My flight out of Israel was on Sunday afternoon, so I decided to take the day off and do some traveling and sightseeing. I rented a car and got an early start on Saturday morning.
I decided to head first for the Dead Sea. Due to Shabbat, Saturdays in Israel are extremely quiet, so thankfully traffic was not an issue. I passed through the outskirts of Tel Aviv, a big city with a surprising number of high rises. I then made my way south, passing by signs for Jerusalem and Ashdod. The terrain was drastically changing, transforming initially from the chaos of the city to the deep greens of the farmlands and finally within an hour and a half I was surrounded by a dry and barren desert. The signs warned against potential camel crossings, which I thought was hilarious, but it wasn’t long before I saw my first caravan of camels (yes, I looked that up) sauntering aimlessly along the side of the road. The camels seemed peculiarly foreign to me and I almost had to pinch myself for a second to remind myself where I was.
It seems as if things are slowly coming together. I finally managed to find out that my passport and visa should be processed by Tuesday and back to me by the end of next week. So that means I should be able to make the second future in Israel, which starts, with qualifying, on the 8th of June.
In other news, I managed to get into the Vince Dente Memorial Tournament at the Avila Bay Club in San Luis Obispo. I went to Cal Poly so it will be great to be back in the town that was home for three years. As of right now I’m entered in the singles and the mixed doubles draws, and I’m looking around trying to find a partner for the men’s doubles. I play my first match tomorrow morning at 8:30am at the Avila Bay Club. It’s all worked out quite well and it will be great to get some match practice in a familiar place.
It has been another relatively chaotic week and my plans are evolving. I spent Monday morning driving all over Los Angeles trying to track down the South African Consulate, the British Consulate and the United States Immigration Services. Who knew traveling to a few tournaments would be such a mission.
Unfortunately for me, I am traveling on a South African Passport, which seems to be as useful a handful of African mud right now. For some strange reason Israel does not require me to obtain a visa for entry, but the UK does, and there lies the problem. I was hoping to leave for Israel next Tuesday, however because I am going straight from Israel to England I have to have my UK visa all squared away before I leave.