Tel Aviv Diary March 24, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from March 24, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 24, 2005

Faculty Strike on Monday. I don't have much faith in the possibility of negotiations with the Minister of Education, but I don't know what the alternative is.But the point of a strike is negotiations, right?

So the dolphins have left the Haifa port. Probably just came for the student strike yesterday. After all, they travel in schools too.

So we're moving into Purim tonight. As some of you may know, I'm strepped out, so no possibility of celebration tonight. I really like the idea of 'adloyada' - or drinking until you don't know the difference between Mordechai and Haman, between good and evil - but you can't drink on antibiotics. So I have to find an appropriate substitute.

March 25, 2005

Shulamith appeared first thing in the morning with Mishloach Manot, dressed as Queen Vashti. She was very lovely and exotic as the poor queen who paid dearly for her feminism, and got me thinking about the concept of dressing up in general. My favorite costume and role in Purim Shpiels was always Haman. I relished playing his evil, rolling my moustaches and planning the demise of the Jews, because it gave me a chance to experience otherness from inside, to be and to understand someone I wasn't. That's the spirit i write my little dramatic dialogues in - conversations with imaginary people.

What a day! The sea is calm and rolling, the sun is bright but a bit chilly, and it is a perfect afternoon to sit in a cafe - so we're off to Nona. This morning we found ourselves by the sea, but it was too brisk for me to enjoy it - i'm still a bit of an invalid.

So this afternoon was spent in Nona. Now THERE was Purim spirit! Decorations everywhere, everyone in costume, happy people, happy music. I'll see if i can get some pictures.

Now if you notice it is all blurred. That is because I took the picture myself. Here is one Ezi took of the automatic package machine in the post office:

Know how complicated it used to be to get a package? There's no parking at the post office, but you need transportation to get the package home. So somehow you manage to have a getaway driver set up. Then you get there between 8-12 or whatever the limited hours are, and then you stand in line. Then they can't find the package (Ephraim Kishon even had a board game where you win the game if you get the package.)...(I once had an experience like that in Chinatown - they couldnt find the package until Oren put on his threatening face and said something he will be back in an hour and the package better be there, and it was. That wouldn't have happened in Israel. The clerk would have refused to serve him, they would have called the supervisor and there would have been a real shouting match.)Anyway the doromat is simple, quick, and middle of the night if you like when there IS parking.

Jerusalem: April 3. Beit Agnon. Tamar Agnon is reading, performing, her work. She's exciting, on the edge, rare. Worth traveling to Jerusalem. Watch for details.

March 27, 2005

Because we were absolutely blown away by the food at Mishmish tonight, we invited the chef, Leticia, to our table for a chat. Now we've always enjoyed the food there, but tonight seemed extra special - the chubby little hamburgers (her Moroccan grandmother's meat balls), the salad (I don't usually eat salad - I call it the food of my food - but I couldn't stay away from the lettuce ), the cranberry meringue, the fondant. Even the bread they make in house was special. Leticia didn't seem to think it was a big deal, didn't blow up her role or inflate her culinary skills. She was just making good food. And that's what I liked about it: without being pretentious, it was extraordinary.

Of course my ardor may have been influenced by the drinks...

March 28, 2005

"You can't go in there with the dog!" the guard shouts as I am about to enter the elegant bank in my neighborhood. "Why not?" I turn my head to ask, as I keep walking. "They'll take interest on her!"

I saunter in with Shusha, but after a few minutes with the clerk, I begin to understand what the guard meant. What fees! Then, as I'm leaving, the guard calls out, "See! She looks thinner already! Pound of Flesh! Pound of Flesh!"

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