Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Swirling Thoughts #216 - i still can't get ice in a restaurant in israel...

Email from me to Bob late last night:
Let’s do something tomorrow. Something fun.

Bob's Reply:
Wanna get breakfast at the mall?

My Reply:
Um, well, there’s this Jerusalem Ice Festival. Maybe we can hit that first....

Bob's Reply:
Sounds great.

We arrive at the ice festival which is actually called Ir Hakerach, City of Ice. We park and notice but don’t really notice mothers bundling up their kids (on this 50°F day) with mittens, hats, and scarves. Israelis really don't like the cold.

Bob: So what is this? Mini ice sculptures?
Me: No, I think it’s life-sized stuff. Something about Jaffa Gate made out of ice.
Bob: This is Israel. There is no way they wasted enough water to make a life-sized Jaffa Gate.

We arrive at the paying kiosk. 2 adults. Maybe she didn’t notice the stroller. Except that would mean she was blind because when I asked if she spoke English and she motioned me to another kiosk window I specifically said,
Bob, you speak with her so we don’t have to move the stroller.
And I gestured to Bob. Who was standing 2 feet away with the stroller.
So maybe she noticed the stroller but she didn’t notice the baby inside….
We pay.

Now we move through the entrance line. It’s all set up for a crowd of a bajillion but there’s only me and Bob and a handful of people in front of us.

Suddenly everyone is upon us. In Hebrew and in English.
Assur l'agala! (It is forbidden to take the stroller.)

I was prepared for this. I brought the wrappy carrying thing.


There was a LOT of gasping when people saw me taking the baby out of the stroller and putting her in the wrappy thing.

Assur le’tinok! (It is forbidden for the baby!)
Assur? (Forbidden?)

As it turns out, it is not forbidden by the police, like the stroller is. But it is VERY NOT GOOD, according to everyone at the entrance, to bring in the baby.

Ice City Employee: It’s -10°C in there!

Bob (to me): What’s minus 10, anyway?
Me: I don’t know but I thought the write-up said something about 17. or maybe 27.
Bob: We don’t even know what 27 is anymore. Is that cold or hot?

Passerby: it’s MINSK in there.

Bob: MINSK? We’re from New York. How cold could it really be? These Israelis are such wimps.

We press pass the naysayers, baby wrapped, covered with a blanket. They are offering jackets to people as they enter. Bob takes a jacket. I think, “LICE! Don’t take it!” but then a blast of Siberian air whips across my face and I grab one and put it on backwards to cover the baby.

Amid a sea of disapproving stares we open the door to the actual exhibit.

One winter break we returned from Florida to something like -7°F in New York. My in-laws came to the airport loaded up with wool blankets. We threw the blankets over the kids in their strollers and I’ll never forget how cold it was when we pushed those strollers out the airport door. You couldn’t breathe.

Ir Hakerach is not as cold. But it’s definitely close. We agree to move through the exhibit quickly, which we do, stopping only to snap some photos of the (life-sized!) Jaffa Gate and the James Bond-style ice bar serving up Absolut Vodka. There are grown-ups flying down ice slides and kids running through ice tunnels. It is 4 minutes of ice magic.

We make our way out.

Bob: Wow it’s really warm outside.
Me: Balmy.

Passerby in the parking lot (in Hebrew): You really should pay more attention to your baby’s health.

Bob: What do you want to do now?
Me: Wanna get breakfast at the mall?
Bob: Sounds great.

Video on how they built it

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Swirling Thoughts #215 – cleaning up the Blackberry for Passover

Pesach is on the horizon (less than 6 weeks!) A perfect time to clean up my sprawling Blackberry Task List. Which is really just a dumping ground for any random thought I hope to one day follow up on. Today is that day.

* Ani memaheret
When I moved to Israel I like to think I left that rapid-fire New York pace behind. But just in case, I’ve got ‘I’m in a hurry’ stored in my phone.

* Ubiquitous Axel F
I couldn’t figure out why 8 year olds were doing gymnastics to the Beverly Hills Cop theme song. And also 10 year olds doing Tae Kwon Do. And also 9 year olds doing dance. Now I get it. As it turns out, it’s Crazy Frog – Axel F (not to be confused with the original Axel Foley song from Beverly Hills Cop even though I totally confused them because it is the same exact song, just with some ‘crazy frog’ sound effects) – this crazy frog song ranks right up there with HaTikva in terms of songs you are guaranteed to hear if your child is in any school or after-school performance of any type.

* Twisty ties, the REAL Johnson’s baby lotion, my electric pencil sharpener
I can only describe this entry as ‘Things I love that come from America – reduced to 3 essentials.’

* Bobsvog
Means, literally, Bob Sponge.

* Oreo Car
There were rumors about an Oreo Car. I dismissed them as the talk of people delirious from Oreo deprivation. And then, suddenly, out of nowhere, my own eyes beheld the whimsical Oreo Car. A seemingly ordinary car with…a gigantic Oreo on the roof! Um, world, there is an Oreo Car lost in the West Bank.

* Teenager on cell phone driving erratically. On donkey.
What can I add to this?

* The sky is not even one pitch of blue
This is something Rosie said to me in a typical example of English speakers translating from Hebrew to speak English. Or of just not knowing how to speak English properly. Which, by the way, is now the ultimate insult among my kids.
You don’t even know how to speak English!
I lived in America ‘til I was 6!
Well I lived in America ‘til I was 9!

* Conspiracy Theory
First we were supposed to boycott Tnuva. Because the cottage cheese was too expensive. (Who do I talk to about organizing a boycott of new cars?) Now we’re supposed to boycott Elite & Strauss. (Somehow our socialist economy has produced an all-powerful chocolate monopoly.) I’m not sure what to make of it all. And this only complicates my understanding; I mean, is cottage cheese inherently expensive or are we actually subsidizing Newark Liberty International Airport? I ask you.