Friday was a great day! I got up early in the morning to clean up a bit and get ready to head up to Tel Aviv. I was really excited to meet up with a friend that I had met while on Taglit that I hadn't seen since 2007. I caught a ride with some friends who were heading up to Tel Aviv to chill on the beach and spend some of their break from there.
The ride was great and on the way, I called my friend. Instead of heading to the beach we went to last time we were in Tel Aviv, she suggested one short distance away. We picked up a Sheirut that took us to a point a few blocks away from the beach.
After chilling for a while she arrived and it was great playing catch up for a "few" (read, "four-and-a-half") hours. Not only was it a lot of fun to catch up with her and meet her boyfriend, who was a lot of fun too, I finally got a chance to play that paddle game that Israelis seem to always be playing on the beach.
Matkot is a lot of fun. The ball doesn't react the way that you would think it does, which makes the game a little harder than you would expect. I loved playing this game. Here are the rules;
1) Stand a few feet away from each other.
2) Hit the ball.
3) Wait for your partner to hit the ball back.
4) Hit it back to your friend.
5) Try to keep a good rally going.
6) The winners are anyone playing!
I need to find a set of these Matkot and bring them home. It's really a great game and you can make it a lot harder if you want to add some finesse or stand further apart.
I was heading back to Jerusalem and she offered to give me a ride on her motorcycle to the Central Bus Station. Even though I had watched these things whip around the city, I graciously took her offer. Now I know why so many Israelis use these things.
Aside from the fact that they are a lot cheeper than a car, and use less gas. In Israel, the scooters don't really need to follow all of the traffic laws. For example, they can squeeze between two cars and make their way to the front of the stoplight. It was also pretty fun riding. Even though I was wearing a helmet, I could feel the wind rushing through my hair (all 20 of them). I'm not sure where I'm going to be going to school next year yet, but if I end up in Los Angeles I may need to pick one of these things up to get around out there. Tons of fun.
I can't wait to go back up there to meet up with them again. Apparently her boyfriend is a musician. I may need to go up to listen to him play some time.
We also talked a lot about Israel and about religion. Surprise, surprise. I'm still working out how I feel about it. But the more I come to understand how "Judaism" is implemented as a national religion, the more in understand why there are so many secular Israelis. I'm going to think on this more before I completely sort out my thoughts.
Taglit - Also known as Birthright. This is a 10 day trip that is completely subsidized for young Jews ages 18 - 26 to go to Israel and in a whirlwind tour see a lot of the country. This was my first experience in Israel and as you may come to find out, was a little influential on my life since then.
Sheirut Moniyot - They can also be called by their shorter name, sheirut, but don't pluralize them as Shirutiyym -that means bathroom. They're a combination between Taxis and busses. For a set price per person they will take you from one set location to another established location. It is possible to get off at stops on the way, but you need to tell your driver where you want to go. You can also call a sheirut and have them pick you up to take you to a place. They're great all purpose transportation options if you need to use them.