Quick recap: I arrived in Israel on Friday and was supposed to take off on Saturday for a sail across the Atlantic, but we're stranded in Israel until our paperwork arrives, which needed to go from Israel to St. Vincent to the US and then back to us in Israel. Without this paperwork, we can't leave. And with Easter/Passover taking place this past weekend, offices have been closed. Not to mention the time difference. In the meantime, the boys and I are trying to make the most of our time here--and we're taking advantage of the wifi, too. Fingers crossed that we'll track down the paperwork soon, but until then, I'll be sharing our trip with you. The days are going to be a bit skewed because I've mostly been blogging from my phone, but hope it still makes sense! Who goes on an epic adventure across the Atlantic and forgets her laptop charger? Yeah, that would be me. Fortunately, the guys needed something from the US to be shipped so we used Amazon to order me a new charger to be shipped along with their package! I digress. Here's Day 1 in Israel!) A lot of people asked me if I was bummed that the sail was starting off in Israel because I had just visited in February (I'm horrible and never blogged about the trip. Sorry guys :-()—can we just pause for a second and think about that question please? I'm going to sail across an ocean, does it really matter where we leave from?! Sure, it's always nice to visit new places but I loved Israel and was just happy to be able to take this trip! Plus it would be another opportunity to eat AMAZING food! Now that we've been "stranded", I will say that it's been nice having prior experience with the country so my FOMO isn't as intense.
Once the boys picked me up on Friday afternoon, we headed over to Tel Aviv port for a late lunch. It was a lovely afternoon meal that gave them a chance to catch me up on the status of everything before we headed back to Haifa, where the boat was docked. After a quick tour and rundown of basic rules on the boat, I got the chance to settle into my cabin (which you got a sneak peek of in my tour). Basic boat rules include things like: no shoes inside the house, how to use the toilet (fill it up, go, flush, TP goes into the trash basket), and...well, that was about it, for now. I'm sure as we get moving, more rules will come up. As night fell, Ilya, the first mate with the previous captain and one of the crew that would be joining us for the voyage, stopped by to see if we wanted to go out that evening. Even though I was battling jetlag, there's no rest for the wicked and even less rest for eager travelers, which means after we all took a quick shower, we were on our way.
My favorite part about traveling to a new country or city is meeting the locals. It's the second-best way to get a feel for the culture and the vibe, second only to living there yourself and experiencing life as a 'local'. The coolest part about hanging out with locals isn't hearing about the differences and learning about their lives, but realizing how similar we all really are. We met up with Ilya's friends in a parking lot near the club we were going to go to. Out of the group, only a few of them spoke English, but we had a good time just hanging out, having a few drinks and chatting with them. It reminded me of my younger days when we'd go out but you'd have a few drinks in the parking lot before going into the club since the drinks inside were always so overpriced. They were just out on the weekend, looking to have some fun with friends--sounds just like a typical night in North America to me! Our new friends taught us a phrase that became the saying for the night: "Yo bratan, palitelli!" which translates to, "Yo, brother! Let's fly away!" (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong and was saying it wrong.) Simple phrase but a cool concept, don't you think? We thought so.
After hanging out in the parking lot, we (Chad, Tyler and I) didn't end up going to the club because we weren't compliant with the dress code (mainly because of mine and Tyler's shoes--see some things are the same no matter where you go), which was totally okay with me. (I had just come from flying from the US, remember?) Instead we went somewhere better: a late night food place. The guy behind the counter caught me taking pictures of the biggest souvlaki meat thingamabob that I've ever seen, so he let me come behind the counter and snap a picture. Being touristy pays off, sometimes :-) We got our second wind after our food so we found a bar for a quick drink and then made our way back to the boat for a night of peaceful slumber.
Day 1, or rather my first 12 hours, in Israel were a doozy but I didn't expect anything less from my adventure. If you have any recommendations on things to do in Israel, send them our way! It might be a few days before we head out still.