Tel Aviv Diary July 24-28?, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary --July 24-28, 2018 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 24, 2018

Couldn't figure out how to get on internet without paying outrageous prices to the cruise ship. But suddenly we're on shore overnight - at St. Petersburg - and we have time to rest because we don't have the energy to move. The cruise trips have been exhausting for us but absolutely fascinating. Had they been Jewish cruises I would have more to tell you that relates to this diary, but we have been following along with the regular tours and spend the time in palaces and churches and souvenir shops and beautiful gardens. The guide might point out a jewish building here and there - like in Tallinn - but today in St. Petersburg there was only one tiny Jewish element.

It was this. The guide, Yelena, reminded me so much of my late aunt Chasia, I couldn't stop wondering. She had been botn in Siberia. Her father, she admitted, was from Belarus. Could she be the daughter of my father's oldest brother who disappeared in the Russian army during the war? I couldn't get to that question. She was busy pointing out the dachas and the water cascades and the fascinating things to see all over the city, and by the time there was a little quiet I couldn't bring it up. Will she be our guide again tomorrow? I hope so. Even if she doesn't want to talk about her family's history (of which she says she knows nothing), it is such a pleasure to be listening to someone who sounds like my aunt, I cannnot say.

She is at least seventy years old, and she is due to have her hair re-colored the light brown she has chosen to cover her white, but i think she is very chary with her money. A language and literature teacher at the university, she has been forced into retirement by the obligatory age limit, but has been supplementing her income with tour guiding for years. Doesn't this sound familiar to you? I'm sure she's not a poet - because she's full of factual information and doesn't mess around like I do. Hmm, I seem to have adopted her already

July 26, 2018

July 27, 2018

No Internet at sea. an i don't seem to be able to write to you offline. it seems fake. well nevertheless yesterday was our 38th anniversary and i spent it in the infirmary under the threat of quarantine. my old bladder infection flared up and apparently i have gall stones or something but the signs also pointed to food poisoning. it took a little convincing to let me out of quarantine and today i seem to be as good as new.

In a way we're still in quarantine - the little summaries we get from the world situation is pathetic, there are four news channels that i have yet to find something other than a commercial, and nobody seems to care. so we use every second of internet time (close to the shore of some civilizaed country) to look up the news.

No writing impressions. I should have some time this afternoon but now i have to hurry to the gangplank so i won't miss Sweden...

Do you think every tour guide is screened by the government to make sure that give a positive spin on everything? We went to Vasa museum today to see the ship they restored from the 17th century. Now it seems to me that if my country made a top-heavy ship and it sunk on the way out of the port i would not have been so proud of spending so much money in its restoration. At least it wouldn't be the first thing I'd send tourists to.

But then I'm a bad tourist. I'm still feverish and weak and enjoying the opportunity to complain.


One is reminded of the ship of fools. we go from group to group, talking about politics as if it is dinner conversation. and we all know how very important our discussions our, but we're not allowed to really show it, it is fortunate we are binging on Dowton Abbey which is all about behaving well when the world is changing, because we really feel it a lot of the time.

I'm happy we're going to Rostok and Mecklenburg and lubeck and all these places where nothing terribly important happened because there weren't that many people to kill. but oh, what the celebrants of the 500 year annniversay of the university of rostok did to the jews wasnt very nice.

my time on the internet is limited. i used to think the ship just didn't have good reception, but it's more than that - they don't want us to tell about the experiences of the ship.Never mind, I'll tell you later.

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