Posts Tagged ‘international’

On my way

August 6, 2010

i think friendship is important. it is a big part of my life. and i am very proud of my friends. and my good friends also know my top problem. i am not good at keeping in touch with them, though i try to make it up in intensity, intimacy and quality. so yes, that is my excuse, quality of quantity

perhaps more than family. perhaps (mom says blood is thinker than water). to my friends, and you know who you are, thank you.

i moved to israel from the USA at a young age. Left my parents, two brothers and two sisters behind. i think of myself as a Zionist. friends are a crucial part of my life.

there is nothing like Israeli friends. it is one of the things we should be proud of. but i am lucky enough to have an “Israeli friend” who is American. Kevin. you have probably heard me talk about him countless times. 2 years of life together in college and three months on trains in europe bonded us. love of sports. political discussions. life in startups. computers and design. kevin is a walking TED. every time i pick up a camera, and i love photography, i think of him. he tought me about quality. about the importance of good equipment. about light; and how to capture it. about composition. about typography and beauty.

so when i got an email from him that he is getting married. i was happy. very happy.

last year kevin had a heart attack. since then he has lost half of his body weight. he is healthier and happier. some, if not much of it, is due to Juliet. they met while kevin was on a mileage run to Hong Kong about 6 months ago.

at first i was not sure if i wanted to travel to the philippines during this summer. i already had a personal trip planned to South Africa with my son, Gil. Summer is time to spend with the family, and it would mean that 5 out of 7 weeks i would be away from home when you count in two business trips. and as you may know, i do not travel well.

but my heart stopped my head from thinking too much. the only issue was if Limor will join me or not.

oh, and i am the Best-Man of the wedding. what an honor.

getting to St Bernard on southern Leyte island, Philippines where Juliet was born is not simple. it took me 4 flights, 5 taxi rides, 2 train rides and a long bus ride to get there. 10.275 degrees north of the equator 125.275 west of Greenwich.

2 of my flights were on Cathay Pacific. first time on that airline. all my life i have been told it is the tops. well, it is not. it is yet another airline.

was it worth it to make the trip? should Limor have joined me? will it be a happy wedding? how will the two families, one rural american and one rural Phillipinnes, bond? will i get sick on the way as i often do after many flights? are there more surprises ahead?

so, how is the Philippines?

August 5, 2010

it is far away. perhaps too far. but it is beautiful. and simple. and simple is not so simple anymore.

a bit like Thiland – it is tropical with the best Mangos and Cocunuts. and beautiful beaches, yet undeveloped.

a bit like Cuba – poor, but with many more smiles. people take life in the easy way. no sense of time. and as you have heard me say before, losing your sense of time (and digital connectivity) are highly correlated with happiness.

a bit like Cambodia. dirty, with motorcycles harnessed to a carriage serving as a Taxi. in genral, transportation is dirt cheap. pun intended. the roads are excellent, but quite busy. the streets and “main” roads are the public space where life takes place. there are few sidewalks and many pedestrians (many of which seem unemployed, or living on $2 per day or less) . so some sort of orderly chaos takes care of matters. quite scary for a westerner.

in general, people are nice and the food is disappointing.

more about the phillipines later. first, about how, and why, i got here.

Israel and USA

April 20, 2010

i am going to attempt to create a list of things that are really different between Israel and the USA

popular inexpensive local car in the 1970's

press here for the entire series

this is in order to help US employees of my portfolio companies to better understand Israeli culture

good luck…

it is also a result of a board call i had yesterday, just as memorial day was trying to smile and independence day still had a gloomy look

try to explain that special hour to Americans – as sadness is tempting to turn to happiness. Gil my son was mad at me for taking the call and asked me to schedule one on July 4th.

if you have any ideas for good stories about differences, i would love to receive them

but here is a starter:

in America, why do you park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?

popular inexpensive local car in the 1970's

a lovely country ארץ נהדרת

February 18, 2010

it is thursday

my favorite day of the week since i was 9 years old

you can start smelling the weekend.

looking forward to what erez nehderet will do about the mossad job in Dubai tomorrow?

a few thoughts:

not exactly a song of ‘values’. for the lyrics, which i had a hard time figuring out, looks here.

i’m talking pedicure on our toes, toes

  • why do western countries measure Israel by western values?

we went to dubai to kill a terrorist on his way to iran, on his way to get more arms into gaza.

our team was traced.oops. that is part of the risk. it would have been nice if we had erased the video.

now, do the government summoning up our ambassadors really expect us to use israeli passports? we have to use foreign ones and once in a while it will be british. and once in a while we will be caught.

i think this is all noise that will go away in 2 weeks. then again, i am way out of my territory

don’t stop. make it pop

all you need is love

January 23, 2010

some nice thoughts for the weekend:

what does love look like?

try this

what does it sound like?

nice job, red and starbucks.

mission of hope, a story of life and death

January 20, 2010

i am proud of the israeli hospital in haiti

our humanitarian efforts in Haiti are remarkable because

Gubilande Jean Michel holds her son at the IDF hospital in Port-au-Prince on Saturday. He was born there, a month early but healthy, and she has named him Israel.

Jean Michel Gubilande holds her son at the IDF hospital in Port-au-Prince on Saturday. He was born there, a month early but healthy, and she has named him Israel.

  • we live half a world away
  • our efforts are done full-heartedly
  • the results are meaningful
  • the response was quick
  • at the time, the American medical efforts in Haiti are still in planning phases and not operational
  • for once, our disproportionate response is positive
  • and, it is still difficult to find stories of how israel is to be blamed for the earthquake

makes you wonder, when will we help the people 80 km south of here?

for some remarkable stories, perhaps the best i have seen related to israel in a long time:

interview with a brother of a man rescued after 4 days.

even sky news has something nice to say about this.

abc doctor trying to help a pregnant woman and another miracle of birth

and a short, but telling CNN piece, really worth watching:

what is duty free about duty-free?

