Thanks to Covid, the Christmas celebrations in the Holyland will be even more subdued than usual.
The Holyland, the land of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem, will allow limited access to the Manger, to Midnight Mass, and to Christmas Pudding.
But, for some wonderful reason, we have received a few more real, hard-copy Christmas cards than last year. There are still some wonderful, traditional rebels out there.
These are miserable times, thanks to the pandemic. For a start, it’s no longer easy to meet ‘face to face’, at least not in public. And with my hearing problem, which is not so much an issue with volume, but of acoustics, I now have no idea what people are saying from behind that b. mask. So I mumble ‘yes’ and ‘of course’, with no need to add a smile – pointless.
I’m writing this as usual with only Bcc. And a reminder that this, and the other 400-odd Letters I’ve written over the years can be seen on ourboox.com. And I’m also Bcc-ing to friends I have inherited primarily but not only through my 56 years in the int’l dental trade.
I’ve also included school friends, also those from my brother’s school, and fellow glass collectors/dealers. I’m very happy to be known as someone who ‘likes to keep in touch’. A couple of times, it’s got me into trouble, but the other hundreds of times, it’s brought me a circle of friends who have been very special both to me and to Aviva.
Some people have bucket lists of where they want to go. Mine is primarily of whom I want to visit. A good example is our trip earlier this month to Michael Grant’s ‘Green Me Organic Farm’, 3 hours’ drive North of Bangkok. Suffice to say he and his partner, Kookkik, have created a little piece of Eden there.
We came home earlier this week to a cold and stormy Israel – See attached image. So, yes, Israel can also be grey. But that’s OK. Despite the great success of our hydro and desalination technologies, we need and love the rain. (The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake in the World – and the 2nd lowest lake after the Dead Sea. which is, as you all know, saltwater. The current level is minus 211 metres – minus 692 feet – meaning that only a further metre or so of water is needed for it to be full).
And as this is the holiday season, let me list you a few other good things going on….
Israel has one of the healthiest economies in the World. This is despite the aggressive and negative pressure from the neighbours throughout Israel’s 73 years, We did something right.
We’ve got the best falafel in the Middle East, and among the best hummus in the World.
We have the highest number of languages per capita, the most opinions, and Israel is proud to be the country that has the best current officially-accepted version of democracy.
We even have an Arab-Israeli political party in the current coalition, which states that Israel is a Jewish Nation. How about that for a turnaround! Gosh, the extreme Leftists and Rightists are having a really hard time.
We’re the fastest vaccinators in the World, and claim to have the strongest anti-vacciners in the World.
(I reckon we’ll be the first in the World to have autonomous anti-jab territories).
We’re a World-leading herb supplier, and when Holland runs out of tulips, they turn to Kenya and Israel for extra bulbs.
We’re the 12th happiest country in the World. New Zealand and Australia are the only non-European countries above us. Yes, we’re ahead of Canada, US, Germany, France, Italy, etc. Oh, we complain. But that’s partly because we can.
When this pandemic is finally ‘under-control’ (we’ll never totally see the back of it), you gotta come here and join the guaranteed list of those who exclaim: “Wow, we never thought it would be like this!”
Where else are members of the armed forces and police among the most beautiful AND attractive ladies in the World?
And where else will a truck-driver stop and double-park, in order to be blessed by the Messiah, who happens to be riding by on his bike?
Oh, every country has problems. We can always find things to complain about. But, heh, it’s Christmas in the Holyland. A time to forget your troubles, turn up the heating… and smile.
PS – I’ve added a terrific picture of us from somewhere near Koh Phi Phi Island, and another of us drinking a toast to you…