So, it’s been a very good, very busy week. First I hopped a train down to Tel Aviv to meet my cousin Roee and his new girlfriend. Parenthetically, me and Roee, though very close friends, are not cousins, but we are related by some wandering thread of blood on my grandmother’s side. On the other hand, I really did ‘hop’ the train, as in I was late to the station, blew past the ticket booths and jumped the turnstile, an endeavor that got me on the train in time– for free. I don’t recommend this tactic, though, especially not while wearing a backpack, because the normally tepid security dudes might mistake you for a suicide bomber and clean out your braincase with a lead swab.
Anyway, in Tel Aviv my cousin dragged me along to his ninjitsu class, where some bookish-looking little yoda character forced me to swing at him and then very instructively and patiently gave me permanent nerve damage in both arms. Then we played pool and had a nice dinner with his momma. That night we drove to Jerusalem, where I spent the next day wandering around the old city checking out archaeological museums and neighborhoods. I also declared a lunchtime consumer holiday, uncharacteristically going on a shopping spree in the Arab quarter. Some great scarves, a nice nargilla, lots of chow and coffee. All over the city, jolly hasidim were stealing building supplies and palm fronds and erecting their traditional huts for the holiday of sukkot. As some sort of special treat, droves of jobnick soldiers were being led around in rowdy tour groups through the narrow alleys, which were also choked with children wandering around like stray cats. Hey brats, shouldn’t you be in yeshiva or something?
Later that Thursday I met Roee at his workplace: Intel R&D headquarters, where coke comes out of a tap and every hive of cubicles gets its own cappuchino machine. We picked up some folks and headed down to Eilat for two days of scuba diving and overexpensive restaurants. Eilat has turned into a tiny, dumpier, more family friendly version of Vegas (which I hate), but the hotel was ok and the diving was phenomenal. Two dives with untamed bottlenosed dolphins, whose tiny calves swam up and poked me curiosly, one dive in a series of corral arches and reef caves, and one to a sunken missile boat. I’m definitely hooked on scuba. If only it was free, or cheap even.
After all this aquatic fun, I got on a bus for the refreshing 7 hr drive back to Haifa. Luckily, I was sitting in front of 30,000 ornary preschoolers who staved off any threat of boredom (or sleep) for the entire ride. I got home around 11 p.m., got to sleep at midnight and woke up at 4:30 to drive back down to the Jordan valley for another couple days of archaeology. This is the life. If I can keep up this pace of living till I’m ninety-five, I’ll have time to make it to president and win the nobel prize!