I wish everyone could have the opportunity to go to a seder like the one I went to on Wednesday night. It was a wonderful. I haven't really enjoyed the seders I've been to over the past 20 years, because a. they are conducted in English, b. they stop at the meal and never go back to the haggada and c. there's no discussion or passion involved. And keep in mind that being outside Israel I had to go to two seders each year, not just one. This was so different. It was everything a seder should be. We read the entire haggada, we discussed the meaning of slavery and freedom and what it means for you to see yourself "as if you yourself have come out of Egypt, we had a very yummy meal, we drank four cups of wine (I had a mixture of grape juice and wine) and we did the entire thing, including the boisterous singing at the end. And yes, doing a real seder takes time: we began at 8:20pm and ended at 2:20am, and it was worth every minute.
The food was delicious and amenable to healthy choices: chicken matzah ball soup, roast chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes, a salad, roast potatoes, and chocolate cake and baked apples for dessert. This was an unexpected bonus; I don't worry about food choices on major holidays.
I walked home at 2:30am and I wasn't the only one on the street. Lots of other people walking home from their seders. I had a map with me, just incase I got lost. I didn't need it, but it came in handy because I ran into a lost South African tourist near the President's Residence who needed directions to Rupin Street.
I slept for 11 hours straight and had a very relaxed Thursday. This morning I went out early and had breakfast at Cafe Hillel on Hillel Street. After breakfast I went to several clothing stores to try and find a black t-shirt. My gym clothes are getting loose again. I ended up with a white t-shirt with elbow length sleeves from Lord Kitsch (that's the name of the store, really). Then I headed to the gym, which was very busy with a mixture of newbies and regulars, Israelis and Anglos. GeorgiaGuy was there, so was PerfectSquatGuy.
It was back to day I: Chest, kicking off the 8 rep microcycle. Because I had done 2 sets of 10 x 40Kg on the last day I, guy-in-charge said to try 8 x 45Kg for my max set this time. I was hesitant, but hey, I've done it for 6 reps, so 8 shouldn't be a problem.
Guy-in-charge: You think you can't do it?
Me: No. Man-in-charge says that if you think you can't you lose up to 30% of your strength, so I don't think.
And then I started the set. It wasn't a problem. By the fourth rep I knew it would be fine. Finally getting enough sleep probably helped too.
Woman-in-charge, whom I hadn't seen in the gym for ages, was back today. I don't know if she's working in the gym anymore, but it was good to see her back and training. I stopped to say hello, and we had the following conversation:
She: So you're back from your trip
Me: Yes, and I have four months or so before I go back.
She (scandalized): One minute, are your shoulders wider than mine?
Me: No chance, it's the white shirt.
I don't think she has anything to worry about... she looks great, and the one time I looked over at what she was up to, she was doing an easy decline bp set at 60Kg, which is not even close to her max.
The rest of the workout went fine. The skull crushers at the end felt really easy and smooth: 2 sets of 8 x 19.5Kg for my max work. It was supposed to be 19Kg, but SkinnyGuy was using the 10Kg tricep bar, and he didn't seem too pleased about the prospect of me working in. So after I did my warm-up set with the 10Kg bar, I went and got the 12Kg bar, and used that for the rest of my exercises. 12 Kg + two 2.5Kg plates + two 1.25Kg plates = 19.5Kg, If I had used the 10Kg bar it would have been 10Kg + two 2.5Kg plates + two 1.25Kg plates + two 750g collars = 19Kg. This way I saved myself the wandering around looking for the collars. We only have one set of them in the gym, and for some reason people don't always remember to put them back in place.
I wish to point out that there are few things sillier than a grown man grunting like a cow giving birth while doing single arm preacher curls. A grunt on a max bp, fine, on a max squat, no problem, max deadlift, beseder (Hebrew for ok). But on a preacher curl? Sheesh.
The rest of the day was pretty productive. I stopped by the supermarket and picked up ff yogurt and sliced turkey breast. Got home, put in a load of laundry, went to the shuk and got red peppers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes and Granny Smith apples. The red peppers were 4 NIS for a kilo. That's 87 cents US. The "big splurge" were the sweet potatoes, which were 8 NIS a kilo. I haven't had them recently and having them during the seder reminded me of how much I like them.
Not sure if I'll go on the municipal walking tour tomorrow morning. Depends on the weather. Today was 29C/84F, sunny and gorgeous, but the temperatures are expected to drop.