Friday, October 13, 2006

Am I an Israeli in LA?

LA – a bustling city of 4 million people; a place of doggie bakeries, lots of traffic, too many coffee options and women with plastic surgery. The home of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, CTU and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. A place where seeing snow is an once a year occurence in the local park.

The last week here has been particularly busy - The bike riding and rollerblading along Santa Monica beach, with the painfully out of tune busker playing Beatle songs and randoms talking about Jesus, the trip to universal studios and meetings with Wolverine and Shrek (I think they were dressed up) as well as a day out in the Joshua Tree National Park (U2 1987).

The Park is an immense area comprising almost 800,000 acres and incorporating two deserts, – the Colorado and the Mojave (24 Season 2.) Yet what struck me most was simply the enormity of all these areas – how a return trip from LA was the equivalent of traveling from Eilat to Metulla – how the national park itself was larger than Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa combined and what good use we could put all that space towards if we had it instead.

The Park itself is beautiful, and even though I didn’t catch any glimpses of a coyote or Road Runner, the Joshua trees, massive boulders and beautiful views made it a great day. Yet as we went up to Keys Viewpoint, located along the ridgeline of the Little San Bernardino mountains which form the southern edge of the park, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that ‘our’ Machtesh Ramon in the Negev is actually just as if not more impressive and beautiful (and it doesn’t have smog or annoying German tourists illegally feeding desert squirrels there either)

And I also wondered whether that kind of thought made me a true Israeli, or whether a genuine Israeli would actually wish they could make Aliya to Los Angeles?

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