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  • Ohad, our tour guide (in the picture) did a brilliant job telling a group of 15 tourists from around the world (well western and eastern races to be specific), what Israel/Jerusalem is all about. It was an easy going excursion, with a lot of roaming and waiting around. Let's see what I have learned:

    1. Israel is surrounded by enemies, we know that with just a simple Google search but when realized on the ground itself, you get his feeling of people being alert, attentive, and quite clear on what to do next in the event of unexpected events. It's very subtle, I had to pay attention.

    2. Food is healthy. Where there is meat, there lie the green leafy vegetables like a mandatory supplement. No complaints, goes to show as well why obesity is not common.

    3. Generally, resources are limited being a small country, but it doesn't matter, innovation is around and they always find a way around it. But, the cost is there, and you have to pay for it.

    4. As an exporter of olive oil, they make sure they taste better by growing them on very salty lands. Salty mainly because these used to be part of the ocean.

    5. The Bedouins are cold-blooded nomads who are not bothered by the Judean desert, at all. Some of them prefer to remain in the desert living how they've been since the old times.

    6. They used to have hills made of garbage (waste management gone wrong) in the past, now they are used to generate fuel.

    7. Most drinking water are served in bottles. See #3

    8. Jerusalem is a very old place. You can sense this with the structures and the roads, like time-travelling to the Roman empire and the Old/New Testament.

    9. 14MBps public internet is quite impressive.

    10. If you will swim by the Dead Sea, aside from a distant view of Jordan, you will also get a whiff of their telecommunications signal while roaming. And yes, it's the lowest point on earth where a salt sea exists.

    11. There are pine trees lining the roadways and forests in Israel, their roots are unable to penetrate deeper into the earth -- an adaptation concern.

    12. It rarely rains in Israel, and I was able to witness one in the morning. Snow comes for a day or two, and people look at it as a sort of a 'holiday'.

    13. People prefer to drive their private cars rather than ride the public transportation -- the latter being unavailable on weekends, basically, no choice for the family man who wants to go around.

    14. The Israeli Army is watching you. They (Mossad) who must not be named as well.

    15. The Western Wall in Jerusalem, a fascinating place where three religions coexist. I do hope my note remains in the wall, together with my prayer.

    16. Merchants are familiar with visiting Filipinos, and are quite adept at selling their goods using the latter's language. Impressive bordering on wizardry (accompanied by the confusion if this is a tourist trap or not).

    17. "There are no problems, only situations." ~ it's what Ohad told me when I started asking if there is a problem with the lunch arrangements. I reiterated the same when a situation arose between the tour bus and a miscreant taxi driver. I got Ohad's nod of approval for that.

    18. Israeli Airport Security is a national pride, and distress for the traveler. End of the day, better security means safety, because #1.

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