Friday, August 15, 2008

Pidgeon and Pigeons in Ashkelon

I love this place! It's 2:30 p.m. on Erev Shabbos and Pidgeon and I are relaxing in the fabulous AC and looking at the glorious beach view. We are here celebrating our 1 year anniversary. And, even though technically it's not until the 19th, we're spending this entire weekend in celebration. Which means that the next 3 days will just speed by, faster than ever! Why does that always happen? When you're happy, life just goes by so fast. But, when you're sad, life just drags on? Curious.

So, yesterday, we woke up at 8:15 to give my dry cleaning to the cleaners. We use the same guys who saved my behind during the great mold debacle of January 2008. They were able to literally clean ever since moldy item in my wardrobe, so I'm now a loyal member of Yaniv's dry cleaning in Meah Shearim. And, since they pick up and drop off for free, it's perfect. After Pidgeon gave them all of my Shabbos maternity clothing to dry clean, we went back to sleep and didn't get out of bed until 11:30! Meanwhile, I had a lot of USA Men's Olympic swimming to catch up on and cooking and packing to do. So, I sat down and wrote my packing list and put up the quinoa. 

By the time we left Jerusalem, at 4:30 p.m., I managed to make the quinoa, pick out CD's and DVD's for the trip, pack myself, help organize Pidgeon who packed himself, and tidied up the apartment. We traveled light for us - which means one overnight bag each, a cooler full of quinoa, fresh cooked corn, roasted broccoli, 2 challot from Pe'er, 2 frozen bottles of Mei Eden water and the meatloaf, a small bag with snacks for the car and my purse. I was impressed with us - since we're not planning on returning until late Sunday night.

We ended up making incredible time, even with hitting the post-Thursday rush hour traffic right outside of the City. Even with a pit stop at Shaar Hagay gas station for some lunch - tuna sandwiches and shoko (for me) and diet ice tea (for Pidgeon) - we still managed to get to Kibbutz Yavneh before 7:00 p.m.! We both were afraid we were going to be really late meeting with Pidgeon's favorite teacher from High School - Avraham Stein - but we were right on time. We chatted with him and his lovely wife for over an hour and then it was back on the road and heading to Ashkelon. We were a little surprised to hit such bad traffic but then we realized it was all cars trying to get into one lane to turn off into Ashdod. Once we were able to bypass that lane, we managed to hit a bit more Ashkelon traffic and then pulled into the car parking garage by 9:00 p.m. We got the keys from my in-laws neighbors and then we were here!

Unfortunately, Pidgeon was starving and like my Cousin Neil tends to do when he's hungry, was having a bit of a hunger attack. So, we quickly dropped our stuff, plugged in our computers to charge, put my shots in the fridge and called the restaurant for directions. Somehow, the restaurant doesn't appear on Pidgeon's GPS, but we managed to "use the force" and made it there with an hour to go before they closed. The food was great! We ordered two skewers of entrecote steak (well done for me, medium rare for Pidgeon) and that came with a million types of salatim, some hummus and french fries. The pitot were also fresh and hot from the over, and absolutely delicious! Pidgeon and I devoured our food - I hadn't realized I too was hungry - and then we decided to order 4 pargiot for Shabbat lunch. The owners were really nice and they also packed us up some extra salatim to go. Satisfied and bloated, we returned home so I could do my shot and we could make the bed. I was so tired though that I started to get a bit cranky with Pidgeon, and being the amazing and patient man that he is, he helped me make the bed and tried his best to get me to sleep STAT. 

We woke to a beautiful, hot, sunny day this morning. Well, I should amend that, I woke to a beautiful, hot, sunny day this morning. I asked Pidgeon to set his alarm for 9:30 and he quickly shut it off and went back to sleep. I logged on and relaxed and let him sleep for 30 more minutes before I started to get ansy. We had a schedule today and I am determined to keep to it! While he slept, I noticed that the windowsill outside of our bedroom is covered in bird poo and the Ashkelon Pigeons have made this their home. At one point, there were 4 lined up and one even pecked at the window! I felt like I was back in Manhattan, with all the pigeons lined up in a row waiting for an unsuspecting resident to scurry beneath before they let their droppings fly and hit their bullseye down below. So, I woke Pidgeon up and told him that the pigeons were here to greet him. He smiled and I managed to get him up and out of bed.

