Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hibba VIII: Up, down, and all around

So there we were, driving to Masada at 4:30 in the morning, wondering if we would ever see our loved ones again. For most of us, this wondering was merely delusional confusion brought on by shock at having seen 4:30 AM after having woken up, not before going to sleep. Some others, the paranoid (androids) and weak of heart and mind were truly scared at the possibility of a mass suicide.
Once we got to Masada we saw the other fifteen Birthright groups also planning an ascent, and realized that this was a big event. We climbed the Roman rampart, arriving at the top with about five minutes to spare. And then we beheld the sight that the tourist guides declare to be the greatest spectacle in all the land: The ceremonial eating of gorilla meat by costumed historical interpreters. Oh, sorry, that sentence was supposed to be written in my latest novel, "Three years vomiting in Africa." Sorry for the interruption. Back to Masada, where was I? Yes, the sunrise. Well, I'm happy to be able to report that indeed the sun did rise. Joy. I didn't quite get the point of hiking up a mountain to see what can be viewed in much more comfortable surroundings at ground level, but I guess that this is just one more rite of passage, like eating dung beetles and driving cars into stop signs.
Once we had finished viewing the sun we made our way to the ancient Beis Medrash and began to Daven. Following the repetition of the standing prayer we were kicked out to make way for an American Bar Mitzvah group who had reserved the site. We moved outside, finished our morning devotions, and then began a tour of the ancient fortress. The thing that struck me was how big it was. Must have been quite a nice vacation spot for Herod, and I'm sure the Roman soldiers enjoyed it too once they finally scaled the walls. Aharon the tour guide told us the whole history of the brave Jews, and some recent research on that great source of human knowledge, Wikipedia, has revealed that most of what he was telling us is propaganda from Josephus, and more recently Yigael Yadin, chief archeologist of the site. As always, nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.
After finishing up with a rousing 12 Pesukim in the Synagogue and a quick tourist-Tefillin trap it was time to descend. Would we go down the notorious snake path, renowned for not being as hard as everyone says it is, or alternatively harder than everyone says it is? Or would be go down the way we came up? Aharon made the decision in a dew moments, and back down the Roman rampart we went.
Once we got back to the hotel it was time for breakfast, which in my case was three rolls with scrambled eggs, jello without coconut this time thank the one above (that was intentional, Eliezer), and some truly horrible coffee. Most of the coffee that I, the poor tourist, drank was fine, but this shtuff was really bad. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it wasn't hot enough. Just a thought.
Next up was Ein Gedi, site of Saul's famous potty break and David's tailoring. We didn't go to the top pool, as it was filled with the nubile bodies of all the other Birthright types we had encountered at Masada, and instead we went into the lower pool, which was fine. I just took off my shoes, rolled up my pants, and went in up to my knee, but a significant number of others decided to go all the way and had a quick Mikve dip.
After purchasing and consuming a nestle ice cream it was time for the Dead Sea. This place is certainly cool. I floated for about an hour, and then came out for a quick shower. Oh yes, did I mention that we were once again at a Frum beach? It was at this site that I got my wonderful sunburn which lasted for a week or so and provided hours of peeling fun. Before I got to take that skin off though, I suffered bearable agonies for several days.
And then we were off, driving through the West Bank and up to Jerusalem, where we switched hotels and stayed in the Jerusalem Gate, which has a much nicer lobby than the Jerusalem Gold but inferior rooms. Ours stank of cigarette smoke, but that was soon remedied by opening the window which allowed me to witness a snaggy wedding. After dinner I fell asleep and only awoke at midnight, at which point I prayed the evening services, performed the ablutions which are common among the Nacirema.
And that, friends, was the end of another day. How did you guess?

17 comments:

Eliezer said...

Thanks for putting the part about the Nacerima. It made me feel educated.

Eliezer said...

What was intentional?

The Real Shliach said...

I thought you might not like the sentence structure.

Nemo said...

Ok, what is Nacerima?

Nemo said...

(Someone's got to be the stupid one here)

The Real Shliach said...

And me it ain't.
Seriously though, have you ever heard of Google or Wikipedia?

Nemo said...

Dammit. I'm just trying to add comments.

Cheerio said...

i'm just gonna wait till one of you guys googles it for me, cuz i know one of you will!

the tznius police said...

What part of "froyen, aroys" don't you understand?

Cheerio said...

what part of "i'll wait till trs sends me an official eviction notice" don't you understand?

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, my dear Cheerio, do not take the last bit of color from this blog and run away into the night! Stay, pray stay, for without your wit and vivacity we should never be the same again.
As for the Nacerima, well, just read it backwards.

Cheerio said...

as you can see, you need have no worries, for i am still here, gracing your blog with my witty, vivacious, and colorful presence!

The Real Shliach said...

Yay!

the sabra said...

cheerio--it's actually rather fascinating, i encourage you to read up on in (Nacirema--studying americans and their wacko behaviours)

trs, i'm personally expecting an eviction notice due to my squatting here on your blog. though i do not look forward to it, i shall not be surprised by it.

The Real Shliach said...

An eviction notice? Au Contraire, I'm gratified to have a new commenter. Anyway, I never evicted anyone. That was all Eliezer's mishegas.

Cheerio said...

you mean, evil alter ego of eliezer!

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, sorry Cheerio. You're quite right.