Finished in Israel

The camera is in the bag, the batteries are charging, the files are archived in two places, and I am tired. I knew this was going to be an exhausting trip, hot, muggy, rushed, on the bus-off the bus,  hurry up and wait, drinking lots of water, deal with different cultures and politeness. It felt good to just put my feet up and relax, too bad this hotel has only a standard cafeteria type chair. Oh how I long for my old guy chair at home.

Panorama from the Northern face of Masada

They call it “The Grand Hotel in Tel Aviv” I call shoebox with a bed. True the room is just a but smaller than my bedroom back home, but this is the “European style” of hotel. Forever elevators, a view of the ally, wow! All for $274 a night. But since the work here does not really include the hotel style or amenities it really should be just overlooked. It is FUNCTIONAL, and thats about it. This is what the marketing department has to say.

A Grand Stay by the Beach
As the top 4-star Tel Aviv hotel, the Grand Beach is uniquely known for its prime location and new, comfortable rooms.  The exceptional blend of features offered, accompanied by an elegant atmosphere, make this Tel Aviv hotel the ideal accommodation to return to again and again.?The Grand Beach has the best location in the city, only a 3-minute walk from Tel Aviv’s beautiful beaches and minutes away from the city’s bustling center. The surrounding areas of the hotel are packed with waterfront restaurants, cafes, cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and nightlife. The old city of Jaffa and the Carmel Market are also nearby.

So enough about the hotel, let’s talk lessons learned. Always have an assistant, not only do they provide ‘schlepping’ help but they are a second set of eyes and ears. Valuable when in crowded areas and pressing people. I have discovered that first in line at the elevator door does not mean you will be first in the door. But my parents taught me to be respectful of older people, though I would really like to smack some people around. Oh and there is this big camera I have in my hand, now that would cause quite a bump.

South and West wall in Jerusalem

I have included on the side just some pictures I liked and has nothing to do with this blog entry. The time I have spent doing still photography is small compared to the main job,

Yemen restaurant

capturing the sights and sounds of this seminar type trip. I like to use the Nikon D7000 because of the really good RAW images I have, but sometime have resorted to using the IPhone. Pictured at left is the Yemen restaurant I ate at last night. I just was tired of lugging around equipment so I went with the IPhone photo. Can people tell the difference? Do they care? I would say the average person does not care and do not really see the difference. Today the camera in the lowest I-type phone is at least 5 megapixels. Much like how much I demand of audio quality, the same goes for pictures for me. Laundry was one of my worries, but I found a little shop 2 blocks from the hotel, and they deliver to the door. Just 45 shekels ($12) for as big bag. The hotel charges by the piece and sends probably to the same laundry, I just walk it two blocks. Have not seen what they do with whites, but my shirts all came back smelling nice and clean. A much  better solution that I was planning, doing the laundry in the bathtub.

The old the the new in Tel Aviv

The difference between the old and the new is what hits you most. When you look around the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, it is usually a whole section of old, then a whole section of new. Here in Tel Aviv the old and the new are often times right next to one another. From the air it looks like a modern clean city, from the ground and walking the streets, it is dirtier than the worst part of Brooklyn.  Not to get all my Brooklyn friends up in arms, but you know what I mean. I was just struck by the dirt, smell of pee (cat and people) oh in case you have not seen or heard, you can just pull your car over to the side of the road and pee. A little alarming to the first time visitor since they don’t try and hide it, and this goes for both men and women. The women however are more discrete. In the city, I have not seen it, however we passed a neighborhood last night on the way back from dinner and most people were on the balconies sitting nude. Much like the surprise I found on the beaches, men and women getting all-over tans.

Road signs are also in English

So what does this have to do with the problems involved in doing remote location photography and videography? It is all part of the culture that I try to blend in with, trying not to stand out like a tourist and trying to get honest views and reactions from the people I  interview. Three days of rest here then a  early 6am flight to Warsaw and part two of this summer adventure. Thanks to all who have been visiting the blog and sending comments. Thanks for my wife for not making a fuss that I am away for almost a month this summer (I will make it up to you in Michigan), and to my son for hosting the blog. Shalom.

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