Happy Birthday, Seth!
Last night, we surprised Seth with a birthday party at his apartment. Rachel invited a bunch of Seth's friends, and Becca and I made our own separate journeys from Tzfat. Rebecca and Avraham and Ashira simply drove in yesterday evening, and arrived early enough to help out with decorations while Rachel distracted Seth by taking him out to dinner. I took a less direct route to Jerusalem since travelling for three hours on Wednesday would conflict with my work schedule. So I left Tzfat on Tuesday night and arrived in Tel Aviv where I could crash with Itai and do all my Wednesday work shifts and still have time to get to Jerusalem in time for the party.
When I got to Tel Aviv, Itai and I went out and wandered around until we found an Asian restaurant at which to eat dinner. He also took the opportunity to show me some of his favorite sites around town, including a French bookstore and a many-colored fountain designed by the Israeli artist Agam which showed different patterns depending on which angle you viewed it. On Wednesday, I bunched together some of my shifts to make a block of time in which Itai could take me out to visit the old port city of Jaffa (a.k.a. Yaffo, a.k.a. Yaffa) which is attached to Tel Aviv. The weather was clear and balmy and perfect for an outing. After the bus dropped us off, we stopped at a mini-market to pick up picnic food, and Itai led me past various churches and historic sites until we reached a beautiful park with an amazing view of the Mediterranean to the west and the Tel Aviv coastline and skyline to the north. We munched and leaned on each other and Itai lured a murder of crows around us by baiting them with bits of crackers. It was very romantic. On the way back, we passed through a colorful and chaotic shuk selling everything from plastic pinwheels to washing machines. Itai taught me some more Arabic letters while we waited for the bus back to the city center, and I can now sound out the Arabic word for "house."
In the evening, I took the bus to Jerusalem and got to Seth's in plenty of time to spring out of the shadows with his friends as he walked through the door. Becca snapped a few pictures, but I guess we'll have to wait until she posts them somewhere before I know if they were any good. It was nice to meet some more of Seth's friends and get to know them better, but I had to flee to the bedroom after a few hours when the collective blood alcohol level rose too high. Fortunately, the party cleared away before midnight and I was able to get a decent night's sleep in Seth's bedroom.
Now that it's officially Turkey Day, we're allegedly going to get cooking and make a real Thanksgiving dinner with the family together, but as usual, the starting is slow. I better go check and see if Seth's finally awake yet. Happy Thanksgiving!