Friday, 4 August 2017

coming soon

coming soon - commentary on my recent trips to the dominican republic, haiti, el salvador, guatemala, austria, ethiopia, somaliland, mexico, panama, costa rica, nicaragua, spain, portugal, morocco, benin, ghana, and togo!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

how iceland almost killed me

and its not how you’d think! i had an eight hour layover in iceland on the last leg of getting back to the usa for the last time in a while. it was fitting too, as iceland was the first stop i made back in 2008 when i made my first international trip by myself! this time i decided to visit the blue lagoon, an outdoor, lava-strewn geothermally-heated pool close to the airport. it was so amazing i stayed immersed in its silica-laden hot waters for five straight hours!

and then all of a sudden muscles all over my body started cramping up. i had been drinking liters of water, but no salt, so i guess i had some hyponatremia going on. the cramping quickly became completely debilitating and i could barely ambulate out of the pool and back to the changing rooms. and i clearly had some heat exhaustion too, as when in the changing rooms my field of vision really closed in and i suddenly got super nauseous. the culmination was collapsing in the showers and some teenage icelandic janitorial staff had to revive me with cold water. i haven’t been that messed up in a while, if ever. finally managed to get some clothes on despite the continued cramping any time i moved, and very slowly made it outside to the bus stop. by this time though my bus had already left. luckily there was another one which got me to the airport five minutes before my flight started boarding. cramps continued throughout the flight until i was able to get some good ol american electrolytes in the system but: survived!

cruising the mediterranean!

after graduation my dad decided to take the family on a seven day mediterranean cruise! it was absolutely amazing! seriously, such luxury. the morning after graduation we flew to milan, italy via belgrade, serbia, where i was able to convince the family to go through customs for an extra passport stamp. we drove from milan to venice and arrived with just barely enough time to get on the boat. the first stop was dubrovnik, croatia, where we sauntered around the red-roofed, walled town. then athens, greece, where we took the metro to go climb the acropolis and see the parthenon with thousands of others. next was kusadasi, turkey, where we visited the new testament-era ruins of ephesus. the city is remarkably well preserved and highlights include a huge amphitheater, a library, and mosaics on ancient apartment buildings. the last stop was split, croatia, which featured a nice climbable clocktower and cheap ice cream, not that we needed more food at that point after being on this cruise, which provided all the gourmet food we could eat. and the hot tubs were great too. thank you again dad!

we spent a day in venice upon our return. and then my family  was kind enough to indulge my desire to visit more nearby countries. we rented a car and one day my dad and i drove south to the tiny country of san marino. it is the thrid smallest country in europe, and is up in some mountains completely surrounded by northeastern italy. there are some very picturesque castles perched on the mountain overlooking the countryside, and the roadtrip was fun. on the way back we stopped for pasta in bologna, a mecca for italian cuisine. the next day the whole family drove east from venice into nearby slovenia, to the seaside old town of piran. the slovenian coastline on the adriatric sea is just a couple dozen kilometers long, but it is truly beautiful. we wandered about the pedestrian-only old city that sits on a penninsula which juts out into the adriatrc and it was really nice:)

then we parted ways, but i had a few more stops before stopping. i had a day-long layover in brussels, belgium, during which i decided to take a train to luxembourg, a country to which i had not yet been. things always take longer than you anticipate so i only ended up having exactly one hour to walk around luxembourg’s old city before having to catch the return train, but it was better than nothing. quantity over quality i always say:)

the next stop was oslo, norway. stayed in a hostel for two nights and wandered during the intervening day. very nice city. most interesting to me was the atrium of the city hall, where the presentation of nobel prizes occurs.

graduation time!

my parents and sister came to visit for my graduation! we had the week priot to graduation off, so we spent the time traveling around israel/palestine which was a lot of fun. we stayed in a little hilltop village called shoresh just west of jerusalem, and traveled around via rental car which was amazing as i got to drive! western wall for shabbat sunset. cheap ethiopian food in downtown tel aviv. qumran caves on the shores of the dead sea where they found the qumran scrolls, the oldest copies of the old testament. floating on the dead sea. masada mountain, symbol of jewish independence. church of the holy sepulchre that marks the place Jesus was crucified. hiking through hezekiah’s tunnel – a 1.7km pitch dark water conduit that supplied the ancient city of david. shisha in jerusalem. nazareth. cana where Jesus performed his first miracle. tzfat, a hilltop ancient center of jewish mysticism/kabala and currently a magnet town for artists. random stop at mount meron to visit the much revered tomb of jewish mystic rabbi shimon bar yochai. mount of beatitudes and caperneum on the shores of the sea of galilee. tomb of the patriarchs (abraham and isaac) in hebron, palestine, and wandering the segregated “apartheid” and other streets of hebron’s old city and eating cheap chicken which was the family’s favorite day. church of the nativity in bethlehem. showing the family my clinical sites in bnei brak, kfar kama, afula, ashkelon and of course beer sheva. but its not about the places, it was about being with family which was so nice! thank you for coming:)

then it was time for graduation! our speaker was dr. ofri, a prominent writer and physician at new york university school of medicine. my friend ross gave a great speech, and then it was over. mazal tov/mabruk/congrats to my classmates; i wouldn’t have wanted to get through medical school with any other group of people!