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Check out this tub/shower in Jerusalem’s 4 star Grand Court hotel.  It only covers half of the opening.  Huh? I found it virtually impossible to avoid a flooded floor after taking a shower.  No matter how hard I tried to … Continue reading

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Roman Aquaduct

Roman Aquaduct - Ceasarea

Roman Aquaduct – Ceasarea

Fresh water was supplied to the bustling city of Ceasarea via this aquaduct built by the Romans around the time of Christ.  Water comes from a spring near the base of Mt. Carmel, about eight miles north.

Imagine the engineering and planning it took to build this magnificent structure.  The water flows by gravity alone, no pumps, so the trough had to flow downhill continuously for eight miles, over hill and dale to its final destination.  If the grade selected for the trough was too steep, the trough ends up far short of its goal.

What’s more impressive, the route from Mt. Carmel went over rocky and mountainous terrain; over 4 miles was cut through solid rock.  Now that is engineering!

Thought for the Day:  Therefore O students, study mathematics and do not build without foundations.         Leonardo da Vinci

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Roman Amphitheater

Roman Theater

Roman Theater

Roman Theater Stairs

Roman Theater Stairs

One of the main attractions at Ceasarea is the Roman Theater; it presently seats 3,600 for summer concerts and performances.

Only a few rows of the original stone seats remain (see photo at left).  It is a gorgeous venue, looking out over the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by the antiquities of Ceasarea.

While the structure was magnificent, I felt the site had been defiled by the plastic chairs, modern stage and metal framework for lights and speakers.

Thought for the Day:  Sixties are now considered a historical period, just like the Roman Empire.   Dave Barry

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Shabbat 2

Grand Court Hotel Lobby - Jerusalem

Grand Court Hotel Lobby – Jerusalem

This picture has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell, but it is the same location where I learned about Shabbat.  I talked about the bartender that taught me about Shabbat in a previous post.

After finishing my beer in the previous post, I returned to my room using the bank of elevators in the hotel lobby.  One fellow got off the elevator at the lobby and I was the only person entering; I punched floor 9.

The elevator stopped at the first floor above the lobby, but nobody got on … they probably decided to use the stairs.  The elevator stopped at the 3rd floor too — nobody got on, hmmm.  Same for the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th floor, the elevator stopped but nobody got on.  Just me, alone on the elevator that stopped at every floor; I thought about the adolescent pranks in the US of punching every floor before exiting the elevator.

Same thing happened when I took the elevator down to the dining room, stopping at every floor with nobody getting on or off.  Later, I learned that during Shabbat the elevators are programmed to stop at every floor so no one has to push a button — that would be considered work.  After hearing that, I took the stairs during Shabbat.

Thought for the Day:  Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance.                                                                                                                                           Edgar Bergen

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Ethiopian Rush

Leonardo Club Hotel - Tiberias, Israel

Leonardo Club Hotel – Tiberias, Israel

The Leonardo Club Hotel in Tiberias has the most unique, and smartest, elevators I have ever seen.  There are no floor buttons inside the elevator; you select the floor you want from outside the elevator.

In the picture above, the lobby elevator bank was a typical “box canyon”, with elevator “A” on the left, “B” and “C” in front of you and “D” on the right.  You select your floor from a key pad on the lobby wall, and your elevator is displayed on the LCD screen above the key pad.  I pushed “4” and the screen told me to get on elevator “B”.  Confusing at first, but very efficient; a computer program decides how many guests are going to the same floor and sends the elevator(s) accordingly, no stopping on several floors to unload a packed elevator.

But the 400 Ethiopians staying at the hotel, didn’t understand the instructions.  When an elevator door opened, they all rushed on, but eventually ended up back in the lobby when the elevator didn’t stop at their floor.  I was standing behind this mob for 15 minutes and realized I would never get an elevator unless I helped some of the Ethiopians get on the correct elevator.

After a few loads of Ethiopians followed my hand gestures and got onto an elevator that didn’t bring them back to the lobby, the remainder of the Ethiopians in the lobby started flocking around me like I was a rock star.  To them, I was their elevator boy.  I helped a few more groups get on.

