Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Egged in Your Face?

NOT A CHANCE! Welcome to life in Israel via the Egged bus system. Every time you turn around another Egged bus is barreling down the street, coming right at ya. 4, 4aleph, 18, 32, 183, 444, name a number and there is a bus with that number that can take you anywhere you want to go within Israel. That's if you can speak Hebrew very fast, and understand it even faster, have shekels in your pocket, and have a will made of steel.

Bringing my car was not an option which leaves me hoofing it - which by the way I've done a lot of. So, if I want to get someplace in a hurry, more or less according to Israeli time, I have two options. 1) A moneet (taxi) or, 2) the beloved Egged bus system.

Now I've taken a moneet several times. Once I even had a pleasant conversation with a driver. But you've got to watch these guys. You get in the cab and the driver will say "30 shekels, ok?" Which means in translation, lady if you think I'm putting on the meter you're crazy, I can see from your innocent American face, yeah the one with sucker etched in your forehead, that I can make a few extra shekels off of you.

But they don't know who they're dealing with! Ha, silly him, he was reading my OLD forehead. So now when I get in and he says to me, "30 shekels", I say...."LO! Monay, b'vacashah". (NO! meter, please.) Then I flash a real pretty smile which means in translation, buddy, I've been down this rechov (street) before and I'm not going down it again. You can swindle some other innocent face but not this one anymore.

We have a pleasant but quiet ride to my destination from there.

So that leaves me with the Egged Bus System. Which is fine, mostly. The buses are always crowded with standing room only and are usually on time within a 15 minute range. The system within Jerusalem is rather comprehensive but complex. You can transfer and ride all day if you want to but, who'd want to? Although, I am learning the neighborhoods as I traverse the city on my way to and from classes.

And the ride from Moshav Kesalon into the Central Bus Station? Hairpin curves, up and down all through the Judean hillside, today I almost needed a barf bag. Also today the driver had his head turned talking to a passenger in the first seat as we entered the second of three consecutive hairpin turns. I almost yelled out to this guy to shut up and watch the road. I want to live! But I didn't and we got to the Central Bus Station in tact. No bag needed.

Now I want to say a few words about the bus drivers. I'm sure, somewhere deep down in their collective beings, they must a small cell of compassion for new passengers, but I haven't found one yet. Some have been a little less than rude.

One day I wanted to go to the Israel Museum and I thought I knew the correct number bus. Just to make sure when I began to climb on the bus I asked the driver, "Museum Yisrael"? Now Israel Museum in English is not far off from its Hebrew counterpart Museum Yisrael. Right? Or so I thought. He just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and began to close the door on me. So I pushed at the door, yelled, "you jerk" and got off. Now I know that a clergy person, or any person for that matter, shouldn't call someone a jerk, out loud, in public. But, I did. So there. No bruises. I felt better.

So goes the life of a non Israeli trying to be somehow, somewhat like them. OY.


sabba17 said...

Our Hebrew classes are paying off. Glad to see that you are starting to function in Hebrew

Doug Koch said...

Love following your travels. Something new to learn everyday. Peace..

hoppy said...

Jerk is an effective word in any language. But it's translated differently in different realms. Caveat.

Suzanne said...

Glad you all are enjoying my blog. Honestly, sometimes I don't know if I should be laughing or crying!