Sunday, December 4, 2011
The night we got back from the camel farm, Jacob went in to see Bill and LaVonne's dentist. His brother Aaron had also had some pretty extensive work done and all three of them proclaimed him to be a miracle worker; so even though we are anticipating having dental insurance back in just a couple months, the price was so low that we decided to pay out of pocket and have three teeth that Jacob was having problems with filled.
Aaron and his girlfriend drove us to our appointment which was scheduled at 7:30 in the evening. We had been forewarned to not be put off by the fact that the office was housed in an apartment building in a residential neighborhood and were assured that the dentist had state of the art equipment and training. Even still, as we walked up the dark sidewalk Jacob turned to me and remarked that he felt like he was arranging to buy a liver on the black market. The dentist's limited English and our complete lack of either Hebrew or Russian (his first language), didn't help matters.
We were there about 15 minutes early and the dentist was in the back with a patient. Hanging on the wall was a shark jaw and to the right of the door was a giant glass case full of a variety of medical-themed statues and miscellaneous knick knacks. Upon further inspection we realized that maybe 40% of the statues were dirty if not downright x-rated in nature. Buxom nurses bending over in too short skirts, a nurse chihuahua in panties, and a lecherous doctor tapping the bare breast of a patient with a caulking tube labeled "silicon" were interspersed with costume jewelry and Laurel and Hardy statues. Jacob nervously said to me, "Do you think this is a mistake?" to which I replied, "Don't worry honey, I'm sure Israel is littered with medical offices with statues of a pig dentist working on top of a topless female pig sporting human double-D breasts."
Despite all this, Jacob walked away in less than an hour with three perfect fillings - all for just $250.
Today we drove into Jerusalem and we had to run to catch our 1:00 tour of the underground tunnels next to the Western Wall. Our tour guide was the enthusiastic and animated sort and it was easy to imagine she might have done really well in drama in high school. We went and sat down in a map room with a giant model of the old city and she began to talk to us about the various sections and where they believed the Arc of the Covenant had been. Not having a ton of religious knowledge but armed with a fervor for Raiders of the Lost Ark, I used this time to allow myself to mentally drift to the scene where Dr. Jones uses the medallion and staff to know just where to start digging.
After the tour we grabbed some lunch and then headed back to the Arab district so I could purchase some bracelets. While there we spotted a smokey arcade teeming with kids so Vaughn, Aaron, Jacob and I stayed behind so that Vaughn could play some games while Bill and LaVonne went to the car to get Bill's coat. Aaron and Jacob quickly reverted to their old sibling rivalry ways on the box soccer table and a small crowd gathered 'round ready to jump in to challenge them. I think we were there for about an hour and they must have played doubles with just about everyone in the place, including the guy who ran the falafel stand across the way.
Poor Vaughn is under the weather and was running a small fever at this point so we knew that we had to begin the trek home. On the way back to the car I spotted some patchwork pillowcases that I had wanted (I briefly considered a "Guns and Moses" t-shirt but decided I didn't fully understand the potentially offensive repercussions). LaVonne not only speaks perfect Hebrew but is also very well-versed in the language of haggling - a must for doing business here. She was up ahead a ways so I had to get Jacob to help me get the pillow cases down to a reasonable price. I walked away feeling pretty proud of myself when really, my only contribution was to say a polite 'thank you' and turn away when the initial offer was laid down.