I am now back home in Skokie, trying to stay awake long enough so that I can sleep through the night and wake up and go to work as though I am already readjusted to the time difference.
Hence, I don't think I have the energy to make a coherent vacation summation post, so that will have to wait, or be left unsaid. I will say--as I am starting to load photos onto my computer--that much of the acute aggravations, anxieties and annoyances that I may have blogged about on a daily basis have pretty much already given way to a sense of awe for all that I saw on this trip, from Jerusalem's Old City to Petra to Akko to the Great Pyramids and much more. And I should have some nice pictures to share in the days ahead.
Obviously, I feel quite fortunate to have been able to go on this trip, and to travel as extensively as I have over the years, particularly the last 10 or so. A big factor in this is the the residual benefit of the one great perk of a job I didn't like and have been gone from for 3-1/2 years, namely the ability to earn airline miles by making company purchases (primarily media buys) on a personal credit card. Because of this, I have been able to fly to Australia, Italy, Amsterdam/Prague, Spain, Scandinavia, Israel/Egypt and more without paying for airfare (and I still have 80,000 miles). So, reflecting an old proverb, or seemingly so, good things come out of bad things.
I hesitate to convey the following, because in doing so I'm doomed to jinx myself and suffer great consequences, but I do think it is pretty incredible--in the good fortune category.
Over the past 10 years of traveling, in going to the above named places, as well as other international and many domestic locations, on long vacations and weekend road trips, I would estimate I have traveled the equivalent of half a year. And in all my travels over what equates to a 6-month period, I have never encountered a significant rainfall. Maybe 1 or 2 days of a light mist, or a little rain on a getaway day, but nothing that has ever interfered with a day of siteseeing or photography. Sure, rainfall in Israel & Egypt may have been a bit unusual, but this factoid covers a weeklong trip to the Seattle area, where it always rains, and Australia shortly after my sister's trip there was marred by lots of rain, and about ten trips to New York City, and trips to every major league baseball stadium sans 2 (the ones in Florida; I also have to get to the 2 new New York stadiums) without ever--on a trip outside Chicago--experiencing a rain delay, let alone a postponement. Anyway, I'm sure I'll now experience a weeklong monsoon wherever I go next, but as someone for whom taking pictures is such an intrinsic part of any trip, I feel extremely fortunate that my travels have included no rain.
OK, I think I'll go lie down now, and hopefully sleep until dawn.