Israel: Day 47

This day was…well, dull.
I didn’t sleep well again, I kept waking up every half an hour thinking I heard some noise, and I slept with the light on again. I suspect there may be some roach conspiracy going on, they are trying to make me completely paranoid. Mission succesful!
Despite being tired, I was trying to work on my thesis. After lunch I took a nap as I feel safer during daytime, so I am actually considering if I shall try to pull off a vampire lifestyle, and work at night and sleep during the day.
I haven’t seen any roaches since that infamous day, but that doesn’t mean they are gone.
I’ve also sprayed so much roach poison in my room that I’m surprised I haven’t poisoned myself (or maybe I have but the effects will show later).
I also wasn’t pleased to hear more responses on my TripAdvisor thread as some people told me that roaches won’t only stay in places where the food is but also go elsewhere, and they also can be found in clean apartments. Oh well, I will have my roach poison ready, right next to my bed. Sad.
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Israel: Day 46

Well, I didn’t sleep well last night. Also, I really don’t know why I am so stupid but right before going to bed I decided I would read about roaches in Israel. There is one kind that flies, also another one that loves sewers (one more reason to be afraid of them apart from clowns & Stephen King) and uses water pipes to get inside buildings, most kinds don’t like light, but one kind does. I therefore couldn’t decide whether to leave the light on or off. I decided eventually to leave it on the whole night. I kept waking up every half an hour though, whenever I heard any noise. So it was no surprise that I woke up completely tired.
As I was walking towards the city centre in the morning, I saw two men talking and a dog next to them. As I was coming closer, the dog started wagging his tail, and was somehow very happy to see me. It made my day. As I passed them, the dog came to me, and we played. I continued walking and the dog walked with me, barking happily (he was barking the whole time, not aggressively but playfully), so that his owner had to come with us, I spoke to him and he told me the doggo was born with just one eye, poor baby, he looked beautiful and seemed to be such a good boy!
I walked all the way to the Rockefeller museum. It’s located in East Jerusalem, right next to the Old City. East Jerusalem is not famous for being clean or particularly safe, and I definitely didn’t feel comfortable there. Anyway, I got to the museum. I was the first visitor of the day. The archaeological exhibits on display were certainly interesting, although I was missing a map or some guide, or some detailed descriptions. But as there was no entrance fee, I have no right to complain, and I am happy with what I saw today.
It only took me one hour to see the whole museum, so I decided to go to the Old City using the gate closest to the museum. I found myself in a deserted part of the city, and later in more residential part, and again, I didn’t feel particularly safe.
I got completely lost but then somehow figured my way towards the touristy part and I bought more souvenirs. I can officially say that now I have all the souvenirs I wanted to buy with the exception of one for my very demanding mum and a mug for myself (I’m starting to see that it may not have been the best idea to collect mugs… too late now).
I also did some tough negotiating, with various levels of success. I saw this fridge magnet, which the owner said was 10 shekels and I told him that I had bought the same one a few days ago (which I did) for 5, so he told me to pay 5. In another shop, the owner was trying to convince me to buy a pendant, he said it was 70 but he would give me a good price and asked me how much I was willing to pay. I said 30, he was like “No, no, I’ll give it to you for 50”. I said I was a student and therefore poor, so that was too much. He said: (Earlier he asked me where I was from and I said Slovakia) “I know, I know you people from Slovenia are poor “. LOL. Just LOL.
I also bought a roach poison spray (that is now right next to my bed), and did shopping for Shabbat. Back in the apartment, I fell asleep for an hour as I was so exhausted from night before. My airbnb host also did some cleaning, and in the late evening she moved me to the room where I had been staying before going to Tel Aviv. I hope I won’t have any crawling visitors…I also sprayed the door with my poison (and inhaled a lot again), so I hope it will keep those bastards away. I will keep the lights on again, although I can guarantee I won’t sleep well again.

Israel: Day 45

How to start…I believe I’m a nice person, so I don’t know what I have done to deserve all this crazy stuff going on in my life. I think I can say this was my worst day in Israel so far.

At 5am I went to the bathroom and saw a massive roach on the floor. I wanted to scream but there was no sound. It quickly crawled away, and I couldn’t find it under the little bench I saw it go to. It must have gone into one of the very many cracks in the tiled floor (I read that even big roaches can hide into cracks that are 1.5 mm big. Also, this cracked tiled floor is my bedroom too). I’m actually surprised my hair didn’t turn white on spot, as I was so scared.

I said before I had insectophobia, and I was already freaking out when I saw two roaches in Haifa. Well seeing them was one thing, living with them another. Also, this one was massive. I don’t know how I will be able to spend one more month here and how I will be able to sleep!! All I could think of the whole day was that roach. I saw it in front of my eyes the whole time.

