Israel – Day 5


Bethlehem is in a Palestinian controlled area.


We had to go through a checkpoint to get there:


And through a massive wall that sections of the Palestinian areas from the areas controlled by the state of Israel:


On the Palestinian side of the wall there is graffiti.  The slogan below “To exist is to resist” caught my eye.


Our first stop in Bethlehem was to shop:



Once our bus arrived at this shop,  street vendors started showing up.  They are VERY, VERY aggressive.   They hand you stuff to “look at” and refuse to take it back, expecting you to pay for anything you touch.  They will follow you, block your way, tell you anything to get you to buy.  If you do buy, they will push more.  They do not make change.

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However, we were to meet more aggressive sales people around the church of the nativity.

(I’ll post some more tonight about yesterday and today… I have only a few minutes before the bus leaves)


Mount of Olives


Church of the Holy Sepulcher


Pool of Bethesda

Israel – Day 4


On the way to Qumran

saw a camel:


Lots of high tech looking farms:



At Qumran they sell beauty products that are developed from salts, muds, chemicals from the Dead Sea:


Qumran is where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.  There is a set of ruins of a small village:




Masada is the famous hilltop fortress where a set of Jews rebellion against the Romans held out until the very end.  The Romans finally made it to the top broke through the walls.  The Jews before suffering slavery and torture at the hands of the Romans decided to commit mass suicide. 

The Israeli arm forces have their swearing in ceremony on Masada (except the paratroopers that do it at the wailing wall).  They end the ceremony by saying “Masada will never fall again!”

You can either walk to the top on a very steep, difficult path or you could take the cable car:






The last few people to commit suicide drew lots to see what the order would be.  (The last man would have to kill himself.)



The cable cars were jammed packed:


The hilltop where Masada is located:


Lunch back in Quamran (too many people trying to get lunch at the same time… too long waiting in line!~)

This is the remains of  Jordan Army camp that was used in the war against Israel:  (This served as the set of the Afghan army camp in the movie Rambo 3)



Dead Sea

I took a dip in the Dead Sea.  The pictures are on my mom’s camera, so it may be a while before I can post them.  This should give you some ideas though:



Back to Jerusalem

Recording of the “Celebrate” show on DayStar

Israel – Day 3

Leave Tiberius

As we drive through and around Israel we see farming everywhere.  There are very few places that are not put to use.   This is a common scene:


And a sight to make a Texan feel at home 🙂


Visit to the remains of a Roman City at Beit Shean.


Remains of a Roman Theater:


We are traveling with DayStar a Christian TV station.  There are the DayStar singers that perform at various stops.  When they were performing on the stage in the Roman Theater, it was easy to hear them clearly without amplification.



Can you guess what this is?


Maybe this will help:


It is the remains of a Roman toilet.  There is a channel underneath that water would run continuously through, taking away the waste.

In various spots throughout the ruins, the floor was decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles.


On the way to our next stop, we drove by a prison:


Visit to the ruins at Megiddo



On the way through our next stop. we drove by a Arab community.  It is great seeing a group of Muslims leaving in peace, and being accept enough to have a community within Israel.  Notice the minaret that stands above the mosque.


Caesarea by the Sea

remains of an aqueduct:



Something I saw on the Path to Jerusalem


Israel – Day 2

Morning view from hotel room.  Looking out from Tiberius over the Sea of Galilee:



Breakfast at the Hotel (yes.. fish for breakfast)


In Tiberius I saw this painting on the side of a building:


On the way to Capnarnaum I saw two vehicles flying the UN flag marked with UN:




This is my mom standing in the remains of a synagogue in Capnarnaum where Jesus is thought to have taught.


Mount of the Beatitudes



We are here with the DayStar TV network.  They had a fundraiser where you could donate $300 and you would get a olive tree planted for you, with your name by it, in this olive orchard ran by Olive Bond.

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Next came lunch… And guess what we had:

St. Peter Fish


It was pretty good.  Next we had a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee with a devotional service in the middle.  And we sang the Star Spangle banner and raised the American flag too





Next… Baptism in the Jordan



Here is my Mom after getting baptized:


Here is me getting baptized:




A pretty good day!  Now we are back at the hotel.  We are going to go downstairs, eat dinner, settle up on the hotel Internet bill.  Tomorrow morning we leave this hotel for one in Jerusalem.

Israel – Day 1

My mom and I arrived at the airport outside of Tel Aviv about 5:30 PM local time.  It was already dark!  The sun rises here around 6AM and sets around 5, at this time of the year.


Passport control was not difficult to go through.  I had heard stories from my uncle who came several years ago, and my running partner who had come for business many years ago to.  But I did not find it difficult.  They just want to make sure you are visiting, and that you have legitimate plans.  “Why are you here?” – tour  “Are you with a group?”  – Yes  “Where are the rest in the group?” –They are all spread out (we didn’t go through passport control at the same time.)  “Do you have a return ticket?” –Yes  “Can I see it?” –no it is an eTicket  “What is the flight information?”  -Handed the passport agent the travel information the tour company gave to me.  “Where will you be going?” –Handed the itinerary to the agent (Thank goodness they had given those two things to us, and I had them available!)

