Sunday, December 25, 2016

Israel 2016 Highlights: Fun & Excursions

Israel 2016 Travel Highlight Blog
July 22 - August 1, 2016
Blog #3: Fun & Excursions

Even with a pretty quick trip (this being my 3rd time in Israel in 3 years!) we still managed to find lots of new things to experience and funny/awesome things like all the Pixar movie posters in Hebrew.

We went back to the Tel Aviv "Art Market" again this time, mostly just to window-shop. But this is always a fun experience. And I got some tasty figs and lychees at the far end of the t-shirt market.

That baby onesie says "100% Kosher"!
At Nir and Ilush's place, it was suppppper cool to get to see all of the Pixar movie posters on their Apple TV in Hebrew. Super amaazing....

(Not a Pixar movie, but still epic)

This year we went up to the Banias, a nice (and VERY warm) outdoor hiking area at the foot of Mt. Hermon, near the Golan Heights. Since it is very far north and it was the summertime during this visit, it was 36+ degrees C during our walk. Needless to say, we re-applied sunscreen a few times and made sure to stop often for glida (ice cream) :)

As it's getting somewhat closer to the border, there are some historically existing land-mine-laden areas that are very heavily gated and signposted, and you can't walk in those places.

It was a very warm but a very nice walk, and the boys did some great tour guiding, explaining the history of the location. On the way back down south, we first tried to stop at another famous Hummus place, this time in Nazareth (yes, that Nazareth! As in "Jesus of...". It's always wild to see names of places here and think... wait a minute... this town is literally IN the Bible.)

Unfortunately, since Nazrat (Nazareth) is such an old place, the Hummus spot doesn't answer their phone generally and "may or may not be open on any given day". So we tried for the best and it wasn't open, so we went for steak and Israeli craft beer instead. A win either way!

A BIG part of this trip was Pokemon Go, or as the boys called it "Pokemonim" (a Hebrew-ized pluralization of "Pokemon"... i.e. "Pokemons"). Little Nir ("Little", as opposed to Ilanit's Nir, Nir Gadol - Big Nir) was particularly into it. This was super helpful as he doesn't yet have much English in his vocabulary and it was particularly awesome to be able to converse with him on an different level, though a non-verbal activity. He begged his Mom to let me take him for a "Pokemonim" hunt, and she agreed, so off we went. He was PSYCHED. He was most interested in catching a Pikachu, and insanely luckily, we managed to find one out and about after only a short time.

Nir called himself here "Melech ha Pokemonim" -- the King of Pokemons. I pointed to myself and said I was "Melecha ha Glida" -- the King of Ice Cream. He laughed and this was right before we took a break from the heat and got Ice Cream -- a every wise Pokemon hunter's fuel source.
Nir was very proud of his catch of the day.
I had been searching high and low for a Meowth, and finally found one in Tel Aviv that week. Roey and Tomer helped me rename it to a Hebrew name "Meow" -- there's no "th" in Hebrew, so we had to stick with "Meow".
Street cats are pretty common in Israel. After getting our ice cream and finishing our hunt, Nir was very excited to see these cats on the way home. He pointed and exclaimed it's "Meow!" -- a reference to the Pokemonim we were just catching :)
Pokemon Go mania was sweeping the country. This was the scene one late summer evening outside a Tel Aviv McDonald's, with 3 simultaneous Poke-stops all with cherry blossoms on them, and literally gangs of teenagers enjoying themselves and catching Pokemon in a huge group. This was so funny to see, and basically the exact same as my work had been all summer.

The Tel Aviv market was awesome and had some great (and very warm!) summer views.

This was funny, in Canada I feel like there's a place like Bluenotes or RW&Co. where the names of Jeans you can purchase are named after common Canadian/American names -- "Jessica", "Sarah", etc. In Israel, the "names" of the Jeans were sooooooooooooooo hilariously Jewish/Hebrew. Check this out: "Moses", "Keren", "Joseph", "David". Amazing.

Gotta make time for the beach!

And, on another hot day, we braved the heat and the three of us all headed out for a big Pokemon hunt together. Followed, of course, by a huge waffle & ice cream, which the boys absolutely decimated in a matter of minutes.

After what felt like too short of a trip (doesn't it always?!), we headed back home to San Francisco -- seeing one last super cool movie poster on the way home at the airport.

Ninja Turtles 2 Hebrew poster!
Our "we're sad to leave" photo we sent to everyone
It was another great visit to the family in Israel and everyone was so happy to see us (and us to see them, too). Till the next time, I'll be dreaming about the Abu Hassan Hummus restaurant!!

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