No one in Israel can forget the T.V. program of Chaim Hecht “Between Karkur and Singapore.” Not because Karkur, which is an Israeli village, is important, but because Singapore looked so good that we couldn’t understand how come things are so different in Israel especially since they learned many things from us. The program certainly raised the Israeli awareness of this island-country, but few know how much Israel helped Singapore reach this country. The cab driver asked us where we were from. When he found out that we were from Israel, he went crazy with excitement. “I was at that place,” he stated, “What a fantastic country. Many years ago, in Sinai, we trained there for a year with the Israeli army.” He recalled many things from his stay as he had been able to visit all over the country. It turned out that when Singapore separated from Malaysia, which she had been associated with, and declared independence, they searched for a nation willing to train its army. The only country that was willing was Israel. Since then, Singapore maintains a tender spot for Israel in its heart.
The two main cities of Portugal are Lisbon, the capital, in the south, and Porto that is referred as “the capital of the north.” The distance between them can be traveled in three hours. Portugal looks like a small country on maps, especially when it is side by side with Spain. And yet, it is the eleventh country in its size in Europe, 4.5 times bigger than Israel. Its geographical landscape is mostly mountainous, except for the coastal strip. The Azores and the Madeira Islands are part of Portugal. However, we did not try to catch as much as we could. We preferred a slow hike that leaves a taste of more.
The earliest memory that I have is that of the rush to shelter, to the sounds of the sirens in the Sinai Campaign. My mother carrying me downstairs, along with her wallet and a “shelter bag”; I never found out what was in it. The last part of the stairs was smooth, very wide and without a railing, which made me tremble with fear. My brother escorted us from behind with an oil lamp in his hands. Continue reading Memorial sirens and gas masks
“Dad looked out of the window and said that finally the Germans will lose and Hitler will die, but we will hear of it only when it will be shouted into our graves. And now I sit here, in Auschwitz, in my block. The Russians are knocking at the gates.” The memories of Reiza (Shoshana) Klingberg, later Cohen, who was my mother-in-law. She survived Auschwitz, to where she was sent, not because of being Jewish.
When we were in Ottawa, out of the “tourist season,” I perceived that the town was full of tourists. That made me believe that perhaps there is no “tourist season” any longer. People travel all year round. The rain, and indeed the snow, no longer deterred. So, I decided to realize an old dream. In 1998 a large Expo exhibition was held in Lisbon. I had no idea what this exhibition was about, but the possibility of strolling between the pavilions and seeing new things appealed to me, and I tried to see if a visit to the show was a possibility. I found that there are no direct flights to Lisbon and the entrance fees to the show are very high. Even though I had abandoned the idea, Lisbon stayed in my heart.
Just a Sunday. It’s the beginning of a new week. There’s a consensus that the days fly by at a jet’s speed. It’s difficult to understand the phenomenon. Why are the days passing at a quicker rate than ever before? To my understanding, it had to be the other way around – when I was engaged with children, students, studies, continuing education programs and meetings, parents, family, and friends the pace should have been much faster. And yet, that is not the case today, when I am retired, free to do whatever I want (at long last, Darling). The days are speeding now, maybe like the people who started flying at an astonishing frequency.
Tourism services are shifting. Booking a hotel used to be quite simple, just a phone call. Online options have complicated everything! You can use one of the leading tourism operators: Priceline, Booking or Expedia, or you can go directly to the hotel website. Nowadays, each hotel chain has a site and runs a “loyalty club.” The consumer collects points for each stay and can use them for discounts, free nights and other treats. The points system creates a consumer loyalty to the network since he must collect a minimum number of points to gain the benefits. The same method works for the big tourism companies. For example, Hotels awards its customers with a free night, for every ten nights booked, at an average cost of those. I testify that the method works and I have already used three bonus days.
I was a little girl when the strange people started coming to Israel, wearing a blue number tattooed on their left hand. People whispered, pointed their finger at them, and argued. I did not quite understand. The streets filled with people who would mumble to themselves, or shout in all kinds of languages and frighten us, the children. Parents whispered that they were not dangerous, but wretched, that they lost their mind in the concentrations camps. At school, they taught us about the Holocaust and asked: “Why did they go without resistance? prosecuted like sheep to the slaughter.” We did not understand.
On the way from Ottawa to Quebec city, we drove along the river, the St. Lawrence. The river is vast in its breadth and length, from Ontario lake to the river mouth in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,200km away. The river flows from south to the northeast and drains nearly a quarter of the planet’s freshwater reserves. Canada itself is enormous thus it is divided into ten provinces and three territories, even though 80% of the population lives in four of the provinces: Ottawa, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta. Ottawa and Quebec on the east side, British Columbia and Alberta on the west side. In the middle, there are but a few villages, generally near to the American border.
Today, hotels are branded as boutique hotels and industrial ones. In the past, hotels were classified by stars and prices; The more stars the hotel had, the more expensive it was and the more exclusive. With the tourism boom, the major chains started offering boutique hotels too, yet under different brands. For example, the Hyatt chain turned out to be the “Hyatt World” hosting regular industrial hotels, but also boutique hotels: luxury, premium, health, lifestyle. Beyond the theme, the stars and the price (important, Darling, important) we should also take into account the services provided (free or paid), its location and brand.