We met with the tour representative at baggage claim.  It was near there that we took the “Welcome to Israel” picture you see above. 

Then we took a 2 hour bus ride to Tiberius.  We had dinner.  Here is the food that I had:


Then we went to our rooms:


View from our balcony:


At the airport I had exchanged $100 into Israel Shekels.  The exchange rate was $1 to 3.76 shekels.  Here is an example of the money.  (There is an American quarter in the coins picture.)



Now time to take a quick shower, go to bed… Wake up time is 6:30AM and we leave the hotel at 8AM.

BTW, Internet access is expensive here. 


1.50/minute…  which comes out to be about $0.40/minute..  Just like making a telephone call.

In Newark, New Jersey waiting for the plane to Tel Aviv

Our plane arrived about 30 minutes early to Newark, and our departing plane is leaving about 70 minutes late.  This combined with the original layover time means we will be in Newark for about 5 hours.  Let me catch you up with my day so far.

This morning went to watch Christopher’s Basketball game.  It was his first game (and second… they had two back to back).  I got to watch Christopher score his first point in a game.  It was great.  Here are some pictures to give you the idea:


My mom came over just before noon and then we went to Bush Intercontinental. 


There we are just at my house before leaving.

We are going with a tour group, and about a dozen or so people are coming from the Houston area.  My mom had different assigned seats so we did not get to sit next to each other.  The plane was completely packed, so I didn’t bother asking about adjusting seats.  And I think it might be a good idea to meet some of the people on the tour too.  I set between Kevin who is an Audio/Visual engineer from the southwest side of Houston, and Carole who is from Katy.

(more updates after we get to Tel Aviv.,  You can check our progress on Flight Aware at

Looks like our plane is still on its way from Los Angeles….

Itinerary for trip to Israel

I’m going to Israel next week with my mom.  I thought it would be good to post the Itinerary and hotel information here just in case it came in useful, and so I can recount my trip later.

Novembe 21, 2009

Depart USA to Tel-Aviv

November 22, 2009

Arrive in Tel Aviv and go to hotel in Tiberias (Moriah Plaza; Habanim Street; Tiberias, Israel 14103; Tel 011-972-4-671-3333.

November 23, 2009

Sea of Galilee boat ride, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Fish Lunch, Jordan River Baptism.

November 24, 2009

Beit Shean, Nazareth, Megiddo, Mount Carmel, Caesarea by the Sea and overnight in Jerusalem

Hotel:  Regency Jerusalem 32 Lehi Street; Jerusalem, Israel 97856 – Tel 011-972-2-533-1234

November 25, 2009

Qumran , Masada, Dead Sea, Valley of the Shadow

November 26, 2009

Bethlehem, Mount of Olives, Palm Sunday Road, Garden of Gethsemane, Upper Room, King David’s Tomb, Farewell Dinner

November 27, 2009

Southern Excavation, Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Pool of Bethesda, Gordon’s Calvary, Garden Tomb.

November 28, 2009

Arrive in USA

How to setup the Samson C01U Podcasting kit

Step 1: Opening the box:

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Pull the bottom of the latch, and slide the top part off of the latch.

Here is what you will find inside:


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Step 2: Take out the microphone

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Step 3: Remove the mic stand holder at the bottom.

Here is a look at the microphone with the stand taken from the side:

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And from the bottom

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You will need to twist the ring on the bottom holding the mic stand in place

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After you get done, you will have three pieces:


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You only need to keep the microphone out (silver part), put the two black pieces back into the case:

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Step 3: Take out the Microphone holder that is made of a silver metal with a black cord:

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Step 4: Attach the microphone to this.

It fits into the stand like this:

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But you have to twist the silver disk at the bottom to make it stay on:


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Afterwards, make sure the label is facing on the opposite side as the part that is sticking out.  Like this:

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Step 5: remove the inner silver disk from the part that is sticking out by twisting it:

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and put it back into the case:


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Step 6: Attach the microphone holder rod.

Remove the Rod from the case:

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The silver part goes into the silver stand:

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Twist it until it is tight

Step 7: Loosen the screw that allows for you to adjust the direction of the microphone pole

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Now it should move freely up


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and down

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Step 8: Attach the Microphone base to the rod

Remove it from the case

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Attach by twisting

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Now it should be like this:


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Step 9: Setup the microphone up right:


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Lift the Microphone up so it is not touching the bottom


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Tighten the screw on the side to hold it in place

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It should be like this:

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Make sure that the label on the microphone is still facing front:

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Step 10: Hook up the USB cable

remove from case

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Turn the microphone on the side

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plug the square looking side into the bottom.  Only one of the sides will fit in.  And it will only fit in one way.

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Turn the microphone back up, and it should be like this:

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Step 11: Hook the USB cable to the computer

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“In Orangefield” – song

I went to Middle School and High School in Orangefield, TX.  ABout the song:

Video of a different Orangefield than Van Morrison’s, my Orangefield:

The Marching Band Years

During my days at Orangefield High School, I played trombone in the band.  I happened upon some videos on YouTube of our competition.





(can’t find… Post a comment if you know where it is)