The promised resolution and happy ending: No, we didn’t end up finding my glasses. They are either a) destined for some very near-sighted Egyptian child (given the direction of the longshore drift) or b) going to be found embedded in shelly sandstone by some future archeologist who will use them to date the era in which these were deposited. “Two-thousand-year-old optical polycarbonate!” she will say in excited tones, much like I feel when I see the 2000 year old Roman glass. “This is a significant find!” I’m so glad a part of me will rest forever in the Mediterranean, or at least until my hypothetical archeologist picks it up.
I’m super lucky that my marvelous sister Jen works for the Optical Center at the Payson, Utah Walmart. My eye doctor works at the Lindon Walmart Optical Center, but because of the marvels of computers, Jen could look up my glasses and contacts prescription and send it to me. Also fortunate: my glasses were lost in the evening here in Israel, which is morning in Utah, so Jen was even at work! Quick as could be, she had texted me a picture of my prescriptions, and even had the focal lengths and other arcane and secret numbers. The one concern–my contacts prescription is for fancy astigmatism lenses, and maybe those are harder to come by–couldn’t be fixed yet, because my doctor wasn’t in yesterday to write a normal spherical prescription. But we were going to start with what we had and work through problems if we came on them.
And we didn’t! We decided to drive out to Haifa in the morning as previously planned (to see the Baha’i World Gardens), and find an optometrist there. After driving through some seriously narrow streets, Bradley dropped me off at our Google-discovered optical store. Once I was done, I was to take a taxi over to the gardens, where everyone else was going to spend whatever time I needed at the doctors.
Which only turned out to need about 15 minutes! I walked in, waited a minute for the doctor to finish her phone call, explained the problem (she spoke English, thank heavens!), she looked at the prescription, found the contacts, explained it would take up to two days to make glasses (I decided to just go for the contacts), watched me put the contacts in, gave me a case and fluid, charged me about 180 NIS (about $60 US), and wished me a lovely rest of my trip. It was so awesome, and I can see again.
I decided to walk to the Baha’i Gardens, since it would take me 30 minutes to walk and 26 minutes and more money to take a taxi. The gardens were confusing, unfortunately. They spill down the mountain dramatically, and there are three entrances (top, middle, bottom). But you can’t get from one entrance terrace to another, most of the paths are blocked off, and you can’t really see the place without a tour–which was not obvious from their website, which welcomes all to come tour with a guide or be self-guided. I ended up at the middle terrace entrance, which was lovely, but mostly blocked off.
The rest of the family ended up at the top entrance, which had a great view area but also was mostly blocked by pretty little locked gates. You couldn’t even walk down the flower bed paths up there, and I was able to do a little of that at my area. So it was beautiful, but a little disappointing.
Once everyone piled back into the van and came and fetched me, we decided to go next to Mt Carmel. This turned into an adventure–Mt Carmel is mostly a place with lots of picnic grounds and camping and hiking, and not really a place with a museum or statues, etc (there is one statue of Elijah calling on God to burn the sacrifice, but we never made it over to there). But we kept driving and eventually found a picnic area (once again, practically empty!) with lovely shade and benches and a view.
“The tradition is that a merchant ship laden with nitrum being moored at this place [Belus River, the present day Na’aman River near Akko], the merchants were preparing their meal on the beach, and not having stones to prop up their pots, they used lumps of nitrum from the ship, which fused and mixed with the sands of the shore, and there flowed streams of a new translucent liquid, and thus was the origin of glass.”