Thursday, June 7. I think I needed a day like this to bring me back to earth. Things were just going much too well. I was hoping to be able to get to the Ein Carmel Kibbutz, because I heard I have cousins there. A couple of days ago l found out from my sister how to get in touch with the cousins in New Jersey who know the cousins in Ein Carmel. Turns out they were in Jerusalem and just left one day before! What are the odds? In emailing them, though, I did find out that the cousin I had at Ein Carmel had passed away a few years ago, unfortunately. So, not being able to go there and having just missed my other cousins in Jerusalem, I was hoping at least to be able to get out into the countryside more, but Raizel, understandably, had had it; she was so exhausted she could not handle the idea of driving any distance. So then she had the idea that I could take a Segway tour of the city. We found out the timing was not right. Then she had the idea that I could take a tour of the underground tunnels in Jerusalem. That sounded great! We found out that the only English speaking tour was happening too late. Then she had the idea that I could take a water tour—a different tour of the underground tunnels, which sounded equally great until I found out it meant walking in the water in the tunnels. I finally decided I was willing to get my Tevas wet and that also began to sound great, but we found out that it was a three hour tour and I wouldn’t have time to do it. So we decided to walk for an hour to a beautiful view overlooking the city, and we picked up Lahouva along the way, whom I had met at Raizel’s original Shabbat dinner. We had a good time talking and seeing the fabulous view over to East Jerusalem, where it is unsafe for Jews to go. I’m sure that is true, but I have felt very safe since I have been here in Jerusalem. Maybe it’s because there are soldiers everywhere carrying automatic weapons. (Actually, not unlike Rome, although a little more so.) Then it was time for Lahouva to get to work (she’s a psychotherapist), so Raizel and I just had time to eat lunch and get to the bus station in time for me to catch the bus to where I am staying just south of Tel Aviv in Bat Yam. Raizel talked with the bus driver in Hebrew and told him to let me know when to get off and told me it would be about an hour, depending upon traffic. I fell asleep on the bus, and when I woke up almost an hour had passed. But I had no idea where to get off. The person I sat next to spoke a little English and she spoke to the bus driver for me, which I was grateful for, and then suddenly the bus driver told me to get off. So I got off only to find I was not in Bat Yam yet! The bus driver had let me off too early. I asked a couple of people where this address was and nobody knew and nobody seemed to speak English. I felt stranded; I had no idea where to go or what to do. So I called Raizel, and just as I was talking with her I spotted a taxi. So I flagged down the taxi, and Raizel spoke with him, because I was still on the phone with her, and it seemed like the taxi driver got very annoyed with her. She asked him to put on the meter, and it was a straight shot of about seven minutes, he told her, to the apartment. He took the long way around! I ended up paying a lot more shekels than I paid for the entire bus ride down here. I felt a little taken. But oh well… Then I got into this apartment I had booked, and it is pretty much of a hole. I have to walk through a small hallway that reeks of smoke. I still can’t figure out how to get the hot water on. But at least I have an Internet connection. It was getting late by this time and I had to get a Skype call at 7:00 PM. I had an hour and 15 minutes to walk down to the beach and grab something for dinner. Very nice white sand beach, but really crowded. I did not have time to take a swim, unfortunately, and just barely got back in time for my Skype call. I enlisted Raizel to get a reputable taxi paid in advance for me to get me to the airport extremely early on Saturdaymorning. What a day! One more day to go.