Since we didn't know the address to the main shopping complex, we once again "used the force" and somehow managed to make it to our destination. At that point, I was so hungry, I told Pidgeon I was going to knaw on his fingers if he didn't get some food into me. We parked and jogged to the Aroma and Pidgeon ordered me the Aruchat Boker which comes with 2 scrambled eggs, some chopped salad, 4 olives, 5% feta and cream cheese and 6 slices of whole wheat bread. I also got an ice coffee cause I was in the mood, which Pidgeon had a Chai with 1% milk and an omlete sandwich. It was nice to eat although it was a bit uncomfortable in our booth. The chair was too far back from the table, but the table and chairs were bolted to the floor, so unless I sat at the edge of the booth I was too far away from my plate.

Which brings me to a phenomenon I notice in pregnant women. It's called the eating all over yourself phenomenon. When you see a pregnant lady and she's got a big stain somewhere on her shirt or skirt, chances are she has no idea how that happened nor does she even realize that it's there. I've been finding stains on my stomach hours after they happen, and I'm constantly wondering how the heck it got there. Well, sure enough, about 5 minutes into eating my food I managed to drop a big bite of salad all over myself. And, since the dressing was green, I was now sporting a huge stain right in the middle of my chest.  Pidgeon tried to make me feel like less of a pig by saying that it could be a logo for the Greek Islands - but I wasn't biting. So, with my big stain, we wrapped up at Aroma and went next door to the SuperSol Big to buy our food.

Food in Ashkelon is so much cheaper than in Jerusalem, it's insane. For less than 350 shekel, we managed to buy: a pound of potatoes cooked, a pound of noodles, one large challah, 6 nectarine, 10 small plums, a small pineapple, sorbet, a can of cocktail olives, a can of hearts of palm, a can of baby corn, a bag of lettuce, 5% creamy italian dressing, a box of Telma bran flakes, 1% skim milk, this roasted onion salatim that Pidgeon wanted, 3 bottles of hand soap, silver foil, plastic ziplock baggies, 2 bottles of diet lemonade, 1 bottle of green tea ice tea, 1 big bottle of grape juice, and 1 package of duracell AA batteries. That would have cost us at least 100 shekel more in Jerusalem. I told Pidgeon we should take advantage and do our weekly grocery shopping in Ashkelon, even with the price of gas it would probably be worth it. 

We also bought 3 green shopping bags as we're trying to save the world by cutting down on plastic baggies. With our booty, we made our way back to the car, turned on the GPS and managed to get home in no time at all. Unfortunately, it was too much time for our sorbet, and when we got to the apartment we discovered it had melted and leaked ALL over all the stuff in that green bag. At first, I thought we cracked the dressing bottle, and was relieved to see it was just the sorbet leaking. That's how hot it is here people! I quickly washed everything, including the bag, and Pidgeon put the wet ones out on the balcony to dry so we could use them to pack some stuff up when we leave on Sunday.

Meanwhile, I was so distracted, that as I was unpacking the bags I pulled out this strange package and it took me a minute to realize what it was. It was a Trivial Pursuit mini game gossip edition. I gasped when I saw it and asked Pidgeon if he knew how it got there. He said he had no idea and I though, my g-d, I stole this from the Supermarket and I didn't even realize I had packed it into the bag! My mind started racing, I needed to go back and pay the Supermarket or return it! I've never stolen anything from a Supermarket before and I felt awful.

Suddenly, Pidgeon smiled, and wished me a Happy Aliyah and wedding Anniversary! He put it in the bag AND he bought it for me months ago as a surprise. I was soo shocked and surprised! I had no idea when he even did that, and then everything started clicking into place. He insisted when we got to the car that I go and put on the AC rather than help him load the bags into the trunk. I wasn't happy that he didn't let me help him but I did it because I thought he was really hot, little did I know that he had hidden the game in the trunk and wanted to slip it into one of the bags without me seeing. Plus, when we got to the apartment, he didn't really help me unpack the bags which is very unlike him. I was wondering why he wasn't helping, and only when I found the gift did I realize what went into getting me the whole present and keeping it a surprise! Apparently, Pidgeon bought this game online and shipped it to his brother in London, who brought it with him when he was visiting in July. Pidgeon then hid it in the house - somewhere - and waited until the time was right to give it to me.

Now, we had agreed on no presents this anniversary - but both of us are  big fat liars. Pidgeon's present is on its way and I can't write what I got him here since he sometimes reads my blog and I want it to be a big surprise too. But, boy am I happy that I got him something! Whew.

Well, I'm off to change into my bathing suit and get ready for the pool! I can't wait to take a nice, long swim in the cool waters. 

Shabbat Shalom from Ashkelon!

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