Monday, June 30, 2008

Local conversation

This weekend I rented a car. Friday, my friend Gayle and I decided to do some good old-fashioned adventuring. After weighing various options, we decided to go see the sand dunes at Nitzanim. The following is an actual conversation we had en route, as Gayle was perusing the map to figure out how to get us there.

Me: So, is Nitzanim is north of Ashkenlon or south of Ashkelon?

Gayle: North...wait, let me check that. (Goes back to map). Yes, north.

Me: out of rocket range then.

Gayle: Yep.

Me: Brilliant!

Of course, after we got to Nitzanim, and discovered that sand dunes are 1) just that-enormous piles of sand and 2) the sand is really f**ing hot in the sun and 3) hot sand is not particularly fun* to traipse about in while wearing sandals...we ended up ditching Nitzanim and going to Ashkelon anyway where we continued to adventure away. We drove around the city a bit. We marveled at how pretty the houses were and how clean everything was. We drove through one of the more upscale neighborhoods and discussed how much we would love to own one of the houses...if only it did not involve actually having to live in Ashkelon. We eventually found one of the local boardwalks along with a cafe for seaside-brunching. I am using the word "cafe" loosely--the primary product there seemed to be beer. But then, that does add to the element of adventure. There we spent an hour or so eating a breakfast of eggs, bread, salad and 50% fat cheese. Ashkelon does not do low-fat. Nor does it do coffee apart from Turkish, apparently. This was quite a shock, though not as much as a shock as realizing that most of the inhabitants were actually speaking Hebrew, as opposed to English, French or Russian or any of the other languages Gayle and I normally hear in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, respectively.

But nothing catastrophic happened. Unless you count us each eating an entire loaf of bread apiece and my completely blowing my diet a catastrophe. It might count as one, no?

* As in "I actually burned the soles of my feet" hot. Nu, I am a Tel Avivit. Pave over the damn things already! (Just kidding).


Alice H said...

Heh - I did the same thing at the Great Sand Dunes here in Colorado (USA). Wore sandals, got quite the burn.

Yes, we have sand dunes here, LOL. Not many, but the ones we have are impressive.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

NONONONONONONONO! You do Nitzanit either in a dune buggy - tremendous fun to drive - or on horseback. I've gone in the dune buggy and it was ACHLA.

Gila said...

Oh, NOW you tell me!

Anonymous said...

Every road within a radius of 10 km from the border of Nitzanit should be ploughed, every dune buggy shreddered and all horses shot.

People who are found on horseback or glued to a buggy should be expelled to Ashkelon to, for the rest of their time, find out the meaning of life.

Ashkelon, love it and never leave it!

Anonymous said...

"Nature, as Muir - and Thoreau before him - observed, cannot speak with the tongues of humankind.
It might even be said that for most humans nature can not speak at all, except in terrible syllales of outrage, as in natural disasters.
But this does not mean that nature is dumb, only that we are dumb at it.
When we come close enough to nature anywhere, Muir taught, we are enabled to hear its speach, which is really a song of excistence.
Long before anyone dared write of the "rights of nature", John Muir said that any natural object had the right to excist, simply because it had its own being, its own history, its own motive and purpose."

Frederick Turner
Sierra Club
100 Years Of Protecting Nature

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Oy Maus - I didn't mean anything against NATURE. I forgot that the dune buggies mess up the dunes. Really truly. I beg forgiveness.

We should leave the dunes alone to themselves.

Consider me chastened.

Batya said...

If you've seen one dune, you've seen them all.
No coffee in Ashkelon?! And you thought that the kassams were keeping the tourists away!

Anonymous said...

Gila, I've been reading your blog for almost as long is it's been up. I love your writing and find your stories very interesting. Usually I am pretty shy about writing, but when it comes to my almost home town - I live on a moshav 5-10 minutes away - I had to put in my two cents! Ashkelon is a great place to live - besides the beach,the marina and a great national park with antiquities dating back to Samson and Delilah (therefore the name of the main beach, we have everything the larger cities have - malls with all of the popular chains, Aroma, etc. You just have to know where to look. Actually I was visiting back in the states and found that I really missed Ashkelon. I love my compact city! - Madelyn