THE ADJustment BEGINS : PRE Y2K years
You will understand that because the first 300 months (25 years or 9125 days or1305 weeks) of my life had way too many events to record here, I thought the best would be for me to pull a few highlights from what I have posted on theadjustedthinker.com
Please feel free to visit the site (PRE Y2K) should you wish to read more and view some INTERESTING/ EMBARRASING (?) photographs...
5 MEMORABLE STORIES
1. ON KIBBUTZ : WHY DID I TEACH MYSELF HEBREW ? Because I am not Jewish, it was typically luck of the draw if you could find a kibbutznik who was willing to help you learn to speak Hebrew. That said, there was no-one willing to teach any volunteers who were not Jewish. NO PROBLEM....I was able to purchase a second hand book on basic Hebrew terminology and I tested my new words daily on the friends I made working in the cowshed. I have a general love for communicating with people and to this day, I am proud to say I can still speak some Hebrew - almost 30 years after teaching myself !
The real challenge was not speaking but writing in Hebrew (remember it is one of the oldest languages on the planet and has no vowels....mainly well constructed cursive squiggles....) That said, remembering that Hebrew is written from RIGHT to LEFT and not LEFT to RIGHT...I only managed to write DOUG in Hebrew....which incidentally in Hebrew means FISH....which was nickname for 10 months in the middle east.
2. ON KIBBUTZ : SA DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN 1994 Many of you reading this will clearly remember our countries first democratic election in 1994. It was well known that he ANC were going to win, but the excitement of voting for the first time (having turned 18 a mere 5 months before) was just too exciting to miss being a part of. But the problem was the fact that all registered voters in Israel could only go to Tel Aviv to put their X on the ballot sheet. So, on a very hot day in April, I left the group with around 6 or 7 South Africans bound for the voting station set aside for ex-pats in Tel Aviv. Castle Lager available at cost (it was also brewed in the country) did not really help in my quest to get my vote counted!
The truth is that with literally THOUSANDS of South Africans gathering in one spot in Israel, it was unfortunately not possible to cast a vote as the queues were too long and the air was thick with sentimental Afrikaans accents, braais, boeremusiek and Klipppies brandy.....no vote cast, but my memory of this historic day that MADIDA ASCENDED to become president, will still a proud day for me.
3. WORKING ON RED SEA : UITGEVANG During my first month on the GALLI I really saw how ruthless Shimon was as a captain. He was known as man who could get rid of staff for the most ridiculous reasons. I witnessed this when a South African girl had just started on this boat and while we were preparing lunch, the new girl was FIRED 4 hours after arriving BECAUSE SHE WAS NOT CUTTING THE TOMOTOES PROPERLY !!!!! TRUE STORY....but later on, I found out the real reason...and I will reveal the reason shortly... As the youngest member of the crew, I was given a horrible 'initiation' task but some of the older crew. Simply put, one day was chosen for me to smuggle all bottles of wine that were not finished by guests on a cruise into my cabin in order for us to decanter them all into full bottles. It must be said at this point that with over 100 guests every cruise and 25 full bottles of wine allocated per cruise, it was quite possible to save around 10 bottles of wine at the end of a cruise. Factor in the fact that we earned the equivalent of around R 1000 per month working on the boat (obviously boarding and food was free) we did not really have money to save for future travels while also wanting to also enjoy our free time at night with a few beers. So there we all were clearing tables at the end of a cruise and all bottles that were still full were given to me to put in a black bag and I had to hide them in my cabin. Once we had finished our night shift, we could get the bottles off the boat and enjoy them all together. The problem was that I had really never done something like this before and I was very nervous. That said, I was about to finish a successful mission BUT as I was about to enter my cabin with the 10 bottles, I was met by a very angry SHIMON. ( Remember that this is the same guy that fired someone for (ostensibly) cutting a tomato incorrectly ! ) So, expecting to be asked to pack my bags and considering that we were still on an afternoon cruise, he told me to go help the guests off the boat and he will chat to me later. This was the most horrifying 30 minutes of my life - having to smile and thank the guests as they left, while knowing full well that I may have received my first 'FIRING' at work for smuggling booze - at 18 years old, the shame that I kept thinking I would have brought to my family was unbearable....LOL
After the guests had gone, it was time for my to 'face the music' and Shimon asked me to see him on the main deck. Long story short, I got a mouthful about how I had let him personally down as he thought I had potential...how disappointed he was in me BLAH BLAH....(I remember thinking - you are not my father....so get it over and done with)
He did not fire me - as he said he knew who had put me up to this and considered me a unwilling participant (which I was) When I realised that my job was safe, I dared ask him why (2 weeks earlier) he had fired the South African girl for cutting the tomato incorrectly. His reply did shock me a bit - but here goes in his words :
''South African woman were an enigma to me. They, like the men, worked hard, but I feel that they always feel entitled to things because of their sheltered upbringing. I hired her, but was very weary of her. When I saw the way she was communicating with the other crew in the galley (kitchen - on the Galli boat) I sensed she would be a problem - upsetting our moral. I had no idea how to rectify my mistake, so when she cut the tomato the way she did, I thought I had the opportunity to rectify my mistake !'
4. JORDAN - WADI RUM While there is not a huge amount to say about Wadi Rum, other than the very first (and somewhat inconclusive...) picture of me riding the most overrated form of animal transport in history, the camel - it was a wonderful experience. I could only really describe the place as something you would have watched in the late 80's early 90's television series of AIRWOLF.
Although it was in around 42 degree Celsius, having an amazing cool sit down tea with a Bedouin goat herders (Dieter pictured here) was one of two very memorable moments in Wadi Rum. The other was chatting to a fellow traveler.
Because he looked very fragile and cracked - indicating a very tough life...I did what I usually do - started a conversation with him...very interested to hear his story. Well, although only in his mid 30s, he told me that Jordan was his 126th country that he had visited in his quest to visit 200 countries before his time was up on planet Earth. I couldn't quite work out his accent but I think he was American.
5. TRAVEL : ISLAND HOPPING IN THE MED
Having met a professional photographer on a very tight budget from Pretoria, Philip, on the first ferry to the island of Rhodes, we decided it would be cheaper and more of an adventure to continue hopping islands together...with him eventually going to mainland Greece and me having to return to Israel by the end of the week. While the island of Rhodes was enjoyable, the main attraction and undoubtedly my absolute favourite island in the Aegean Sea, SANTORINI....the other islands were special in there own way...from Ios (the party island which we slept on the beach for one night) to Naxos (where we did a Chappy bike tour of the island) and Lindos, we spent an extra day (making it 3 in total on the volcanic Island of Santorini. The extra day in Santorini which included sleeping on the roof of a house facing the dome shaped bay of the island made it impossible for me to get to Mykonos - but after Santorini, I really doubted that any other island would match up to it !