Simon's Diary

Israel 2002

Day 4


View across to a Hotel next to the Dead Sea


This evening my cousin Eddie and his wife Miri drove me to their work, which is situated on the banks of the Dead Sea. Miri moved over here from Romania when she was 5. Miri, you may be suprised to hear, sells Babies, and openly displays them in her shop window, here's some I secretly photographed.

NowNow if that doesn't stir up some interest from the mainstream press I'm not sure what will.

The truth of course is somewhat different. Miri and Eddie are famous artists in Israel and part of what they both do is make "Dolls". They have a shop in an hotel right next to the Dead Sea and tonight I went there to get out the house for a bit. It was quite funny watching people come in to look at the dolls. On the whole the men would stand outside with a "Jesus Christ" look on their face, I suppose as most of them were Jewish it wouldn't be Jesus they were thinking, but I expect you get the picture. Meanwhile the women would bundle in in droves. Occassionally a man would wonder in and ask Eddie how much his bronze sculpture of a topless woman was and then gasp at the $1200 price tag. Throughout all this I got approached a lot of times and would apologetically go to say something like "sorry I only speak English" which turned out to be an exageration as what actually did come out instead was "sorry I'm only English", or "Sorry I can't speak" or "Sorry I'm English, I only speak" and so on. It turns out that I speak Rubbish and that's my limit!

I don't think they've heard of Beryl Cook in Israel. These are some of Miri's other sculptures.

This one lookes a bit like me as a child
(like you wanted to know that)

That terrible baby seller, Miri,
with one of her frightened little "products"

"Are you lookin' at me? ARE YOU LOOKIN' AT ME! "
Eddie looking a bit like a psychopathic hippie. (Oxymoron?)
(If you want to visit his site click here)


People often criticise the cultural infiltration of the US. But when you're part of that culture (After all I am British) it's quite a pleasure to be out in the desert and be able to watch satellite TV, use my mobile phone, a computer, and get hooked up to the internet. Even the big baddies like MucDonalds can have their appeal if you're travelling through and want to scrub up, and get a dose of familiarity. At one moment on the journey home I got a touch of homesickness, but as Eddie put on "The Best of Simon and Garfunkel" I sat back, sang along and the feeling faded away, in fact I started feeling groovy. I looked out the window and saw a Beduin man riding a donkey along a dune, and the strange thing is that many Beduin's probably have Satellite TV, mobiles and access to the internet too.

Man on a donkey

Essentially people's culture isn't immediately changed by taking on bits of other people's culture, it's possible though that such permeating things as Satelitte TV and the Internet, could further erode at it. But knee jerkingly trying to stop such things may be a very patronising thing to do. I mean without the Internet Al Quieda would probably have found it much harder to communicate secretly. Even MucDonalds, who I have heard are using not the most healthy (for us too) and kindly treated livestock, and whose packaging maybe an ecologist's nightmare, are I'm afraid to say absolutely brilliant if you have kids! Even if there isn't a planet left for them to live in as result! Unfortunately they're a bit like Mr Kiplyn ...................... they do make exceedingly good Apple Pies.

The less said the better I think

When we got back, Jonathan, Eddie and Miri's real child (I'm taking their word on this matter) was busy playing Unreal Tournament (Which I'd installed on to the family computer earlier today). He now had a friend playing it too, a satisfying glow filled my whole body. We sat down and watched a bit of TV. A young man had thrown himself on to a suicide bomber in order to save the people around him and was seriously maimed when it went off. He was also put into a coma for a while. He has now recovered on the whole and this program wanted to celebrate his bravery by giving him a lap top and some tickets to important football matches. He looked quite uncomfortable, I guess the laptop wasn't quite the specifications he'd imagined would befit such bravery. A lot of people seemed to have had their hearts warmed, but I wasn't one.

Hotel next to the Dead Sea

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