And the walls came tumbling down

Tree of Life Mosaic, Jericho










Saturday I went with an Embassy group to Jericho, located in the West Bank east of Jerusalem and near the Dead Sea. First we saw the ruins of Hisham’s Palace, where they uncovered a beautiful mosaic, The Tree of Life. The stones are so small it looks like tapestry. I especially liked this shot of the groundskeeper mopping:

Hashim's Palace, Jericho














From there we took a cable car ride up Temptation Mountain to a Greek monastery built into the side of the mountain – it had a beautiful view of the Dead Sea. (The cable car went right through the front yards of several houses – I can’t imagine walking out of my house and having a cable car go by!)

Cable car in your front yard









Blue door, Greek Monastery, Jericho















After lunch, we went to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the mountain caves.

It was a fun day and I got to go to some places I hadn’t been before – plus, it was a nice group of folks.

Today my neighbor Diane called with a spur of the minute idea to drive to Ein Hod to eat at an Arab restaurant, so off we went with another girl. The restaurant was typical Arab where they bring you a million different dishes, but this was the best one I have been to – everything was fresh and you could taste the difference. No menu, “just whatever Mamma cooked today.” And sure enough, out of the kitchen came Mamma with her apron. We also had a great view of the Mediterranean off in the distance, as well as the sad view of the fire-ravaged Carmel Mountain to the east.

Diana and neighbor Diane, showing off the eggplant















We stopped at the bottom of the hill at Kibbutz Ein Hod where there’s a funky artist colony, where we poked around for a while in the gallery and shops.

Bookstore, Ein Hod










Cat, Ein Hod



























The rest of the week was pretty low key. We had a reception at the DCM’s house on Thursday night to meet diplomats from other Embassies. It was fun to talk to folks who do what we do but for other countries.

I spent one morning at the airport to assist a teenage girl return back to the U.S. Helping American citizens is one of the most interesting parts of my job – it was great to talk to her mom on the phone and hear her relief that her daughter was OK and on her way back home.

I started a distance learning Urdu language class this week; you study on your own and have a phone session with an FSI instructor once a week. My goal is just to leave some basic words and phrases since I won’t get language training for my next job. It’s kind of fun knowing there won’t be a test at the end!

On a lighter note, I came across this graphic last week and it keeps popping into my mind – it just makes me giggle:

by Jessica Hagy


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