Tuesday, May 31, 2005

God - what more d'ya want from us!!!!

I dunno. I watched the Israeli movie Ushpizin over the weekend - a strong movie about all things going wrong over the Jewish holiday of Succot for this newly-Chassidic man and his wife but they never lose their faith despite everything and things turned out the way they wished in the end. A happy ending.

I knew the day was not gonna go ok from this morning - we got a notice from the City that it's unlawful to have plastic storage sheds on your balcony. Our balcony is huge and could fit 10 of them. But after Hubby bought the 2nd one, either a jealous neighbor or a city employee passing by complained about it. We have one month to remove them - even though there's no storage space inside our home. Hubby invited the engineer to our home. The engineer wanted us to bring him floor plans. We don't have floor plans - we are renters. But go explain anything to these people.

That was the least of our troubles today. Hubby had to go to debtor's court and I had to go to my Criminal Daughter's reformatory to see where they would put her at the end of the month. Hubby tried to get out of debtor's court, but some creditor's lawyer was there making it difficult for him. Meanwhile, the ex-Criminal felt awful about her dad not being there. I tried to explain that Dad would go to jail if he didn't show up in court - but try explaining anything to a self-centered 15 year old. The judgement for her was harsh. They felt she still needed additional protection from the outside influences and guidance and therapy and are putting her in a place similar to where she is now - only much closer to home. She was miserable thinking she could handle it in a more open atmosphere and cried bitterly. I felt like a helpless mother, but told her it will all be for the good. She must feel like I hate her.

Getting back to Hubby, who couldn't read the applications in Hebrew and didn't have 100% of the things they asked for - just 95% - they froze MY bank account - because Hubby can't have one - and I just said "fuck it." I think God wants us to deal with our debts and settle with all the creditors NOW. Only one is an asshole - the rest will probably settle at a much lower amount. I had a strong feeling about it for a while, but this is the push I needed to really get going with it. Hubby can't leave the country while he is in debtor's court and I feel he has to go see his mother, whom he hasn't seen in nearly 10 years. And this is God's way of telling us - Just Do It.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Top nearly 30 searches in May that brought up Jerusalem Wanderings

Top (nearly) 30 Searches in May - These are some of the searches people did that brought up my site this month. I've labelled them as follows.

1. Garden Prayer Circle - normal
2. Overdose on Chocolates - normal - for me anyways
3. City Hall Jerusalem - normal
4. Step by step hackig (hacking) Arabic google - wacko
5. Real whores - sicko
6. Israeli fashion - normal
7. Tongue ring - wacko
8. Abraham's Wanderings - normal
9. Boombamela - normal

10. Bukharian porn (I featured first on that search) - SICKO
11. Fools of prophecy - wacko
12. Pretty gravesites - wacko
13. Who whore the kippa first - wacko

14. Tel Aviv Stripclub - SICKO
15. Writin' in Arabic - normal
16. Homeopath Jerusalem - normal
17. Gruzini Jews - wacko

18. What happened to the Jews in Medieval Spain - normal
19. Egyptian architecture - normal
20. Nigerian perspectives on Palestinian-Israeli conflict - wacko
21. learning how to speak gypsy – wacko
22.cleaning your penis on expeditions – WACKO AND SICKO
23. Jerusalem fashion - normal
24. Life in Jerusalem - normal
25. Conrad Schick- normal
26. Eliyahu acupuncture – a bit of a wacko

27. Synagogue in Spain- normal
28. Nasty Daughter - another unfortunate

29. Sikh temple - normal

Sunday, May 29, 2005

goin' shopping

My friends were talking about the new store in the pedestrian mall called "C Cup and Up" - for women only.

"When you go inside there, you feel like everyone's watching from the street to see the women going into the store. It's so uncomfortable."

Sure. From the city that brings you the Jerusalem Syndrome, there is bound to be your freaks and perverts hanging around the Store for Big Boobed Women.

I'm shopping on Friday morning for groceries and two women are fighting by the fruits. In English. One is American and the other Russian. But both are yelling at each other in English.

"You're Stupid!"

"No, YOU'RE stupid."

"I'm not stupid. YOU'RE stupid."

"You're more stupid."

And I stood by the avocados staring at the two of them, thinking they're BOTH stupid.

