Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fishing in Galilee

I knew I should have brought a fishing pole...

We did a quick trip out to the Sea of Galilee, and it was a beautiful evening.

Water was calm, lots of little fish in the water. It even smelled 'fishy'.

The internet reported that they closed the Lake to fishing because the stocks were so depleated.
So... I didn't bother bringing a pole. Bummer! Apparently it is still open for sport fishing - there were a couple old-timers hand-lining the banks.
If only I'd have brought a few nightcrawlers along on this trip. Or powerbait. Would I have to declare "worms" at customs?

The water was very clear and inviting. Enough smaller fish makes me believe it could have been a good trip.
I violated rule #4 - ALWAYS have a fishing pole along.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fal-a-fal is Good Food!

This day was mostly a work day, but it started out beautiful and kept getting better and better.

The morning walks at the Promenade are a favorite.

A best part of travelling is always the food! Well, except that one time in the Phillipines... but the other days were good...

After the walking, there was a fantastic breakfast buffet.

This was my favorite - mushrooms with mozzarella cheese balls - very vinegrette and good.

Tonight, we asked all the staff of the hotel, and several folks on the street where to find Shwarma...

... and we found some! Not far away, either.

These guys got really animated for the Americans, too.

Dinner and a show!

It was really good - my first so I'm no conasseaur if it is "Good Good", but I'll be going back.

It was messy, too, which makes eating it on the street all the more flavorful.

The hummus fal-a-fal was also a treat.

Much lighter and crunchier than the chick-pea ones.

After a day of meetings, work, and WAY too much good food, the other co-workers and I took a last stroll along the lookout back to the hotel.

Who needs more than 4 hours of sleep in 2 days when you've got this kind of fuel in your veins!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fishing in the Mediterranian Sea

Ok, technically I didn't go fishing, but watched others do it.

It is Sunday, the Sabbath, so I'm not fishing, even though Saturday is the day everyone here observes it.

Last night's dinner was the only fish I had. It was great, too.

Several old-timers were fishing the rocks when I reached the water.

They all had very long, heavy fishing poles with line tied to the end which they'd bait and then dash to the water to put it in between swells and waves.

This guy never caught anything and soon left.

The beach was covered with shells, but not people.

Here's another view of Mt Carmel.

This guy caught a small perch while I watched him - I tried to explain that I brought him good luck.

He just scowled and tossed the little fish back in... just like my kids do.

Oh well, some language is universal and I moved on.

The crows chased off the ferril cats and were enjoying a Sunday brunch.

I hope when they fed Elijah during the famine they didn't get his food from the refuse-bin!

I'll bet the food came from the neighborhood, though.

Most of the beach along the point of Carmel was rocky and full of debris - innumerable broken tiles and trash.

Alot of shells and jellyfish, too.

I'd been warned by several to stay out of the water because of the jellys... but many were swimming the area.

A couple of nice boats around, too.

This one looked like a "Fred Flintstone" boat you can motor with your feet...

The shells were in piles all along the sand and rock.

There has to be a fair amount of sea-life in the water... and the clarity seemed like it would be a good place to snorkel.

Watch out for all the twisted, rusted metal!

I'm not sure what this was, but when I kicked it, it felt heavy.

I thought about openning it up, but thought better of it. Someone wanted it wrapped, and so I left it to sit on the beach.

I hiked the water's edge until I found an overpass over the highway and train.

There was a floating boat here - maybe a chance to go out fishing later?

Alot of patrol boats today, so maybe not.

Even though I didn't get to fish, it is always good to be at the water.

Hiking Mount Carmel

After a night full of small naps, I got up to another beautiful day.

Haifa is full of steep streets. The key to any good walk is to start on top of the mount and head downhill.

Alot of wildlife was up and outside already. Besides the cats, there are dogs running around everywhere.
Just like the Phillipines, except they are more friendly here.
Here is the only picture of a dog I've captured - they usually are always on the move but this one stopped in the street for a photo. Almost was tagged by a bus, too.

The crows here are just as big and loud as the ones in the Pacific NorthWest.
Different markings and coloration, though.

This morning I headed downhill toward the Sea.
I am suprised that most in Haifa I meet on the street don't speak much english, but at least the signs do.

Just before I hit the Sea, I ran into the steep cliffside of Mount Carmel.
I was really worried I'd have to backtrack uphill a few miles, since it doesn't look like a way down from here.
I was headed to see "Elijah's Cave" - where the Old Testament prophet hid from wicked King Ahab and Jezebel, and where he prepared himself to take out the 400 priests of Baal.
There is a cable-car here, but it wasn't running.
So close, but so far from the water.
You can see the weather is beautiful, but it is hot! Hiking back uphill did NOT sound appealing after the half-hour to get here.

As I wandered around the hill, I noticed what look like old stone fences and foundations of homes in the brush and trees.
This land is so old with so much history, it fuels the imagination.

As I looked around, I found a small trail heading out onto the hill. It was covered with trash - there is ALOT of trash around in the bushes and streets here.
So of course I had to see where it went.
There was a small outcrop ahead.

I was trying to be careful where I went, as there is a radar station or something on the hillside above the trail.
I've only seen 1 soldier in the 30 hours of being here but it is best to keep your nose clean and not be foolhardy around anything military.

The outcrop of rock showed another trail to an old chapel, and two machine-gun nests that were abandoned.
Another trail led downhill from the bunkers, and had large, old stones for stairs.
Maybe this can get me down the cliff!

This old trail led through numerous caves. It was very exciting thinking about the Old Testament stories and seeing actual places the old ones went about their travels.
All of these caves were difficult to get into - very overgrown and of course full of trash.

