night I had to spend in a hotel in Israel was last night, at least until December. I was back at the Caesar, which, for those keeping track, I found easily this time around, with only one legal u-turn required. I'd forgotten that the Caesar has really dark bathrooms. But this time I did remember to put the "do no disturb" sign on the door. It doesn't mean that students are any quieter during the wee hours of the morning, but it did mean that the maids didn't try and bring me clean towels at 8am either.
Of course, I was awake at 8am, waiting to get the first group of students out and on their way to the Kotel. Then, I stayed up for another hour listening to a conversation with one of our Hillel staff, two tour educators, a guard, and our hostess talk about Jewish identity, the birthright program, why everyone isn't living in Israel, and Zionism. It was actually pretty interesting given the constellation of characters participating, and I understood almost all of it (they were speaking in Hebrew). But after an hour, I went back to sleep.
When I woke up and went back to the lobby, the group had just returned from the Kotel. It occured to me that in my two months here, I haven't been to the Kotel once. I was at the Southern Excavations back in May, which is right there, but I wasn't actually at the wall. I also didn't go down to Kfar HaNokdim to sleep in a Bedouin tent at all this summer. I'm not sure it's fair to equate the two, but there you've got it.