Later that afternoon, unbeknown to me, Hubby went shopping. I thought he was just going for a haircut, but he came home with a silicone ring to put on his watchamacallit - "to please your woman" the hairdresser who sold it to him, told him. While he was describing the item to Hubby, the curiosity of other female patrons was perked. The innovative hairdresser sold quite a few of those "toys" in that hour.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A New Discovery

I feel like Columbus. I think I've just happened on a great discovery. I don't know who these guys are but they are cool and their video is great. I love slide guitar, I love Spanish music. I'm not crazy about rap, but it's there too - but since they're Jewish guys rapping, it's funny and I can relate. Check out this amazing video . It's called Gorrito Cosmico.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Israeli Gigolo

I was given 1/2 hour to go pick up some groceries - a rare luxury during working hours - in the company of the company's driver - a Israeli man of Morroccan extraction, close to 50 years old, who recently married for the first time, ever.

We're driving through these older Jerusalem neighborhoods and it's a trip down memory lane for him.

"This is where I had a girlfriend. On this street" he tells me. He goes on further.

"It's such a quiet neighborhood here. And she's screaming and screaming with me during the night. I tell her - sssshhhh!! Everyone can hear you!!!"

Like the dude's really embarrassed by it.

He continues..."In the neighborhood of Katamonim - EVERYONE screams. It's better there."

I'm grateful I live in the quiet neighborhood where no one screams - not even yours truly. Just the street cats who go a-howling through the night.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Conflicts and Confusion

Hubby laughed on the way to work yesterday.

"Did you see that Arab guy wearing a t-shirt with "Celebrate Israel's 50th anniversary" on it?" and he couldn't stop laughing about it.

And when I went to today's meeting of the Interfaith coordinators at Notre Dame, I saw a group of Orthodox Jewish girls - some wearing right wing slogans on their t-shirts - being given a lesson on the place by their teacher, a young bearded man, while the Palestinians in the security booth looked at them and wondered what they were doing having a history lesson on the street in front of their place.

I still am totally confused thinking about Saturday's events - like - did the soldiers not want us to speak to Palestinians on Saturday or were they just simply following orders that we couldn't be in that particular area because of security reasons.

Were the two settlers sitting near the home where we were visiting just out for a Sabbath stroll or were waiting to see who was visiting their "enemy" and were they out to hassle us too? The fear was so great that our hosts asked that we climb a ladder in the other direction, through olive groves to get to our van waiting on a main street. This thing - which should have been no more than a 5 minute walk on a main road took us 15 minutes, through olive groves, brambles, steep dirt and rocky steps and through other people's courtyards and garbage dumps that I was thrilled to be back in the taxi.

Our Hebron host called me laterthat evening to make sure I got back ok. He gets hassled daily, but thinks of calling ME to make sure I'm ok. Amazing. Things like this make it worthwhile for me to go through the hassle of meeting the other.

Tonight is Eliyahu's peace party. I'm going and speaking and am curious who will show up. But say a little prayer for him because he needs to move out of his rented apartment and into another one by July 1st - and he needs a place with a big enough living room so he could continue having these monthly peace parties. He's also asked me to belong offically to the Jerusalem Peacemakers Circle - I accepted which means God will have to see to it that I have the time to undertake all of these important things.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Running from the Troops

I hadn't done any "field" peace activities lately, other than the Jerusalem stuff I do and the call for a solidarity visit to Palestinian families in Hebron sounded quite desperate. I told Hubby.

"If you really loved me, you wouldn't be doing all this shit."

"I need my adrenaline going. Fox News just doesn't do it for me, honey. Not even with their heightened 'terror alert-elevated' signs flashing constantly across the screen. I'm so sorry."

And off I went. The crowd was a good mix of people - about 40 strong. Off we went in 4 Ford Transits. We were warned that the army may not let us through to talk to these families - perhaps because they expected a very large crowd and didn't want a strong or any confrontation between the settlers and the Israel Palestinian-sympathizers with the army having to get into the middle of all of this. Each van was equipped with a "walkie talkie" informing us of what lied ahead. We were notified that our Israeli van wouldn't be allowed into Palestinian controlled areas so we got out to continue our travels in the large yellow Palestinian taxis. While driving into Hebron some asshole swiped the side of our car while making a turn and not wanting to wait while our car passed. Miraculously, even though our van veered onto oncoming traffic - no one got hurt, not even a whiplash. I was shaken for about 60 seconds and then we all didn't want to attract too much attention to ourselves - lest our visit be sabotaged - and got into a passing taxi. The driver was really curious.

