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Stranger in a Strange Land

So what do you do when you’re dropped in a strange land, not being an international globetrotter like Jim Shockey and you yearn for the outdoors?  I don’t speak the local language but the language of hunting and fishing tends to flow through generations, cultures, race, and even language barriers.

Supply Run

I wasn’t thinking.  I packed many weeks out for my work trip, knowing full well that I needed to pack enough stuff to live comfortably for four months overseas into a large roll-away and a carry on bag.  Phew.  I knew I wouldn’t be on a military base or anything, separated by miles and miles from civilization — there are malls where I’m at for Pete’s sake!  A McDonald’s is down the road!  Thankfully many of the younger generations here of various cultures speak impeccable English, much better than some folks I encounter back home in the States.  But when it came to asking people where they buy their fishing supplies I got furrowed brows.  Uh oh.  I did a fair amount of research before I left home, but I brought nothing of my own.  I had packed light knowing I’d have to move around between apartments or sites to do my work while out here.  I figured I’d go to a local shop and pick up a cheapo rod and reel and some lures and away I’d go!

In the Middle East Saturday is the holy day for the religions in the majority, so when I have off work the vibe of the neighborhoods is much like what you’d see in small town rural America.  The streets are rolled up, nothing will be open at least until Sunday.  I sit and pout, and research, and scout on Saturdays.  I’ve found a dive shop in Tel Aviv that also specializes in fishing equipment, and an Army/Navy type store in Eilat that has fishing gear and acts as an importer for the entirety of Israel.  It isn’t exactly like I can just go down to the port and go to one of the numerous tackle shops, but that’s OK.  It adds to the adventure.

I’ve been to the dive shop since when I first started writing this, and they’re set up for trolling boats — selling mostly deep diver lures meant to be trolled behind the few deep water boats going out of Jaffa and Tel Aviv.  As an avid fan of my St. Croix and Wright and McGill rods back home I couldn’t bring myself to buy the only brand of equipment they seemed to be hawking, MAYA.  I’ve got no experience with it, but the build quality was not something I’ve come to expect from equipment back home.

Public Land

This is a place that reminds me how good we have it back in the good old United States.  There are a great many public parks, but nothing super huge.  I had an opportunity to go to what was purported to be one of their National Parks, and while it was a nice oasis outside of a city of high rises, it was not what we know of as a national park.  I’ll admit that I haven’t seen enough of this country’s beautiful places — and in the coming weeks and months I will be traveling more and more.  For those of you looking to travel to Israel to do a little hunting — there is no hunting at all in this country.  None.  It’s too small of a country, and many of the open areas are being used for settlements.  It’s not that there aren’t opportunities available, there is legally speaking no way to obtain a hunting license.

The Great Outdoors in the Holy Land

For all of what you hear in the news about the Golan Heights, how many of you have ever Googled it?  Do it, right now, open another tab and check it out.  I’ll wait.  What is the picture in your mind’s eye that you’ve generated after decades of news stories with B-roll footage?  I’ll admit it right here and now that I was dead ass wrong.  I pictured street to street urban fighting from all the news stories over the last year, never once did I see pictures until I was preparing for this trip.  I’ll absolutely say that it was entirely my ignorance that painted the picture.  It’s a beautiful historic mountainous region in the cradle of civilization, green and rugged full of  hardy people.  I can’t wait to be able to explore the area now that (at least some of) my veil of ignorance has been lifted.  One thing is sure, while I can’t find any hunting opportunities, and the tackle shops seem few and far in between, this is a nation that loves to hike and camp, and where compulsory military service is the order of the day there is a young fit military age population yearning for adventure.  I’m game.

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Tags: , Last modified: March 3, 2020