If I had to choose between spending a month with a hundred of rats and a single roach, I would choose those damn rats. I know rats can be killed easily, but roaches, they can survive nuclear explosion, they can live for weeks after having their heads cut off!!! The fact you cannot get rid of them, destroy them scares me so much, it’s like they are not even from this world.

Of course, I raised the issue with the owner, but she wasn’t quite listening to what I was saying – which was to get traps and call an exterminator. In the end she got an ultrasound sensor that should keep roaches away (somehow it also annoys me as well, maybe I am a roach myself!!)

I also convinced her to take all the trash out, and said I would help her carry it as there were 5 bags in total. As we were leaving, another roach crawled out of the bag…I think people in one mile radius must have heard me scream. I killed it with a roach poison spray, inhaled a lot of it in the process, no regrets here, I’d rather get poisoned than be with roaches in the same room. So that was roach number two. Funny, as for the flat where there were no roaches until now, there are a few already, but luckily that roach spray was at hand, what a coincidence.

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Gross.

I also spoke to the neighbour who’s in charge of the building, and she called a “guy”, who I hope is an exterminator. He will put some poison into the water supply, apparently not harmful to humans, and we also won’t be able to use water for 24 hs. But again, I’d rather be sweaty and stinky than surrounded by roaches.

I would also like to mention that after I took the trash out, as I was coming back towards the building, I saw another roach outside, this one was 8 cm big. I’m still surprised how I handled the whole situation today actually, usually I wouldn’t even be able to breathe properly, I would hyperventilate and my heart would be racing like crazy. Although, now as it got dark, I feel truly scared again. I’m listening to every noise and I’m looking at all shadows.

Since I had troubles concentrating (today I actually had a pretty good excuse), in the afternoon I decided to wash all my host’s dirty dishes, which included 30 plastic containers, cutlery, 5 pans, 8 glasses, mugs, plate…I hope no one will leave any food on the table or the kitchen desk anymore, as that’s what those little bastards are after.

However, I’m also thinking that maybe I’m glad it happened today. I am going to be in the flat by myself for 5 days starting from Monday, and if I saw roaches then, I don’t think I would handle it well. This way, hopefully, the situation can get under control before everyone leaves.

I’ve also read that roaches hate garlic. Well, tomorrow I will buy tons of garlic and I will become the garlic queen. Apologies if people think I stink, but I’ve got to do everything to save my sanity.

Meanwhile, my family is already planning that when I am back home, they will unpack me in the garden, and disinfect everything. I’m suspecting they may use a hose on me in the garden too…who knows what kind of crap I may bring back home. I miss those times when my greatest issue was some muppet dropping dirty socks on my face. Great times. Or I remember when I was living in Cardiff and we had slugs in the kitchen and the bathroom. I remember this one time when I was taking a shower and I noticed a slug on the shower door, watching me. I miss those times. I also remember living in another flat in Cardiff and arguing with my flatmate about emptying bins. He refused to take the trash out until stuff was falling on the floor. I was trying to explain to him that it needs to be emptied regularly otherwise you get insects and stuff. And well, two years later I made my point. This is why you put your trash out on regular basis. Because you don’t want to have roaches in your flat. That’s why. On another occasion, with another housemate of mine in Cardiff I had an argument about cleaning surfaces, putting food away and cleaning dirty dishes. This is why you clean all the surfaces, don’t leave food on the table, and clean your dishes. Because you don’t want to have roaches in your flat. That’s why.
Israel is a hot country, and roaches like environment like this, so to minimise risks of getting them, it is absolutely crucial that everything is clean and no food is left on the table overnight (or in some cases several nights…).

I feel really upset and angry, I have had really nice time in Israel so far, and it hurts me that roaches should ruin that. 30 nights left here…I don’t know how I will survive this. I wish I could live in a bubble like Jake Gyllenhaal did in “Bubble Boy”.

