Eternal Light

Israel Diary, part 1.

"Ein menorah? Menorah lo nidleket?" the guy at the hardware store asked, turning the power adapter over.

"Lo nidleket," I agreed, in my broken Hebrew. No, the little light wasn't going on.

I'd stupidly forgotten to pack a power adapter for my trip to Israel. It was my first time traveling to Israel - or anywhere outside of the United States - in eighteen years, and I'd been a bit overwhelmed at the prospect; so my packing was somewhat haphazard. But what the heck, I'd thought, I can just pick up an adapter when I get there, right? They get lots of American tourists, they must sell American power adapters. So I'll just pick one up when I get to Tel Aviv.

Easier said than done. The first such device I bought burned out almost as soon as I plugged it into my laptop. I thought replacing the fuse in the adapter might help, but as it turned out the fuse was fine; it was the adapter itself that was fried. (What, I wondered, was the point of the fuse then?) The second device wouldn't even turn on - it was inoperative right out of the box. The third one suffered a fate similar to the first. Finally I shelled out 200 shekels (about $50) for a heavy-duty adapter and was rewarded with reliable service.

Great, I thought, I can use my laptop.

Now if only this nation of Nobel laureates could produce reliable internet service....