Tag Archives: Public Transportation

750 minutes

As I was sitting on the bus this morning (Bus 27 be exact) I figured out how many minutes I actually spend on this bus weekly: 750.

For all you mathematician’s out there, that equals 12.5 hours a week.

50 hours (3,000 minutes) a month.

200 hours (12,000 minutes) a semester.

That’s A LOT of wasted time.

Just sayin’

(So tell me… how much time to you spend in transit to your job/school/etc.?  Any empathizers out there?)

I want a bike!

Disclaimer: This post is a rant!

I’m so sick of busses!  I’m sick of having to go by their schedules, stopping every 5 meters and taking 45 minutes to get somewhere that would take 10 in a car!  (and not even running on Shabat) I want to be able to just GO when I want!  I want to drive again! I want a bike!

Not a bicycle, mind you, (I already have that)… a MOTORCYCLE!

And while I don’t need a Harley… something smaller will definitely do (like the MIU).

Just no more busses!!!

(This was in Niagara Falls when my nephew was just still so little…)

Mediterranean Monday: The Art of Bus-Riding

IMG_0029If my cup of coffee in the morning doesn’t completely wake me up, then the bus rides sure will! Riding the public busses in Tel Aviv is an art form, its not for the faint-of-heart.

You might be thinking, “how difficult is it to ride a bus, come on!?!”

And let me reply, “it’s not difficult, but you need to have gumption and be ready for battle.

First of all, let me start at the beginning. Bus-Riding in Israel 101.

  1. While waiting for the bus, remember that lines in Israel do not actually exist.  Everyone will sorta mule around, and when the bus pulls up you must push your way into the huddle.  If you stand back, unassertively, you will be last, and being last as you will see is not a good thing.
  2. In the midst of pushing yourself onto the bus, make sure you have some sort of bus pass.  Giving the driver change will just prolong your process and make everyone else annoyed with you.
  3. Once you are in, look for ANY available seat.  Being able to sit is a rare treat!
  4. If there is no seat you are now one of the many sardines in the tin”.  Trust me its not fun, but there are some important guidelines for the sardine life:
  5. Make sure you have a firm grasp of either a pole or a seat.  I prefer not to use the hangy things from the ceiling, cuz they just are not stable at all.
  6. When standing, make sure you have an evenly-balanced position. Legs shoulder-length apart, never together.  You MUST be prepared for the MANY abrupt stops the driver WILL make during the trip. Learning how to shift your weight from your right to left leg, according to stops and take-offs are ESSENTIAL!  This will prevent many akward spills into other people.
  7. Make sure you know your stop.  If the bus is full, wading your way through the sardines to the exit of the bus may take a bit of time, so be prepared.
  8. And finally, when the bus stops you must be quick to get off.  The driver WILL shut the doors on you or before you have a chance to exit.  Make sure you know the word for driver in Hebrew (nag), and be ready to shout it out, in hopes he’ll give you a second chance an re-open the doors.

As you can see, its not for the weak-minded….

And now you know why I do not look forward to my 4 bus trips everyday.  But, while in Rome (aka, Tel Aviv)……

Mediterranean Monday: Driving in Tel Aviv

trafficIsraeli’s drive like they live: extremely aggressive!  This might sound a bit harsh, but its not.  They are just more on the offensive than the defensive.  I assume if you were a psychologist, you could attribute this back to their history and what they’ve been through, etc. but I’m just gonna keep it simple.

I had some practice with this type of driving while living in Rio.  I finally had a car my last 2 years there, and driving was such an experience.  You have to learn to become an offensive driver versus a defensive driver (which I personally believe most American drivers are taught to be.) Anyways, I found driving in Rio thrilling, and I loved it.  People say that all Carioca’s (people who live in Rio) drive like they are on the racetrack, and maybe thats true.  I don’t know.  But I know this:  Drivers in Rio are mild compared to drivers here!  They both feel the need for speed, but the main difference is that drivers in Rio are nice. Drivers here are not!

On any given day, you will hear horns ALL day long, and not for pleasant reasons.  I remember in Rio, 2 short beeps of a horn meant go ahead.  There are definitely NO 2 short beeps here.  I have yet to even see a car give another car the right away….that just doesn’t happen.  It’s an eat or be eaten type of mentality. 

Lest you think this is just for cars, let me reassure you its not.  The buses, taxis, and sherut’s follow the same rules of behavior on the roads.  Let me give you an example:  Last week I got a bus in the morning, on my way to the shelter.  It was pretty early, so there wasn’t too much action on the road.  At one of the stops a man got on and told the driver he just needed to go to the next stop.  Well, the next stop came, but the guy didn’t get off.  When the bus driver finally realized the guy was still on the bus after 2 stops, he started yelling at him.  They both exchanged words (sorry, I don’t know what they were to give you more detail…but you can only imagine).  The bus driver got so mad, he stopped the bus right in the middle of the road, turned it off completely, and demanded that the guy get off the bus.  Other cars were honking at him, disturbed at the bus stopped in the middle of the road, blocking all traffic.  Finally, the guy got off the bus after like a couple of minutes. Akward!

So, after all that, will I drive here?  I’d love to!  The problem is not the driving, but the money to afford a vehicle.  For now though, I’m satisfied with walking. 🙂

First day in Israel

Today was my first day out and about, and what a great day it was!  After a long trip and finally getting through customs (which is a whole other story in itself), I made it to my destination in Jaffa late last night.

This morning I took a walk down to Old Jaffa to take in all the sights and history.  It was already heating up and I was dripping after one hour.  Then I was off to visit with some new friends, who live just outside Tel Aviv in Kfar Saba.  It was a two-bus trip, and memories of Rio came flooding back.  I remembered the first time I rode a bus with Paula (my old roommate) and we totally go lost.  I was hoping this wouldn’t be a re-peat excursion, not knowing any Hebrew and never being on a bus here, but it ended out fine (thank God for numbers).  A hour and a half later, I arrived.

I was able to spend the rest of the afternoon with Sarah and Varya, my two wonderful new friends.  We talked about Israel, went out for lunch, and just enjoyed the fellowship.  Because Shabbat begins at sun-down, I had to leave early to make sure I could get a bus home.  All the public transportation and stores close from Friday evening to Saturday evening for the holy day.

Lastly, I attended my first Messianic service tonight.  I could share lots, but I’ll just say…..Awesome!  

I’m tired and hungry, so I’ll end here….lots of excitement for my first day, but there’s more to come. Stay tuned….

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