Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday August 15 - Tel Aviv

Wow, that was a fun day. I am SO tired now! Apparently, Israeli Coca Cola and Turkish coffee share similar properties: they look the same as their counterparts in the US, but they taste much better and have about 3 times the caffeine. I was awake until after 2am last night!

But I got up dutifully at 7:30, only a little after my alarm went off. Got them all up and fed and dressed and out the door by 8:45 as planned. Got into a argument with David and Sam as to where we should pick up the cab. They both had very vivid memories of picking up a cab, they knew exactly where it was, but they forgot it was to go to Ammunition Hill for the picnic, rather than the other time we caught a cab, to go to Ein Yael. And the train station is near Ein Yael, of course.

But I finally got them into a cab going the correct direction. Made it to Ein Yael just a few minutes after 9am, as planned, and met up with Debka and Eli and Eli’s parents. His brother Coby arrived with three sons a few minutes later. Sister Peninnah arrived with 4 of her kids a while later. And we all headed to the train.

Since we were twenty people, we really filled up the train car, and the “big kids” (my boys, Adrin, Avia, Coby’s three boys, and Peninnah’s two older kids) were running around like a pack of wild animals. Actually, Micah and Avia and Ayelet, Peninah’s older daughter, were quietly playing cards, but the other kids were rambunctious. Sam had a blast!

The trip took about an hour and a half, into Tel Aviv, and it turns out we actually got off at the wrong train station. So we walked. Peninah and her kids and the grandparents went around the city, since they are more religious and would not be able to wear bathing suits on the beach. So we had 5 adults, 5 boys and 3 girls, including Sofia in the stroller.

It was a longer walk than we expected, but fun. The kids all got along really well despite the language issues. I took a special liking to Coby’s son Alon, who at 10 years old is an incredibly sweet and mischievous imp. My eyes welled with tears when I saw he and Sam walking with their arms around each others’ shoulders, so very Israeli.

After what turned out to be a very long 40 minute walk, we finally arrived at the Mediterranean. Gorgeous, of course. We swam and swam and swam.

The kids all had a blast diving and jumping over waves. Miss Sofia was completely hooked, and spent almost the entire time (about 3 hours) in the water, getting bolder and bolder and more independent with each wave.

Debka and I took a walk across the street to get more water, and when we came back, I convinced the grownups to move under a covered awning. The sun was SO hot, and the water was very warm - not refreshing, to my New England taste.

Showering and changing took a little longer than expected, but then we met up with Peninnah and her group, and headed off to catch a bus to the train station. Of course we missed one bus because the kids were all in a convenience store buying ice cream. Coby got a large bottle of Coke for everyone to share, and Peninnah got her father a beer, which he walked around with for the next hour!

The bus was empty when we got on, but by the time we reached the train station, it was packed. I kept Sofia in the stroller (she was so exhausted), so we were sort of blocking the aisle, but we managed to make it out when we got to our stop.

Waiting at a train station with 12 children can be a little challenging, which is why it was a good thing they were all zonked out.

The station we got on at was the third station, so there were already a lot of people on the train, which means we could not sit together. The kids kept running, pack-like, up and down the aisles, but the adults found spots mixed in here and there. Sofia was by now sound asleep.

Took a long time to get to Jerusalem, due to a mechanical problem, but we finally made it. Then we had a long walk across the street and up the hill to get a cab by the mall. Got home, dumped all the stuff, and headed back out for dinner.

Randomly ran into Micah’s friend’s parents while walking down the street. They just moved (back) to Jerusalem, and we were expecting to seem at the Bat mitzvah party, so it was cool to meet up with them on the road.

Ate at “NewDeli” - can’t tell if it’s a takeoff of New Dehli or New York deli. Either ways it was ok.

Then we walked back up Ben Yehuda Street. Sam and I bought something for David (it’s a surprise, I promise I’ll show it next week. Home by 11, shower the kids and me, and now we are both on the computers, trying to get “work” done.

Laundry tomorrow morning! I promise pictures tomorrow - I’m just too exhausted now.