My quest to eat my way through Jerusalem continued today as I strove to try this, snack on that, and then chomp the other thing. I woke up at a reasonable hour and tried to goad a child or two into accompanying me on a trek for a cup of breakfast coffee. We finally got outside (53 degrees and bright sun) and started walking. We picked up a couple of voltage adapters and then went to the post office to convert money. The post office works a little different here. When you walk in, you go to a computer and indicate the nature of your transaction. The computer spits out a piece of paper with your number and you go and sit down. When a teller is open, a computerized voice says "number XX, please go to window YY." Our paper had number 907 on it. As it worked out, the exchange desk was dealing with customer 906 so, in order not to expedite anything and give the post office a good name, the teller finished with 906 and disappeared for 10 minutes. Balance was restored to the Force. Our rate ($3.87 per NIS, no commission) was pretty darned reasonable.
We moved from there to Berman's Bakery (est. 1875). Friendly people worked and ate there. The kids got a cup of hot chocolate and a selection of pastries while I got a double espresso which set me up with enough energy to start walking around and find a place to eat. We returned to the apartment to check on the Mrs. and Talia stated that she didn't feel good. So She got some extra sleep while Maddie and I went back out for more walks. We ended up, not surprisingly, at Moshiko's so I had an early lunch. I ran in to 5 former students and 2 current students while Maddie also found some other people she knows. I bought some gifts for people back home. On our walk up and down the streets in the area, we regaled each other with stories of our experiences on Ben Yehuda, all of which started with the statement "I heard from a friend of mine that" and were followed by a series of winks and knowing eye rolls. We both knew that these stories were not about friends. We don't have friends.
On the way back to the apartment, I bought a donut and ate it.
After I awoke from my carb coma, Maddie told me that her friend, Elijah, would be visitng, so I cleaned up my stuff so as not to embarrass in an impersonal way. I prefer to make situations uncomfortable and awkward myself. Full service is what sets me apart from other parents. We spent a nice bunch of the afternoon chatting about everything and catching up. At one point we got in to the issue of gender labels and I had to wonder if "trans-fats" actually used to be proteins. I know that that joke was effective because Talia, who had been feeling better, immediately felt ill again.
The evening then shifted into the "what do we do now phase" when we argued over whether or not to see a movie. I voted "no" because, well, I'm horrible like that. We planned to go anyway. First, dinner. We ambled down Ben Yehudah (sometimes you just have to amble) and through an outdoor arts market. Some of the tables had sandalwood designs, pottery, jewelry and antiques. Others looked like people emptied their junk drawers and were hoping no one would notice. Eventually we shifted over to Yoel Solomon until we came to Piccolino (dairy, Italian). From the outside it looks like a door, but once you get through the door, there is an entire restaurant. Crazy, right? They were a bit surprised when we said "table for 5, no reservation" but they found a spot and told us we had 1 hour to order, eat and get the heck out before the quality crowd came in. I ordered a tortellini with parmesan cheese, mushrooms and mozzarella. The sauce was a bit watery but the flavor was nice. Others got pasta dishes and Talia got salmon (with which I was unimpressed). Four of the 5 of us got dessert (1 creme brulee, 2 mascarpone/white chocolate/nuts and 1 chocolate souffle with a ganache in it). In Israel there is a requirement that desserts have nuts (except for donuts, I guess, which satisfy the law by dint of their name) so I said "no thanks" and avoided Mr. Benadryl.
After dinner, both girls' stomachs hurt and we decided to forego the movie I didn't want to see so we could come back to the apartment and watch another movie I didn't want to see. Tomorrow, I hope to walk to the kotel, plus buy a selection of salads in the shuk to take to my sister's when we show up for meals over Shabbat. So far, I have had a chance to see many interesting stores and eat more than I should. Success.
Next blog might be Saturday night, but who can tell these days? Stay warm and dry and I think I'm going to go out and buy another donut.