Two weeks in and we are continuing our exploration of Haifa. We have trips through Israel planned over the next few months, but there is so much to do just in Haifa. We did the Baha’i Gardens a couple of times, the German Colony, and Wadi Nisnas with an excellent guide (Daniel Sigalov) who gives a free tour (donate what you think it’s worth- it was outstanding!). We are living a block from the Haifa Auditorium/Cinemateque, which has been hosting the Haifa International Film Festival. We took advantage of all the events going on…saw a couple of great movies (Killing of the Sacred Deer, The Florida Project, An Inconvenient Sequel), great live music (including Balkan Beat Box and many smaller acts), and the free VR Events in Downtown Haifa. Here are some pictures of the VR Event and my first Sabich sandwich (wow!). We’ve been really spoiled this week.
One of the cultural adjustments to Israel has been how everything shuts down during holidays, including Shabbat. We’ve been through some major holidays here, including Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shmini Atzeret. We’ve welcomed these because it forces us to slow down. We’ve been some interesting people and have been invited over to family’s houses and having great conversations and learning more about this country. One thing Bonnie and I have been trying our hands at is the making of Turkish coffee. We had some down in the Wadi Nisnas and have been obsessing over trying to perfect it each morning.
We’ve also did a nice hike from the zoo down to (almost) the coast. The trail was along what is called a wadi, a stream bed. These streambeds are dry except during the rainy season (I hope coming soon!), similar to many streambeds in California. Since Haifa is made up of hills, there are many of these wadis throughout town, which apparently cannot have development and they have hiking trails that can be taken down to the coast. Also, Salamandra infraimmaculata will be found here once the rains come! This week has been the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and is followed by Shemini Atzeret. Sukkot hints at desires for rain, and Shmini Atzeret includes prayers for rain. It is fitting we got our first rain this week, and I'm looking forward to more!
This blog will follow my experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Israel (University of Haifa) during the 2017-18 academic year. Also check out the family blog for another perspective.