Saturday, May 18, 2013


This was a few weekends ago, but I was too busy to blog about it in real time. Better late than never. After a week of bad cold with a cactus-like feeling in my throat, I was well enough to attend my choir's bonding weekend in kibbutz Hanaton. We were told  to expect basic conditions, attend rehearsals and bring our performance costume as we might give a short concert Saturday night.

One thing however, was below my lowest of expectations: the tablecloth. I know this sounds really weird, but let's start from the beginning.

We arrived a bit late as we came from a surprise birthday lunch in Betzet (near Nahariya). When we got there, the choir was already rehearsing in a plastic tent, so I immediately joined the rehearsal. While I was singing, hubby carried our luggage into a spacious room, that included a noisy, 3-legged fridge outperformed by the air-conditioning. Then, he moved the car outside an internal gate, so we can leave before Sabbath is over. The inhabitants at various levels of religiousness (from none to just below ultra-orthodox) promote mutual religious respect.

Later on we learned that Hanaton was an anglo kibbutz that underwent privatization (like many others) and its current legal status is "privatized kibbutz". This may explain the general disrepair, empty pool and piece of dining room ceiling that fell on a luckily empty table, leaving a deadly combination of electrical wires hanging and water dripping from the hole, while we were eating at a nearby table. After the population went down to 5 families, city folks moved in to try and revive the place. Current population is 50 families with prospective ones visiting on weekends to see whether they fit in. The funny thing is that this non-kibbutz has an expansion, with some nice villas overlooking an artificial lake.

On Saturday we were told there will be no performance, as only very few people were interested to attend. So we just rehearsed. During the afternoon rehearsal, people hearing the singing started entering our plastic tent. With the number of visitors gradually increasing, we ended up giving a very nice, ad-hoc performance.

During the afternoon, my cold returned and the initially dispersed bad feeling settled in my left ear. The pain became so acute on the long drive home, that I decided to see a doctor before returning home. My Health Fund's emergency doctor saw me after a 40-minute wait, diagnosed me with otitis and prescribed antibiotics and two types of ear drops. We went straight to the pharmacy, bought the medicine and I started treatment the same evening. Very efficient, but not impressive for that 1000-shekkel/month mandatory health insurance premium.

So there was singing and bonding and a pleasant weekend, despite the sore ending. Oh, and the tablecloth story I promised. After being told to expect basic conditions, people were surprised by the edible food. Only I complained about it. In retrospective the food was actually half decent. What made me think it wasn't, was the depressing tablecloth arrangement. I don't mind eating at a simple, uncovered table, but having a disposable tablecloth covered by a crumpled plastic sheet is way under my aesthetic threshold. Not to mention that the huge plastic sheet was non-ecologically thrown into garbage after every meal.