My last few days on Kibbutz went by without much incident. I spent my last day of work taking copious amounts amounts of photos, and during our break we shared a few bottles of wine, which didn't exactly help our productivity, but I did achieve one of my life's ambitions, which was to slap someone with a fish (the moment has been photographed and is on facebook). Our final day on Kibbutz was the Jewish festival of Shavuos and so we had the day off, which meant we could pack without much rush. In the evening was the Champions League Final so we all enjoyed the Scousers loosing, well I did anyway.
The next day I left early with Richard and Annabel, Nick was getting a later bus, as we were going all the way up North to Shantipi. If you can remember all the way back to October I talked about a music festival on the beaches of the Galilee, well Shantipi was very similar.
On our way up we had to go to the MDA flat in Tel Aviv to drop some stuff up, as we were not going to take all our possessions up to the festival with us. Getting out of the bus station is not the easiest thing in the world especially when you have several large bags, as to get out you mass through small turnstiles. To combat this problem I passed all my bags over the small low lying metal fence on to the other side. As I was trying to lug my big suitcase over, Richard noticed that my small rucksack was leaking, I thought this was rather strange as I didn't remember any liquids in there. Then I suddenly remembered I had two bottles of beer in my bag, I dashed through the turnstile and ran straight to my bag. Ignoring Annabel and Richard's warnings of broken glass I ripped my bag open and took everything out to try and salvage my stuff from the wrecking nature of beer and broken glass. Once I had saved everything, no real damage thank God, I realised that my hands had been cut in several places, and that I had left behind a small puddle of beer and blood. I cleaned up in a local shop, and we made our way to the flat where I spent an hour, with a head torch on taking pieces of glass out of my bag. I must have looked very strange especially to a few FZY girls who came into the flat during my operations.
We finally returned to the bus station, the mess had been cleaned up, and got on the bus to Tiberias. The traffic made the journey about twice as long as we should have been, and we were really running late, this was compounded by a half hour wait at the bus station for a sheroot to the other side of the lake where the festival was. We finally arrived there, slightly despondent as a couple of Israelis that we had met at the bus station, had told us that that Shotei Hanevua the band we were all desperate to see had played the day before. We were therefore delighted by the news that not only had they not played, but that they would be playing in a couple of hours time, and so we hurriedly put up our tent, so that we would not missed them. We needn't have worried as they appeared an hour late. They were very good but not quite as good as the last time we saw them at the beginning of the year.
I think Israeli music festivals must be the only place in the world where you can given directions to your tent by saying, go left at the Scientologists, rick at the Chabad and look directly behind Jew for Jesus, for that was where our tent could be found. You could also go to one of these festivals and not bring any food and be able to have three square meals a day without paying a penny. For all these organisations, except the Scientologists the stingy bastards, would give you free food, so long as you were prepared to listen to them preach to you for a few minutes. We put this theory to the test when we went to Jews for Jesus for breakfast, and I had a small theological discussion with some guy from Luton.
As part of the ticket price, there was entry to a neighbouring water park, and so the three of us spent most of our day in the pools, annoyingly for a festival that was on the beach, the sea was cordoned off, but as the water park had showers as well we weren't complaining. Dinner was an interesting experience, as once again we found ourselves having a free dinner. Richard had gone to the prayer tent for Friday night prayers, and I said I would join him if there was going to be free food, its the way I work. Anyway I went down later to the prayer tent to look for him to discover he was not there. I called them up to discover that they were with a group of Messianic Jews. The group he had found, were a group of people who kept Jewish practices but believed that Jesus was the Messiah, i.e. they followed Christianity in its earliest form. They had a rather alternative Friday night service, which was interesting to witness and then we had dinner with them. The food unfortunately was rather plain, but they were very interesting to talk to, and before we left they even invited us back to where they lived in Isfiyah, in the hills above Haifa.That evening the headliner was Aviv Geffen, one of the biggest names in Israeli music. I knew very little of his work, but his music a sort of classic rock was very accessible and his performance, even for a complete newcomer to his work was excellent.
Saturday was also spent largely in the water park. In the afternoon we relaxed to the sounds of a very chilled out world band, and then we plucked up our courage and stifled our laughs as we went to the big yellow tent that belonged to the Scientologists. We were first asked to fill in forms so that we could be contacted and then we were taken individually to have some tests done on us. The test consisted of being asked questions while holding metal rods, there was also a dial and without answering the questions the interrogator could deduce the way you felt on certain subjects by looking at a dial. I realised almost at once that the metal rods were pressure sensors and so I just held it in my open palm and then squeezed at random points. The guy asking me the questions failed to realise, but still managed to conclude that I had problems relating to others, and that my problems could be solved if I brought the book. He regretted to inform me that unfortunately he did not currently have any copies in English, but told me to go along to the Tel Aviv office, where I could buy the book and see a film, wait for it , for free. I had to go round the back of the tent before I permitted myself to break out into a fit of hysterics.
And then it was time to go, a speedy ride back to Tiberius, and then back to Jerusalem for the first of two parts, of the the end.