Friday, July 15, 2011

Ayelet on Tour

 As a tourist, it is difficult to escape spending a certain amount of time actually on tour. While instructive and orienting to the average adult, tours can be quite the opposite to the average two-year-old, who seems to learn best through a seemingly random exploration of the territory around her, without much regard to spatial or chronological order. Here are some of our experiences taking Ayelet on tour:

Caesaria: I had envisioned Ayelet scrambling happily amidst the ruins, following in the footsteps of Romans and Crusaders of yore. What I had neglected in my imaginings was that these ruins are not exactly child-proof and thus, considering the distinct possibility of tumbling down stone cliffs, not the ideal stomping ground for a two-year-old.

We decided the tourist center might be a safer (did I mention air-conditioned?) bet, and ended up in a lecture/video presentation on the legendary building of Caesaria.

Ayelet happens to be a big fan of videos. In fact, her favorite word just might be “DVD.” The problem is that in her vocabulary “DVD” is reserved exclusively for usage with DVDs of Sesame Street (or, as Ayelet refers to it as a baby-in-the-know, simply “Street”).

Never mind; we viewed this not as a problem but rather as an opportunity. “DVD!” we enticed Ayelet, “Do you want to watch a DVD?!”

The ruse worked, for approximately 5 minutes, during which she waited in anticipation for her favorite fuzzy friends to materialize. When presented instead with diagrams of port construction, she began questioning, “Ernie? Elmo??” and then lost interest entirely. Lesson of the day: Apparently historical thrillers don’t make the “DVD” cut.

Zichron Ya’akov: We had the treat of being led on a wine, beer, and dairy tour by Esther Cohen of The finer points of wine-making – which my husband now thoroughly enjoys touting to our Shabbat guests – might be a little lost on a two-year-old. In fact, from her perspective a lot of the processes we went over must seem a little opaque, even for products she enjoys. For instance, we looked at some cheese; then we looked at some cows. Connection? Unclear.

“Moo!” she said. That much she knows cold.

I can’t wait until she hits the science fair stage.

In the meantime, there were some unexpected occurrences, even for those of us familiar with the ways of the world. The dairy was hopping, and apparently not just because people like cheese. There was some kind of festival going on, and… President Shimon Peres?! Check (off the item in the itinerary: See random famous person).

We went on to a lovely lunch and wine tasting under grape vines at the Tishbi Winery. Lunch: now there’s something we all can relate to.

Tirat Tzvi: We spent Shavuot at Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, a religious kibbutz near Beit She’an. While enchanted by beautiful views of Jordan in the distance, where we were was currently hot! And extra-buggy. This made more sense when we figured out that the land used to be entirely swamp, the religious kibbutzniks not having been allotted the most choice of the properties available (Tirat Tzvi is one of several religious kibbutzim in the area).

See, history can shed light on the present! I tried to explain to Ayelet. She wrinkled up her nose at the bugs and looked hot.

We took a walking tour of the kibbutz led by an old-timer who was born there in the early days. We learned the story behind the tower (the Tirah) and saw the room with the hidden weapons cache where school groups now come.

However, I personally spent much of the tour chasing after Ayelet, who had some questions, but mostly relating to why she was being asked to sit in the stroller for so long and where was the best place to run around wildly and evade one’s Ima.

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