I've been back at work for week after our month long trip to Israel, Jordan and Korea. The picture is taken at the Dead Sea - the mud ain't pretty but it works wonders on the skin. We looked radiant when it washed off. Rather than bore the sewers with a travelogue, I want to share 10 things I learned on the trip:
1) Never travel with a dodgy camera - We lost about 200 images due to a corrupted memory card. These included photos of embroideries and fabric art taken just for you guys!
2) Your 18 year old daughter living 12,000 kms away does not necessary welcome your visit, but will not have the courage to tell you before your arrival.
3) Even the most enthusiast 14 year old traveller has a limited tolerance of ancient ruins. After a while they become "just a bunch of old rocks".
4) Fabric art is huge in Israel. I went to several exhibitions and visited a few artists and their galleries. See the Israel Quilters Association website to see the depth of talent there.
5) Israel is changing immeasurably due to the rise of Jewish and Islamic orthodoxy. One consequence that wouldn't be immediately obvious to people who aren't obsessed with cloth is that women's clothing is not particularly decorative. Even the Palestinian women have largely given up their colourful embroidered dresses that I remember from 30 years ago for the long black coats and plain scarfs.
6) Time in the desert is good for the soul.
7) Jordans are wonderful, hospitable people who live in an amazingly beautiful country. Go there!
8) Taking a wrong turn and ending up in the West Bank in an Israeli plated car is not a pleasurable experience. Nablus is not a friendly town. It is easy to become irredeemably lost when all signposts are in Arabic only.
9) One hour is not enough time to spend in the labrynth of the Dondaemum Fabric Market in Seoul.
10) The fabric available at the market is very variable in taste and quality, but there are great pieces to be had. The buttons were the best buy, but I didn't have enough time to make the most of it.