Saturday, July 23, 2016

Midwest Meets Mideast #1: Not So Innocents Abroad

On July 6, my family and I traveled to Israel for a 10 day vacation. I had not been there in 30 years, and the rest of the family had not been there ever. With one child about to go off to college, this was our last chance (most likely) to take a family vacation, so we set out on the Herculean task of seeing an entire country on a small budget in 10 days with a limited command of the language. While it is true that most of the country carries signs in Hebrew, English, and Arabic, not all signs are in English, so your brain has to constantly decode information. Sure, you know that "yetziah" means "exit" every time you see it plastered on a green exit sign, but other missives that automatically decode into useful instruction always take more time. For example, in Haifa, we saw a gigantic sign advertising what looked like a jungle reality show about the "OJITNK." At least, that's what it said in English. After musing about the Ojitnk and whom they might be, my oldest son finally figured out that the sign wasn't English at all. It said "Amazons" in Hebrew script. Ah yup. D'oh!

What follows are communications I wrote to my family near the end of the trip. Had I been a good travelog writer, I would have written up each day before going bed, like my wife did dutifully. Me, I waited until the last couple of days before I started writing in earnest. So, now it is a race between my ability to focus on writing and my memory of the trip. Wish me luck.

Since my family values its anonymity, I will refer to my two boys as Lurch (oldest) and Pugsley (youngest). My wife is of course Morticia, which says more about our relationship than my ability to come up with aliases. Whereas I am sure future employers of my children will easily be able to triangulate their code names with my real name to discover secrets about their childhood, I am not sure I want them working for any employer who is that anal retentive. Or the government. But I repeat myself.

Kadima (forward)...

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