November 18, 2009
what is duty free about duty-free?
The fact that I do not have the duty to buy?
It is expensive, hostile, and comes in ‘special’ packages so that it is more difficult to compare to earthly products
Almost any item is less expensive on-line, and you do not need to carry the damn things with you

Better yet, rather than buying duty free, support a local merchant

if you had to take sides

November 13, 2009

are weekends time for politics? or were they just made for Michelob?

i try to read and catch up on what is going on.

here is an argument between 2 people. based on the two, whose side would you take?

Man 1: … he is a small man, devoid of any sense of justice, a technocrat with no real understanding of …

Man 2: I would say that the his comments are specious and ill-befitting his post…I am content to be judged by my actions over the course of my career

read the haaretz article below to find out more on these two people

the issue is crucial. if israel mis-manages our tactics on this matter, the UN security council can approve the goldstone report. some of our soldiers and generals will be subjects of trials by the ICC in the Hague. that would make a lot of people, which  i do not like, happy

should israel carry an independent audit of what happened in gaza? are there lessons to be learned?


South African jurist Richard Goldstone lambasted President Shimon Peres on Thursday for a personal attack on him, which the president launched in response to a damning report he compiled on Israel’s winter offensive in Gaza.

“I would say that the President’s comments are specious and ill-befitting the Head of the State of Israel,” Goldstone said in an interview with Haaretz.

“I am content to be judged by my actions over the course of my career both in terms of my professional judicial career and my voluntary service.”

The jurist was referring to comments Peres made on Wednesday to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during a meeting in Brasilia.

Peres told his Brazilian counterpart that, “Goldstone is a small man, devoid of any sense of justice, a technocrat with no real understanding of jurisprudence.”

Goldstone added in the interview that while he anticipated there would be considerable criticism of the report from Israel, he was surprised at the many “nasty attacks” made against him personally.

Bangkok, Oriental setting

July 27, 2009

And the city don’t know that the city is getting

sent: Jun 01 2008 – 11:44pm

bankok for 2 nights
Very nice hotel – thanks idan
At this point in time, bankok and I did not connect well

It was too much for me, and no relaxation, and fake, fake fake
Tuk tuk sir? Lady boom boom? Pussy Ping pong?
Haaa much you pay? 650. Ok? 100? Ya clazy?
And you are different, and are small, and many do not talk english, even cab drivers, and negotiation is with out air conditioning and without a smile. The city don’t stop and its a mix, and its amazing, and fake fake fake.

And hard to digest, and street food cooked and the sweat is on and the dirt beneath and a mother with child, on her knees because she see’s you. Can you spare a dime? Is that 10. Baht or 100? Neon, florescent, leds, on-off behind the glass, in the stall, and westerners walking, with beer, and great bodies and electronics and internet cafe and beit habad and 7/11 are really popular here

And the air is dirty, did our tuk tuk. 50 baht, 4 sites, one hour and less than 2$ and the driver waits in each site. It is hot and sticky and the air is dirty.

The city has changed. From gaza to gaza elite. Skytrain and skyways. It is a huge city 10 km from one area to another. And we are popular. And people constantly touch us and want to sell us stuff we don’t need at prices we don’t want. Fake fake fake. And girls of the street think we are cute. And they are small. The butt is tight. Some of their faces are from another world. They touch us and smile at us and sell us beer and clap their hands and laugh with us. We are over-aged over wealthy western men

Some things here are cheap some are expensive. Most are fake fake fake.

I freed 5 birds in a Buddhist temple and a Buddhist monk was collecting money at 2 am as you walk out of a club.Corn? I love corn, not fake. An elephant in the middle of the street. Not fake. A 10 year old girl selling flowers at 3 am in front of a club, not fake..
We bought a camera. Iris needed one. We bought 3. Mbk. Hard to negotiate. Canon sd 1000. Like a cigarette box. Back to basics. Great format, great menu, great shots. All the stores have the same price. And bags and burberry and boss. Luis vitton, prada, lowes bags and jeans, calvin klein. Haa much ya pay? Fake fake fake
Agressive, what you want haa much you pay. Loud music, traffic not moving, taxis waiting, no willing to turn on meter. fake cigrattes, lots of beer too much alcohol.

This is what happens when capitalism meets no rules and very poor people. Too much, not simple, amazing energy, all senses on overload
Like Thai massage at first it hurts, too much and for too long – can you go softer on the muscles? – and then it reaches an equilibrium, and some of it is nice and when it is over you wish you had more

The killing Fields

July 27, 2009

Sent: Tue May 27  2008

We are in cambodia
First impressions of siep ream:
Much poorer than vietnam
Less motorcycles
People are darker, less beautiful, and follow an older form of budhism – they are more like the thai and the VNs are more like chinese

More moskitos and malaria
We already got beaten

Hotel is nicest wehave had so far

At the airport the laugh level in cambodia is already up- much more than the water – it is the end of the dry season and the lake is mud
We change money than take some dollars on our visa account.
Idan is not happy with some $ bills he got. They are old. He had this problem all trip long as he got some old dollars from under the matress and noone wants them. Even kids in rural villages. So the girl tells him the old $ he got are the bills he gave her 5 minutes ago when the common pot exchanged money
So he is rejecting the bills we just gave them
6 people start laughing

for photos, press here