel to the gentiles.
By the time we got to the hotel at 5PM, it was almost dark. Add in the heavy clouds, and it made taking pictures almost impossible. But I was determined at least to explore a little bit of the area before dinner at 6:30, and the guide had said it would be perfectly save to check out the beach on the Mediterranean Sea just across the street from the hotel.
Before heading out, though, I stopped by the room, and met my roommate Jace. Because I’m hear without my amazing wife, I was assigned a roommate by Walk in the Word. Roommate roulette is always a little scary, but I immediately knew Jace would be a great roommate, and I was right.
We headed downstairs to wander the beach for a few. We joined up with a couple other folks I’d met at the airport the day before. We also met a large group of Harvest folks in the lobby who essentially came together and were already planning to explore the beach. Especially having a larger group assembled, we were ready to check out the surrounding area.
The beach was great. Clean, well-lit, great bike/jogging path. There were a number of runners and bikers out. Families were grilling on the beach. Stray cats were everywhere waiting for someone to drop something they’d just grilled or leave the grill unguarded. There was also a playground made of wood and ropes that John would of loved.
One slightly more random thing was that someone came tearing through the park riding a horse at a full-on gallop. That’s something you just wouldn’t see in the States. Between the playground and the horseback rider, I really missed my family.
But I did get to stick my toe in the waters of the Mediterranean. How cool is that!?
Okay, time for dinner.
I definitely lucked out on the roommate roulette as well!