Beggars with pets

I often see a lot of beggars by the Shuk (The Mehane Yehuda fruit and vegetable market)  its sad to see people struggling, and poverty is at 23% here in Israel.

This time something is a little different about this man on thursday.

If you look carefully this man has a small box…

of a couple of baby rabbits eating cabbage!   Very small and fluffy they looked like a fancy type of breed!

Small earthquake felt in Jerusalem

During friday whilst in bed before getting up, as my alarm is set to go off at 6.15am I felt something I thought might of been a small earthquake, in fact I think I heard some creaks from furniture in my house that moved slightly.

Just seen this today, from a volcanoes group page on Facebook I get alerts from as I got a little bit interested in Geology as a child and in 2005 I went to Iceland and saw the volcanoes there.

Turns it was an earthquake that happened after all, actually in the Dead Sea area, but could be felt here in Jerusalem.   Doesn’t seem to be any damage anywhere but we are on a fault here.


More IT work in Galilee

Here is my good friend and fellow Hebrew student Jimmy, these days hes helping Bridges for Peace up in this building now loading up pallets of food that will be transported around to Israel’s most needy families.

Some of the new equipment I received has European electrical plugs on it, rather than Israeli ones which often happens.  This will work, but without a grounding pin, there is safety issues and the equipment may not be protected by surges or storms although there is a UPS system here.  As I didn’t bring any more electrical cables with me, I cut off the the plug and wire on a Israeli fitting.

Added an extra network switch here to provide more room for expansion for this building, especially as putting an extra PC for a new member of staff.   I did have some rolls of velcro but I left them behind, so it wasn’t possible to make all the wiring look neat sadly, it needs some re-jigging to enable the glass door to shut also. 🙂

I needed to change some settings on the wireless networks, so took my work Sony laptop and found I got 4 out of 5 bars at the other end of the huge warehouse here.  I was quite impressed the wireless had such good coverage.   I would like to get an extra router running as a spare sometime a bit later.

This cupboard holds our communication equipment, these mysterious warning stickers are from the previous business that was here as there was chemicals that were stored here previously.   I made some interesting discovery based on some stuff in the bible I had been reading lately….

Peace through robotics in Tel Aviv

Theres been a lot in the news lately about the Christ at the Checkpoint event, a collection of Christians that are critics of Israel, and worryingly some that also involved with extremist Islam, and invited some leaders from a few local congregations to make the event look ‘balanced’  – I have seen a brief bit of one the videos and I think there was some good things spoken by one of leaders of a congregation in Jerusalem I go to, but not really convinced there was a fair representation.

Is there way to bring Jesus to bring reconciliation to Jew and Arab, yes definitely!   but I will look forward to some other event I think.

Whilst this event was on, I spent three days out of town at the event in Tel Aviv, as this year I went to the FIRST Robotics event that was being held there in a sports stadium.

This event gets youth into competing in using their engineering and electronics know-how, as well as a whole host skills; team work, budgeting, piloting their machines as well as approaching hi-tech companies in Israel for sponsorship.

I didn’t manage to get many pictures this time, but can see more from my writings I did last year, here.

The teams included religious Jews, secular Jews, visiting American Christians, local Arabs, soldiers from the IDF and all girl teams too, (theres a lot of women in IT and engineering here compared to the UK)  it just so happened to have a great atmosphere and a mixture of different people groups here.  There was no mention at all of any politics whatsoever at this event.  and it felt that it wasn’t a contrived effort to make peace as anyone is invited to take part.

I was at this event as part of a project Bridges for Peace does to get involved with community work, I was just sitting up the balls on the pitch after each game session, I suppose a bit like the chap with white gloves who sets the balls up on snooker on the telly!  It was a fun event although it was a 12 hour day for us, as well as three days to set everything up before the games started.

Robotics are used a lot by the Israeli army for bomb disposal and drones to take pictures of a hostile area to relay back to a base, and the FIRST Robotics events have been happening for 20 years now in the US and Israel.

