01 January 2007

Israel Trip Day Two: Stuck in Jerusalem

On my first full day in Israel during this trip (Wednesday 27 December 2006), I woke up early at 6 AM, hoping to get a whole bunch of touristing in. After davening, I hopped onto a bus from Efrat towards Jerusalem.

(video hattip)
We got delayed on account of a huge pool of water from the rain on the highway. Upon arrival, I got in contact with someone else who lives in Washington Heights who was also in Israel to do some travelling. Unfortunately, this person's bags had not arrived on the plane to Israel and was forced to not go far, plus the weather was supposed to be bad that day, so we decided to stay in Jerusalem and stay inside.
So, we went to the Israel Museum. Although I have been there a few times before, the last time I had been there, the Shrine for the Dead Sea Scrolls had been under renovation, so I wanted to see that. While looking at that, I started feeling extremely exhausted, but wanted to keep moving along.
We got to the main building (while it was raining and really cold) and waited a little to warm up and for someone else who also lives in Washington Heights who was in Israel to join up with us. We then viewed the contemporary art section, which was one of the most enjoyable art selection I've ever seen - probably due to the messages their creators were trying to impart and/or that could be gleamed from the works.
At that point, I was feeling really exhausted. Although I had arrived at the bus station in J-lem around 8:30, I had waited there for a bit until going to the Israel Museum at 10, then waiting an hour at 11 to start going around the museum. At this point, being around 1:30 or so, I was feeling extremely exhausted, so I said my farewell and apologized for leaving so soon. I went to town and grabbed a yummy schwarma laffa somewhere, then went to the bus station, hoping to get back to Efrat and go to sleep REALLY early, perhaps around 5 or 6.
After arriving at the bus station at 3:30ish, I went to use the Internet, then started waiting for a bus around 4. Long story short, after waiting several hours for a bus to Efrat, I found out at some point that due to the snow, there were no buses going into or leaving Jerusalem, meaning, I was not getting back to Efrat. Adding to my frustration in this endeavor, I was still rather exhausted. In addition to all of this, my phone battery died and my charger was in Efrat with the rest of my things.

So, I tried walking to Mahaneh Yehudah (the big marketplace) where a friend of my sister's lives and eventually tried (with a pay phone) calling my sister's friend. After having trudged through the snow all the way there and trying to call him, he was not picking up. So I then spoke to my sister about other possibilities.
My Columbus compadre, Aaron Kahn, who is studying at the Center program at Ohr Somayach (the same program in which I had studied a few years back), said to come on over. When I got there, we went to his brother Phil's in Ramot Eshcol (and got to meet his wife of four months). After being soggy, cold, and exhausted, I finally found a place to rest (in addition to getting my soggy socks laundered along with Aaron doing his laundry at his brother's). And rest I did.