Asof wakes me up and tells me we have 5 minutes before the bus leaves, so we pack rapidly and rush down to the bus. I manage to make enough time to buy a bunch of postcards and a hat for Sam from the gift shop in the hotel.
It was on the bus I think that I realized that the hole in my pants on my right thigh had gotten significantly larger, and if one took a third glance they might be able to see my boxers. So I tried to close this by tying the straps-that-have-no-use around them. Worked a little bit, but as the day went on the hole got larger… Anyway
Went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, a new one that opened recently I believe. First we sat and listed to a survivor of the Holocaust make a speech. I’m sure it was wonderful, but I was just too tired and fell asleep. Got up and went to the main museum area. This was a long triangular hallway with the exhibits coming out the sides. Very interesting to look at, but very poorly set up in terms of if there were a fire.
The problem with the museum trip was that there were way too many people there when we were. Many, many many fat evil ugly tourists with no sense of direction or respect. They’d push you out of the way or bump into you with their evil unbathed presence and wouldn’t even say excuse me or pardon me. And they’re all old gross fat people with huge breasts or guts. They completely ruined the experience, and made it very unenjoyable. So I went through the place quite fast, glancing at most of the exhibits they had but not reading into them. I’ve grown up with lessons of the Holocaust bombarded against me, and frankly I think I’ve heard enough and I know what happened and how tragic it was. I feel I don’t need to have any more of it.
After exiting we all waited while the rest of the group trickled out (many others did the same as me), we went to the Children’s Memorial, which was dedicated to all the children who died. The room they had there was amazing. They had made a dark room with mirrors set up all around, and put a couple lights in strategic places to make it look like you were walking in a field of stars. Really cool, and maybe I could do it in my house somehow…
Then we got a talk by the guy who was being our tour guide for the museum, which again I was too tired to hear what he was saying, but we filled out forms and got a pin and went to the gift store. Then got lunch, which was terrible pizza. Then left.
Didn’t take the bus, since the next place was within walking distance. It was a Mt Hertzel graveyard for prime ministers and soldiers. Lots of graves of important people, but not that interesting. I always thought of gravesites as places that you go to give respect to people, and not go as tourists going through a country to look at. Although first we went to this big square place where I found these tie wrap things on the ground and used them to fix the hole in my pants, which worked quite well…
There was a group of kids who were walking by us, and kind of spontaneously I decided to say “hi!” to them. A couple kids said back his and hellos, then I decided to say, and a bit louder for some reason, “SHALOM!!!” and almost all of them said back in unison “SHALOM!” AND IT WAS THE MOST AWESOME THING THAT WAS AWESOME. That made me quite happy.
Left the place, got on a bus for a Kibbutz and our final destination. This place, Pinat Shorashim, had an area where people had constructed various artsy sculptures that you could play on, and signs with biblical quotes on them. Kind of like a camp… And also like camp, there was this hippy guy there who talked to us about spirituality. He was a fun guy and said some really interesting stuff. Had dinner, and then he took us on a tour around the place.
Then we jammed out while waiting to leave, which was nice. On the bus ride we all sang the popular Israeli songs that we had come to learn and love, and then suddenly we were at the airport. Said goodbye to the people who were extending their trip. Then went through security. My bags were double checked because the jam jar looked suspicious. Then went to the gate.
Made a candy run and stocked up on various things, spending my last shekels. Then went to the liquor store and spent a bit there to bring back to the US (which oddly enough, I didn’t run into problems with customs at all over. They didn’t even mention it. I was very nervous about that because I had much more than the right limit…).
Waited in the gate for a bit, and then left.
May 26th, 2005
For about 90% of the flight I slept. I had switched seats from the very back row to the very front row (of the business class), which was an exit seat and there was just the wall to the bathroom in front of me. This way, I could put my feet up on the wall and get into some weird position that would allow me easier sleep. Still hurt like hell though.
I sat next to a cute girl and we traded candy and she turned out to be someone who had gone on Birthright a year or two ago and loved it so much that she went back this year (on a trip of her own, you can’t go on Birthright more than once). Anyhow, she was nice.
The breakfast was really crappy. Plus, from the beginning of the flight I had gotten progressively terribly sick. Bleh.
Landed in Toronto, rested in the lounge they put us in, and then got back on the plane. Went home. Slept a lot of that trip too. Landed in LAX.
Got our bags, and went through customs amazingly fast and painlessly. Then we all said goodbye to each other (except for the people going on the Southwest flight).
Went to the Southwest terminal area and stood in a million lines. Finally got to the gates and had a small lunch. Hung out with people while waiting for flights, and finally Michelle and I left for our flight. But our flight was delayed 30 minutes, which was bleh but whatever. Got a seat, and I just completely knocked out slept from take-off to landing. Mom was there to pick me up, and said goodbye to Michelle. Came back home and took a long long nap.