Friday, March 10, 2006
Such a tiring day. Was up all night in the 5 star hotel I was staying at on the Kinneret, reading Yoni Netanyahu for some inspiration. Then I realised it was 6 am, so I went down and joined the group for buffet breakfast, although I must confess still full from the meal we had a "Decks" in Tiberius last night. Then spent 3 hours on the coach. Stopped at Kfar Tavor for lunch and 17.4 minutes of guiding. Then back on the coach for another 4 hours. Reached Jerusalem completely exhausted, but the (cute, unmarried) bus driver took my number which is always refreshing! Checked into the King David, then the group took me out to 1868 for dinner, I spent 5.9 minutes speaking about the history of the building and then they presented me with a diamond ring and a new car. Its a hard life being an Israeli tourguide!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I have a new group here, and I think their stupid questions over a mere 24 hours definitely set a new record for ridiculous:
- Is that Coke Machine a genuine relic of Herodian times?
- Why won't this payphone accept my quarter?
- Was the Davidson Center named after someone in the Temple?
- Is Israel in Jordan or is Jordan in Israel?
- I brought 75 K-Mart Toilet Brushes with me as a gift for the People of Israel from my Federation. Can you recommend somewhere for us to go and distribute them?
- Do the bathrooms in Israel have running water?
- The bus driver is an Arab? Really? Is it allowed, to be on a bus with your enemy?
- When you say "be on the bus by 7.30" do you mean local time or Eastern Standard Time?
- Is the Dead Sea salty on the Jordanian side, too?
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
So I just came back from taking my family on a 4-day trip around the Kinneret. I did EVERYTHING perfectly- planned every step we took in advance: I designed and built the lakeside chalets we slept in, caught a deer, skinned, schechted, kashered, and spit-roasted it for their dinner. I even arranged for a water-ballet of storks to entertain us in a Sound and Light show on the 3rd night. But the very second I tried to even begin to educate them about the landscape and history, they start getting snarky:
Me: So this is Kursi, where Jesus apparently drove a demon out of a man, and into a pig which then ran into the lake.
Sister 1: Boooring!
Sister 2: Oh look there's a duck. Do you think its posessed by a demon?
Sister 3: What about that Sheep?
I am a professional! I have clients around the world who can guarantee I have prevented them from intermarrying, strengthened their Jewish Identity! But still my sisters make stupid jokes. And to top it all off, they didn't even bring me the 45 Kilograms of English chocolate that they promised in lieu of my daily rate plus tip! Well, I'll show them... Next time they come all they're getting is a lecture on the Mamlukes. If they're very lucky.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A Treatise on Israeli Tour-Guides
So my competitor thought she had them down, eh? Don't listen! I've got David Attenborough* in to write up my anthropological experiment! Here are the ones that she forgot...
1) The Male Chauvanist
TMC is a Sabra man who has spent his life charming and chasing tourist women. He has one hand permanently placed on his crotch, and tends to "readjust" every few moments (the frequency increases if he is talking to young women.) He loves the land and is fiercely protective of it. He adores talking about where he's been, the women he's had and where he's had them: he's been known to stop next to a rock or a woodgrow and tell you the whole story, foreplay to finish.
Favourite Site: Latrun (plenty of nookie tales)
Most Likely To Say: "Come on, guys- we'll leave the girls on the bus to talk about girl stuff.
Favourite Book: His own memoirs, to be published shortly
2) Crunchy Granola Woman
CGW is aged 20-70. She wears long flowing dresses, sunglasses, sandals and a Kheffiye, whatever the weather. She talks incessantly about the spirit of the land and of the Jewish people. She specialises in conservation, and will even cry when discussing the deforestation around Road 6. She listens intently to every comment anyone makes to her, nodding with empathy and understanding at every word, even if it is the simple request "May I please use the bathroom."
Favourite Site: Coral Reef, Eilat (good conservation discussions)
Most Likely To Say: "I salute you, Dear Tree!" -pre hug
Favourite Book: Flora and Fauna of Biblical Israel/The Giving Tree
3) Charming Brit
CB is a young, dynamic, religious male immigrant who, when asked by the visiting tourists where he is from, will promptly reply "Jerusalem- just like you..." thus winning the hearts of all he guides. He has legions of female fans and knows it. He delights in proving that he is not just a pretty face, and likes to whip out his Tanach at every opportunity. He sees his role as a tourguide as a performance art and a prime way to attract the attentions of the opposite sex, but even the men become his admirers once they have seen his staggering effects on women. A range of cute lines underlining his unstinting Zionist fervour, alongside a British accent, complete the proven charm.
Favourite Site: Tel Dan - Biblical, Historical, and Breathtaking- a great place to pull!
Most Likely to Say: "Over here guys, listen to me" accompanied by shy smile
Favourite Book: Israeli Tour Guide Manual (in Hebrew. Of course.)
4) Hogwarts Tourguide.
Hogwarts Tourguides are a secret Israeli tourguiding society, unbeknown to the rest of the tourguiding world. Without any distinguishing features, they mainly sit around discussing Tel Arad, Capernaum and Har Herzl until the early hours in tongues unintelligble to mere Muggles. They cast spells upon their visiting groups (which unfortunately don't work on visiting family) to adore them, buy them expensive gifts, and to set them up with their rich offspring. They also cast spells to provide them with handsome, single bus drivers. They must eat large amounts of sugary snacks for sustenance or else their powers are broken.
Favourite Site: Anywhere. Knowledge is unlimited.
Most Likely To Say: The Confundus Charm
Favourite Book: Men Who Love Dragons Too Much
*S contributed to this post :)