Simon's Diary

Israel 2002

Day 10



Earlier today I'd uploaded yesterdays diary from a friend of mine's office.( His nane is Noam and he's the guy whose house I'd watched The Sopranos at on day 1 ) his family has a travel agents in Tel Aviv. (CTO - quick plug as thanks). Noam said he wanted to put a link on his site to this section of my diary, I don't think he'd read it all by then, I'm not sure if this is the best ad for coming to Israel, it's certainly been the most intense time, politically speaking, of all the times I have been here. Just as we had to leave Noam's I realised the photos weren't being displayed properly but we had to go anyway. So when I got back to the hotel I went to their pay as you go internet kiosk so I could correct the problem. The kiosk failed on me twice (after I'd paid) so I called one of the managers who basically told me that it wasn't the hotel's responsibility and that I'd have to call the kiosk owners if I wanted a refund. I told him that as far as I was concerned it was in the hotel and it was their responsibility. He repeated himself and walked off. I sat and stared at him while a surge of anger coursed through me. I felt like talking to him loudly across the room, ok shouting at him, as I knew it would cause an embarrassing scene, (well actually I felt like pulling out an oozi 9mm machine gun and blowing him away, but I wouldn't want you to think I had a bad temper) anyway I decided to take a bit of advice from yesterday's closing paragraph and pause for thought. I decided to call over another manager and he was very apologetic and invited me to use the Hotel's office PC for as long as I liked. Both people were representatives of the hotel but which of these represented the actual policy of the hotel I'm still not sure. Oh by the way I was just trying to be symbollic, illustrative, metaphoric etc......... of the points I was making yesterday about whose view represents a nations standpoint ........ Just in case you hadn 't noticed.

This morning my father told me the guy who checked people going in for breakfast had invited him down for lunch a few days ago and when he came down as invited the guy insisted he pay if he wanted to eat. My father's been coming to Israel for many years so it's not an Israeli cultural thing, may be it was just an error in communication? I openly took piles of food from the buffet to my table and from there it accidently on purpose kept falling in to my rucksack. When I'm paying a $100 per night (Well my father's paying but I fancy being righteous by proxy) to stay in a hotel whose country is desperate for tourists I kind of hope they'll complain about my thievery so that I can have a go back. Nothing was said, more's the pity.

Journey through Tel-Aviv to Boris' Brother


Flower Seller (A service for guilty men?)


Rue and Eli

Boris and I visited his Brother, Rue, and Sister-In-Law, Eli for lunch. Rue is Boris' oldest brother, he was the oldest of 5. I get the feeling that Rue still sees Boris as in need of a bit of a guiding hand. When Boris' Father went ahead of the family from Latvia to South Africa it was also Rue who took on much of the burden of raising the finances to bring the rest of the famly over. In many ways the two of them are opposites and have lived very different lives. Boris was a free spirit (Not particularly responsible I mean), didn't settle down with anyone, wasn't bothered about a traditional career, didn't look after his health. Rue is still commited to his wife and child, was very successful in his career, and could run great distances right in to his late 70's. He's now 84, but during his peak he could run up to 90 Km in one go and won many medals as a long distance runner.

Rue's trophies


Boris and Eli (big dwarfs or small giants?)

While we had lunch I asked Rue if he perceived Boris as the younger brother still and he nodded (I'm not sure which way though), Boris intervened and said "Eli, what do you prefer, small giants or big dwarfs?",

"I don't know, what do you prefer Boris" Eli replied.

"Small giants" said Boris

"Why?" asked Eli

"Well because they're big dwarfs" laughed Boris.

I laughed too, and Boris still laughing looked at me and said "You like that, hey?"


When I first met Rue he looked as I'd imagined Boris would look before I met him. Finding a parent later on in life often leads to complicated feelings regarding the difference between the real and the imagined versions of both the parent to the child and the child to the parent. When I met Boris, he didn't look anything like I imagined, and he lived in a pretty rough bedsit. As I grew to know Boris I found that the image became more and more three dimensional so that after a while the old two dimensional image faded away, and now the image of my Father to me is Boris.

This evening my partner phoned me to say that Pepper, my cat, was fading fast and had stopped taking fluids. I have always imagined that I would be with him when he died, so at the moment I feel stranded, and desperate to get back home. Pepper has been my cat for around 16 years. When I told Boris about Pepper tonight he said, "why get upset, he's only a cat?",

I said "that's ironic coming from a man who won't eat chicken because he had a pet chicken as a child",

"I was only a child then". Came the explanation.

Having a parent who won't take in your feelings and leaves you feeling misunderstood is a recipe for psychological problems.

I lay down on my bed with my back to Boris and imagined my cat laying next to me, as I thought about having to put him down when I get home, (the cat not Boris) or him dying alone, I got that overwhelming head squeezing, stomach crunching urge to cry. Milan Kundera said in his book "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" that our love for animals is pure because they are innocent, in the Bible they were not thrown out of the Garden of Eden. So to cry for the loss of a loved animal feels natural to me, it's people I have a problem with.




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