Armchair Holy Land Tour-Part Two

By Roberta Sarver


Last week Roberta described flying to Israel. This week we continue her narrative.

After serving us dinner—yes, a real meal—the airline steward dimmed the lights. Several people leaned their seats back and tried to sleep. I dozed fitfully.  My internal clock said it was still evening in Missouri.  (Israel is seven hours ahead of our eastern time zone, eight ahead of Missouri).

How pleasant when they turned on the interior lights in the aircraft about 5:00 a.m. Israeli time and brought us each a hot cloth to wash our faces and hands, serving them carefully with tongs. After that they served us breakfast. Sometime during the night, a group of Muslim men had gathered in the middle of the plane and their leader read the Koran to them and led them in prayers. Of course, they faced east.

After getting our baggage, we boarded the tour buses and began a full day of sightseeing. We wouldn’t be checking into our hotel until that evening.

First impression of the Galilee region (northern Israel) was that it looked a lot like south Florida. Agriculture is the main livelihood in the Galilee, date palm groves stand majestically, interspersed with large banana plantations, orange and lemon groves. We noticed large, blue plastic bags on each banana tree and learned that when the stalks are ripening, the bags are put on to help. Olive trees and vineyards roll across the countryside. I bought a couple tangerines at a fruit market.  They were the size of large oranges, and dripping with juice.

While on the tour bus, we noticed several “Do Not Enter” signs all along the fences surrounding cow pastures. Our Israeli tour guide, Zvika, told us those were the areas where the war had taken place, and there still was danger of undiscovered land mines in that area.  That prompted one of our tour members to comment that the Israeli McDonald’s could offer “home-blown hamburgers,” which was followed with a collective groan from fellow travelers.

To be continued next week

Roberta Sarver is an author and songwriter who lives in central Missouri. Her humor columns appear in the Versailles Leader-Statesman and her original songs of worship have appeared on radio stations across the nation. She and her husband are the parents of seven children.

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