This trail did take me down - alongside cliffs of stone with much older stairs carved and worn into their sides.
So far, headed in the right direction! If I have to turn back here, it is a tough hike up!
Note to self - bring along water next time...
Where are the kids and their waterbottles when I need them!
Soon this old trail hit a dense wall of trees and brush. Nice to get out of the hot sun.
Still headed in the right direction...
The old benches left and decaying along the trail were at least 30 years old. Not much (if any) maintainance since then.

Finally, just above the highway at the base of Mount Carmel, I hit a service road.
This was a great hike - very exciting and of course I was all alone.
Very fun to contemplate all of the history around me, and the beautiful views of the Sea.

And finally, the trail dropped me to the door of Elijah's Cave!
Perfect - in fact I doubt I would have actually found the place on foot if I hadn't dropped down the Mount's side.

The cave was very interesting and definitely worth visiting if you are in the area. I spent quite a bit of time in its cool shade, enjoying the visitors (a whole class of 8 year olds changing prayers).
Being this close to the water, I next hit the beach.
More ferril cats prowling the waste-bins... but very few people enjoying the area.

Here's a nice photo showing the side of the Mount I hiked with the beach below.
The cave is just left-of-center at the base of the Mount.
The breeze was wonderful, and the water inviting. Except for all the trash.
Definitely a place to explore further in the future.

An Urban Hike Through Haifa

Here's the countryside travelling to Haifa. Very beautiful and much more agriculture than I'd expected.

The weather is hot, but this close to the Mediterranian Sea provides a nice breeze.

We passed several broken-down aquaducts that look like they were Roman on the way.

Here's a nice shot of Haifa's port from on top of Mt Carmel.

The first evening was beautiful out and I really needed to stretch my legs after 26 hours of sitting, so I headed downhill.

The city has numerous alleys and stairways cutting through the one-way streets that switchback along the hillside.

This image looks like many from any of the world's big cities - just like ones in Shanghai, the Phillipines, or even Chicago (in the summer).

Alot of wildlife in Haifa - ferril cats everywhere. I guess I can't call them ferril, as it seems they are all well-fed by piles of food on the corners.

They act half-wild, though.

I ran across several nice parks for sitting and enjoying the sunset.

The warm air and cool breeze was just what I needed.

I never did make it to the water... nor did I hike back up. A quick taxi ride took me to a real bed for a nap.

Jetlag never allows for full sleep - just a series of naps and yawns.

A Briefly Expanded Horizon

The best way to appreciate what you have is to leave it behind for a while.

We've had so much rain, it was nice when work required travel to leave the Pacific NorthWest behind.

Here's a shot of all the snow in eastern Oregon. Seems like alot for June!

The only downside of travel is leaving behind the family.

Oh, and the 26 hours of sitting on a plane or in a terminal for a layover... ouch.

Here's a nice view of Hell's Canyon.

This is as close as I've been to NY City.

I'll be posting while I'm on the road of outdoor activities, etc I'm able to get out and do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monster Mole Goes DOWN!

This was a great Father's Day... made all the more sweet by putting the hurt on that monster mole!

After more than a dozen lucky escapes, and at least that many big mole-hills, we got him. Zero-to-hero, finally!

The only disappointment was that he's just an average size mole.

Judging him by the size of his tunnels and mounds, we figured he was big enough to drag our traps deep underground, and damage the house's foundation, so we were disappointed that his hide isn't big enough to make Mom a Mother's Day coat... but she isn't too sad about it.

The villagers can sleep in peace now that the dragon is slain.

Garden Replant - Times 3

This year's garden is struggling... what has come up is small and yellow.

The 'preen' weed killer has worked pretty well... or maybe the weeds are just suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, too.

Either way, it is a sad garden compared to previous years. Junuary has not been a good month for gardening.

We've planted corn 2x already, and only about 6 or 8 plants have struggled to the surface out of the 14 rows!

The beans and peas are doing ok... but stunted.

We tilled around them to give them alittle more advantage.

We also soaked more corn seed in the sun to start the germination process.

The sun came out for an hour or two, so that is more than the previous seeds ever got.

We replanted 4 more rows - just to see what happens this year.

Wait... we already know what will happen. Three more weeks of clowds and rain because we planted in the garden, right?

Oh well, we had to try!

Plunking for Steelhead at Prescott

A little time on saturday was all we had to hit the river and try for a steel-face.

The crew was eager, and we decided to try Prescott Beach, near the site of the old Trojan Nuclear Plant. Our first time fishing here.

There were dozens of other people already there, but we found a nice open spot on the beach between the crowds.

We also tried a previous trick - Tuna Balls - with our Spin-n-glos.

Pretty simple... tuna-in-oil stuffed into mesh bags.

Easy to make, and pretty cheap, too. The tuna is only about $0.82 per can, compared to $6 prawns... we used prawns and shrimp, too.

Here's one of the lures with a shrimp on it.

Downstream from us the beach was crowded...

Alot of folks standing around with hands-in-pockets.

Word was that the day before was "red-hot". The tide just started to run when we got there.

"Shoulda been here yesterday." We've heard that one before.

Another gloomy Junuary day this year.

Once the poles were set, the crew got right to work.

We had 2 good 'take-downs', that rang the bell but nothing stuck to the hook.

There were only 3 other take-downs the whole morning.

One guy lost a fish near us...

...and one guy got a nice little steelhead below us.

How he got it to the bank without a tangle is pretty impressive.

It was nice to fish for a couple hours, and nice to try a new spot.

We decided if it would have been sunny, the fishing would have been better. Oh well - on to other things.