We got in to Tel Aviv around 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening on Wednesday night, and went back to the Yamit Park Plaza to pick up the bags we'd left in storage. Then we walked down the beach to the Carlton and checked in. They gave us lemonade while we were waiting. I think the Carlton was the nicest of the hotels that we'd stayed in, followed by the Dan Panorama Eilat.
After checking in, we went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant called ShangriLa with Sam's friend Yael, and then went for a drink at one of the many bars on the beach. They all look exactly the same, except that each has differently colored cone-shaped lights dotted around the chairs. We walked past the red cones and the green cones, and ended up at the blue cones. Our server was either a complete moron or on some very powerful mind-altering drugs, because the service was the worst I have ever experienced in a bar, and that's saying something in this country. There were hardly any people there, so its not like he had a good excuse for never coming back. We had a good time anyway.
Thursday was a very busy day, as it was Sam's last full day in Israel. We met up with his friend Ron for an amazing steak lunch at El Gaucho. Then Sam went to see his baby cousins and I went off on a mission to get a cell phone. While spending time with Sam's baby cousins would have been much more fun, I didn't think I'd be able to find time to get a phone later in the day if I'd tagged along. My mission was successful, and I now have a phone of my very own.
We met up again later on, in time to get ready for dinner and the first of Sam's four birthday parties. We had dinner with Sam's friends Michal and Isaac, and Isaac's brother Michael, and then went to a rather swanky bar on the beach. This one didn't have colored cones, but it was decorated almost entirely in orange. It wasn't a political statement, though. I think the Orange cellphone company had something to do with it. Dalia, Itai and Yael joined us, as well as some other friends who I didn't get a chance to really talk with. As it got later, the party thinned down to the 5 of us who'd had dinner together. We went down to the water and hung out on the beach for a while, and then went back to the hotel. By the time Michal, Isaac and Michael left, it was around 2:30am. Sam was determined not to go to sleep at all, so that he'd be able to fall asleep the minute he boarded the airplane, so we did our best to keep him up. Of course, this meant that I was also up for most of the night, but it was a willing sacrifice. I think we fell asleep at some point, but it couldn't have been for more than an hour or so, because we were definately awake when the sun began to rise.
This morning was pretty much just packing up and shipping out. We got Sam to the airport 2 hours before his flight, and I continued on my journey to Beit Shemesh, where I will stay for a few days. Now, however, it's time for a little pre-shabbos shluffy.