Friday, March 13, 2009

This week started out very interesting. With a day off after our win against Ashdod, my teammate Charde and one of her friends along with myself spent a little day away from basketball. We started out at the Safari here. It is called the African Park. Once you pay to get in, you drive yourself through the park in your own car so you can stop and see all the animals as well as take as many pictures as you would like. I found this very interesting and kind of fun. It was something different to do and I actually liked it.

The animals were, of course, some that I had never ever seen before. I will list a couple that we were able to see:

Scimitar-Horned Oryx: it lives in the sands of North Africa deserts in herds of 10-12 animals both the males and females have Scimitar shaped horns;

Nubian Ibex: its family relatives are of the goats; They live in hilly, desert areas in Israel;

White Rrhinoceros: they live in small herds and feed on wild grass; it is said that in Africa they are hunted for their horns and then sold at a very high price in Asia;

Somali Wild Ass: these were very cute and you can tell that they were a little unique; they are the ancestors of the domestic donkey, and is the rarest of all the horse family with only 500 remaining;

Arabian Oryx: they adapted to the desert climate, they need little water, and sparse vegetation;

Grant Zebras, and the Grevy Zebra: I honestly didn't know that there were different zebras like this. The Grevy Zebras are a larger species than the Grant species and their stripes are a lot narrower and the also have white bellies. They live in small families, not in herds like the Grant Zebras, and they are closer to extinction in the wild;

Eland: they are the largest of all the antelopes;

Waterbuck: what I found interesting about them is that when they are in danger they jump into water and stay there until the danger passes, i am not sure about everyone else but I found this interesting about them;

The Gnu: Another animal that is interesting to me. It has a very distinct appearance, the hind quarters are lower than the shoulders, the head looks like a cow, and the tail is like a Horse's tail. They are common in East Africa plains, and they migrate with the zebra herds;

Addax: they too live in herds of about 20 individuals. their broad hooves allow them to gallop on sand dunes without sinking;

Other animals that were there were the lions, ostrich, crowned crane, Marabou of the bird family (it spreads its large wings to expose themselves to the sun, the Solar radiation helps them to rid themselves of feather parasites), the flamingo, the hippopotamus, the pelican, giraffe, Nyala, Sable Antelope (their names refer to their body color, they travel in herds that include one male and a few females; the females are a lighter brown), and the Gazelle.

I am sorry to blab on about the animals, I just wanted to make sure some of you knew exactly what some of them were as well as a little about them.

From there we went on to the mall to find a gift for our teammates, whose name we had pulled out of a hat of names. I will explain this part later on. We also grabbed a bite to eat and strolled the mall for a little while. Once we found what were looking for we headed to the movies. We were there to see the movie Changeling, but it wasnt showing at the time that we wanted to see it, so we went to see the movie Slum Dog Millionaire. Now I had heard about this movie but I wasnt sure of how it would actually be and to tell you the truth I am mad I waited so long to go see it. It was awesome. A very good movie. After the movie was over we headed home. We figured that was a long enough day for us.

The next day we are getting ready to go to practice and after practice we had to exchange gifts with one another. This is what I had mentioned earlier. This day is March 10th and it is a holiday here in Israel. It is called Purim. If anyone has ever read the Book of Esther in the Bible it speaks about this. Purim is a Jewish Holiday commemorating their Deliverance from Massacre by Haman. This was a plot to destroy all of the Jews in Persia. It is kind of a unique day to those of us that are not Jewish. To me it is like halloween, Christmas, and Mother's day all in one. Actually Mother's day is March 8th here and all over Europe. This is the day that they celebrate mothers; they call it womens day.

Anyways, sorry for getting off track..... where was I.... Oh yeah... Purim, it started out as you originally giving gifts or candy to the poor, as much as you wanted to or would like, from there you can get it to your family, and your friends etc... it is still like this but there is also a lot more fun with it than it was when it first started... this is the part that is like halloween. Everyone here dresses up with costumes, and paint there faces and enjoy this day of celebrations. There costumes though are not like ours, they are not scary or anything like that. they are mostly action figures, and animals, no devils, vampires, etc things of that sort. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that it is also like Mardi Gras, there are also parades in the different cities all over this country all celebrating and having a blast. All dressed up and faces made up, it is a day of feasting and gladness for the people of this country and I was happy to be a part of it, experience it, and share it with them. Believe it or not this was just the first two days of the week. Talk about and interesting start.

Now on to the other stuff.........We had another game last night and it didn't turn out as well as we had planned. We lost to a very good team. Ebony Hoffman played very well for her club as well as Jia Perkins. We will be playing again on Monday against Ivory Latta and her club so hopefully I will come back with a victorious story.

Until next time.....


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