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Tel Aviv, Israel
Aug 16, 1999


Staring out of the plane window, a tan cloud of dust became visible as we descended through the clouds. We were coming in for a landing soon, and still no landscape made itself visible-- just a monochromatic landscape of beige. Suddenly, the orange sun reflected off what looked like a metal building in the distance.

As we approached the Tel Aviv rapidly, gleams of these metal buildings, gold and silver in color, became more common. It was a terrifically beautiful scene, nothing like an American city-- yet, I could only think to myself, as a twelve year old on her first time abroad, that this place seemed disappointing. Expecting a foreign city to be like an illustration from a storybook-- a rich, luxurious place-- reality showed no such evidence of this preconception.

From the sky, this city seemed quite tiny... and there was nothing around the city but desert to make up for it. The sky was a very light blue, almost white, and the warm colored landscape and city appeared dry. I wondered, of what asthetic good is a city covered in a beige dust, in the middle of a desert? Nevertheless. I was not about to prejudge Israel. I had waited forever to travel, and I was going to savor this opportunity. I would have to prove to myself how great the small country could be over the next two weeks I'd be staying there.