Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Posts That Never Were II: Checkpoints, Wedding Stuff, & The Coldest Night Of My Life

January 12, 2008

So, once again, I haven't posted in a while. Since then, fun stuff has happened.

One of the things we do is the checkpoint at the entrance of ramallah. It's a diplomatic checkpoint, only members of the organizations listed can come through (with ID of course), and only important people pass through. There is a list of about 746 people who can pass through (who aren't necassaraily part of these organizations), they all know their number, and those who don't know if they can pass or not, can't. Most of the people are doctors, CEO's of banks, people who work for the water and electric companies, etc. A lot of Americans work in ramallah, so here and there I make a friend. One time this lady passed by and I asked her, "Where are you from?"

Lady: I'm from New Yowk.
Me: Oh cool I'm from Connecticut.

Then she makes this face at me and says, also gesturing with her hands, "I don't wanna know what you'we doing hewe." *New Yowk-ese*

Another time a guy passed by, but this time I put on a British accent, and I told him I'm from Manchesta. Around two weeks later, a guy passed by and asked me, "You've been here before?" And without thinking, just spoke in my regular American accent, "yeah, I'm here a lot." Oh, ok cool, happy new years, etc. Five seconds after he drove away, I realized that he was the same guy I told that I was from Manchesta in my British accent. I'm wondering if he noticed.

I got some time off to do some wedding stuff, aka register. We went to the rabanut at first, but they were just too obnoxious, and someone suggested we go to Belz to register. We didn't even have everything, and instead of pushing us out like the rabanut, the rabbi said, ok, so fax it; it took us 30 minutes. One of my friends did go, and with everything, it only took them 15 minutes.

I also went to pick out the bentchers. That was fun, looking at all the types. What I wanted though, was the songs in the back, but not the NCSY bentcher. [Ed. note: I was surprised to find, about 5 months after the wedding, that this bentcher is missing one or two basic shabbos zmiros...*sigh*]

A few Thursday ago I went on a mission. Sorta. I was supposed to do a mission that night anyway, but before we were told anything about it my lieutenant came to my room and told me to get my equipment on (bullet-proof vest and regular vest), we're going. Ok, sure, I said. Got ready, hopped into the ze'ev (soldier transporter) with the other 8 guys, and on the way they told us what we're doing. The number 1 wanted terrorist in my area was leaving his house. He was a gun seller to terrorists. However to make matters worse, he is also the Champion martial arts guy for like, all of the arabs in Israel, or something like that, so we had to be even more careful. So get get out to walk 2 minutes to where we would be waiting for him to pass. Our Captain says to us, "yallah yallah, he'll be there in 3 minutes." We get to where we're supposed to be, they tell us what car to look for, and we start. 30 minutes, an hour, and it's cold outside. I was told after it was 3 - 4 degrees Celcius outside, and I was lying down on the ground, making it even colder. I was with 2 other guys on the right side about 100 meters from my lieutenant who was in the middle, and 3 other guys on the other side of him. After a while we get on the radio to my lt., Hey it's cold.

Lt: Yeah me too, just sit tight.

Well. we sat tight, all the while my lieutenant and his radioman I forgot the word, but their temperature dropped too much. My captain decided, not let us leave, but bring us fleeces. But me and 2 friends decided, no, we're going back we're too cold, and we went back with the captain.

I didn't mention yet that I wasn't wearing anything to keep me one was. We all thought a few minutes and it would be over, so I didn't bring anything. Thank God I was wearing a thermal shirt, to keep at least a little warm. Even long johns I wasn't wearing...In the end we were there for about 3 and a half hours in the cold. In the end we couldn't even look for the terrorists car. And that wasn't even the other guys, my friends and I who left early were there for 3 hours. Everyone else was there for another 3 -- although they DID have fleeces after that. I remember being told that they were there until 1 am and they didn't even catch him...

[Ed note. In the end, a few months later, he was indeed caught.]


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