I found myself in a hammock, swinging back and forth between exhaustion and the inability to sleep. My eyes are heavy, testament to the jet lag that comes from 16 hours of flying. But even a day of restless travel and few hours of sleep is no contest for the hot Israeli sun that beats relentlessly on the outside of my cotton cocoon. The sun has just come up but it’s already hot. Even the flies look for relief in the beads of sweat forming across my body.

The city of Tel Aviv also stirs with the sun’s intensity. They are all the normal sounds of a city: a jack-hammer in the distance, the high pitched squeal of a crane moving cement blocks atop new construction, the mechanical purr of motorcycles and scooters. The hum is familiar, but I know I have a lot to learn about this place.

That was clear from the moment I stepped off the plane. Even before actually, when in our own Newark airport terminal special security measures were taken to hand check every bag and wand every body. Then there was the moment when in the middle of the night I woke to find a man standing just off my shoulder bobbing religiously. As usual, I flew standby, with no set schedule or plan save my first night in Tel Aviv. That’s normal for me, but in Israel it’s cause for suspicion.

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  • Derek Turner

    I'm off to see the world. Usually I live in Flagstaff, but now I am on a boat with an old friend. We will be doing good deeds a…

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