Sunday, January 24, 2010



A week without blogging is like...

It's been raining all week, what can I say. No sunshine, no blogging. That, and I've been busy. Not so busy that I haven't seen completely random things that I try to remember and then forget, but busy enough.

The good news: I found amba. And evidently, it's not nearly as hard to find as I thought it was. Of course, now I need another eggplant.

The other good news: Pictures are now hung, include a stunning new painting by Morris Dahan. This time, it's an original, not even a seriograph.

The bad news that goes along with the other good news: we still have too much stuff and have a lot to do.

The other good news that goes along with the bad news that goes along with the other good news: if we never move again (the deal I made with Ronnie), it doesn't really matter how long this all takes. Except that I want it done already.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Blog

My laptop, power cord and netstick (kind of a portable wireless network) were stolen last night. Out of what I thought was a locked car. The good news is that there were no broken windows, and nothing else stolen. My purse (and wallet) had been locked in the trunk but if the car was open, essentially the trunk was too. My passport and the few random $20 bills that are stuck in my backpack hadn't been taken, nor was my cell phone charger or World of Puzzles magazine. The creepiest part is that the computer, power cord and netstick were in three separate sections of my backpack.

And for the thieves, I feel sorry for them. The battery is living on borrowed time and I have a great password - they've essentially stolen something only useful as a doorstop. Of course, it was so much more than a doorstop to me.... And all of this means that there will likely be no more blogging until next week when I am safely back in the snow-ridden Midwest. Oh well.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What I Ordered

I don't think it's strange to order water, Diet Coke and coffee. I haven't yet gotten the water, so at least there's no chance of anything tasting watered down.

Waiting for Natan Sharansky

Last week at I went to dinner with a colleague to Tal Bagels. We sat at the only table available, which wasn't really where we wanted to sit, but since we were hungry, we weren't going to wait for anything better. Three minutes later, Natan Sharansky got up from the table two over from us (which was where we wanted to sit) and left. We took his table, dirty dishes and all.

Someone asked me if I kept one of his napkins as a souvenir. Let me just say here, I did not.

So today, I am back at Tal Bagels on a Sharansky Watch. If he doesn't show up in the next hour, I'm out of here. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

To Cab or Not to Cab....

I was in the Old City today for the first time in years. Afterwards, I had a meeting and then had to get back to my hotel. Knowing better than to drive to the Old City (I took one of our buses here), I needed to get a cab back.

I saw one cab, but the driver wasn't taking new passengers. So I walked up the street a bit and saw two cabs. One fo the drivers said he could take me, but his was the cab that had a water bottle filling something in the engine. He pulled it out, closed the hood, closed the trunk (which was being propped open for something) and I got in. It was then that I noticed that the window was being kept from falling down by a screwdriver stuck in between the pane and the frame.

It did not inspire confidence.

The driver didn't want to use the meter and wanted to charge me 60 shekels to get back to my hotel. I told him that was too much and he offered 55 shekels. I told him I needed a receipt and that I would consider 50 shekels. He said yes but no receipt (since it wasn't going to be on the meter). So I got out.

The next cab stopped and agreed to take me for 45 shekels and a receipt. It was still cheaper than parking....

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Straw that was Used 'round the World

Yes, Mimi's straw made it to Israel in my Nalgene. Right now, the bottle is sitting in my backpack with an entire sliced lemon in it (possibly from last week) and about two cups of water and the straw. The gross part is that I really do think the lemon is a week old.

Evidently, Starbuck's straws hold up quite well to international travel. I saw no signs of deterioration, loss of functionality or jet lag. And, it has been saved, at least until now, from a new home in a comfy landfill.

Thanks again, Mimi!

Me? Obsessed?

I took down the very blurry picture I finally managed to take of the fabric mentioned in my last post. Sorry.

Monday, January 04, 2010

More on the Nigerians...

I'm back at the Shalom Hotel for an 8 day sojourn. I'm on the 16th floor. I've got a great view and were it not for the 10 minutes (minimum) that it takes to get up there, it's totally fine. No, I'm not walking up 16 flights -the elevators are so slow you would think that they are running on solar power available only on a cloudy day.

And the elevators are tiny, which means that they can hold six people max, and maybe 8 if two of them are children. If anyone has a suitcase or large backpack, assume five or less. But given the size of the hotel, cramming people on to one of the three small elevators is almost an Olympic sport.

Which is an unfortunate problem when there are also other hotel guests with serious body odor on the elevator. I just can't hold my breath that long. There. I said it. I know it's not a nice thing to say, but as my mother will attest, it is not the worst, by a long shot.

I have a few theories as to the persistence of the aroma.
  • 1. This is the smell of their home..
  • 2. This is the smell of Israel and they are reluctant to wash off the holiness.
  • 3. They are not accustomed to regular bathing.
  • 4. They are bathing regularly but do not have access to clean clothes.
And evidently I am staring at theses particular guests too much. I was in the dining room last night with two colleagues and had to be told repeatedly to stop being distracted (by my boss, no less!). I can't help it. As a community, they are all dressed in the same fabric. In this case, it was a bright purple and green fabric that had big pictures of Jesus on it at (what looked like) 10 inch intervals. I saw this fabric used for tunic, pants, shirts, dresses, skirts and head wraps. Poor Jesus! Given that I was being admonished for staring, I was unable to also take pictures.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Eggplant, Pickles, and Eggs - Oh My!

As I type, I'm eating a sandwich that includes chopped flat leaf parsley, hard boiled egg (sliced, not whole), roasted eggplant (also sliced, not whole), and pickles. There's also an indeterminite spread between the bread and the eggplant. It's not taking away from the rest of the sandwich, but since I can't tell much about it, I also can't tell whether it's adding anything.

It's not a combination that I would have ever thought to put together which proves there are clearly greater minds than mine inventing sandwich combinations!

On another front, I was smart this trip and brought a travel coffee mug with me. It doesn't fit under the dining hall coffee dispensers, but in case you're wondering, I can fill it with three small coffees.