Blogs from Middle East - page 2


Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra April 11th 2014

We were picked up about 7:15 (actually the guide was there at 7:15, but Jack was dealing with camera stuff for a bit) and headed toward Petra picking up our guide, Ali, on the way. Petra is too incredible to try to describe in words, I’ll add when I can add pictures. My memories were that it was unlike anything I had ever seen and the place did not disappoint. Ali gave us background and helped us climb to places that we would not have seen without his knowledge and help. Since he has been a guide for 23 years he knows everyone. He also has special relationships with some of the vendors. Early on, he and the proprietor of a shop told me that if I wanted to support a charitable project set up by ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District » Haifa April 9th 2014

I started work at 6 am writing up step-by-step instructions for the data prep work that needs to be done in Haifa. Breakfast was a surprise. The Dan had already koshered its main kitchen for Passover so there was no Hametz, bread. All around me I could hear guests complaining. In Israel, Passover is a big deal. Schools are closed for a week before Passover so women can clean their kitchens. Having school closed so much is a real problem for working Moms. I thought I was going to work through lunch, but the best laid plans…..Jack, Hilla and I went back to Silgan’s for more salad. Israelis make the best salads! I ended up working until 4 and as I departed I was given a small gift made by the parents and children of the ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai April 9th 2014

Due to the long flight I had planned and my much needed real vacation time, I looked into flying Business Class... just on a whim. Lo and behold! I saw great deals on Emirates! Not only that, the deals were on the A380 - the largest passenger jet in the world! The price was just a little more than twice the price of Economy, so I went for it - 16 hour flight on Emirates in business? Yep - made total sense! (I've been unable to find the same deal for any time recently - I'd love to fly my parents in, but I can only splurge so much!) Can I just say - wow! Wow. Wow. WOW! Was it totally worth it! From beginning to end. I was able to check in pretty quickly and ... read more
Plenty of legroom
My own drink storage and charging area

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District » Haifa April 8th 2014

Day 3 stated with a couple of hours of productive updating of the application. While I worked, Jack went of to take picture of mother’s and their kids at the Center. Our walking tour began when we met Moshe and his wife at 11. We began outside the hotel at the top of the Carmel and we walked down the steps to the water. This is not a 5-minute stroll as the top of the Carmel is over 1,000 feet above the water. As Haifa grew up the mountain, stairs were built to enable people who mostly didn’t have cars, to get from the industrial neighborhoods to the residential neighborhoods. Haifa is an upside down city where the wealthy people live up on the mountainside and the poor people live down by the water. It may ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 6th 2014

Seeing some nice historical places in Istanbul A while ago we went to Istanbul over a weekend. Although we have been to Istanbul before we looked forward to this trip for two reasons: 1 On the agenda was to see a few sights that we have not seen in our previous visits 2 We were going there with a good friend whose company we knew we would enjoy. First place we went to was the Topkapi Palace, the home of the Ottoman Sultans for a period of 400 hundred years, a period that ended in the mid 19th century. Today Topkapi Palace is a museum and also a UNESCO world heritage site. In the Topkapi Palace compound there are several different buildings. Some of the buildings were the private living quarters of the sultan, one part ... read more
Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace


Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan April 6th 2014

I write his final entry from my pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Sunday after assisting at 2 Masses at Holy Family and shaking off the last little bit of jet lag, more about that in a bit. Our final day in the Holy Land began with Mass on the Mount Beatitudes. I was privileged to preach at this Mass and gained another pearl of wisdom from Msgr. Foynes on humility that I’ll share another time. Our first stop after Mass was the church built on the site of the miracle of the loaves & fishes. Right before I was ordained one of our teachers in formation, Sr. Theresa Betz gave each of us a postcard of the mosaic on the floor in front of the altar of that church with an uplifting note. I still ... read more
Famous Mosaic
Church of the loaves & fishes
Church of the loaves & fishes

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 6th 2014

An anomaly of Turkish life was played out every morning in the breakfast room at our hotel. The Turkish travellers visiting Istanbul far outnumbered the overseas tourists and most of them adopted a more conservative form of dress. A flat screen TV mounted on one wall played VH1 videos on every visit, the majority of which were best described as risque. The locals - fathers, wives and daughters - some clad in full burkhas, sat glued to the soft porn videos loosely camoflaged as euro-pop tunes. It was with great interest therefore when I came across a professional photo shoot at Sirkeci Railway Station, featuring an attractive pop princess. An aide advised that they were shooting the stills for part of the latest video. He informed us who we were watching, but alas I failed to ... read more
Spce Market

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District » Haifa April 6th 2014

CJP paid for my airfare and for my hotel in Haifa in return for my work on the system for Parents at the Center. They are certainly getting their money’s worth! We arrived at the hotel in Haifa and since we had the “CJP” affiliation and the hotel was empty they upgraded us to an Executive room. It is one of the top hotels in Haifa and I can’t say I minded being surrounded by such nice furnishing. Having been at this hotel before, I was looking forward to their Israeli breakfast, a huge buffet with fruit, salads, cheese, and cappuccino. I was not disappointed. Sunday, my workday began at 9 AM at the Parents at the Center facility. Here’s a link to a recent article I met with Hilla, Oshrat and Liron all day ... read more

Middle East » Oman » Muscat » Muttrah April 5th 2014

Being a Friday, it has been strangely quiet as the building sites that surround us lay still and silent for the weekend break. We decide to abandon any further progress on building up our home, in favour of seeing something of this mystical and charming country. Consulting a map we decide on a route and after a slow start to the day we head for the mountains. First, we must travel north along the coast road and past the airport, to find the road that heads inland. The traffic is lighter than normal and this makes for a relaxed start to our adventure. As we make our way towards the mountains we cross the Tropic of Cancer. There ... read more
The river of life.....
An Oasis in the desert.....

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District April 3rd 2014

I’m back at the hotel after our day with Uncle Shmulik and I hardly know where to begin. After getting caught in traffic and then horribly lost in Abu Ghosh, we finally connected about 10:30. Shmulik served in an Israeli administration that was invited in years ago when the village was nearly bankrupt. The Israeli government built roads and sewers, the kind of infrastructure projects that actually change people’s lives. Since he had worked in this village of 7 or 8,000 people for six years he knew almost everyone whose path we crossed. Our first stop was at a large, newly built mosque in the center of the town. Our guide was Jabar, a building inspector who had worked on the building for the 3-1/2 years it was under construction. While I knew that very Orthodox ... read more
Modest dress to visit the mosque
Mosque in Abu Ghosh

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