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Monday, July 17, 2006

Hello Halifax!

I made it here safe and sound which is always a good thing. We had to make a made dash to catch the connecting flight in Toronto but me made it! Unfortunately, one of our bags didn't... But no big deal, it was only one bag.

The food on the plane was surprisingly good. The chicken and meat were a little rubbery but tasted pretty good. The movies were ok. I mostly slept through Firewall because I've seen it already. Lion King isn't really my taste either. I watched King Kong but it felt heavily edited and I thought the plot was really dry. The effects were quite amazing though, so I did watch the entire movie.

That's it for now. I'll check in again later.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Blog!

This past week was my blog's first birthday. I can't believe that I have been writing here for a whole year! I guess it's fitting then that I started the new blog at the same time.

Right now I am sitting in the first class lounge at Ben Gurion International Airport, waiting for my flight to leave. I love traveling in style. I wish I could travel first class but alas, I am only here because my Dad travels a lot. I still get to enjoy fast internet, TV, newspapers and all the free kosher food I can eat. Not to bad if you ask me.

I'm going to go grab so more food. Stay tuned for posts on my trip while I am away.

Quick snapshot of the lounge from my celllphone

Monday, July 10, 2006

New Blog! "Me And Mo Do Israel" Now Open!

My new blog, "Me And Mo Do Israel" is now officially open for your reading pleasure! The new blog is just another example of the sick individual that is me. Come follow my pet moose Morris and myself as we barhop and travel around the country. Lookout world, here we come!

Me And Mo Do Israel
Read more about the new blog.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Too Much Holiness

This past Monday I went on a trip with the army to Jerusalem as part of a project called "Project Moriah". When a survey found that only about 50% of soldiers had ever been to Jerusalem and the Western Wall, the army decided to make that a priority. Armed with donated money and a goal, the army set out to have every soldier have a guided tour of Jerusalem. What a wonderful idea, in theory anyway.

My complaint comes when this is my second trip of this kind I have been on when there are people on my base that haven't. The trip became something of a burden. They had to find people to fill the slots allocated to us and for various reasons I won't go into, many of us were second time trippers when there are lots of people on my base who haven't gone.

Any reason to get away from my base for a day is great but I think I've had a little too much of the holy city. Between two Moriah trips, two birthright trips and another completely separate trip with my base, I've seen the garbage filled streets of Jerusalem a little too much in the past year and a half. (Don't get me wrong. I think Jerusalem is an important city, and I will elaborate on this at a later date.)

Anyway, we toured around Jerusalem, did the tunnel tour again and visited the Wall. This time I tried to actually pay attention and I think I absorbed a little more than usual, so I'm happy. I also got a ride home, and that made me even happier- so sad.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Climb On My Boy!

This past weekend was so crazy. I've barely had a minute to breathe I have been so busy. I was on vacation Thursday and Sunday and I really feel I did stuff this weekend. Wednesday night I met up with a birthright friend in Tel Aviv. We went a bar on the beach (the tables and chairs are in the sand) called La Mer. It's directly across from Mike's Place. I ordered a mango juice because I was driving. For 12 shekels they could have at least poured it into a glass. When I got the same can of mango juice I buy on base for 2.50 I wasn't so impressed. At least let me feel like I'm getting quality! Give me one of those umbrellas, or a sword with a cherry and lime!

Thursday night saw The Transporter 2 with Nadiv and Katz. Wasn't the slightest bit believable but the action was pretty good. An enjoyable movie if your looking for a movie where you can turn off your brain and jus enjoy the violence and explosions.

Friday morning I went with Katz to the beach in Tel Aviv where we also met up with my birthright friend. We ended up meeting the dean of the engineering school at Columbia (who is Israeli) while we were there because he was in town for 48 hours. It was a little weird showing up to this cafe to meet him in a tank top and wet bathing suit, but they told us that it was ok.

