Saturday, January 10, 2009

Greetings from Haifa (the fotos are of Amsterdam)!

The pics are from the Homomonument in Amsterdam.

Up early, and wanted to post something before I head out.

After a grand day with Sonja. We took her bikes to Amsterdam and biked around a bit. You can see the result of this on the previous post. It included taking the rest of Bram to the Homomonument, It was really great place. I sprinkled the rest of Bram in the canal, he looked like stars on the ice. Mission accomplished.

The planes to Israel from Amsterdam were a bit tardy, due to icing… but I got here! Security was really high, so the plane is delayed an hour… that means my bags might even made it! Woo hoo! Got a sheroot (group taxi) for 60 sheckles…The landng was uneventful, no view of Gaza as the airport is far from there, there were lots of sailboats out on the ocean as the plane crossed the City to land the airport. Traffic thru TLV was fine, and onto the Haifa, was there in less than 50 minutes.

Boris took me to the Technion guest house and I took a shower and a nap, then he took me to dinner at a Druse restaurant on the beach.. Today I have mostly free, will meet with him this afternoon.

I am headed to the Bahá’í Centre to get my passes as soon as I get my act together.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

There is a Gawd

I woke up early (thank you jet lag) and worked some on on my presentation. Sonja is taking, me, Bram in a ziploc and our bikes on the train to Amsterdam. As I watch the whore frost gleam in the sunrise, let me tell you about yesterday (It must be noted that I have lived my entire life with out ever having the opportunity to write the word "whore frost" until now, but one whore of a frost it is outside).

After posting my plan, Sen took me (by bike of course, this is Holland!) to the old part of the city. The plan was to meet Sonja ether in front of a large church, or the Pilgrim Museum what ever came first, at 2:30. So off we went, stopping to take pictures of frozen canals and great buildings, Sen being kind enough not to leave me too far behind. He is a great guide. We eventually made it to the Windmill, and entered, and I offered to pay. Whereby I realized I didn’t have my wallet (including my passport). What to do?

Well, he paid and we climbed around the windmill. It was really very interesting learning about how it functions and the history of it. Leiden University being a center for technology, now obviously for centuries! All the time, I am vacillating from interest in the mill (my Uncle Ron would have loved it) and shear panic of having dropped my passport in a canal. I kept hearing Spencer’s voice in my head “jeezus, dad, get a grip!” Indeed!

We decided it was best to return home to look, where by I tore things apart, as is my custom during panic attacks that involve money, passports and the thought of having to call my colleagues in Haifa and tell them I had to stay in Amsterdam. Not because I was afraid of katushka rockets, but because I lost my wallet and would have to wait here until the March freeze to recover my way of returning home. (Last night I had great dreams of strange figures of Sonja’s art pieces coming to life and launching wallets at castles… After a good 20 minutes, we found it wedged for some reason in the sofa cushions. There is a gawd.

We had coffee, and took off. On the way we stopped at the only hill in town, having a medieval fortress on top – it is circular, and has a tree planted smack in the middle. I took out Bram and sprinkled some of his ashes all around the tree. The spot seemed perfect – spiritually, mathematically, and historically.

We made it to the church and realizing it was closed, decided to wait at the museum, where by I declared my complete inability to regard the subzero weather as anything more than lovely, but best enjoyed behind a medieval leaded glass window with hopes of hot tea. So inside we went, where by I was never more than glad as I was to pay for our entrance fee (note to reader - because I could and vecause it was warm!). The two people who work in the museum (a two room affair) took three hours to explain everything, as the place was so full of interesting things related to the time and former inhabitants, most notably being the Brewsters who ended up immigrating to Massachusetts to teach the natives how to serve a proper thanksgiving meal. Sonja showed up early on and enjoyed the talk with us as well. At the end Sen declared that I could follow him to the university to pick up a book or go back with Sonja. Well it couldn’t be much colder than this, right? So I chose to go with Sen.

We went to the library at the university, and rode back, and stopped off at a cheese store (it’s the cheese Grommet!) by that time I was thinking of ways to get us to stop, as each charming store looked so warm, and there were promises of free samples… but instead we sped back to home. My hands being so cold I could barely pry the off the handlebars to open the door of the apartment building.

Had dinner, watched then news (oh dear, more rockets!), and Sonja tried her very best to show me her work, but my jet lag came on strong… I would be nodding and deeply interested and suddenly asleep. She is a good camper and hostess, and I hope not too offended. He art work is so amazing.

So now, I am up (it’s very early, but jet lag has the advantages of letting me witness the sunrise, and bicycle rush hour below on the street. This trip ahs made me reevaluate why I don’t ride my bike as much. I mean, here I ma having the time of my life, on a bike, in sub-freezing weather… so what is wrong with me? Sacramento weather is grand, even at its worse compared to this frozen, sub arctic, polder of a delightful city.

People are waking here, I best go get my coffee and get ready for today. I'll share my pics this evening.

Today's day out

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