Updated: Oct. 13,2010

                   We arrived to the modern Tel Aviv – Yafo Airport in the afternoon.  Once we got to the small KIA rental car
    (pronounced Kya in Israel) we decided to meet with our friend from Newport Beach, CA who was visiting family in
    Herzliya.  The streets and highways were full of compact vehicles and the street signs were very foreign and hard to
    read.  As we drove north towards Herzliya we made a wrong turn making a simple 15 minute drive turn into an hour
    and a half of rush hour traffic and asking for directions.  We finally navigated our way to the main freeway and parked
    at the Herzliya Marina just in time to eat some dinner. We met Tami and Amit (local Israeli friend) and ate at a nice fish
    restaurant overlooking the marina.  The meal included appetizers of fish eggs in mayonnaise, Israeli salad, fried veggies,
    and a plethora of foreign delicious food.  We realized it was standard procedure for the Israelis to bring out lots of
    appetizers before the main course came.  Pita and humus are very popular and delicious together.  

                   After Herzliya we drove 45 minutes south to Ashkelon where the boat was docked.  Ashkelon is only 3 miles
    away from the Gaza Strip where the Palestinians have been sending rockets over to Israel.   The people living in
    Ashkelon carry on their days like there is no threat from Gaza. People were out walking dogs and running at night time
    because it was too hot during the days.  We only stayed in Ashkelon for the night then sailed 4 hours north to the
    Herzliya marina where we spent the rest of our time in Israel.  

                   Our local Israeli friend, Yarin, showed us the Tel Aviv market and shopping area.  This is where we saw Tel
    Aviv and how modern the city is becoming.  Yarin told us more and more people are moving to the city and real estate
    prices are on the rise.  He also took us to the beach just south of the marina where we ate fresh watermelon and
    watched jet skis and wave runners play in the waves.   The water was very warm and had many sandbars.  We learned
    to play a game called paddle ball, an Israeli favorite at the beach.  After the beach we took a long run to the light house
    at the tip of the marina and along the beach.  That night we met with Tom, Yarin, and a few of their friends at the hotel
    bar near the marina overlooking the ocean.  After a few beers we made it back to the boat to relax and prepare for the
    next day.

                   After a good night sleep we woke up fairly early to gather things to bring to the Dead Sea.  Yarin and Tom
    were guiding us around and we stopped for a nice Israeli style picnic at a natural cold water spring in the mountains.  It
    was fun to sit and eat humus, pita, and salad for lunch before we continued to the Dead Sea.  The drive took about one
    hour and thirty minutes but it was worth going to see one of the most unbelievable places in the world.  The Dead Sea is
    the lowest point on Earth (-417m below sea level).  The reason this Sea is so amazing is because of its salinity level.  It
    is so concentrated that a human being will float to the point where trying to swim becomes difficult.  It is easier to stand
    straight up and down in the water (without touching the bottom) and breast stroking yourself around.  It is the only Sea
    in the world where you can lift your arms and feet out of the water without exerting yourself trying to swim.  Playing in
    the water at the Dead Sea is not the only attraction in the area.  Just along shore there is a mud pit where people wipe
    mud all over their bodies as a type of spa treatment.  You will see people walking around with black mud all over their
    bodies.  Your skin gets super soft once you wash the mud off.  The Dead Sea mud is sold for a very expensive price all
    over the world.  Our last stop for the day was in Jerusalem.  We went inside the old city walls where Jesus was
    crucified and saw where he rose to heaven.  We also saw the Western Wall which is the most controversial part of the
    old city.  The Jewish people and the Muslim people are fighting for the same small historic area (Western Wall).  It is an
    ancient conflict happening in such a small area.  Israel is surrounded by many enemies, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon,
    Iran, and Jordan, who do not believe a Jewish nation should exist.  The Israeli men have three years of mandatory
    military service they’re required to serve (girls only serve two years).   This allows them to have pride in their country
    and to understand the responsibilities they must face to protect the country.  

                   Overall Israel was great!  The beaches were beautiful and the people were very nice.  We love their kebabs,
    pita sandwiches, and food.  We could have spent more time in Israel checking out the north but we decided it was the
    right time to take off for Cyprus and Turkey.
                                                                 Written by: Kristi Eddington  
Updated Oct. 13, 2010