Thursday, January 27, 2011

About Time

Well aside from a brief rundown of a events and a small musing on the nature of the Israeli Coffee habit, there really hasn't been too much information on what my experience here is like. So I will dedicate this post to some more introspective notions on my time here and what it's all about.

Israel is an interesting place. The city areas are as jam-packed... are more jam-packed, than any place I've ever been. Driving is like an extreme sport, coffee is the life the blood, and if you walk into a gas station with 200 dollars in your pocket you're lucky to leave with 10 shekels. It's also imbued with the feeling of conflict, you know something is astir around you. That these people are one side and these are on another and everyone has a different perspective as to why exactly. Kids (18-22 ish) walk around with powerful hi-tech weaponry (m16's being the weapon of choice) at all times and it's very common and casual. But that is not the life I'm living.

Where I am it is a whole different world. Only an hour or two south is the rural farming area where I have planted myself. The days start early but move quickly. Time has taken on that liquid quality where everything moves by faster than you would like. Where the events of the day pass by before you can take into account all that happened, and you find yourself hoping for an extra couple hours to squeeze in. The diet is almost entirely vegetable, for lunch it's usually a salad, a stir fry, and another type of stir fry, and maybe Thai sticky-rice, but it's still great. The vegetables are fresh and delicious and ever-present (yellow peppers are the new apple). Some days are spent working harder at preparing and consuming meals than much else, although that is rapidly changing. The development of my small outdoor shop is a cause for me to try and get in some serious work hours so that I make the most of my small window of time, and leave behind me a decent footprint of work.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is reality

So I didn't know what exactly I was getting into with this trip, I just figured after so many years I'm due to visit Israel (and my father had the same sentiments, only more so). Upon our arrival we rented a car, visited my mother (who happens to live in Israel), visited my aunt and some cousins, had a wonderful time with them, and then we proceeded on a little quest. We set out to find a way to make sculpture and (in my case) learn a little bit about agriculture. We went to the north to a beautiful Kibbutz and stayed a couple nights; we were treated to incredible meals and wonderful hospitality. Due to some complex litigations and insurance policies, we weren't able to stay there. So we journeyed down south to see some other places.. Anyway, through a little research and the help of a friends WWOOF account password I was able to pinpoint a nice little farm in the south of Israel that grew tomatoes and had goats and stuff like that. So I called them up, told them I was a welder, told them I was about an hour away, and they, in turn, told me how to get there.

The place is called Keyma farms and it's really a very wonderful and laid back environment. They accept volunteers through the WWOOFing website, who they employ to pick tomatoes and rake leaves and such. Now my situation is a little different than the average volunteer. You see instead of doing stuff in the greenhouse, I have been given the job, alongside my father, of.. well... making sculpture. Over the last couple days we have built a small metal shop in the area where they family usually parks their cars. We've gotten scrap and a welding machine, a torch, grinders, the whole shebang. So I'll be making some sculptures for the farm, fixing farm equipment, and teaching people how to weld during my stay here. I also have taken to a game called Taco, which is played by the migrant Thai farmers, that is essentially playing volleyball with your feet (and head) over a badminton net (on a basketball court). Anyway there is much more to tell, but I'll leave it at that and tell more later.

Oh and here's some pictures.

This guy is weed-wacking the desert.....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


(The first brief update on my journey)

Israel: the land of Milk and Honey…. I feel the need to rephrase that, to modernize that saying, lets call it…. the land of Sand of Coffee. I find that every nation has it's drug of choice, the Irish like to drink, the Scottish like to drink, the Russians like to drink, people in the Netherlands smoke pot, people at Phish concerts like LSD, the Israeli's drink coffee. Now sure, people everywhere like to wake up and have a cup of coffee, maybe two, maybe three! But in israel it's different. There is a steady diet of Coffee interspersed with the occasional meal. At the sides of highways you see small shacks that sell nothing but coffee, the bars are Bar/Restaurants/Coffee, during lunch it's coffee, after dinner it's coffee. When you decline coffee you are an unfamiliar entity. And it's extra strong coffee no less! Now let's assess the implications of these drugs of choice, in northern california where the drug of choice is Marijuana we find a laid back mentality, a sort of carefree laissez-faire attitude, in Ireland it's drink and sing and fight, at Grateful Dead Reunion tours we see tye-dye and bead-making, in israel you have aggressive salesmanship and tailgating.

(More to come soon)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Before and After

So I am about to embark on an extended journey to Israel (surprise!) and hopefully I will be diligent enough to get in some nice Mediterranean posts up on this blog. Until than I will bid adieu' with a little before an after. A farewell to the winter wonderland and an homage to the life it teemed with beforehand.