Thursday, December 31, 2009

12/30/2009 Jerusalem: See, you know how to TAKE the reservation

We started our last morning in Jerusalem by splitting into three groups: Israeli Museum folks (Olga, Phil, Karen, Mike), Yad Vashem person (me), and relaxers (Leonid, Maria, Konstantin). I have been on a genealogy kick lately, so I wanted primarily to look for any information about what happened to my mom's mom's mom's parents after the family left Hungary. Unfortunately their Hungary database had the same info that is available at the Holocaust museum we visited in Budapest earlier this year, so no news there -- but fortunately Yad Vashem's database is freely and completely available online at, so I'll be running more searches there when we get home. I had a few minutes to explore the exhibits and expansive grounds high on Mt. Hertzl.

Our main adventure of the day was completely unexpected, as all great adventures are.
JERRY: I don't understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
RENTAL CAR AGENT: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
JERRY: But the reservation keeps the car here. That's why you have the reservation.
RENTAL CAR AGENT: I know why we have reservations.
JERRY: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to TAKE the reservation, you just don't know how to HOLD the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.
With synchronized watches and triangulated maps, we converged on Sixt car rental to pick up our duly-confirmed reserved cars for our trip to Haifa, when we discovered that the couple in front of us in line got the last car. The couple behind us in line had made their reservation months prior and would need a car for several months -- they too were left in the lurch. Perhaps designed as a band-aid for this exact situation, there are 7 car rental agencies within a 2-block area of Melech David Street in Jerusalem. An agency called Smartcar had 1 sedan remaining (and no Smartcars). Avis and a local shop had nothing. Budget had cars they were holding for reserved customers (I think this is how it's supposed to be done?). Hertz was the only agency that could rent us the second car we needed to get to Haifa. After two hours of this, we headed back to the hotel to pick up the luggage.

About two hours into the drive (about 70% of the way to Haifa), we encountered a torrential downpour. Luckily some of us suddenly needed to use the restroom, otherwise we might have been washed off the road. The first exit we encountered was named Olga Interchange. Mike woke up just after we had exited the highway looking for a restroom, and seeing the weather he exclaimed "maybe we should get off the road?"

After a brief pit stop, the tropical storm subsided and we continued one more exit up the highway to ancient town of Caesaria. They had been almost impossible to find by GPS because they are spelled many ways, including but not limited to Caesaria, Qesaria, Caesarea, Cesaria, Qisarya. After an amazing dinner at the upscale Kosher Italian restaurant "Aresto", we explored the Roman
Empire ruins. They are surprisingly well-preserved for being directly on the Mediterranean Coast, with waves constantly crashing into them.

From there, we headed to Haifa, made a rough plan for the next day, and fell into a deep, deep sleep.


theresa_hart said...

Could you please say who is in some photos for those of us who don't know your families( even though I'm starting to feel like I do). I'm wildly spending my time trying to establish family resemblances with names.

Dave said...

I posted everybody's bio, thanks for the suggestion :)