Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Made it Out of Israel Without Getting Arrested

do not approach the beach via rockery

David has been traveling a lot for work, most of the time without much notice, and if I am going to get knocked up, his bits and my pocketbook have to be in the same country at the same time. And that's why I found myself unexpectedly in Israel.

Maza sulked when I wouldn't buy her spray paint so she could be like the other cool cats

We landed in Tel Aviv and spent a few days there. Israel is pretty small, about the size of New Jersey. It only has one airport.

My sister asked me if I knocked on the door of this apartment. Where is my little trouble getter into when I need her and her great ideas?

good use of lost toys

There were a million different languages being spoken and everyone addressed me in English (when I wasn't reading a fashion magazine in Hebrew that I snagged from a pile someone had left on a bus bench), but the funny thing was they could hear David's French accent, so even though he was speaking English with me they addressed him in French. What a bunch of show off smarty pants.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent in Netanya, David at training and me wandering around by myself. I usually save a google map to my phone to use offline so I don't get completely lost, but finding my way to the main street was easy. Just follow the ocean and turn right between Domino's and Pizza Hut. 

I stopped for a drink at a café/corner store before heading to the mall to find some sunscreen for my poor sun starved blue tinged skin, which hadn't seen the sun in months and was getting quite pink. There is a security guard that checks your bags at the entrance, and there was another one in front of the Sephora type store I stopped at. 

I was immediately bombarded by an old lady wearing too much make up and she smothered my hand in Dior foundation before I could stop her even though I told her I just wanted sunblock. Three times. When I told her Dior was too expensive, she snarkily said something in French to her co-worker about it being "trop cher pour elle" and pulled me around the corner and dumped me off with another co-worker after she half-heartedly wiped off my hand. This lady tried to get me to buy "two for the price of one" tiny bottles of sunblock and when I said no, I was not going to pay 138 shekels (about 30 euros) for some weird brand she offered it to me for 40% off. I still wasn't going to put something strange on my already irritated skin, so I escaped and found some L'oreal at a different store.

Then it was off to find the pita place that someone had claimed was "the best" in their top five list of falafal places in Israel. But I couldn't find it because I was a little bit stoned. See, when I had been having my drink at the café, the waiter had offered me some hits off the spliff he was smoking. And being from California, of course I accepted. It's rude not to. Probably not the smartest move, but if he was smoking it on a busy sidewalk on the biggest street in Netanya, how much trouble could I get into? Plus, I had just read an article about a drug bust in one of the clubs in Tel Aviv. Apparently the undercover cop had no problem buying mdma, cocaine and GHB and people were doing drugs all over the bathroom counters. If I had known it was a party city, I would have been more excited to visit.

Eventually I found a random falafal place off on a side street, and the owner was so sweet. She pulled out her pictures from New York City of the falafal restaurant she had gone there to open last year. She thought it was odd that there were no cats in New York, because is Israel, there are cats EVERYWHERE.

And this is how kittens are made

This one ran in and out of her shop, crying for food. She told me his name was Ammitai and she had known him since he was a kitten. She said the grocery store was out of cat food, but that sometimes he would eat hard boiled eggs, so she put out a to go container for him.

I made it out of Israel without getting arrested. We had security letters from David's company, so it went a little bit faster, but they want to know why you were there, where you stayed, what you did, what David did for a living, why I was in France etc. etc. and we had to have our luggage scanned even before we got in line to get our airline tickets.

My suitcase which had all the liquids/lotions/lighters/tweezers/food/bottles of hot sauce etc in it passed through the xray and I didn't get pulled aside to open it.

But they did make David go to a further security check, where before he even opened his luggage, they asked him about "the book" he had in there. He actually had more than one and they were all mine so they waved me over to explain where I got it. They weren't interested in any of the other books. Just a photography book about Jerusalem I found next to a trash can...there were lots of stuff set to the side on the cement walls around the bins in front of apartment buildings.. dishes and toys etc. This is pretty normal in any big city. 

So they didn't care about the book and hummus in my carry on, but they had lots of questions about the book I found and made me take it out so they could examine it. The worst part was, inside the book were some notes I had scribbled about the trip, including the part about smoking weed. I didn't take my laptop because I didn't want it to get shot so I had written on the pages of a magazine and on the itty bitty hotel stationary.

David thinks the secret police were following me and they saw me pick it up. I laughed when he said that, but the whole flight home I wondered WHY they would ask questions about a book. It's not like it's uncommon to buy books when you are on vacation. And they didn't make us turn on our phones and didn't examine any of our electronics which I heard they sometimes do to verify they are real and not explosives. Very strange.....

Still I would love to go back. David refuses to switch over to work at the Netanya office because living in Israel is "too dangerous" but I would gladly accept the possibility of being bombed on a bus in exchange for all that sun, swimming and friendly people. 

Plus I bet the guy trailing me was super hot.