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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eyfo HaSherutim? איפה השרותים?

bathroom klalitFeeling like a savvy Israeli doesn’t happen for me very often. 

Today, I took a page out of Batya’s book (okay, blog) when we were out and about in Nahariya.  Strange city, ambling around having a good time with friends from our pilot trip… when Naomi Rivka announced that she needed a bathroom.

(we only took Naomi Rivka – GZ stayed home with Elisheva, yay!)

And I looked up, and like the chorus out of Life of Brian (if you haven’t seen it, you must), there was the local Klalit (they spell it Clalit in English) health clinic.  Using Batya’s rationale, we ARE Clalit members and thus, sort of, “customers” of theirs. 

I also knew that the closest public alternative was the bus-station bathroom, which would almost certainly be sub-par, and also, possibly, be available only for a fee of 1 shekel.  I learned this the hard way in Afula, where you hand over your shekel to an apathetic guy behind a desk who does NOTHING, and then enter the most hideously filthy bathroom which – for ONE shekel! – lacks seats.  It’s like a third-world country, except you’re paying for the privilege.

So… why be a freyer (sucker) if you don’t have to be???  Into the Klalit clinic we went, marched up to the front desk, and asked for the sherutim (literally, services or facilities).  The bathroom wasn’t great (actually required a bit of cleaning before she could use it), but it was free and there was soap, warm water and towels to wash up with afterwards.  (No hand sanitizer!  I have yet to see a health or recreation facility here with hand sanitizer.  Weird, since it’s practically synonymous with these places outside of Israel.)

Anyway, there isn’t much that makes me feel confident these days, but being able to find my kid a bathroom the INSTANT she demands one (it really did just appear there, like a mirage) is one heck of a happiness-booster. 

Oh, yeah, and then we stopped at a sandwich shop and I showed everybody the extensive sandwich menu so they could deliberate before I took a call.  And then… when I turned back a few minutes later, realized I was the only one in the crowd (two were just starting ulpan) who could actually read the menu.  Oops! 

We skipped that joint – too expensive, too complicated – and found a falafel / shawarma place that only had two choices (falafel / shawarma, and half / whole).  Thoroughly yummy!

While wandering around Nahariya, we happened to find delightful store we found in Nahariya called Gan Li / גן לי.  Okay, it’s true, I have a fetish for anything school related, but this is actually the first decent, comprehensive, school-and-art-supplies shop we have seen since we got here.

For months, we’ve been buying binders in one store, a hole punch in another, a filler paper at another, and pencils and pens somewhere else entirely.  Gan Li even had Akiva’s artist ink, and some decent markers he can use for drawing with.  And some cheap (₪9) no-name highlighters for Naomi Rivka and magnet pens for our fridge (₪5 each).  It’s not that the prices were so fantastic, it’s the fact that everything was all in one place that I found so very exciting!

image Oooh!  Ever a sucker for fun new card games, I bought the game Sleeping Queens (note:  links point to the English Gamewright version; the Hebrew one is licensed by FoxMind), for ₪40-something instead of the ₪60-something in the big chain bookstores.  But that’s a subject for another post…

All in all, a nice day spent with nice new friends in Nahariya.  And it was nice travelling home in comfort instead of sitting cross-legged on the bus all the way back (meandering every which way down the coast and through Acco) wondering where I’d find the nearest bathroom.  I’m Israeli; I already know!!!

2 comments:

  1. You're ahead of me. It took me along time to realize that I could just walk into any kupat cholim and use the facilities.
    ps Soap is fine, really.

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