since then, I have been trying to get around to writing this here post about it. but a dash of procrastination and a splash of actual busy hath preventeth it.
the trip was enlightening. not in the I saw the light way that a trip to israel has been for others. I stayed most of the time with my superjew uncle and his superjew family in their superjew house in their superjew neighborhood. and somewhere in the middle, I voyaged through the desert, by the dead sea, down to the dead sea, and back again. I caught quite an eyeful of humanity. the parallels between my uncle's homeboyz and their hood and burning man took me aback, a bit.
I mean, my distant family had made a welcome home picture for us, for pete's sake.
I spent time with a culture that is as different from my own as any culture I've ever encountered.
with the possible exception of burning man.
I watched everybody know each other on the street.
in a way like burning man.
I saw people passing each other on the street and saying howdy.
similar to burning man.
after sabbath dinner, we chilled at my uncle's pad and neighbors just showed up and hung out.
as they might at burning man.
it was the tightest knit community I've ever seen.
surpassing the previous record holder: burning man
now - in burning man's defense, there were a thousand or so people on this tight knit street.
there are thirty thousand at burning man.
all these people live together all the time. some of them never set foot more than 100 kilometers from the spot they're born. like in their entire lifetime.
burning man people pilgrimage from around the globe to live together for one week.
I got to know this distant part of my family as I lived in their midst and largely adopted their traditions for a week. while I wouldn't want to run off and grow my sideburns to extraordinary lengths, I can see the appeal. a lot better than I used to, anyway. my other time was spent traipsing down to more secular parts of israel. I swam in the dead sea at dawn. I chilled on a kibbutz. I tried chicken heart., I saw some amazing and historical things.
I also met some insane people. the most amusing of which we met when we were snuba diving in the red sea. the dive company we'd hired has a 3 meter section of beach staked out as their own. with ropes and everything. as we made our wet suited way to the beach, we noticed two bus loads of teenage girls pretty close to our dive area. when we were in the water, preparing to submerse and depart, the matron of the girls came by and asked us to leave. "these are religious girls - we just want to enjoy our day at the beach. with no men around." uhhhh... she didn't notice the pre land-grabbed stop of our dive shop.
our dive master was very cordially telling her to stick it when I interrupted and said that we'd leave. that we're heading out to sea. that we'll stop disturbing them now. satisfied, the matron walked off. the closest girls apologized and told us that we weren't disturbing them.
the fun and merriment commenced when we got out of the water. my dad and the dive guy took off for a bit and my brother and I stood in waist deep water.
one of the girls, fully clothed, starts walking toward us and chatting us up. to our surprise, she didn't stop at the waterline and kept right on walking. she walked out to us and had a friend of hers take our a picture with my brother, me and this 15 year old girl.
then hilarity ensued. a swarm of them did the same thing.
at one point, my brother and I were waist deep in the red sea, with about ten fully clothed 15 year old girls surrounding us while two girls stayed on the beach and juggled about a dozen cameras between them.
swear to god.
try to picture this in your head - the visual makes the next part even better.
the matron comes trundling back. and yells at us.
"you boys should be ashamed of yourselves"
"you're taking advantage of these religious girls"
"nobody here is impressed with you"
I had a moment of
plane fare to israel... five hundred dollars.
day of snuba diving... 80 dollars.
being told that you're taking advantage of 15 year old girls who waded into the ocean, of their own accord, to take their picture with you...
another highlight was the fire spinning. my youngest cousin does this cool game which is a mix between jacks and juggling. I wanted to show him the poi thing I had going on. at one point in the middle of the day, I busted out the poi and started swinging them for my cousin. the kids on the street stopped playing and came watching. within about 30 seconds, I had an audience of about 10. after 90 seconds, about 30. when I was done, after 5 minutes or so, there were over 75 slack jawed superjew kids standing within about 5 meters of me and STARING hushedly. and they weren't even on fire. my cousins told the onlookers that after sundown, I'd do the same sort of thing but with fire.
come sundown, and after scrambling for lighter fluid or any sort of half-acceptable fuel, I as promised. at the end of my 5ish minute spin, there were over 100 people where moments ago there had been about two. it was one of the rock starrest moments of my life.
and on that note... here's some of the pictures I took during the trip.
I was going to write about each one, but I'm going to cut this show and tell in half and leave it at show.
a bunch of these pictures have interesting stories - feel free to ask.
(all these pictures are thumbnails - click them to get the bigger version)
cover of time magazine
the bunch of fliers, three missed UPS deliveries and coupons lodged in my front door awaiting my safe return