Saturday night Katz and I went to Tel Aviv at 1:30 am and decided to try a new bar. We went to a place called Starsky on Allenby street. Really liked the place. The bartender never let our bowl of pretzels get empty. He also whipped out a lighter to light another person's cigarette which I thought was really classy. Very old-school bar-tender.

Sunday morning I was up early. Katz and I got a ride with his mom to Tel Aviv at 10. We walked all the way up Allenby, around Shuk HaCarmel and that whole area. We then walked all the way down Shenkin (a big shopping street) ended up at Even Gvirol Street (another big street with lots of cafes) and eventually made it to Park HaYarkon, which was our goal the whole day. I successfully walked almost all the places that I know in Tel Aviv. I didn't realize that all these places were so close together, I had never seen them in the same context. At Park HaYarkon we went rock climbing at an outdoors climbing gym called Olimpus. We had a really good time even if we came home a little sun burned and completely drained of energy.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Yes, Mr. President

Two Thursdays ago on the 22nd of June (yes I know I'm a little slow on the posting) I experienced my first Columbia meet and greet.

There was a cocktail party at the Dan hotel in Tel Aviv to welcome the president of Columbia (the university, not the country) on his first visit to Israel. The place was filled mostly with alumni, since that was who the party was primarily for. This wasn't an experience I am used to. For one, business attire is requested. What's business attire?! For me that's my uniform. I don't own any suits or even a single sport coat! I'm not used to the shake-shake, smile-smile routine. I suppose it's something I have to get used to. The president, Lee Bollinger, seemed like a nice guy, but that is based solely on my two and a half minute conversation with him about the weather.

Following the cocktails there were remarks by the president. He spoke mostly about plans to open a new campus and about large donations the school has received. During the Q&A period after, then questions focused on the anti-Israel debacle in the mid east studies department. I felt he responded pretty well to the questions he could answer and nicely dodging the ones he couldn't.

Overall, I enjoyed the evening even if I was sick and had to go into base the following day to guard for the weekend. I could get used to a little shake-shake, smile-smile in exchange for the free food and open bar, but next time someone else is driving.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Justice The Protector Retires

Today is the end of an era. Not only is it Canada Day, it is also the day my favorite member of the Halifax (the city where I used to live in Canada) Regional Police retires. His name is Justice The Protector and no he's not an escaped mental patient running around in his underwear saving lives, he is a police horse.

Why do I have such fond feelings for this steed? It all starts back in 1993. The HRP was getting a new horse and they had a competition to decide the horse's name. Fist prize was (if I remember correctly) a $1000 scholarship for university. At the time, I believe I was a third grader. I wasn't really thinking about university, but you know, money, the excitement of competition; I decided to enter. I wanted to come up with a smart name, but also a smooth one. A name this young stallion could wear with pride. A name that would instill fear in the criminals and a name to melt all the cute mare's hearts. I did a little research, and came up with the name Sable.

Sable Island is a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia (the province that Halifax is in) and is actually administratively considered part of Halifax. This small sandbar (it's name comes from the French word for sand) of an island is home to over 250 wild horses. In the past many wild horses were taken to work in the coal mines of Cape Breton Island (another part of Nova Scotia).

Despite my well thought up name and what I thought- very suitable name for a Halifax police horse, I only came in second place. Sable's name would forever be Justice The Protector, a name I thought (and still do) more suitable for the escaped mental patient. As for my prize- not even a $500 or $250 scholarship. I got, drum roll please: a baseball hat, a frisbee and a water bottle. Score. I still got recognized at the naming ceremony, which I missed school to attend with my teacher. Sidenote-who was teaching class? I think I still have the cap somewhere too.

So today my buddy Sable (or JTP, pick your side) retires. I wish him the best of luck with his new family. Good luck to Rio, his replacement.

[Edit 07/05/2006]

Turns out Rio' sname was changed to Sarge, short for Duty Sergeant. So from one Sarge to another: Good Luck!

[Original News Story] [Sarge's Name Change]