I had just put down my lunch plate from the hotel buffet when the first siren went off. I never took a bite, and I am just realizing, I never paid either.
We scrambled out onto the hotel restaurant's balcony, where we could see most of Haifa spread out down the hill below us.
The scary thing about rocket strikes is that even with the siren sounding you can't see them coming. No streak of fire across the sky. Not a lot of sound. That is, not until the thump when it hits.
This time, the thump was very close, and soon, a plume of thick white smoke started to rise. Within a few minutes, we jumped into our van and tore down the hill.
The site was pure chaos -- filled with police, EMTs, onlookers, and of course, the throng of world press. Bullhorns were blasting and photographers snapped endlessly at the blast-splattered building.
Then, just as we felt we had a grasp of the scene around us, the siren sounded again. The crowd went from pushing and shoving in the street to huddling together under any cover we could find.
I found myself squeezed in a boarded-up shop doorway with a cop and a photographer. A second dull thud and a second sprint to the van. By then, we were all drenched in sweat. Summer in Israel really isn't body armor weather.
This strike felt very different. The first rocket hit an unoccupied office building. This one hit a more residential neighborhood.
I watched as the apartment building slowly started to catch fire. I saw a man holding a woman in the alley behind me. She was shaking violently in his arms as he tried to console her.
I've never blogged before, so forgive me if this rambles. But as we rushed off to feed tape and throw the rest of our gear in the van to make the next flight to the next story, I am still thinking of that couple, people for whom this war isn't dramatic pictures and adrenaline.
When the crowds leave the neighborhood, this tale won't be just another story running on tonight's news. For the countless innocent people in Israel and Lebanon, this is their lives.