"You're Israeli?"

I'm sure it was many years ago that he last transported Israelis around Hebron. We all spoke quite animatedly in a mixture of English, Arabic and Hebrew. We told him we wanted to go to Tel Rumeida.

"To visit Jewish families??" he asked

Now he sounded worried. His smile returned when we told him we were visiting Palestinian families.

We stopped all together in a marketplace and after 10 minutes saw a troop of Israeli soldiers coming our way.

"Follow me" shouted someone in the Christian Peacemaker's Team that organized this.

I did as I was told. I followed her and didn't look back because the soldiers were in full battle gear and looked scary. Even that they were my own. The soldiers ran past me to grab someone else from our group. I walked passed them, as if I always encounter these kinds of things and followed this young woman into this Palestinian family's courtyard. Some more of us eventually got to where I was. We were a group of 10. I was nervous for the families thinking the soldiers might follow us and that the last thing these families need are Israeli soldiers traipsing through their property. But the families weren't fazed by any of this and were more curious as to what we were doing here. I told them

"we're Jewish Israelis from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, hiding from Israeli soldiers."

That sounded real weird and I said it again to everyone within earshot. We got a call from someone who was with the rest of the group. Apparently, they were all arrested and detained at a police station nearby. It's illegal for Israelis to be in Palestinian-controlled area A. And that's where we were. Even if we take responsibility for our own safety. There was so much urgency in the soldier's voices, I really believe that they believe that every Arab in Hebron is a terrorist. And if anything happened to our group, it would cause a major incident. A political backfire, a whatever. But we were here on a mission. And that mission needed to be carried out no matter what.

Someone led us through a back path up the mountain until we got to this doctor's home. Very much like James Bond – we walked in silence, looking to see if the coast was clear of soldiers – and went into the living room. He told us his story – about his home being vandalized, about his being beaten into a coma and his kids wondering why he didn't use the big knife they had in the kitchen. After 1/2 hour we were ushered into another home, more dangerous, right beneath a settler compound in Tel Rumeida.

Tel Rumeida is historically where King David is said to have had his palace. I don't think any excavation was carried out anywhere on this Tel, but I thought of him while I walked on those paths. And I knew why the Jews chose to live there.

Sitting beneath a grape vine, this family was also constantly harassed by settlers – the teenage kids smashed their little boys face into the ground and crushed his teeth. The kid showed the photo around to the crowd. It seemed barbaric and so sad. They are virtually prisoners and are afraid for their kids to walk around, so no one ventures out too often. The main roads are blocked for them, so that they must use the dirt steps and path to go uphill – with groceries, etc. I walked it and it ain't an easy walk.

Despite all this, I didn't hear hate in their voices towards the settlers. Only pain. I didn't hear that the settlers should move away from them, etc. (although I did hear the Israelis say it – more than once). I told them what I do - organizing interfaith dialogue groups that discuss commonalities in our religions in order to respect each other's beliefs and faith. They were so excited about it and said they have no problem with this and wouldn't mind having a dialogue with any of the settlers. Meanwhile, I invited them to an upcoming dialogue in June in the Bethlehem area, which would be easier for them to get to, not having to obtain an Israeli permit. And I was touched when I quoted my friend Eliyahu's quote "The land doesn't belong to you or to me. It's God's land" , and they all shook their heads in agreement, that claimed ownership of land is what is causing all this strife and grief. I was touched when the Palestinian hostess told us that she invited us because she wanted her children to see another kind of Israeli. A good Israeli. That not all of them are made of hate. And this took a lot of courage. On both sides.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Restless woman rant

I felt I was doing ok with myself until I saw something totally evil in the house the other day that I hadn't seen in years. A scale. Unfortunately I stepped on it - and it didn't lie to me. My daughter bought it because it was on sale. I could personally think of alot of other and better things I would buy on sale - rather than that. But never mind. It's a sign from God. The hot summer is a good time to scale down (pun intended) on eating, especially when you feel like drinking water all day long and let's see what happens.

