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The night after the festival ended, I zipped away on a short trip to Jerusalem for Justin Alexander's surprise birthday party on Wednesday. Ironically enough, Seth was coming to Tzfat the same night with Rachel and the rest of her family, so we wound up trading apartments for the night. The birthday party was a success. There are even a few pictures, in which I look like a total dweeb. The original plan was to go to the paintball place at 3 o'clock, but they totally screwed us out of our reservation, so we got bumped to 5:30. We took advantage of the extra time to have a late lunch of hamburgers and gawking over each other's electronical gadgets. The paintball itself was okay despite several problems. When we first got there, we had to wait about a half hour for reasons that are still unclear to me. After we finally got our short training session and were suited up, we went out to play with big group of forty or fifty high school students. And that was when the problems really manifested.

The first drag on the fun was the lighting conditions. Night had fully fallen by the time we started playing, and the light on the paintball field consisted primarily of a huge lamp in the center which blinded you more than it illuminated anything for you, especially when viewed through the scratched up and fog-prone lens of the protective mask. The more serious obstacle was the group of high-school kids. They made a habit of snatching guns that didn't belong to the right person and of not acknowledging when they'd been hit. So many rounds of play had to be aborted because of their shenanigans they were finally kicked out completely by the referees, leaving our small birthday party group to play by ourselves, resulting in a great improvement.

Guy and Orna were the stars of the show. Guy apparently had a lot of experience paintballing back home in South Africa about ten years ago, and his skill hasn't quite faded as much as he professed. Orna did stunningly well for her first time ever at paintball, and she capped off the night by winning an elimination game by catching the wily Guy with her very last paintball just as he was about to close in on her. I didn't exhibit such spectacular skill, and I only came away with a single kill and a bright purple bruise on my left shoulder.

I eagerly look forward to trying paintball again, but at a different establishment and in the daylight. There are supposed to be paintball fields in Haifa and Kfar Saba that are worth checking out.