Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Day On The Beach

It’s been a while since I ventured out to the coast but today was to be a landmark day; the baby’s first time on the beach.

She had not slept all day and when she refused to give in to her obvious tiredness on the bus I thought she was bound to fall asleep on the beach and miss all the fun. But no. This baby LOVED the beach. Everything about it. My sleep deprived toddler beamed from the moment she arrived, giggled as the waves splashed against her little legs and smiled at the sensation of sand between her fingers and toes.

One thing surprised and saddened me; there was no beach side kosher café at all. Apparently, some have kosher kitchens but all are open on Shabbat, so have no certification.

Tired, hungry but happy, we embarked on our journey home. We bought a supply of snacks then got on the bus. It was crowded. We all split up throughout the bus. I parked the buggy where I could and had to get the baby out, who by now, was exhausted and needed a hug. I was surrounded by bags and the empty buggy. I sat on the floor and slowly she fell asleep.

A lady got on the bus and ended up standing near me. She took one look at me, crouched down with the baby and told me I should be sitting in a seat. I re-assured her that I was fine; I had bags, a buggy and a sleeping baby so moving along the bus was just too complicated.

She just would not allow me to continue sitting on the floor. She marched up to the back of the bus and organized a seat for me. She ushered me down the bus and then, bag, by bag, my belongings were passed down to me and positioned close by. The buggy was then watched and taken care of by a rota of people who made sure it did not roll around or hurt someone.

I ended up sitting opposite my daughter. When the lady next to me realized this, she insisted on switching seats. My daughter, tired out from the beach, got up, rucksack on her back and bag of chips in her hand. As she did so she tipped the packet upwards and they all came raining down on the lap of a man in the opposite aisle. He smiled and brushed the pile away. She finally found her balance and sat down next to me.

I guess, once again, I witnessed another facet of Israeli warmth and their natural love of children. On an average day out the baby will be cooed at and the kids chatted to much more than in the UK. To be honest we were all more or less happy where we were on the bus but to the Israelis, things were just not good enough. Their organization of my family's seating arrangements caused disruption and yet my fellow passengers all quite happily endured spilled chips, bags passed over their heads and being put on buggy watching duty with good spirits.

We got home and emptied our sandy bags out. As I was putting the towels and clothes into the washing machine, the kids asked the inevitable question, ‘Mum, can we go to beach again tomorrow?’

Sharona B