Thursday, October 19, 2006

Emek - Good for Coffee, Bad for Sheruts

Living in Emek Refaim is great. The cafés, restaurants, bars, shuls, friends - all accessible and within a short walk. It’s often buzzing with people and is a fantastic location in Jerusalem…that is until you need to catch a Nesher Sherut back from the airport.

The idea behind a Sherut is a good one – lots of people want to go to the same city, so take them in one minibus and it will be collectively cheaper and better for everyone…that’s the idea anyway.

In practice things were slightly different. First up was being bumped off the first waiting Sherut despite being told there was space for two. Then came the trek to Jerusalem in rush hour…and two hours later, after two stop offs in Har Nof, Ein Karem, back to the central bus station to drop off a non Jewish well meaning Irish women, the town centre for this old Israeli shvitzer (you know, grey chest hair coming out of the shirt) who boasted about how much money he made in New York, and a part of Katamon for a nice French girl, we finally arrived back in Emek Refaim where the driver tried to short change me.

We had been chatting for a few minutes so I was surprised he would try and rip me off –

‘I thought you would be happy to mevater al zeh’, to give up on the change, he said.

So basically you never give people the correct change unless they specifically ask for it?’

‘Of course - why not!’ he replied smiling, giving me my correct change.

Welcome back to Israel - not always an easy country to live in, sometimes quite unforgiving and Middle Eastern. Returning after time abroad sometimes feels like being thrown into a cold shower and getting a slap across the face. Sometimes it’s just relentless in terms of the noise, the behavior, the culture, where to succeed you need to be constantly aware and not mevater on any of your rights;

But its feels strangely good to be back…

3 comments:

Avram said...

to quote Yehoram Ga'on, "It's good to wonder but it's better to come back home"

Terry Spring said...

I can't believe you have links to aaronovitch, cohen, hitchens and then you spoil it with a link to melanie philips...

Calev said...

Terry

as I think you know, I like the non pacifistic 'thinking' left, as well as people who stand up in defence of Israel even when its unpopular.

And just because they make me think doesn't mean i always agree with them :)