Life on the Other Side: Caesarea Hotel Owner Vanishes! News at Nine.

“Caesarea B&B owner lost! Caesarea Bed & Breakfast no more – Proprietor Disappears!!! Stay tuned!” OK, so I’m exaggerating a bit.

The mission was simple – buy a hotel-style luggage rack. We’ve opened a Bed & Breakfast on the golf course in Caesarea, so naturally I wanted each room to be equipped to the nines.

Easier said than done. This is Israel – you can’t just walk into Bed Bath & Beyond and buy one off the shelf – or four for that matter. It takes some effort!

I figured out how to type “folding luggage rack” in Hebrew, and bless Google’s heart – a listing came up! Never mind that it was at the opposite end of the country. A call to the company verified they were in stock but I’d have to come and get them – they don’t ship out orders of four.

After a lovely brunch with a friend, I switched on the GPS and off I went.

And then it happened. The GPS told me to go one way, my instinct said the other. I veered off the highway and ended up on another one – the toll highway! The price of those luggage racks just jumped. My GPS started making re-calculating. It told me to go straight, but did I listen? NO!

Let me save you the aggravation. After a few more mistakes and phone calls, I found the kibbutz with the company that sells the luggage racks. Nice people. Nice luggage racks. Nice reactions to my Casa Caesarea Boutique B&B flyers. Loaded the car, opened the iPhone’s GPS and pressed home. How much easier could it be?

If only.

The GPS said go left, but the sign said Netanya to the right. So why should I go back towards Herzliya if I really need to be heading towards Caesarea via Netanya? Right? Wrong! Listen to the bloody GPS!

I did what I wanted to do and my GPS was not happy. After a kilometer or two it instructed me to turn right towards Kochav Yair. But isn’t that east? And don’t I want to be heading north and west? Once again, who thought she was smarter than her iPhone? Me! So I continued straight.

As I drove, the landscape changed, dramatically. There were no longer signs in Hebrew – everything was in Arabic. There were no longer sidewalks, rather dirt paths. Lots of carburetor places and garages. I figured I was in some industrial area. Was I nervous? Not really. Concerned? Maybe a little. I was also thirsty and dying to get out and buy a drink. But where?

Miles and miles – the landscape didn’t change. I was further and further into this place. Tayibe, I believe it was. And still those signs pointing towards Netanya beckoned to me.

I started to imagine the headline – “Israel Bed & Breakfast organization looking for missing proprietress.” Would anyone even know where to search for me?

Let’s get real here. Tayibe is not over the Green Line. I’m in Israel! I’m safe! I could probably even get a really good falafel here (I was also hungry). It wasn’t really that I was in unfamiliar territory that worried me; it was that I had absolutely no idea of where I was going. And then, as I was driving along the road, what did I see?

Camels! On the main road! Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. Now I was really panicking. Did I somehow end up in the desert?

No, of course not. Some guy next to a commercial district had camels. I was tempted to photograph them. But by the time I finished the debate in my head I had already passed the camels. Onward – get home already!

So … I kept driving. I suppose if I had listened to the instructions in the first place, I might have already been home. But then I would have missed all this excitement! And the camels!

Anne Kleinberg, author of Menopause in Manhattan and several cookbooks, left a cushy life in Manhattan to begin a new one in Israel. Now she’s opened a boutique bed and breakfast in her home on the golf course in Caesarea. For details, visit www.annekleinberg.com and www.casacaesarea.com.

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