Recoded: aug 2007
Locations: istanbul, turkey; amman, jordan; the israel/jordan border; jerusislam, tel aviv, jaffa, israel
Tags: august penguin day, dotan mazor, matan kaminer, eldad brin, the dome of the rock, jerusialm, hair cut
Music: The City Awakes by stefsax and Revolve by His Boy Elroy
About: on my way through the middle-east, i found my self in isreal with a real hankering for falafel and in a desperate need of a haircut... i hope you enjoy!
THANK YOU: dotan mazor, matan kaminer, dana gordon, iddo dror, adylin luckle, ...and the family of luckles..., eldad brin, shachar shemesh, the person who invented falafel, judas, the romans, moses, mohammed, jesus, mary, mom & dad
tomorrow, i head to egypt and cross into my third continent.
it's weird to think that tomorrow might bring some new delightful ray of enlightenment, but sadly it will bring 13 hours cramped into a bus. as i write these words, i have no clue where i will be staying, nor if my egypian contacts have gotten my messages about my arrival.
nonetheless, in true form, i've gone out and done something really crazy. i've shave my head, but kept my beard. it's not your normal thing to do before heading to a country that has a love/hate relationship with the country you are in... but as i set forth on this journey, no longer am i too concerned. i know my path is vague and the journey is just part of the process.
...and haircuts are just part of the process...
now, with adylin luckle, my host in isreal...
ps - it's been 15+ years since i've let a barber touch my head...
speaking of sanity, i called up the indian embassy in ciaro and they told me it take five days to process visas. so, knowing reality to be somewhat a figment of consciousness, i'm not worrying about my visa until i walk though a metal detector and finally sit down with someone.
if you are planning on doing something as insane as this venture. you have two options, one get an ambiguous visa while you are in the states, OR drop into the indian embassy in paris or london. both locations will expedite same day visas (or following day visas) if you are willing to pay twice the price.
despite these headaches, tomorrow i'm venturing into one of the craziest cities in the whole world. tomorrow, i'm heading to jerusalem...
don't misunderstand me. i'm calling the city crazy, not because of all of the religious zealots that flock annually... no, not because of them... i'm venturing to the "holy" city because it's one of the oldest cities in the world and the "old city" is smaller than a square mile.... oh and did i mention the all the small tiny streets?
oh and if that didn't wet your whistle, i'm looking forward to finding a bus to Bethlehem to experience this lovely "security fence." i really don't understand the whole thing... from my conversations with activist, matan kaminer, this issue is deeply rooted in economics.
from my conversations and terse research, the Ashkenazi jews have long oppressed the middle eastern jews and Palestinians (muslim and christian). let's not even get into the armenian and Moroccan side of things... 'cause, that really starts to blow my mind...
nonetheless, with a country that is the cradle to three of the world's largest religions... let alone, a town that is cradle to three of the world's largest religions... it's bound to be crazy. maybe i'm too secular. maybe i've long lost my faith in a specific religion, but one thing has emboldened my perspective from the past few days...
these "holy warriors" would love to have an iphone, ipod, imac, internet, youtube, air conditioning, power, clean water, transportation, education, the opportunity to travel and the ability to move freely. so many of the Israeli's whom i've come across live a comfortable middle class southern californian suburban lifestyle. from shopping mall to shopping mall, from strip mall to strip mall, from gas station to gas station... the modern israeli is no different than the community i was born into nor the midwestern community i grew up in.
hopefully, tomorrow i will get to see a different perspective.
(photo discovered on fejron's flickr feed but obviously stolen from somewhere else...)
israel is one big metal detector. unshaven and caring a bag of electronic goods, i'm setting off alarms.
today, the shoe is on the other foot. for the next four hours, i'm attempting to understand hebrew and get hands on conversations with attendants of August Penguin 2007 - The Israeli Open Source Community Conference.
organized by the hamakor non-profit, the conversations today will present a brief synopsis of open source in israel and provide an opportunity for FLOSS members to mingle.
things to note...
- all presentations are in hebrew
- open wifi, but only in the lobby
- within the hall, most attendants did not bring laptops, and are concentrating on the presentation.
- the first speaker has mentioned DRM and DMCA 10 times... apparently in israel, they saw what was happening in the united states and thought it would be a good idea to replicate the DMCA.
- they are handing out fresh hebrew copies of open office and ubuntu
- did you know that five years ago, this event started when people needed to find a venue to watch a movie on open source.
- also, did you know that the state of israel funded the localization of open office into hebrew.
today's journey brought me through three countries, currencies, and languages; fifteen check points, six bag scans, five metal detectors, one air puff blowing device; six taxis and one bus.
luckily, i was greeted with open arms by adylin luckle, her family, and a feast of knish, hummus, cucumber, tomato and ice cream. ah, how wonderful it is to have a simple, healthy meal.
today, i venture into the unexpected.
from istanbul, i fly to amman jordan and hop on a bus to one of a handful border crossings into israel. while i could have taken a plane, my wit and fortune did not find a suitable route. after reading several other travelers entries, i do not fear the crossing nor the 6 hours or more to travel 50 miles across disputed territory.
after traveling through the west bank, i'll find my way through jerusalem to a train bound for tel aviv. by the days end, i will have traversed more security checkpoints in 24 hours than i've traversed in the past 34 days.
with my whole life wrapped around me in two bags, will i feel safe?
not one bit, i will always fear losing sight of my thoughts, dreams and tools. no dog, metal detector, security checkpoint, will make me feel safe in a world where the pursuit of liberty is masked in the search for next new phone, social tool, president, ipod, car, stove or relic.
freedom is not a tag. freedom is not a twittering digg or new application for you ponce over. freedom exists beyond the loose keys that sit beneath your fingers. freedom is what you find beyond the thunderdome most call the work place.
for the next few days, please take A photo and add it to the flickr group luck of seven and tag it "luck of seven."
the rule, you can only upload one image that best illustrates your perception of freedom. if you do not have a flickr account, point me to the URL or email me a copy of the photo...
see you in israel...
''My second continent is Africa, but i'll be passing through the middle east first. From Aug to September, I will bounce around looking to cover as much as possible. If you have something to add, please feel free!''
== '''Week 6''' ==
* '''9 - 15 Aug'''
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Aviv Tel Aviv]
* [http://august.penguin.org.il/AUG2007/english.html isreali open source community conference] - aug 10 (thanks Zohar Stolar)
* hang out with [http://www.dotanmazor.com/ dotan mazor]
== '''Week 7, 8, 9''' ==
* '''19 Aug - 6 Sept''' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt Egypt], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo Cairo]
* '''Guide & Translator for the first week''' [http://omar.owahab.com/Omar/ Omar Abdel Wahab]
* hang out with the guys and gals at [http://open-craft.com OpenCraft]
* [http://www.eglug.org/ eglug] egyptian free/open source community
* [http://mardinix.net/ mardini] - programmer and partner of OpenCraft
* [http://www.manalaa.net/ manal and alaa] bloggers and drupal peeps
* [http://norayounis.com Nora Younis] - activist, flickr'er and journalist
* [http://gharbeia.net/ Amr Gharbeia] - activist, programmer and translator
* [http://monem-press.blogspot.com/ Abdel-Monem Mahmoud] - activist blogger
* visit [http://baheyeldin.com Khalid Baheyeldin] and his brother to discuss open source translations programs
* 25 Aug - [http://www.open-craft.com/drupal_scalability_userpoints open craft conversation] on drupal
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza Great Pyramid of Giza]
=== '''Seas to Sail''' ===
* South Atlantic Ocean
* Indian Ocean