I was noticing out all the Peace stuff going on this week. It seems that that is what they are concentrating on these days. Then the kite flying for peace yesterday, the Gypsy music thing at 2:00 in the Russian Compound that I promised Amoun I would go to, and on Saturday the solidarity visit to Tel Rumeida in Hebron and the silent peace walk in Hawarra.

Hubby rarely joins me on any of these, opting to take me out instead for a lovely rural-side breakfast-brunch.

"If there was an organization called Sex for Peace, I'll join." he muttered on the way to breakfast. So I missed the Kites for Peace thing at 1:00 pm and we passed by a gorgeous flower nursery and spent all our time looking at the exotic and beautiful plants so that I missed the Gypsy thing as well.

The "silent" people of the Walk on Saturday called me to see if I would join. I would mean getting to Jerusalem. Then catching a taxi to Tel Aviv then waiting for someone I never met before to pick me up in her car and then we'd be off to that place. Too much of a hassle for me on the Day of Rest. I opted out.

Perhaps the solidarity visit to the Arabs in Tel Rumeida. Last time I was there was perhaps 7 years ago on a solidarity visit to the Jewish residents there with the Women in Green. Before I embarked on my Peace ventures. I remember waving this huge Israeli flag while I walked around, protected on all 4 sides by Israeli Defense Forces finest. My take then was a bit different obviously. I still think it should be a mixed city of Jews and Arabs because it's a holy city for both - but there's no dialogue there, just alot of hatred towards the other. I'm thinking of going there today, to see what is going on - on the side I didn't care to see seven years ago.

Monday, May 16, 2005

You are what you wear

I was looking at this girl's ankles yesterday while she was brewing up some coffee at the shuk coffee shop. I don't have a foot fetish or anything but it takes one kind of person to recognize his own. She was wearing a beaded ankle bracelet - the kind that the Bedouin sell in Sinai. I knew she had been there recently. I didn't have to ask her, I knew. Like others who stare at my jewellery and know where I'd gone. Like the white turbaned, and all dressed in soiled white cotton clothing rasta-haired cute guy I saw getting on the bus in Eilat. I knew he had just come back from Sinai. I didn't have to ask him. People don't dress like that wandering around Eilat.

When we were an Orthodox family living in Canada, we'd go for hayrides in the Ontario countryside farms with our small children. Hubby wore a cap instead of an obviously Jewish kippah on his head so he wouldn't stand out too much. We're talking hicks here who probably never met any Jews before. We'd occasionally stumble onto other families there whose father and sons also wore baseball caps and we knew that they too were from the tribe of Abraham, without having to talk to them.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I wouldn't dare

I had a routine mammogram done today. I told my kids I'm having my boobs squished and I dreaded the visit. It's no picnic having boobs squished against a pane of glass and the base of the machine. They do it four times. Vertically and horizontally. The techie was a woman who questioned me relentlessly about menopause since she was two years older and was wondering whether she was pregnant or whether it was menopause.

"Do you get nightsweats?" She asked, while crushing the glass or hard plastic down on my boobs.

"OUCH!!! Hasn't anyone come up with something better than this? Why are you doing this to innocent people? Why not just do this to criminals? No, I don't get night sweats, only hot flashes."

"Hot flashes? How long do they last?" she asked while crushing my boobs vertically this time.

"AAAAAAAYYYYYYYY don't have hot flashes more than a couple of minutes."

"There, don't breath" she said.

I don't dare to.

Back at the office the Professor called me from the West Coast of the USA - I didn't understand something someone had written and sent to him. I told him I had to check with the author of the document.

"You don't want to be a clerk, now DO YOU."

"Is this a promotion from being a SLAVE" I thought, but didn't dare say it.

Meanwhile, the reformatory was calling in between the Professor's calls from overseas telling me ex-Criminal hadn't arrived yet. She was 6 hours late and they were about to let the police know she was on the loose. I gave them her talkman phone number which we had given to her over the weekend. She was on leave from the place over the weekend and was supposed to spend her time with us. Instead she spent it with her boyfriend and family.

