Saturday, August 29, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #22 – when you can’t just jump off Menara Cliff

Fight or Flight. In Israel there is a third option.
Picture this – you have paid 420 NIS to enter Menara Cliff – a quasi-amusement park created out of a mountain. Your ticket includes admission for three of your children to a trampoline where they will be attached by bungee cords to the rafters of a makeshift structure and they can jump and flip to their hearts content some 40 plus feet in the air. For seven straight minutes. They see the children ahead of them jumping and flipping. Their eyes are popping out of their heads. It is 4000° degrees out. A lady cuts the line. Or so it seems. But her child is bigger than yours and there are four trampolines – 2 for small children, 2 for big children. Even though there are about 8 small children who have been waiting in line for the past 21 minutes (including yours), the new lady’s kid goes next. And then another big kid appears out of nowhere. 21 minutes turns into 35 minutes. Initially your gut might tell you to yell and scream. At this point my gut was melting and no amount of frozen passaflora (passion fruit slushy in lieu of noticeably absent ice coffee) could cool it. I was ready to flee the scene. And then I looked at my children. Eyes still popping out of their heads, completely unaware of the temperature, the lack of wind and the amount of time they’d been waiting, they were in an anticipatory trance. And then it hit me. There really was nothing to fight about here, as ridiculous as the situation might appear at first glance. And scooping up the children, running back to the car and high-tailing it away from this place was clearly not an option. And then I saw it – from one of the workers inside the trampoline dome. The hand extended with all five fingers facing up and pressed together at the tips. In Israel this is the universal symbol for savlanut (patience).

Throughout the day (the wait to go up the mountain in the cable car was more than an hour – the temperature had risen to 5000°) we were forced to find our savlanut. Bob and I exchanged knowing glances – knowing this was the reason we’d never visited Great Adventure and possibly on some level this was the reason we didn’t run to visit Disney before we left America. Thankfully in all these hot waiting places there were snack vendors and the kids were only too happy to load up on ice cream and chips. The last activity of the day was a toboggan-style roller coaster where you control the speed of the toboggan as it flies down the mountain. Really, a sick ride. Sick in the good way. Even for Bob who had to go on it three times in a row – once with each kid.

Back in the car, some 7 hours later, I asked the kids to rate the Menara Cliff – 0 being worst ever, 5 being best ever. Not only did it receive a perfect ranking from each kid – even Rosie who wasn’t allowed to go on the trampoline or the toboggan ride – but when we went around giving our individual ‘high points’ and ‘low points’ of the day, each kid had a high and not one had a low.

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