Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ari's first day in Israel, and Aliza's major moron moment

My first two days in Israel were spent in Givat Shmuel, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Since trips to Israel (and my life in general) are often odes to really good food, I will note that Monday night, Yoel and I ate at Caffit, where I had Fettucine Rosa. I've always liked Caffit's pastas, ever since my year in Israel, and this one really hit the spot. I also liked their customer service, in that they did not complain about me ordering one pasta with a different sauce, beyond the menu combinations.
Monday night was Burger's Bar in Givat Shmuel, where I am often overwhelmed by choice. What if I ask for the wrong sauce? Then everything will be ruined! (My sandwich was awesome.)

On Tuesday night, I had what is now my fifth pretty-much-sleepless-night because I got to sleep late, woke up every 1/2 hour, and then ended up getting up 15 minutes early because I just could not sleep because I didn't want to be late to the cab to take me to the airport, even though I already knew that Ari's flight left Heathrow 30 min. late.
(For those of you not keeping track, Sara's and Aliza's 3 sleepless nights were:
Monday, June 22 - Aer Lingus didn't turn off the lights on an overnight flight to Dublin;
Thursday, June 25 - Harder to sleep on an overnight bus to Seville than you'd think;
Wednesday, July 1 - Sara and I didn't know to reserve sleeper seats on the train to Marrakech, so we were up all night in the train compartment.
I also added to that Sunday, July 5, when Iberia didn't turn off the lights on the overnight flight to Tel Aviv.)

I danced the dance of joy at the airport, where the coffee place was willing to put SOY in my cafe hafuch and give me salad dressing for the salad I brought with me, then waited for Ari. After he came and at a snack of his own, we wended our way to Jerusalem the super slow Nesher taxi way. (These shared taxis don't leave until there are 10 passengers, so we sat in the heat waiting a while.)

Our only formal activity yesterday was a tour of Ir David, suggested by Melanie, with whom Aviva and I went to the beach on Tuesday. The tour takes you through the ongoing excavations of King David's ancient city and shares its political and military significance over time. Then you get to walk through King Hezekiah's water tunnel. The thrilling part is that the excavations are ongoing so a lot of what we've seen has only been discovered in the last 5 years. To see the edges of the Shiloach pool and hear speculation as to where in the vicinity of the Gihon spring King Solomon was inaugurated pique my curiosity as a Bible teacher.

I also had my major moron moment. I have been super careful packing liquids and gels for travel, and have had no real shampoo or body wash disasters up till now. Due to a dislike of my current sunscreen, I had Ari bring a spray sunscreen bottle, which we took with us to Ir David. I didn't even think to double-ziploc it. Consequently, as far as we can tell:
a. The lid came off.
b. I must have accidentally depressed the spray button continously.
c. My purse oozed with sunscreen.
d. The bottle was emptied.
e. The snacks in my purse had to be tossed.
f. The pens in my purse came into contact with the sunscreen and stained my skirt, which will need industrial cleaning to be wearable again.
g. My cellphone is about as functional as a paperweight.
h. My purse's replacement date has been moved up to last night.

Sara and I always said that you don't bring things on vacation if you would be sad to return home without them. I feel really fortunate that the passports and digital camera were not in the purse at the time of the sunscreen explosion. Otherwise, what is gone is gone, but replaceable. In the case of my purse, already been replaced. Ari and I moved the SIM card to his phone, and I changed before dinner.

Ari and I had a truly spectacular meal at El Gaucho. We have not done something so fancy since Le Marais in Sept. '07. It feels nice to know that kosher dining out need not be mediocre, as it often is in Brookline, and I was alternately thrilled by the fact that they gave us an amuse bouche, the fact that there were items on the menu that I had never had before, the fact that the meat was excellent and well-cooked, and the fact that service was excellent. We give El Gaucho four thumbs up.

Strolling around Machane Yehuda, Ari got complimented for being the husband willing to stand around in the women's clothing store while his wife tried on skirts. All else is well in Jerusalem.

Portugal photos are online, here and here. It take a while, so more photos will be online eventually, and I still do hope to blog about the final days in Marrakech.



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