Back on the bus, and after seeing a marvellous sunset which we totally failed to capture on camera, we were let in on the surprise we had been promised.
The truth is, most of us had a fair idea what the surprise was, but we hadn’t let on to Yuval and Tzion, and acted excited and surprised when they told us.
Discerning Hebrew-understanding readers will recognise that the title of this post, ‘Bet Tzion’, means ‘Tzion’s house’, and that’s where we were going!
Tzion lives in a city called Ofaqim, about fifteen minutes from Ber Sheva, with his wife and two daughters. One was too shy to come down.
Tzion with his wife, Tamar, and younger daughter, Shai. Shai is seventeen and goes to school at a kibbutz nearby. It’s more expensive but apparently the education there is much better. She speaks pretty flawless English, but with an American accent. She can speak with an RP accent but says she has to concentrate harder.
She’s pretty excited about her service next year and wants to stay on for longer and become “a warrior”. I think she might have translated that wrongly. Her older sister is 22 and finished her service a while ago. She wasn’t too keen on it and became a field nurse, and is now working in a hospital.
Tamar had put lots of snack foods and drinks out for us.
After staying for about an hour at Tzion’s house, and then left to make our way back to Tel Aviv.
The trip to the airport took about an hour. I was a little worried about facing security again, but it all went smoothly, and we were in the waiting lounge for about an hour before leaving. I went and bought a bottle of water and a bar of chocolate. There were Ritter there, which is my favourite, and another group member bought a block, but I thought, “Why buy something here I can buy at home?” (and they didn’t have my favourite flavour), and bought some Israeli chocolate. That was a slight mistake, since apparently the Israeli taste in chocolate has been influence buy American chocolate, so it had that sour milk taste.
I later squished it by sleeping on it in Bangkok.