I think its very exciting that these events can take place to bolster the reputation of Israel as the ‘Silicon Wadi’ and provide a fertile environment for new talent in technology and engineering.

Security warnings on parcels

I got a parcel at work today, its a reconditioned DVD drive for a Dell laptop I have refurbished and fixed.

I get quite a few parcels of stuff, this one had this big red label on it though as it was bigger.  Its just advising if you were not expecting this item to ring the post office to make sure its not suspicious.   Its written in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.


Premium priced motorway lanes between Jerusalem and Tel aviv?

I was helping out at a robotics event in Tel Aviv that encourages youth in learning technology and engineering.

Leaving the house early, we took this motorway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, I spotted something odd on this highway I have not seen this before.

It’s a little hard to make it out maybe, but it would appear you have to pay extra to use this fast lane, just in case owning and running a car isn’t hurting your pocket enough.  There are already toll roads in some parts of Israel too.

When you take a trip on a train or get a flight, you have the option of paying a bit (actually quite a lot) more to get a better seat, or nicer food, etc, it seems that this business model is now planned for motorists as well maybe?

Back in the UK, I remember the government did an experimental idea to make certain lanes only usable for cars with two or more passengers, this would be a better idea to keep traffic down and get people to share cars, rather than have premium prices lanes I think.

Snow in Jerusalem

For the last week or two there was rumoured to be snow here in Jerusalem,

I have been pretty cynical about this, although there is snow seen maybe on average snow here once ever 4 years maybe.   There are some  postcards you can get from tourist shops with the Kotel and the Old City covered in a blanket of white.

Its interesting that two days ago it was a leap year, I was joking this could be a perfect time to have snow, it ended up happening today after I got a text message from work in the morning telling me not to come in today.

This snow didn’t stay in a thick white layer outside my flat (I live 6kms from the centre of town)  but it was a nice surprise to see.

Some of my friends who live close to town seem to have thicker snow in the parks from their Facebook pictures.

There was a lot of rain in the last week also, which has been a blessing, but some water has come through my flat ceiling in the last couple of the days, so I have moved the refrigerator away a bit, and had about 30 minutes of power cut which seem to affect my whole neighbourhood yesterday.

While I was very quickly getting some pictures on the balcony, one of my housemates pointed out the fate of one of local pigeons here that’s died on our garden furniture.   I immediately thought of the homeless people who sleeps on the streets in Jaffa Street.   This kind of weather must be very tough for some people here.  Although there is a few people working in our food bank today I hope all different organisations around Israel are able to help those who will inevitably be hit hard by the temperature this week.

I am looking forward to March getting warm again.

Geneva – last leg of Switzerland

This fountain below is quite a famous icon of Geneva.

It er, stopped suddenly.  I asked the other tourists if they broke it?  🙂 There wasn’t any passing vessels in the lake, I guess there could be some water pressure issues maybe.

I am not sure how many Christians and Jews there are in French speaking Switzerland, I did notice this interesting poster on the tram for Hannukah though (this was first week of January 2012 I was there)

There is a large and interestingly styled synagogue here also.   Not sure how old it is, but the road is named after the synagogue also.

Geneva is a great place to go shopping, but I didn’t find a great deal of interesting things, although I was only there for a day. There are modern shops for everything single clothing brand you can think of.   They are all full too.  No one closing down, or having any panic sale, unlike the death of so many retailers in the UK and US that is happening.

The famous red cross museum was shut which was recommended by a friend, apparently they need 2 years until its operational again.   I would of been interested to see the UN headquarters, but I didn’t get time for this after all.

By the time I was leaving I was very skint, and used my last of my francs to get a train to the airport.   My flight back to Israel was at a usual silly time of the night, and meant I slept for a bit on the floor there.   By the time I had to leave, the staff there told us we had to do a swab of our shoes and clothes and put the samples into a briefcase shaped computer controlled explosives detector machine.   Back to Israel for me to continue doing my volunteer IT work…