Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ars (not so) gratis ars

Today was to be, as advertised, an IMPORTANT day on our trip because we were scheduled to go to the museum, and museums (musea?) are full of important stuff. So we hiked down Bezalel, walked down a few blocks and crossed the street to begin our ascent to the hill housing the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the book and the Knesset. A late start and the generally foul mood of the children really got things off nicely. Free admission for the kids should have been a boon but instead we were met with "we could NOT go for the same money". We let the children hold our Audio Guide hardware and that bought their silence for 5 minutes. In the main exhibit hall, we looked at skeletons, spears and combs from thousands and millions of years ago (one wonders what the religious authorities felt when finding out that the displays would focus on a decidedly anti-biblical explication of fossils etc). Between dodging the huge Israeli tour group and trying to satisfy the interests of the kids we lost ground rather quickly. By the time we were looking at the Life cycle exhibit we had lost child number 1 to the allure of lunch. Child number was close behind buoyed only by the hopes of a slab of meat for lunch. We dragged them through the 19th century display and into the modern art section (Duchamp, you scamp) and rewarded them with a hot pretzel. This didn't get us any more time and it only showed weakness to the kids. They punced and at the first sign of our wanting to look at another room they flipped out. And when we walked out of the cafeteria to look for a meat restaurant, that only got one child crazed and the other frustrated. The meat place was prohibitively expensive so we figured it made more sense to be disappointed by a cheaper place than by a more expensive one.

I ordered a grilled eggplant with cheese sandwich. I assumed it would be grilled and made melty and crunchy. Not so much. Kid 1 ordered a lasagna expecting pasta, sauce and cheese. She didn't expect eggplant and sweet potato and very little pasta. Neither of us was especially happy. Kid 2 ate her pizza (after removing the cheese)and then we left, still feeling hungry and crabby. We indulged kid 2 (who had said that museums were fine with her; she wasn't poorly behaved but was just putting on a brave face. Number 1 was no longer trying. We stopped of in the Kids' Education Center and kid two did an activity surrounding identifying parts of an ancient Tel. I sat around and through pebbles at the other kid. Lolts of fun. Eventually, I convinced everyone to join me for a very brief look at the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Aleppo Codex was there as well so for me, this was a real high point. The kids were happy that we were out of the heat, and that I promised to be done quickly. They then stared at the Israeli Snack Machine for another 5 minutes and whined about it.

Off to the giftshop so I could hold all the bags and be bored again. Choruses of "can I get this?" hit me so often that I think I oked a purchase for someone else's kid. Or OF someone else's kid. The details are hazy. The next fight surrounded how we were getting back home. Walking was not a fan favorite but we pushed it down their throats and the eventually signed on. We stopped off in the park for a relaxing sit and whine and so that the children could feed the feral cats who surrounded us. Back at my sis's house, we made plans to go out to the Chutzot Hayotzer, the artists' fair. Number two was dead set against it so tears erupted again. She agreed to go as long as she could play the entire game under protest and get traded to another family after next season. Another compromise was that we took a cab down there. We were assured that all we had to do was get into the cab and any cabbie would know where the art festival was. Last night, we were assured that "everyone" would know where the restaurant was and yet no one did. One of those no ones must have been driving the cab tonight because he hadn't a clue about where to go. I like to think of it as a Crap Fair but that's isn't nice, because the prices were not fair. Did I mention that it cost our family 185 NIS (about $51) just to get in and have the chance to spend more money? Sheesh.

The festival was a huge number of Israeli craftsmen plying their wares, a HUGE row of kosher restaurants cooking food, and then a huge international pavilion. Slovenia was NOT represented. Sad, really. Slovakia was there. Some of the stuff was so authentic that even the China stuff wasn't made in China. I ate a baked potato with cheese and mushrooms, and had a Tuborg Red. Good stuff. The others ate whatever food those people eat. The throngs kept getting throngier and we decided it was time to leave. Julie, Nomi and cousin Rafi and I walked back so that:
1. our kids could catch a ride
2. Julie could get food from Moshiko

We eventually wandered in, realizing we are almost tapped on cash (and too many places don't take credit cards) and that we are tired. But still eating way too much. My ring no longer fits. I have moved into gaining weight in my fingers. I'm sure there is more, but I have to be up at a reasonable time tomorrow.

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