Good night,

With love,

The Roach Queen

Israel: Day 44

This morning I worked on my chapter, but progressed very little, I was hoping to work on it more after lunch, but my airbnb host asked me to help her write a guest instructions manual, so bye-bye thesis.
In the afternoon I left the flat, and had a wonderful experience. Older couple in the car asked me in Hebrew for directions. Well, I failed to do it in Hebrew but managed to explain it in English. They must have thought I was a local! Otherwise they wouldn’t have asked me for directions! This is the fifth time someone tried talking to me in Hebrew in the past week, so maybe I’m starting to look local? Anyway, I was so happy and it made my day!!
I went to the Old City first as I wanted to buy some souvenirs. I mentioned already how annoyed I get when I walk in the Old City and people shout at me. So now, I have a new rule, I will only buy stuff from people who don’t shout at me and don’t chase me. I bought some souvenirs (and I still have more left to buy somehow!!).
I already had a ticket booked to “Friends of Zion museum”, so I went to the info desk where I got a museum bracelet and I waited for the tour to begin.
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At the very beginning we were asked to take selfies in their photo booth, I pretended I couldn’t hear the tour guide and didn’t take one. It was 32’C outside, and my face looked sweaty and my hair was a complete mess, so there was no way I wanted to have a photo taken.
The tour consisted mainly of videos (including a 3D movie) and it was all very interactive. It was certainly interesting. There were kids in our group, so I think they definitely enjoyed it. There was stuff like time elevator that took us back in time to hear the story of Abraham, then we went to hear the ideas of “dreamers”, among others George Bush, an ancestor of  George HW Bush & George W Bush (also, awkward, poor Jeb, he wasn’t even mentioned), the museum mostly revolved around Christian Zionists who supported the idea of independent Jewish state, but also around people who helped Jewish people, for instance there was a room dedicated to those who helped save people from the Holocaust.
And at the very end, the guide told us she had a surprise for us, and those who took those selfies at the beginning got their own a fridge magnet with their face on it… Well, I think it’s good I didn’t take that selfie as I would not like the idea of looking at my own sweaty face every time I went to the fridge. On the other hand, maybe that would prevent me from late snacking, so perhaps I should have taken that selfie after all. Oh well, it’s too late now.
I think the museum is more suitable for children, or people who are not that familiar with the Israeli history, and as I’m not either, I was bored at times, it was basically stuff I already knew, but I definitely enjoyed visiting this museum.
A lot of stuff that I saw today is also on the museum’s website, and we were encouraged to share it with other people, so here I go! http://www.fozmuseum.com

Israel: Day 43

I worked on my thesis today, and didn’t even leave the flat for a minute, so my day was fairly boring.

In other news, I would like to report a crime.

One of the other flat occupants ate half of my hummus! I wasn’t pleased. Apart from myself, the other people living in the flat at the moment are: my airbnb host, her daughter, one German guy (the nice man who gave me a lift to Tel Aviv) and another German guy. And I suspect this guy was the one who ate my hummus.  Perhaps it’s time for passive aggressive notes? Something inspired by Ross Geller and his sandwich?! I didn’t have any problems until now but I guess I am going to start labelling my food from now on. I would like to give this guy one very important advice: not to even think of eating my food ever again, as I may bite his head off if he does, and I don’t mean it as a figure of speech, I really will do it.

The combination of being home the whole day, thesis and limited sugar intake definitely make me more aggressive, so I definitely need to go outside tomorrow. I already booked a ticket to one museum (you can’t buy a ticket at the door but you have to do it online), so I have one trip guaranteed for sure!

Israel: Day 42

I spent most of this day working on my thesis, I’m revising one of my chapters, which completely stresses me out. When I am in the UK or in Slovakia, I always make sure I stock up on tons of sweets, so at the first sign of stress, I start snacking on them, but here I have none, so I have to suck it up. Hopefully this is a habit that I will keep even after I leave Israel!
In addition to doing my (mostly boring) work, I needed to buy some food, so I used this as a great excuse to come back to the Mahane Yehuda market.
The last time I went there, I didn’t stay too long, as it was Thursday, so right before Shabbat the place was incredibly busy. I though that Monday would be less busy, giving me a better chance to look around!
I decided to walk there, and although my blisters are not completely healed, I felt I needed this exercise, I don’t want to become a couch potato!
The market was considerably less busy, although I have to say it had a different charm to it when it was all busy and completely overcrowded!
I walked a bit around HaDavidka square, and then took a bus home – a great victory for me – I didn’t have to check my phone for the entire duration of the bus journey, I knew exactly where I was, where to get off, etc. So proud of myself! (and it only took me several weeks).
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I missed Jerusalem so much!

Israel: Day 41

Today I was extremely lazy again (I could not even be bothered to comb my hair today at all), somehow even lazier than yesterday, which I didn’t think was even possible.
I woke up really late, then I was on my phone reading news for ages, I talked to my family, and watched more Veep episodes (I am on season 6 now).
However, starting from tomorrow, my lazy days are over as there is plenty of stuff I need to do.
I realise that time is slowly running out, I have less than five weeks in Israel left, so I need to use that time and see as much as I can. At the same time, I need to finish my PhD chapters for my upcoming annual review, so I would say that caffeine will be my best friend for the following few weeks!
I am glad though that I had this weekend to relax, recharge and clear my mind, I needed it so much! Now back to work!
Shavua tov!