Monday, February 07, 2005

Day 11 - Feeling the end

I have been lucky with my unit - there are plenty of us and pretty much everyone shows up for Miluim. This time round we've had an intake of new guys and the result is that we're all doing about half the period of Miluim - 14 days, rather than 24.

As the first half nears its end, the atmosphere changes - everyone is looking forward to being switched off and heading for home; to packing away their uniforms for another year and heading back to work, or in my case to the US for a holiday (from which I'm posting these final updates).

The last night of Miluim it's traditional to partake in the ultimate Israeli male pasttime - Al Ha'esh - a barbecue. Ours has been organised to perfection by Idan who, as he stands over the grill, fanning the flames with one hand, holding a cigarette with the other, embodies a stereotype of Israeli machismo.

Sausages, wings, breasts, skewers of hearts and kebabs all meet their slightly charred fate in a pita with hummus, salad and pickles, washed down with beer for those who have finished their duty, Coke for those who are just about to go on.

Loud music plays and pictures are posed for. 2 senior officers pull up and plates are immediately filled for them as they banter with the troops.

It's a fitting way to unwind at the end of a miluim in which we've been pulled away from our homes to do our bit for a couple of weeks. We've made new friends and seen parts of the country through different eyes.

My blessing to all the lads, which everyone took in the right way was "I hope we don't see each other any time soon".


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