Good Bus Drivers and Not-So-Good

We had a modest agenda for today–spend a little time in Yaffo (Jaffa) seeing the things that we just passed by last week. Well, the best laid plans…

First of all, our beloved son didn’t arise until after 10am. Terri and I finally headed out on our own and had breakfast at a new place (for us). Terri had hot cocoa and pastry, I had cappucino and pastry, both were excellent and reasonably priced.

Following breakfast we headed for the supermarket to purchase the makings of Shabbat dinner. We had a couple of near misses–Terri asked for 5 kilos of chicken breasts, but the astonishment of the deli saleswoman informed us that we had made a mistake and we quickly modified that to 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) for the three of us.

Upon returning home and stowing our groceries, Ephy was willing to leave the house. We headed downtown which is in the direction of Yaffo and got off the bus at Diezengoff Center. There we paused for a delicious felafel lunch. This place had little paper plates for taking as much salad as one pleased, so the lunch was particularly tasty and healthy–well as long as you keep the salty things to a reasonable level which I’m probably not capable of.

Ephy heard from a friend and decided to strike off on his own, but he put us on a #19 bus telling us that it would land us right in front of the famous clock tower of Yaffo. Well, no. The bus probably did pass within a mile of the clock tower, but we never saw it. I realized that we had to be beyond Yaffo as I we passed quickly into some sort of overpass. I wanted to get off the bus to catch a return bus on the other side, but I couldn’t see where the return side might be. It was soon clear that we had entered Bat Yam (the city immediately south of Tel Aviv/Yaffo) and I motioned to Terri that we needed to get off, but she refused. Still trusting in the wisdom of our son, Terri was convinced that the bus would make some sort of loop back to Yaffo. After another few stops continuing towards Rishon LeTzion, she finally went to the driver and managed to communicate the problem. He advised her to get off the bus immediately.

We crossed to the other side and awaited a bus back. The number #18 arrived first. We showed the driver our bus pass, and he immediately pronounced them invalid for our area. “That’s only good in Tel Aviv!” he said. I replied that we were in Bat Yam by mistake. He replied, and I must say in a pretty nasty tone, “A mistake is one or two stops. Here you are practically in a different city. You have to pay.” Well, it was a small amount of money, but we had paid for a day pass so I was pretty irritated. Anyway, we paid and off we went north.

After about 15 minutes of our northward procession, I mentioned to Terri that a bus stop was marked for the #25 which is the bus that goes to our apartment. Terri noticed that the intersection was Rothschild and Balfour and said that we must be back in Tel Aviv. I was dubious as it didn’t look like Tel Aviv to me. But we got off the #18 bus and left our cranky driver and climbed on to a #25 bus that arrived soon after. He looked at my pass and said, “That’s only good in Tel Aviv!” I looked at the passenger behind me and he said “You’re in Bat Yam.” I explained what happened to the bus driver, and this one was sympathetic, so Terri and I enjoyed the return trip to our apartment without the need to pay yet another fare.

Yaffo will need to await another day.

After cleaning up a bit, we headed for one of the few Conservative (Masorati) synagogues in the area. Services were very enjoyable. After arriving home, Terri and Ephy cooked a delicious dinner of salad, chicken schnitzel, herbed potatoes and challah. We had an inexpensive but tasty Israeli wine and despite the various tribulations we knew that in some sense we were indeed home.

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