Well, we're finally in Israel. After 29 travel-hours, a near loss of baggage and passports by members of the group, and, let's face it, many sleepless hours on the plane (I don't do well with sleeping non-horizontally), we landed in Tel Aviv's Ben Huron airport 4:00 local time. We're all in one piece, all properly admitted into the country, and have everything we came with. I'm writing this in a bus on the main freeway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The freeway looks exactly like one in the states, even the signs are the same colors, we even just passed a McDonalds in a strip mall just off the road. It should take about an hour to get to the center. Our bus driver is an Palestinian Muslim named "Eddie." Apparently the students have given him the nick-name "Fast Eddie" over the years. Brothers and Sisters Whitchurch and Huntington were there to pick us up at the airport.
Most of the signs here are Trilingual, Arabic, Hebrew, and English, so it's really hard to get lost. I just regret not knowing how to read hebrew, because I've already seen bumper stickers and billboards that would have been interesting, had I known what they were saying.
Tel Aviv is on the Coastal Plain, right near sea level. It's the epitomy of a mediterannean city. When you're there you feel like you could be in any other area on the Mediterranean. There are bars, pubs, nude beaches (so I've been told) and the works. You wouldn't think of it as being in Israel. Jerusalem is at about 2500 feet, so we're climbing quite a bit. The Geography and architecture are beautiful. The principal difference between freeways here and in the states is that this one is beautiful. There are beautifully landscaped hills surrounding the freeway, each landscaping job is done with the rocks that were taken from the same hill while they were building the freeway. Even the Mcdonalds seems to grow out of the same rock that composes the hills around it.
We just arrived in Jerusalem. Even though it's 50 miles, there isn't much of a break in the cities. I think it's safe to say that real estate is in high demand. THERE'S THE DOME OF THE ROCK! The sign on the side of the road to the center says "Mormon University" :) . We're going into dinner and orientation sessions now. I'll let you know more later.