Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why do you want to go to Israel?
I've received a ton of email, and even some ShoutBox posts questioning my judgment about my three month trip to Israel this June.

A little background:
City Terrace, an east side suburb of the City of Los Angeles, California is where I was born. I lived in the same tiny house on the hill overlooking my neighborhood all of my life, until the day that I got married. Now City Terrace is mostly a place where people from Mexico live. But in the 1930s and 1940s, it was maybe 80% Jewish.

When I was six years old, Mom enrolled me in the City Terrace Folk School to learn Hebrew. I was to have a Bar Mitzvah [confirmation] in my 13th year, and Hebrew is necessary in order to read from the Torah [the five books of Moses in the bible].

Every afternoon after grammar school while my non-Jewish and non-Bar Mitzvah bound friends were out playing, I spent two hours at City Terrace Folk School. Of course I hated it, but what could I do?

I was a whiz bang at Hebrew and could read Hebrew at lightning speed. Hardly understood a word, but I sure was fast! I am still able to read Hebrew, but slowly, haltingly.

We City Terrace Folks School kids collected money for Israel. My teacher gave us little blue and white Keren Ami boxes with a State of Israel map painted on the front. These boxes were little banks, with a slot at the top to accept donations.

We kids would run around City Terrace, thrusting our Karen Ami banks into the faces of prospects. "Money for Israel?" "Help buy land for Israel?" It was a scene straight out of a scene from a Woody Allen movie.

I love the tiny country of Israel. It is the home of my ancestors, and has a special place in my heart. I want to go to Israel, and tell you the story of what I see there, and what I do there. The same kind of story that I have been telling you for several years in "The Adventures of Tioga and George."

2PM - Things go crazy!
We had entered the very large City of Tuxtla Gutierrez and made a Camp. Mr. Datastorm went up, got on his satellite, and all looked well. Ms. GQ went to upload a pic to our website, when her sound card began a terribly loud beep. At first, we thought that Ms. GQ's power supply plug was not engaged causing a low-battery shutdown. But checking the cable showed that it was engaged! Tried to boot up, and the same beeping shut happened and Ms. GQ shut down again.

We pulled the power supply cord, and Ms. GQ booted up on her battery. Then the power supply cable was re-inserted. No more beeping. Ms. GQ was OK.

That was when we noticed that Mr. Datastorm's modem had de-commissioned itself again. Wow! It took about an hour, but we were able to re-commission the modem and are now online again.
The entrance to the City of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

3:30PM - Team Meeting!
Mr. Chips, our wisest Team Member called a Team Meeting. The subject was me! Yes, it is true! Mr. Chips called a Team Meeting on me! Man!

"Listen here, Jorge. I know you are pretty feeble when it comes to things electronic. But now you are messing with all of our lives! Everything points to the Freedom Jazz inverter as the problem. You just do not understand!", concluded Mr. Chips.

Then MsTioga weighed in on me. "Jorge, I am your alter-ego, and know everything that you think. Right now you are thinking that if you could only get back to the USA, you could save money on a new inverter. Isn't that right?", MsTioga asked me.

I had to admit to everybody that MsTioga was right. I was thinking about saving money.

MsTioga weighed in on me again! This time with a very stern face! "Jorge, if you think that I am heading out of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the only place large enough in this part of Mexico where we have a ghost of a chance to buy a new inverter, you have another think coming.", said MsTioga.

Wow! Everybody on The Team is disappointed with me. I am going to have to shop for a new inverter. "And make it a full sine wave inverter, not one of those cheapo modified sine wave jobbies like you bought last time.", Mr. Chips said.

5:30PM - Bought a voltage regulator.
I could not find a full sine wave inverter as demanded by the redoubtable Mr. Chips. I could not find a store that sold ANY inverter.

However, I did manage to find a voltage regulator in a computer store. I am hoping that Mr. Chips, MsTioga and Mr. Datastorm approve. It was the very best that I could do today!

The road from San Cristobal to Palenque.
There is talk from people that we have met today, about the highway from San Cristobal to Palenque. Some say that this road is dangerous. The Church "Mexican Camping" book advises of past problems with road blockades and threats against tourists.

So, we are seeking advice from local people, especially police about traveling this route. If we do not go directly to Palenque [home of the famous archaeological site], we must travel north toward Villahermosa and then head east again in order to reach Palenque.
TiogaRV Team location.




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