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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A quick tour of K Shmu aka Kiryat Shmuel

Enough of you seemed interested in my descriptions of Kiryat Shmuel, our new neighbourhood, to warrant another post with a quick tour of the neighbourhood.

First, like almost any place in Israel, it can be ugly here.  This is our building, which I’d classify as Pretty Darn Ugly, even by Israeli standards.  It is redeemed a bit by the beautiful little girl standing in front.

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That flowery “lawn” will be a dust bowl within 2 months, so it’s probably at its most charming right now.

But the upside of Ugly is Cheap – apartments here range from ₪1800 for a 2-bedroom (that’s what we’re paying) all the way up to about ₪3000 for the same number of rooms in a heck of a lot more spacious layout in the good part of “town.”

Some houses in the good part of town.

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These are nicer than where we live, obviously. 

Basically, you get what you pay for.  Cheap = Ugly; Expensive = Pretty.  But it’s nice to know, if you are thinking of moving into the area, that there seem to be rentals available in just about every level and price bracket, as well as a good assortment of properties for sale.

The last house pictured, by the way, has been under construction since we moved here, with no end in sight.  They are making progress… just very, very tiny progress.

I’ve referred a few times to “downtown” Kiryat Shmuel, and here it is… a makolet (mini grocery store) and a post office.  I think there’s a hair dresser somewhere as well.  Upstairs, tucked in and hidden around the back, is the local “vaad” – the folks you pay for your water and sewage.  Somewhere near there is a teeny tiny public library, but we have yet to find it.

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Someone in the post office is apparently learning English (notice the sign taped up to the partition):

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Notice they’re not post-office related words at all:  strudel, milk shake, stereotype?   Weird.

This is the Merkazi Beit Knesset (central shul - Sefardi):

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Downtown KShmu also features a really nice park with actual, natural shade trees (a rarity around here):

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… Right across from a very noisy, active Bnei Akiva “sneef” (branch).

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… and a community centre where Naomi goes to dance classes once a week (doh, forgot to take its picture). 

This corner is quite the hangout on a Friday night, after all the sensible people are tucked in safely at home with a book.  Teenagers take over the playground, the yard, the street and don’t give it back until morning.

Back to the central part of KShmu, where we live, we have the “main park,” a huge Shabbos hang-out for families and kids.

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And the nice new food store – it just opened right before we came.  There’s also a Clalit health clinic, if you peer at the top-left corner.  It’s bigger than it looks, taking up the entire second storey above the food store.  Naomi Rivka says the food store is a trick because it looks like it’s 2 levels, but it’s really not.

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And then… it’s back towards our block, the old part of town.  No idea when this area was built, because my theory is that the salt air ages everything to look decades-old inside of, well, a decade. 

There are a few private houses here, along with some older ground-floor apartments that are “almost” like houses because they’ve been built out with patios, etc.

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(Notice the motorcycle parked just inside the doorway?  Not that there is a door.  Most of these older buildings omit that nicety.)

In my experience, most places – even those that look terribly run down on the outside – look decent, and even possibly VERY nice, on the inside.  I think nobody bothers with outside maintenance unless they have to, ie if something is threatening to fall off their house with disrepair.

Naomi’s teacher, for instance, lives in a building with a dingy entrance very similar to the one here with the motorcycle in it.  But when we went in a couple of weeks ago on Shabbos, it turns out the apartment itself is beautiful, modern, and spacious, with a full-sized ground-floor patio.

I guess folks here take the Pirkei Avos saying “don’t look at the jug, but rather, at what it contains” seriously.

This is our nearest miklat, shelter, because these old buildings and houses were not built with shelters of mamads (part of the current building code). 

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Conveniently, but mystifyingly, there’s a shul that uses the shelter as well (see the sign above the door).  And there’s a sign on the door that says something about where the keys can be found.  This sign fails to reassure me.

A parkette with bench across the street that is pleasant right now, in the spring, but probably brutally hot in the summer:

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And we return, at last, to the dingy apartment block we call home.

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Thanks for stopping by!!!

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