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Posts Tagged ‘parking in Israel’

Driving in Israel Part 3: Parking in Israel

January 27, 2012 3 comments

I have to hand it to Israelis. They might not be able to park a car between the lines in a lot, but they sure can squeeze into a space. They have driving-in-reverse skills that would make Mater proud. But, like I said, they have little to no regard for the lines.

Basically, parking in the cities is so bad that eventually you are going to have to park illegally at some point. I did it blatantly last week for the first time. There are so many people parked illegally all the time that there is no way the police can ticket or tow them all. However, if you see this sign, I wouldn’t mess around. Keep looking.

Stace did get a ticket in Tel Aviv when we were legitimately trying to park legally in a blue & white spot. Unfortunately we misread the Hebrew sign and didn’t realize that times are read right-to-left just like words. For example, in the US if a store is open  from 8:00-5:00 then in Israel it would be written “5:00-8:00.” Simple right?

Well, there are a few rules. Everyone breaks them, but I’ll tell them to you anyway. It’s all about the color of  the curb .

GRAY = Free parking.
RED & WHITE = Do not park here. People do anyway when legit spaces are scarce.
BLUE &WHITE = You may have to pay to park here, or maybe not, or maybe you need a residential pass. I hope you can read Hebrew.
BLACK & WHITE = Don’t park here ever. People mostly respect this one.

A popular Israeli pastime is make-your-own-spot. This is usually done out of desperation and/or cheapness. One example is to park in a red & white spot, but to pull up on the curb so you are mostly out of the way… of the cars. Pedestrians don’t get much consideration while someone is in desperation parking mode. In Jerusalem, they’ve actually created legal pull-up-on-the-curb  spots. Another strategy is to park full-on in the middle of the sidewalk as seen below. Also note the black car across the street parked on the  red & white curb.

Sure, I can fit, why not?

4WD gives you the freedom to park wherever your high-clearance vehicle can take you.

This one is just wonderful, courtesy of my friend Fara. I’ve added notations to make sure you don’t miss anything:

An American Shopping in Israel

September 12, 2011 4 comments

I feel like all I have done for the last 3 days is shop. I’d forgotten what it was like to set up a household. It’s a full time job. The last time I moved house was July 2000. Below are my 3 rules for shopping in Israel so far… I’ll add others in new posts as I discover them.

Rule #1 : There is no one-stop shop.

I knew this before I came. At least, I thought I knew this. I still can’t believe I had to go to 3 different stores to get Liam’s school supplies. That might not sound so bad until you hear that there were only 6 items on his list. Here is how it broke down: Super Pharm had the tissues and wipes. Office Depot had the snap folder. Super Sol (סופר סול) had the lunch box, water bottles, and baggies.

Apparently grocery stores carry precious little baby products, no cosmetics, and no first aid products. You must go to the pharmacy for these things.

So how many ways do you think it takes to describe what a lunch box is to a grocery store employee who speaks broken English to get a result? (For the record, their broken English is always better than the few phrases I know in Hebrew.) The answer is, it doesn’t matter because they will just say they don’t have it, even if they do.

I literally held up a metal water bottle I bought in the States and asked if they had them.
Her: No.
Me: Something similar?
Her: Yes, similar. Follow her… (something in Hebrew I didn’t understand)
Her #2: (walks me around 3 different sections, then leaves me in a school-supplies like isle)

Guess what? They had water bottles EXACTLY like what I showed the first woman and these ridiculously tiny little lunch boxes. Oh well, I still win. Now I just have to figure out how to pack a lunch and 2 snacks in it.

Rule #2: Familiar stores carry an odd mish-mash of products.

Ace Hardware carries the usual fare, plus appliances, dishes, and God knows what else. It ends up being a little like a Home-Depot. Confusing, but helpful. The scary part of the appliances at Ace was the brand names: Kenwood (fake Kenmore?) Hemilton (fake Hamilton Beech?). You actually see this a lot, so I haven’t bought any names I don’t recognize if I can help it.

Rule #3: There Is No “Slow Time” and Parking Is a B*tch

Even at 10:00 in the morning on a Sunday, which is normally a work day for Israelis since they observe Saturday as Shabbot/Sabbath, the shopping centers are teeming with people. Most of the people I saw were between 20 and 40 years old–even families. I kept thinking, “Don’t these people have jobs?”

Truly I could (and probably will) do an entire post about parking in Israel. In summary, the parking lines mean nothing, crooked parking is expected, back-in parking is best for quick escapes, when the lot is really busy go ahead and park in the no parking area, and if you have 4-wheel drive you can just park anywhere you want.

I have discovered that the best time to shop for groceries is at 21:30 because most of the other stores in the mall have closed. Grocery stores and pharmacies are generally open late. Super Sol in BIG Poleg is open from 08:30-Midnight, Sun-Thur.