I thought the rest of the group in the lobby got the idea, so I punched my own floor, “4” and it told me to get on “A”.  The doors opened and I got on, several Ethiopians followed me on.  When the doors closed I could see that this elevator was going to floors 2 and 4.  Someone in the back said, “Seeks” and another one said “Seven”.  I told them it was only going to 2 and 4.  They said, “NO!  Seeks!” and another said, “Seven!”

When the elevator stopped at 2, I got out and, holding my foot in the door, motioned for all of them to get out.  Hesitant at first, they finally all got out … but one.  While still holding my foot in the door I pushed 6 and 8 on the key pad and told them to wait for elevator “C”.  Then I got back on the elevator.  They tried to follow me but I put up my hand and said “NO!” and pointed to elevator “C”.  So they stayed and I continued up to 4 … along with the little old man who refused to leave my side.

I got off at 4 and the man followed me.  I asked him what floor he was on.  He didn’t speak English, but he showed me his key envelope and it said he had a room on 8.  I pushed 8 and told him to wait for elevator “B”.  I waited with him until his elevator came, and I saw him on.

About twenty minutes later, I was going down to the dining room and pushed “1” for lobby and was told to get on “B”.    When the elevator doors opened, the little old man was still in “B” with his luggage.  He followed me into the dining room, where he found his tour group.

Thought for the Day:  Do a good turn daily.      Boy Scout Slogan

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Grand Court Hotel Bar - Jerusalem

Grand Court Hotel Bar – Jerusalem

I learned a lot from the bartender at Jerusalem’s Grand Hotel Bar.  After a full day of sight seeing, I went down to the bar for a beer.  It was 5:58 PM on a Friday; I figured the place would be rockin’, you know, TGIF and all that.  The place was deserted.

The bartender ask me what I’d like.  I ordered a pint of Gold Star dark lager, Israel’s national brew.  As he was drawing the beer, he said, “You’re just in time, this is the last one for the day.”

“Oh yeah”, I asked, “why is that?  He finished pouring and set my mug of beer on the bar.

“Shabbat” he said.  Being new to the country, I hadn’t learned any phrases yet, so I raised my glass to him and said, “Cheers”.

He smiled and said, “No, no no, its not that, Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath.  From 6:00 PM tonight until 8:00 PM tomorrow night, Shabbat is observed”.  Ooops, I meant no disrespect … but, crap, abstinence for another 26 hours?

The bartender saw the look on my face and read my thoughts.  He told me not to worry, he could still serve me beer, but only in bottles.   Huh?   He explained that no work was to be done during Shabbat, and drawing the tap was considered work but he could still open a bottle of beer for me.  My furrowed brow told him I was even more confused.  He said it had something to do with using the electricity to run the tap, a labor-saving device that was not permitted.  Never mind, I wasn’t about to press my luck and ask him how tending the bar was not considered work.

Thought for the Day:  Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.     Jewish Proverb

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Ceasarea, Israel

Herod’s Port

Construction of Ceasarea began in 22 BC.  A large sea port, amphitheater, hippodrome, palaces, temples and marketplace was built by King Herod the Great in only 12 years. Herod named it Ceasarea after his patron Augustus Ceasar; it covers 164 acres and eventually populated to over 100,000.

After Herod’s death, Ceasarea became the headquarters of Rome’s area governors, one of which was Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea when Jesus was crucified.

Ceasarea is located on the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles north of Tel Aviv.  I wish I had more time to spend there.

Thought for the Day:  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise me from the east to Jerusalem.  Matthew 2:1



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Hump Day

What Day Is It?

What Day Is It?

You’ve seen the commercial, the camel roaming through the office asking every bored office worker what day it is in a voice that sounds like Yogi Bear with a New York accent.  “Uh-oh, guess what day is it!?  Awe c’mon, I know you can hear me.  Leslie, guess what day is it.  Mike, mike mike mike mike mike, what day is it?” etc. etc. etc.

I had a chance to get up close and personal with this camel who would take you for a ride around the Bethlehem parking lot for 10 Shekels.  As far as camels go, he was a nice one, the best one I ever met … the only one.

Would you say he is good looking?  Hard to say with those chompers, dental hygiene is probably not a priority.  He didn’t look cuddly to me, barely pettable actually.  To sum up his looks, I’d say his mother is the only one who finds him adorable.

Thought for the Day:  I distrust camels, and anyone else that can go a week without a drink.      Joe E. Lewis

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