We are the clients from hell, in that we had themed our trip "water," and we wanted to integrate visits with our contacts in water-related businesses into our tour schedule. Susan and her local contacts did an incomparable job of making this happen. For example, following our visit to the huge IDE desalination plant at Hadera, our guide, Eilon, took us to see the nearby aqueduct built by Herod the Great near Caesaria. Thus we saw, back to back, how Israel obtains fresh water today and 2000 years ago. Eilon knows everyone, and there seemed to be no door through which he could not pass. You will not find the best shawarma in Acre without Eilon.
There is no better way to understand the Golan Heights than to cross the Jordan Valley by jeep with the guide Shulman. We slipped and slid down the west side of the Valley—seeing the irrigation systems on the way!—crossed the Jordan, and ascended the eastern side to stand among the former Syrian gun emplacements. Shulman told us how his father homesteaded below these guns and how Shulman himself is now building his home in the shadow of the Syrian border. Shulman is Israeli and there is no better way to feel the land than with him in his jeep.
We crossed over to Jordan at Elat and met up with our Jordanian guide Loai, who escorted us through Petra and Wadi Rum. There is no need for us here to describe these world famous sites, but Loai also found time in a tight schedule to meet our request for an Aquaba tour and particularly a visit to a museum which was the home of the father of the first kings of both Jordan and Iraq.
The success of Susan's tours flows not only from the flawless logistics, but also from the care that she takes in the selection of the guides. While all were deeply knowledgeable and helpful, we were particularly struck by the thoughtfulness and balance of Loai's responses to our impertinent questions about Israel, Jordan, and Palestine.