October 21: Arrival and Hotel Goodies

We landed in Tel Aviv sometime yesterday. Everyone we've talked to here said it would be a few more days before jet-lag kicks in, but we're pretty sure we're feeling it a bit seeing as we slept a total of 22 hours after we got into our hotel room (waking only to eat an apple and a Cliff bar).

Fortunately, one of JD's co-workers (Adam) ended up on the same flight as us so he helped guide us through the airport with ease.

The Hilton here is amazing! We were greeted with tons of fruit, sparkling water and a bag full of Dead Sea Ahava bath salts, lotions and body washes in our room (pictured below). They all had tags that said complimentary so we basked in the goodies! Haha - we're normally quite hesitant to utilize "free stuff" in hotel rooms but all of the tags said "For our Hilton Honors guests" so we knew this stuff really was complimentary. :)

Travel Tip: Have we mentioned that every traveler needs to sign up for customer loyalty programs? Because you should. Our favorites are Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. The rewards are too sweet to miss out on!

The beds are kind of odd because it is basically two twin mastresses pushed together with a King-sized base and headboard. We also get access to the Executive Lounge where they serve free breakfast, dinner, appetizers and yummy specially-designed desserts.

We haven't walked around the entire hotel yet but that's in the plans for tomorrow. We have a wonderful balcony and extraordinary view of the Meditteranean Sea (pictured above). Sunsets are amazing here! The elevator system is kind of crazy so JD and I take the stairs right next to our room when we're together. However, we decided today that the stairway is not the best option if we are alone. :)

Side Note: I tried using the sketchy cement stairway by myself when JD was at work one day. Terrible idea. I ended up in the basement hotel laundry room with people who only spoke Hebrew. All of the signs through the stairway were in Hebrew too, so I was left deducting and opening each floor's doors until I found the conference rooms (which then led me to the hotel lobby). This resulted in us having no choice but to figure out the elevator system.

We feel a lot more peace actually being in the city, yet our nerves are still on edge and we are trying to be extremely aware of all surroundings.

JD has been driving everywhere. The traffic is absolute chaos. Barely anyone drives a nice car around here... not because they're expensive but because they don't want to take the chances of their cars getting beaten up. Probably 99% of the cars here have scratches down the sides and dents engraving the bumpers. Mopeds drive on the white dotted lines (middle of the road) and scrape alongside of cars with their side-view mirrors. No big deal, right? Until you get side-swiped. (A moped came too close for comfort one time.) And public busses? Well, they always have the right of way. Regardless of whose fault it is, the car will always take the blame for a bus accident.

JD starts work tomorrow at 14:00. Because their work hours are still on central time for the most part, we are going to try to keep the same sleep hours. Our plan is to sleep from 01:00 and wake up at 09:00. We may need to alter the times for when we go on tours but besides that, we think we'll be good to go.