I blamed it all on daughter herself. But Hubby was pissed - not at her but at the boyfriend's family. "It's their fault for having her stay with them, for allowing it. I should go ahead and call them and tell them exactly what I think of them.

I wouldn't dare.

Friday, May 13, 2005

things that make you cringe

Friday the 13th. We have a slew of horror films being shown on all the movie stations here. But those things don't give me the horrors. Other things do.

Like when my Eldest Daughter spoke to me first thing this morning.

"Mom, why is your neck wrinkled?"

"Honey, I'm pushing nearly half a century. That's what happens as you near 100."

She looked mortified as if she was seeing me turn into Ms. Werewolf herself.

But we all take turns making each other cringe every now and then. Like today when Hubby took 3 of the kids to go shopping at our corner grocery store. He took a banana and started eating it and absentmindedly started scratching his underarms.

The local Israeli brat kids - about a gang of 4 around the ages of 5 to 8 - crowded around him pointing

"There's a monkey. That's a monkey man! Monkey man. Bald monkey man!!"

They were wild with glee.

My kids were like - er, we never saw this man before in our life. The were in fact absolutely cringing.

Even big Harley tattooed bikers cringe.

Yesterday I crashed my biker hairdresser's barbecue. He had other bikers there - one more tattooed than the rest. The most tattoed one is the head of a bike club - or as I know it from the States - a "gang". He seemed not to have found his niche in this country. So what are the gang members like?

He bellowed - "they want to stop and go into this coffee shop and get an Expresso. An Expresso!!! I mean why don't they just go and listen to fucking Abba music, for Christ's sake. Yeah, man, I'm gonna go and get a fucking Espresso? Like I wanna hang with you?"

No beer-guzzling bikers in the Middle East, unfortunately for him. He'll take a double espresso.

My Complainer Kid went with us yesterday and was appalled by the crowd.

"Americans. Full of them. And they all spoke English! And your friend... why doesn't she get married. Doesn't she know when she gets old she'll be all alone?"

And she looked at me like I'm the one responsible for my girlfriends' singlehoodness.

And the last time I remember cringing myself was when I went to the dentist this past week and he was talking about buying lox in 18 different flavors. The store he went into was in the "schvartza" neighborhood in LA, he told me. I took a look at his Ethiopian dental assistant and wondered if she knew what the word "schvartza" meant. (A yiddish term for black person - not as derogatory as the "N" word, but not politically correct.) I didn't react to his comments. Maybe she didn't understand Yiddish terms. I prayed she didn't. I really don't want to get the dental assistant upset and have her give the wrong stuff to the dentist to put into my mouth.

Happy Friday the 13th....Mwaaaaa haaa haaa

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Independence Day and other stuff

Tonight we celebrate Independence Day. Independence Day from British Rule in 1948 and the creation of a Jewish state. Most Palestinians do not celebrate with us. They call this day the Nakhba or "disaster". So I've been laughing whenever my Palestinian friends wished me a Happy Holiday for today.

"and what will you be doing for the Nakhba?" I asked them.

Pity we don't celebrate Independence Day from the Brits together. But it just can't be for the moment.

Meanwhile, I'm still hoping the good Lord doesn't punish me for wanting to go back to my Paradise in Sinai. I miss it so much that I feel like those biblical Israelites who were reluctant to leave Sinai for the Holy Land. I was just reluctant to go back to the Holy Land, not because of the giant grapes or whatever those spies found there but because I didn't want to face my chronically complaining family, my bosses who work me to the bone. I felt healthier there. I was eating a proper 3 meals, was outdoors the whole day and not in front of a computer all day long. Meanwhile, the hotel manager called my daughter 4 times since Sunday asking when we'll be back and I've had to censor 2 photos so that the daughter's boyfriend doesn't hit the roof - the ones where she's picked up by Mohamed, the Karate black belt guy. He picked her up like a feather.

I teased Hubby that the reason I took my daughter was that I was sick and tired of being the only one in my family who everyone called an "arab lover". So now they'll have to include my daughter in that as well.

And then I came back to an influx of e-mails from the Rolling Stones list - because tickets have gone on sale for their US tour in the fall. I'm getting dizzy reading about how everyone got their seats, which row, which section, what the cost was. These people actually know on the spot exactly where section 35, row 6, Gate 3 is. They'll tell you it's in the back, side, 2nd tier, floor seats, etc. Over the years they have memorized the seating plan of every stadium and arena - so that when they have a choice of tickets online, they know which ones to pick. Astounding.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Egyptian architecture

Where the young people stay..

