When you are lucky enough to have lived through 1/1/1, 2/2/2, 3/3/3, 4/4/4….11/11/11 you have to end the pattern by doing something simply amazing to celebrate the last time you will ever see a date like 12/12/12 🙂 Lucky for me this day happened to fall during Stephane’s mid week weekend (lucky guy has 2 days off in the middle of the week) so we decided to do something most assuredly out of my element… fishing! If you remember, last week we ventured to the Port of Jaffa to scope out some good, potential fishing areas, and today we put our finds to good use. Now before I go into detail about the day I just have to preface this post by saying that I have never actually been fishing… in my life. I think maybe when I was in grade school I went to one of those fish farms where we could play around and “fake” catch fish (only to have to return them to the water), but other than that I was a complete novice in terms of the craft. Stephane, on the other hand, had the pleasure of growing up with a professional fisherman (his dad), so he knew exactly what he was doing; thank goodness!
We left his house around 11am and arrived in Jaffa around 11:30, and let me tell you, we couldn’t have handpicked a more perfect day. It was one of those crisp days right after a big storm where the sun is shining brightly but there is still a bit of a chill in the air. Luckily by noon the sun was so bright that it kept us nice and warm under our sweaters and coats. Stephane knew that the best fishing area would probably be in the calm waters where the boats were docked, but unfortunately that area was off limits to non boat owners. FEAR NOT, however, this is still Israel, and in Israel rules are really just suggestions. Because of this we decided to set up our little camp there until we were told to leave. Before we began I was briefed on exactly what to do, and then decided to watch Stephane for a few tries before I took a turn. It took a while to find a good depth to place the line and the bait but once we figured it out we were on a bit of a role. After about 30 minutes of nothing Stephane finally felt a fish! He jerked his hand so fast it was like it didn’t happen, hooked the fish from underneath, and up came our first catch, whom I named Bob!
Bob wasn’t very big but he was the kind of small fish that is very tasty when fried (or so I was informed). Only a few minutes after Bob was caught we found a very nice friend for him who I named Charlie! The thing about Bob and Charlie that I was not expecting is that they actually don’t die quickly after being taken from the water. I thought it was a pretty quick process but I was very incorrect. Luckily for Bob and Charlie Stephane had a sort of bowl made out of wire netting to put the fish in so that we could keep them contained, alive in the water until it was time to leave; this way they would be fresh and wouldn’t smell so bad. I must say, as strange as it sounds, that I was quite happy that Bob and Charlie were going to have a bit more time alive. Unfortunately, soon after our two catches, a guard came and told us that we had to move to the pier where there was a public area designated for fishing. We weren’t too happy since we had finally found a good technique to catch eatable fish, but we didn’t want a problem so we moved. When we got to the pier the water was a bit more shallow but that actually didn’t effect our fish catching, and, because the waters were more shallow I was able to take the hand held line (no fishing rod just wire and a hook) and try to catch fish with my hands. I was taught the correct technique and then we began to try our luck in the shallows.
Not 5 minutes passed and I felt something tugging on my little makeshift fishing tool… A bit overly excited, I yanked my line from the water and found that a fish was attached to the end of it! I was so excited that I actually caught something I nearly let it escape into the water. Not only did I catch a fish but it was something really different and exotic! We weren’t exactly sure if we could eat it but it was exciting to catch nonetheless. Because Stephane had already caught a few more I gave up on naming them so my little guy remained nameless (which was actually better because I didn’t get too attached to the catch :-p)
After another hour or so Stephane left me to my own devices in the shallows and ventured to a place where there was deeper water. He didn’t have much luck there so he came to rejoin me about 15 minutes later. I ended up catching 4 fish in total and was very, very proud of myself! At around 4pm the sun was started to set and the temperature was dropping at a fairly rapid rate. I, being the beacon of coordination, ended up losing hold of my little line and dropping it in the water which killed the rest of my fishing for the day. At this time, right when the sun was setting, all of the bridal parties that want pictures on the pier come out so it was time for Steph and me to wrap up our fishing in that area and move to another spot. We knew we only had about an hour of good time left so we found a calm spot by the restricted area and tried to see if we could have a little more luck (well Stephane tried… I lost my line so I became his cheerleader instead). Stephane was able to catch two more fish like Charlie and Bob, and by then we had a pretty nice pile. We had caught some fish that had poisonous stingers and they actually did our job of killing most of the other fish so my conscious was clear :-). At almost 5pm it was getting very cold, so we decided to wrap everything up and head home. Two friends were coming over for Chanukkah dinner so I wanted to give us enough time to put the fish at his place and make it back to my apartment on time. It was really the most perfect, untraditional, date, and I had so much fun! I’m counting the days until our next fishing excursion. I’m not actually sure we can eat anything that we caught outside of the 4 Bobs and Charlies, but it was still a really amazing experience.
After we dropped the fish back off at his apartment we cleaned up a bit, caught a bus, and headed home to my place to await my good friend Sarah and her boyfriend, Shai, for Chanukah dinner! Luckily I had time to do a bit of cleanup, and even more luckily that all the roommates were gone, because at around 8:30 the pair of them came over, Latkes in hand, and we enjoyed a wonderful evening with good friends. After we finished the Latkes we decided that in honor of our fishing day we should top off the meal with some sushi, had a great time, a delicious meal, and then were in bed by 10:30; fishing is actually quite exhausting and it was a good end to a very long, but amazing, day!
It was a perfect 12/12/12, and I can say with absolute certainty that we did the day justice! The next day I spent some time with my sister since it had been a while since we had seen each other, and then Friday came and I spent Shabbat and the weekend at Stephane’s house with his family. His mom and brother are going to France soon for a few weeks so I was glad I was able to spend one more Shabbat with them! Not only do I love them, but the food can’t be beat, and it’s like a constant Hebrew lesson when I’m over there. It’s no surprise that I like spending so much time there 🙂 However, before I forget, Friday morning before Shabbat, I decided that I wanted to do something different for us for breakfast. Stephane is trying to make me a bit more French so I am trying to make him a bit more American, and you can’t be a true American without a pancake and egg breakfast (for obvious reasons we had to forgo the bacon on this one!) Luckily the little market downstairs has pancake mix and bags of chocolate chips so I decided to surprise Stephane with a good, quite unhealthy, breakfast of scrambled eggs and chocolate chip pancakes! Our first attempt to cook one didn’t go so well, but once he understood that pancakes are just thick crepes he became very helpful in the preparation of the food 🙂
As far as this week goes, one of my roommates just moved out which has given me the chance to finally get the common areas of the apartment pretty clean, and now that it is much more calm in my residence, I am very excited to get back to a normal routine where I don’t have to be out of the house so much. Ulpan starts back this week which will be nice (minus the early wake up), and then this weekend I am going to visit my extended family up North in Karmiel! I’m trying to drag Stephane out of town with me again so we’ll see if he wants to spend another weekend away from the city :-). Once I return from Karmiel I have Christmas Eve and Christmas day to look forward to in the beautiful city of Nazareth which will be such an amazing experience!
Stay tuned <3,