Picture the jacuzzi room at Ramat Rachel at 5:30pm on an average day. 5:30pm is achar ha'tza'ha'ra'yim/the afternoon, which means after 4:00pm. Many older men show up, in their teensy, weensy bikinis, young and old, short and tall. They meet, they greet, they gossip, they play sheshbesh/backgammon, they eat snacks and drink coffee - in short, they hang out, primarily, in the jacuzzi. So, Jess and I finish swimming and we enter the jacuzzi area and there are guys everywhere. We sit in the 'shvitz' and yap with 2 older guys about how to play with the thermostat and make the steam hotter. We sit in the jacuzzi and listen to the chatter about pensions, wives and children, work, and other scintillating matters. It's surprising relaxing, once you get over the initial shock.
We went to the movies last night. First time since we got here. Went with Jess, friend Esther and Ira. Actually, the first time I've seen a movie since I don't know when - can't remember the last one. Saw The Queen. Excellent. First, we went (yes, don't be surprised) to Burgers Bar and ate eh burgers and greasy fries. Burger was flat and bun thick but components - lettuce, pickles, garlic mayo (opt), chimichuri sauce (opt and not bad at all), ketchup and tomato, made a decent presentation. And hey, it was kosher, too. Jess says the burgers are better at another local place.
I had forgotten that movies in Israel are a particular kind of experience. Reserved seats on your ticket. This means you can nurse your coffee until the last minute and walk in and still find a seat. It also means that if you reserve late, you run the risk of sitting in the front row and there's nothing you can do about it. Of course, there was the guy who walked in when it was dark and the previews had just started. He called out for his wife who responded "Avi, we're in the 4th row." My memories of movies in this country date back to 1970. We lived in our summer rental in Kiryat Ha'yovel. There was Cinema 1, up the block. We saw "Gone With the Wind" - burning of Atlanta, Tara and Scarlett O'Hara, in living color. People used to yap alot during movies, since they were reading subtitles anyway. They'd drink their cokes and roll their bottles down the uncarpeted aisles. They eat sunflower seeds and make piles of shells on the side of their seats. Every theater had a sign in Hebrew - don't crack sunflower seeds. I remember seeing Quo Vadis in Tzfat a billion years ago - quite the experience. Then there was History of the World, Part 1, the Mel Brooks movie - they didn't get that one, either.
This time, behavior was better. Perhaps it was Helen Mirren's example as Queen Elizabeth. There's also the time honored intermission, usually during a love scene or cliff hanger. It's a Jewish country, maybe someone's hungry or needs to go to the bathroom (I always do). No one should be uncomfortable.
Did a really fast shop in Mega today. It's indicative of how much better we are at maneuvering in the grocery store. Knew where to go, didn't spend too much time over label reading and deciphering, didn't get dazzled by new products and the specials of the week. Just picked up the bare essentials and ran out. Mega isn't my favorite store but it was fine for the usual bread, humous, fruit, and such.
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