Our desert hike

Bedouin kids of Tarabin

A bit of coral by the shore

Octopus Garden

And as the sun rose

Sinai at Dusk

I'm Back

Upon returning to work this morning, my co-worker looked at my severely blistered feet and said to me.

"That's how everyone comes back from Sinai."

Bruised and happy. The Good Lord cannot give me the perfect vacation so something's gotta hurt.

Last Wednesday my reluctant 19 year old Good Daughter and I set out for the unknown. Everyone had told us to cancel this trip and my daughter told me she had a bad feeling about it - would something bad happen to us over there? With everyone cancelling out on me and my forcing my daughter to come with me, I thought pretty much the same thing, but I had this mysterious force pulling me towards the Sinai Desert. We entered the Egyptian border at Eilat after a pretty boring 4 hour bus ride from Jerusalem. It was quite desolate there at 7:00 pm and eerily quiet. The hotel sent a driver to meet us at the border and off we went. I didn't know whether the guy hated Israelis or is just your typical Egyptian driver. He went along the curves at over 100 KPH and passed other cars on CURVES (!) while daughter and I held hands tightly. She was sweating and I was getting a stress headache. We sauntered into our cozy pink hotel which seemed like a mirage after this ride of terror. Immediately 2 glasses of guava juice appeared together with the manager and owner of the place, wearing a cowboy hat and shorts.

"Have a drink. Put down your bags and let me show you around."

I didn't have time to catch my breath. We picked out our rooms (we were given a choice) and sat down for dinner.

"Welcome to Paradise" said a fellow Israeli with his wife to me. "You won't want to leave this place and this certainly won't be your last time here."

I felt as if I just stepped onto the set of Fantasy Island. From the minute we landed, the all-male staff pampered us. After dinner they lit a fire on the beach and the owner introduced me to everyone, while the young manager asked my daughter if she wanted to play "bool". We had a hard time figuring out what this Egyptian game of Bool was until we realized it was Pool, as in Snooker!!

For the rest of our stay there, the staff was amazing, flirting with us, but knowing their limits and were totally respectful. It was a perfect balance. The next day after telling the owner I'm scared to snorkle, he came with a snorkel mask and wet suit and raft, together with the French singer and her husband and the English woman whose name was Carol, but whom the staff called "Coral". They didn't budge until I put the friggin flappers on my feet and I was hauled off with the whole lot of them. I held onto the raft with one hand and to the owner with my other, while I actually did manage to dip my face in the water for an astounding coral reef show. I felt like I was tripping, looking at all the colorful fish. I laughed thinking of the Mafia saying "you'll be swimming with the fishes" and thought it really isn't too bad a thing.

The next day at low tide the entire area was alive with sea life. Wading up to my ankles I saw an orange octopus, crabs, starfish and every snail was alive and shimmying over the rocks. The Bedouin kids came by with sacks full of beaded jewellery and fawned over us. They were so cute I had to buy a shitload of ankle bracelets and necklaces (for next to nothing).

There were a few of us that bonded - the Israeli couple that welcomed us to Paradise as well as the French singer, who is famous in France and her husband, and the English woman from Devon. We did everything together. We took a jeep trip into the desert and hiked to an Oasis. The owner took us and the trip was on the house. He took us to his eccentric friend's home who built a replica of an ancient castle to live in, complete with tunnels, etc. It looked like the Flintstones meet the Crusaders.

And Carol kept us in stitches most of the time, called the diver Magid "Maggot" and teaching the entire male staff the Conga while sitting by the bonfire on the beach. The staff were not locals but were from Cairo for the most part save for a few that were from Luxor. Two of them fell in love with my daughter and talked with me about her the whole time. It was so sweet how open these young men were about their emotions - one confessing about his first love who got married to someone else. He seemed to be on the verge of tears while telling us this. They didn't think it unmanly to open up. They politely avoided any political discussion and didn't have opinions on anything political - at least not to us. Perhaps they were trained to be that way, and in that respect not offend anyone. But they said the local Bedouin resented them and called them all Pharoahs, which I thought was hysterical.

