July 20, 2008

Megiddo, Day 11 – “If she keeps wearing that, I’m going to KILL HER”

(The above is a quote from Hugo upon seeing a woman wearing a swimsuit with a horrid crocheted stomach cover.)

We went to Caesarea yesterday. First we ate at such a great restaurant where I had a decent-tasting chicken sandwich. Then we walked around the ruins and swam in a rock pool created by the foundation of Herod’s Sea Palace (that has to be capitalized. The whole thing is like Herod’s own little amusement park. I have no doubt that Herod was more than a little nuts when he started building fortresses right and left and dedicating ALL of them to Augustus Caesar.) It was very cute, and I found a nice rock with a hole in it, but the rocks were sharp and there were little shrimpy things that kept biting me. Then we looked around the ruins some more and decided to go to the beach. The group had split, and Jane/Hugo/Rose/Becky/Janna and I saw how full the aqueduct beach was and instead walked along the shore to an empty part of the beach that was part of a collapsed Roman/Byzantine structure. Hugo and I argued over who was better, the Roman or the Byzantines, but he thinks they’re all a continuation of the same empire. I disagree and hold that Rome clearly ended when they moved the capital to Byzantium. Anyway, we lay on the beach reading/napping/swimming for a few hours. After a while a very old, tanned man pulled up in his pickup truck and started to do push-ups. Occasionally he pointed towards us in the water and tried to whistle loudly. We thought he was trying to pick us up so we just ignored him until he came over and told me (in Hebrew) that he had seen jellyfish. We ran out of the water immediately, needless to say. I have a weird mark on my leg that looks like it could be a sting, but it doesn’t hurt. Mysterious. After a while we went to find the others (Rachel/Scott/Casey/Christine). We couldn’t find them, but realized how burned we were and decided to sit in the shade. An old man who was barbecuing came over to us and deposited in my hands a bag of fruit containing nectarines and GIANT grapes (we decided to call them “steroid grapes”). After an hour, the shirut was supposed to arrive and we couldn’t find the others and resigned ourselves to the fact that we would just starve to death on the beach. We walked a little way down and sat in a place that seemed logical for being picked up. Eventually we saw the others, who claimed the shirut would be an hour late, so they went to swim. Turns out Scott had misunderstood and thought “1630” meant 5:30 and the original time still held. The driver pulled up and, of course, half the group was swimming. We had to wait, and then I think he was angry, and I tried to tell him we needed to stop at an ATM (Caesarea, in all its touristiness, didn’t have one), but he apparently didn’t hear me or Hugo or Uri at the office when we called him to try to explain. We arrived at the kibbutz and were desperate because some people had no money and others had not enough or no change, and so I managed to say – correctly! – that we needed to go back and find an ATM because we thought it would be less expensive and we had no money. No one else was as proud of my Hebrew accomplishment. Stuttering severely lowers their expectations, apparently. Anyway, the driver understood and we were all ok after the ATM except Becky, whose card broke and the machine said it couldn’t connect to her bank.

Put together, I think all of room 7 can make a body that only has 3% of skin that is not burned.

Last night the Israeli TAU students arrived. We had one, Yoav, in our square this morning, but Norma switched him to the square next door. He was upset that we didn’t sift everything and didn’t believe us when we assured him you could find things without sifting (which he did). I asked at the end of the day whether he still wanted to study archaeology and he wasn’t so sure.

Everyone’s busy planning the Masada/Dead Sea trip this weekend.

We finally found a worked bone today – it had a hole through it. Also, our non-artifact amulet worked to ward off scorpions. It’s various things we’ve found that aren’t real artifacts but are kind of cool – an aglet from a Chicago tent, an earphone bud that looks like a bead, and a shell that Philippe  drilled a hole in. Melissa put them on a string and we take turns wearing it.

It’s very interesting talking with the British people, mostly because of the different words they use (like “suncream” or Becky’s “dodgy knee”). Becky is also from Liverpool, which makes everything she says nearly non-understandable to me. Duncan is from Manchester. He’s also in a band and writes lyrics. Hugo is from Lancashire and speaks, as aforementioned, like Wesley, albeit very quietly. However, everything he says is so completely British I can’t help laughing, and he must think I’m an idiot. Rose is from Cornwall and probably speaks the most understandably. And then Parth has what he calls a “very non-poncy working-class immigrant accent”, although he sounds British when he speaks French (our area is sort of like the French Club sometimes). And yes, they use the words “poncy” and “bugger” completely seriously. And then there are Georgia and Ian, who are from London. Georgia has tattoos of the sun-symbol of Astarte and the Sumerian for Ishtar. In Akko over the weekend they found a puppy in an alley and brought it back – it’s about two weeks old and adorable. There was discussion over whether to name it Dumpy (after the line level), Stratigraphy (Strat for short), or TP3 (Tiglat Pileser the 3rd), but we’ve settled on Dumpy.


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