Saturday, July 18, 2009
A Gold Medal!!!
Results of the Team squash events are in!! The Junior USA girls squash team bested Israel and Great Britain to win the gold - 6 matches were played and Rachel played #4 on the team and won her match. Matches were tied at 3 each, but the USA won more games to secure the gold. Rachel then spent Friday night with us and proudly walked around with her gold medal around her neck!!
The USA Masters 45+ mens team did not fare as well. In fact, a younger Israel team was put into the draw under protest, and they ended up winning the gold - the protest was ignored, unfortunately, otherwise we would have had the bronze. The UK got the silver and Mexico was awarded the bronze.
Individual draw matches begin Sunday AM - Greg is seeded #4 out of 16. The players younger than 45 will now have their own draw thankfully.....
Travel news: Today was Shabbat and a day of rest from competition, so we took the opportunity to go to Masada and the Dead Sea - an unbelievable day for sure. Both were so completely different and worlds apart, yet only about 7 miles from each other. From Tel Aviv it was a bit of a schlepp, 2 hours with a pit stop for a potty break and snacks, where we sampled a Druse dish from the roadside stand - a very large tortilla-like outer layer, larger even then a crepe, spread with goat cheese and tebouli. She readied the dough with her hands like a pizza maker then formed it on a round seat cushion like thing. We cut it into fours to share as a lite snack. So many interesting foods from a wide range of areas around the world - wherever Jews came from in the Diaspora they brought their foods with them to share!
Climbed Masada. Snuck out to hike with some 20-somethings in our tour group before they put the 'closed' sign up on the gate. They said it was too hot to walk. It was a bit toasty, around 107 (but a dry heat - hah!!), and close to noon, but heck, it was MASADA! And the heat didn't stop King Herod, the rebel Jews, or the Romans, so it wasn't going to stop me.
Greg and Bex took the cable car with the others, and because they waited for the cable car while we climbed, we didn't miss the guided tour up top. I can't remember ever being so red (so they tell me)or having sweat drip down my body head to toe like it did today.
Speaking of dripping water, to hear the explanation of how the Jews of Masada organized their water capture-system with channels and cisterns was ingenious.
Took the cable car down - sign said for 80 people, but who follows signs? Nothing like a cable car packed front to back with sweaty tourists worrying about whether we were over the weight limit or not. Maybe prayers are heard more easily from Israel, as we made it down safely.
Then off to the Dead Sea. The view as we approached is magnificent. The mountains of Jordan reflected in the sea, salt hills looking like waves in the water peaked up from the baby blue lake rimmed with salt crystals. And emerging from a whole lot of desert were hotels and a spa, ready to accept us for a typical Mid-Eastern lunch and a visit to the sea. Checked out towels, got mud, walked out to the sea, where showers and pool chairs in the shade awaited us. Coated mud on us, took pics, then waded into the sea. OUCH! It was hot, really! And Bex had a cut on her toes, so that was the end of her entry into the sea. A quick dab of the finger to the tongue tells you why - it's so full of salt and minerals it stings. No splashing allowed! Bex took more pics while Greg and I floated in the sea. It is a very eerie, magical experience, having your legs taken away from you by the bouyancy, and then floating as on any pool floatation device. And wow, did it feel silky good.
We slept the 2 hours back to the hotel, and are now readying ourselves for our beachside bbq with the Maccabiah teammates and supporters.
So proud of our Rachel. Can't tell you how proud we are! Best of luck to Greg and Rach in the individuals next week.