I saw the more luxurious Hilton Nuweiba which was a perfectly manicured place - but it looked so out of place in Sinai and I was glad I chose a more relaxed and authentic place. Most of the young people stay in "Chushot" - huts with thatched roofs with beds or mattresses in them but public bathrooms. I figured I'm too old to go camping and was so pleased with the staff that escorted us to the Tarabin Bazaars at night, so we wouldn't feel uncomfortable as two women walking around alone.

I don't know what it was about this place. I can be anywhere in the world having the greatest time and yet be thrilled to be going back to Jerusalem. But when we both got into the taxi with the staff coming outside to say their goodbye's to us, we both burst into tears as the cab left. I must say I did feel a bit guilty that I wasn't looking forward to coming back to the Holy City - but I guess I needed that bit of timelessness and a glance into Paradise.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Into Exile

in 24 hours - I will have put myself and my Good Daughter into temporary self-inflicted exile. Back to Egypt. Exodus in reverse.

But the good thing about going away is coming back to Israel. You get that "YES I'M HOME!" feeling which is absolutely exhilirating.

Everyone seemed nervous about my going there. I don't know why. Perhaps because of the travel warnings. But I continued to take buses in Jerusalem even when they were blowing buses up weekly. I had no other choice. So what's another travel warning.

I wanted to call up the hotel in Sinai to "suss them out". I wanted to hear their voices and feel what kind of place that was. I always get nervous before a trip.

I spoke to the people at the hotel. They spoke perfect English and were polite but reserved. But when Mohammad heard I was coming from Israel, he turned into my younger brother "MO".

"Hey what's up! You'll have a great time. We have other Israelis here. We have 5 girls your daughter's age. Nice girls. Good girls. Our restaurant is open until 1 in the morning."

I guess that was my biggest concern besides getting a mad driver at the border who may step on the gas pedal a little too hard for my liking. And probably never took driving lessons or passed a driving test to boot. But the hotel said they'd send a driver to the border for us. There's alot of quiet there and I'm packing alot of music and mosquito repellant and comfortable clothing. No fancy nightlife there, which will save me lots of space in our bags. And I feel like I'm about to be pampered in Exile.

I don't know if there is internet access - so if there is - I'll say hello, and if not - talk to y'all on Monday.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ahhhh Sinai

I really need to be in a place where no one expects anything from me. Away from complaining children who do nothing but sleep all day, away from the demands of a family, from the job, from errands, from appointments, from volunteer work, from regimented schedules, from time, etc. And the one place in the world where you can do that is in Sinai.

Everyone I spoke to today about going down to Sinai would roll their eyes heavenward and sigh.

"aaaahhhhh. Sinaiiiiiii"


From the girls at work who had been there, to the ones working at the cellphone center where I switched phones - complete strangers. And from all of them it was the same reaction.

"aaaahhhhh. Sinaiiiiii"

Some were warning me that there were travel warnings out there - not to mention the terrorist attacks in Cairo over the weekend. But that didn't stop 20,000 Israelis from crossing the border into Egypt over the Passover holiday.

I tried to convince my Good Daughter to come along with me to Paradise - to the unspoiled beaches filled with beautiful coral and where the friendly dolphins swim right up to you.

"There's nothing to do there." she complained.

"That's the point. There should be nothing to do. We'll play card games and backgammon and read."

"I hate reading."

"I hate playing games."

I guess it will be equally a challenge for time-obsessed me to do nothing but pay attention to my daughter and look out into the Red Sea for hours. There may be a camel trek and Bedouin dinner to break up the monotony but not much more. And after tiredly preparing leftovers for dinner and cleaning up after everyone and cajoling my daughter to help my son with his homework and being unsuccessful in convincing my Complaining Daughter that a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico will be good for her and she continues to refuse to cooperate and call up someone who is making a movie about it - so that I believe I will cancel the whole deal with her- and when I want to send my son to sleepaway camp for 2 1/2 weeks, and he doesn't want to go to a "stupid camp" - I think I need this time to gaze out into the sea and do absolutely nothing and be absolutely uncontactable for 4 days this weekend.

Passover video

No one could explain what we have been through this week better than this