Well my roommates and I didn’t actually go to Sourh Africa, just a kibbutz in the south with a South African restaurant. Also it wasn’t only my roommates and I, we had a fifth adventurer with us. Blake from the apartment upstairs joined too. It was the first of our newly established “Adventure Sunday’s.” And let me tell you it definitely was an adventure getting to this restaurant.
Before I get into the disaster that was us getting to the restaurant, let me give you a little history about the place. Sharon and Mike moved to Israel from South Africa about 20 years ago. Once they settled on the kibbutz they opened up a little bistro which Sharon told us used to be the Ulpan classroom of the kibbutz. They started cooking authentic Soruh African food and it is now the only type restaurant in all of Israel. My roommate Kayleigh had her birthday a few weeks ago and although we celebrated on New Year’s Eve, we had planned to go to his restaurant as an extra celebration. As like all of us, Kayleigh misses the food from her home country. So the trek was a must and we set the date for yesterday when our calendars were free of programming events. So she got in touch with Sharon after someone else on my program went to the restaurant.
The trek there was supposed to be simple, if your definition of simple includes 3 buses. The first two went smoothly. The first bus picked us up in Rishon right on time and dropped us off at the Ramle central bus station. We only had to wait ten minutes before our next bus arrived on time, dropping us off in the middle of Beit Semesh. Then we had a slight issue. We waited for twenty minutes for our bus to come and pick us up, supposedly to take us to the kibbutz. Kibbutz Galon to be exact. But unfortunately it never came and when we checked our transit app it said the next bus wasn’t due until 6pm. We has two options, take a cab (well actually two since there were 5 of us) or go home. The latter wasn’t really an option so we hailed two cabs and spend combined for both 250 shekels, so 50 each for the 25 minute ride to our destination.
I have to say the drive was really beautiful. I couldn’t believe how green everything was, I mean Israel is a desert right? The kibbutz was so quiet and peaceful and had a giant herd of cows there to greet us. We had some trouble finding the Mike and Sharon’s Bistro walking though muddy paths and backyards before we finally got in touch with Sharon who came to the main road to greet us.
The restaurant itself was decorated in so many South African signs, pictures, and collectibles. There were masks hanging on the wall, signs for different sports teams, old food cans and boxes neatly stalked on shelfs, and interesting graffiti and paintings on the walls. Not to mention the picture hanging on the wall of Nelson Mandela with the owners’ children. The best part about the decorations were the sharpied messages visitors had left thanking Mike and Sharon for the wonderful food. We left our own message as well at the end of the meal.
By this point it was almost 1:30pm and I was starving. We sat down and ordered some samoosas for us all to share to start. I ordered boerewors and pap, based on Kayleigh’s recommendation. It’s basically like sausages that are spiced so well with a side of pap. If you don’t know, like I didn’t, pap is made from maize meal. It’s kind of like the texture of polenta but combined with the texture of mashed potatoes. All in like a spicy tomato and onion type sauce. It was amazing. I liked the samoosas so much that after we finished our order I joking told Mike I could eat about 50 more. So he made us another order for free. For dessert we had melktert, which is pronounced milk but is spelled different because of the africanse language. I was so full after that I thought I was going to pass out. So when Sharon offered everyone a free shot of amaurla, a liquor that’s similar to Baileys in the United States, I had to pass.
After the meal Sharon invited all of us back to sleep on the kibbutz the weekend of Valentine’s Day. They are having a big party the night before on the 13th, and she really wants us to come. I think my roommates are definitely going, I’m still not sure as it is Valentine’s Day so I have to see if Ran and I will have any plans. Sharon is apparently a big match maker and plans to set the girls up with some nice kibbutz boys, while she already has someone in mind for Blake.
Overall the meal was amazing and Sharon and Mike were so sweet, even telling us they would adopt us all while we were here. It was definitely one of my favorite experiences in Israel so far. We told Sharon and Mike about our bus problems coming down so Mike graciously offered to drive us to a major bus stop only 15 minutes away where we could catch a bus right to Rishon. If only it were that easy. We waited at the bus stop for the 469 bus but once on board realized it would not in fact take us all the way back to Rishon. The 467, which stopped at the same station we got dropped off and and which we could have waited for and taken would have brought us home in once 30 minute bus ride, but of course that could have been to easy. So once again we had to connect at a different central bus station, then take 2 more buses until we finally arrived back in Rishon. After leaving home at 10:20am, we got back home at 6pm, 5 buses, 1 cab, and 1 car ride later. I stopped at the grocery store and couldn’t move from the couch once I get home. Internet was of course not working so I read for a while and then went to sleep.
Hopefully next adventure Sunday will be just as fun but a little bit easier to get to.
That’s all for now!!