Page 3 of Laura421 Travel Blog Posts

The shuttle from our B&B in Montego Bay met us at the airport (where our bus from Kingston had let us off), deposited us at our hotel, and promptly disappeared. Once we were ensconced we wanted to go exploring, and we needed food and water. Learning that the beach/town shuttle only ran twice each day, and that we had missed the last run, we wondered how we were to get into town, given that everyone said it was too far to walk. The lovely woman at the front desk spoke with another employee who was finishing her work for the day, and asked her if she would show us where to catch a taxi into town. Andrea was willing, and the three of us walked down the hill and waited until the right taxi came by. ... read more

Yesterday was the solstice. In about two weeks Maine will start to lose minutes of daylight, declining over an hour by the end of July, losing almost two hours from peak daylight by the end of August. It's a very quick, steep decline in northern New England, a fast slide from long, easy, warm summer days towards our bitterly cold, snow-filled, very long lasting winters. Here in the Caribbean the daylight doesn't change much with the seasons, and it is no surprise that it is consistently hot in summer. But in Jamaica AC is everywhere, making life much more comfortable, although, as in the US, it is frequently turned on much too cold! I like what I've seen of Jamaica so far, but I am tired of waiting for and riding in city busses. In the ... read more

There is a breeze coming through the gate doors now, lessening the oppressive heat that stays in this casa much of the day. There is no connected air conditioning here, which was an unwelcome surprise, not at all what this B&B had advertised. There are ceiling fans in most of the rooms, allowing for restless sleeping, plus the fans - especially if you are directly beneath one - make the heat almost tolerable. We sweat so much, which is actually good for releasing toxins, but we need to drink tons of water to replenish fluids that are continually lost. Since I've been here in Santo Domingo I drink at least twice as much as I do at home, and still I'm probably dehydrated. Our poor kidneys are overworked! My youngest daughter Laila and I had planned ... read more

North America » United States » Maine May 15th 2018

It rained a few nights ago, and when I took my early morning walk I saw that there were hundreds, probably thousands, of worms looking as if they were either dead or gasping their last breaths, spread out like litter all over our dirt road. While I thought that the rain had flooded the worms' passageways to and from their homes just underneath the surface of the road causing them to flee or be killed, scientists theorize that this is not true. Worms surface for migration purposes; it is easier for them to move when things are wet. Also they do not drown as humans would; they can stay submerged for days without any negative consequences. Yet another theory is that in hearing rain, worms flee because rain sounds like mole vibrations, and moles love to ... read more

Middle East » Israel April 26th 2018

Outside my window, not too far away, I can see the Dead Sea. It is a beautiful sight! I've floated in it twice, although after the first time most of us said one experience was enough. But yesterday Zvi offered a mud bath before bathing in this gorgeous lowest point on earth, so it was impossible to refuse, even though I have never - even as a child - enjoyed playing in mud. This would be a unique experience! Six of us appeared at the appointed time and walked down to the sea. Our outfits would have been remarkable in any other place: two were dressed as many other tourists chose to do, in bathrobes supplied by the spa; three wore their regular clothes, and I wore a towel over my swimsuit. I had received a ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 22nd 2018

Three of us left at 6:30AM this chilly grey morning to walk in the Western Wall tunnels; the other thirteen members in our group had chosen not to go, not to wake up and be out and about so early in the morning. Zvi drove our very small group in his car to a parking lot nearby, and then we walked in a downpour to the entrance of the tunnels. No people other than maintenance workers were in the tunnels so early, so we were able to walk through at our own pace, stopping whenever Zvi chose to offer us more history. I had thought Osama, our guide in Jordan, was exceptional, but Zvi, an Israeli, is an historian, not only knowing all about Israel's and Palestine's past, but also extremely knowledgeable about all the religions ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District April 21st 2018

After days of bright sunshine and clear blue skies, I awoke this morning to grey outside my window and dark heavy clouds. It rained, on and off, while we were in the bus heading off with only about half of our group on another optional tour, but the sun appeared before we reached Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born. The statue in front of the Church of the Visitation of pregnant Mary meeting pregnant Elizabeth (St. John's mother) is graceful and strikingly apt. Zvi told us the story of Jesus and John rejoicing at meeting each other while they were still in their mothers' wombs, a very sweet thing to imagine. While standing in the courtyard listening to these histories we could also hear lovely singing behind us, in a little outdoor chapel where ... read more

Middle East » Israel April 19th 2018

This morning we left the kibbutz and the Golan Heights heading to Capernaum. This was St. Peter's home. This ancient holy site is marked by a church; Mass was in progress so, strangely, we were not allowed to enter, but why the modern rocketship-looking church was built so closely over the remains of the 2000 year old structure below, making it dark and enclosed, diminishes its energy, its holiness. I wish the architect of this church had created a different, less heavy looking structure, and not a church that looks as if it could sit down and totally destroy the beautiful remains of where Jesus performed miracles. One has to peer underneath this monster building to see the site, a very unfortunate and caged-in setting. But we are in holy land. Almost everywhere we go is ... read more

Middle East » Israel » North District April 17th 2018

Still another thing we did on our lovely Sunday in Akko and Rosh Hanikra was to have dinner at an olive farm somewhere north of Haifa. As we walked into this green, peaceful grove we were met by a vivacious black-haired woman called Shoshi who told us (with a smile) that we would work for our supper. Sitting on benches at long wooden tables we each had to prepare a pita to bake in her Bedouin oven. I used to make all kinds of wonderful breads throughout the years when the kids were growing up: making black bread, potato bread with caraway seeds, pumpernickel, Anadama, walnut bread, all were a part of my children's childhoods. Even before they turned two years old each of my children knew how to help mix the batter, knead the dough, ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District April 16th 2018

Yesterday was a day full of adventures! Sunday is the first workday of the week for Israelis, so streets were full and there was traffic, but mostly heading in the other direction. Driving north to Akko in our still beeping bus took about an hour, but it was absolutely worth it. The Crusaders came here, knowing this city as Acre. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Akko has two parts, above and below ground. The Old City of Akko is a well preserved Crusader city, still being unearthed and brought back to life; it is directly under the bustling city above. We walked through narrow tunnels, bending over quite a bit in parts, but never having to crawl on hands and knees, to secretly pass from one side of the city to the other, linking the invincible ... read more

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