Right, I'm off to Sinai early tomorrow morning so don't expect any posts round this neck of the woods until late next week. I should have a tale or 2 to tell and a pic or 3 to post, so don't forget to visit!
Before I start packing my bag, I just wanted to plug a new Israeli blog. Us non-politicals have been joined by 'on the face' (a straight translation of a very popular expression in Hebrew). You want to know more, click the link. Nice start Lisa, just don't steal either of my 2 readers!
And if any of you really miss me, you could always take a peek at the alternative anglosaxy site.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Right, I'm off to Sinai early tomorrow morning so don't expect any posts round this neck of the woods until late next week. I should have a tale or 2 to tell and a pic or 3 to post, so don't forget to visit!
So a couple more pics of my neighbourhood. First one is my local 'makolet', or corner shop. I used to pop in frequently, but ever since we decided to go on an economy drive, I haven't popped in for a visit and a chat about the football. My bank manager is happy, that's the main thing...
Last pic for today is of a typical house in the 'hood. This isn't a two storey house, this is a block of eight apartments, four on the ground floor, four on the top floor. The whole neighbourhood is full of these luxury condos, though the Tel Aviv council is dead keen to rip 'em all down and replace them with handsome new 7 storey buildings. And that's the reason we're here, because if our house gets pulled down, and it is slated for early demolition, we'll be quids in. But we don't expect it to happen for a long, long time. Aren't those second floor balconies an impressive feat of Israeli engineering? And as for the asbestos roofs, well...
Is anyone still wondering why we're thinking of making an exit from Tel Aviv?
As promised, some pictures of my neighbourhood. If you are of a sensitive disposition, I suggest you close your eyes and move on...
First up, it's the site that greets me every morning as I step out to the car. A nice little patch that has slowly accumulated its riches over the last year or so. The hunk of metal in the foreground is actually a washing machine. It's been hacked to pieces on numerous occasions by various Arab 'al te zacken' guys, but nobody has had the heart to actually take it away with them. Including the local council. In its pre-hacked state, when it actually resembled a washing machine, mrs. anglosaxy did call them, but, surprise surprise, they have still yet to turn up. There is actually a whole load of other things in this little patch, just hard to make them out in the picture.
Next up, it's the rapidly expanding land empire of my delightful neighbours. Plenty of room for his musical talents (bongo drums with very witty verses that consist entirely of Arab curses), while his collection of junk is ever encroaching. Steptoe and son have nothing on this bloke - he is the rag and bone world champ. I particularly love his fence - anything solid and it's in there. And now he has a fence, why bother taking his rubbish to the bins? That's right, just chuck it over the fence when nobody's looking. Bastard.
Anyway, more pics to come, I just have a load of stuff to get done before we set off for Sinai tomorrow. Update later.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Interesting article in Ha'aretz about the fake CD business in Israel. All well and good, but I think they forgot to mention a teeny weeny phenomena, you might have heard of it, called 'the Internet'. Strange name I know, but using 'the Internet' you can actually download songs, movies, in fact pretty much whatever you like. This should be more of a worry to the recording industry, or am I wrong? Not that I would ever participate in any of this seedy illegal activity...
Blimey mate, up at 6.45 this morning. Z was so surprised to see me at this early hour I had to take him round the block to ease the shock. Thought I'd get to the office early and surprise everybody, but O beat me by a mile.
Anyway, short week for me as I'm headed down to Sinai on Thursday for a long weekend. Mrs. anglosaxy's brother is getting married, and despite the pre-wedding nerves (according to rumour, "right, the wedding's off!" and "who'd want to marry you anyway?" have been heard in their proximity) all seems to be going to plan. The only major worry is the alcohol. Mrs. anglosaxy's father seems to think he can smuggle a major teasure chest of whisky, vodka and wine through the border. Nothing Israeli about that then...let's just remind ourselves that this is a Muslim country we are entering, not Tel Aviv. Should be quite a joyous occasion at the border, my camera is charged and ready for action!
I know my little promo section over in the top right corner states that I'm currently reading Simon Schema's 'History of England', but you should know that I get my eyes round other books. Last night I managed to finish off 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel. I originally started this off last year, and it quickly became my beach read. The short chapters were just about right for topping off my back tan, before folding over the top corner of the relevant page and heading for the surf. After a break of some months, I got back to it last week and polished it off. A slowish start, but well worth continuing with. Recommended.
Friday, July 23, 2004
No cha-cha-cha-ing, no dancing, nada. Last night was a wash out, everyone was out for the count, even L crashed out at our place. We ain't kids anymore, I guess, two nights in a row is pretty hard going...
Today we toured the north a little, mainly Binyamina, Karkur and the surrounding area. Mrs. anglosaxy was looking for a present for her momma (she turns 60 next week but don't tell anybody) but we didn't find anything 'suitable'. Might I suggest a broomstick? Nah, just kidding!
Off tonight to a sound and light show of mrs. anglosaxy's cousins - apparently all their kiddie pics have been converted to slides, for viewing via a projector. Mmm. Sounds fun, eh? And this is in place of a live jazz show in Shefayim...I deserve a medal, but just make it cold, liquid and alcoholic, that'll suffice for now.
Posted by as at Friday, July 23, 2004
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Recovering from a few beers as we were out and about in north Tel Aviv last night (with mrs. anglosaxy, M, O and K). First stop was a salsa club (oh. momma. Not my idea...) that promised to teach you the steps. Only problem was that it was closed. Of course. So we then moved on to the next salsa club, located at Tel Aviv University. Closed again. By this time I was breathing more easily. We then decided to call it quits and ended up at Leo Blooms (Molly's hubbie) in Ramat HaHayal for a slice of Kilkenny. If you happen to sit outside, tuck your trousers into your socks, otherwise you might just find a cockroach or 2 scaling the heights - we had to move inside because of 2 hysterical girls...I wouldn't bother with the food at this place either, and that's nothing to do with the cockroaches...
I've been assured that tonight we're on for a repeat performance - meaning salsa club hunting, followed by some draught something or other. I think I might just skip that salsa bit and head straight for the beer.
Posted by as at Thursday, July 22, 2004
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
This guy would be a hit in Israel (after some of the employers I've had the pleasure to work for...). Esteemed forebear, how are you going to worm your way out of this one? Have you ripped up your membership card?
Posted by as at Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
What with yesterday's assassination of a judge, I was reminded of a certain area of southern Italy where Bob De Niro and Joe Pesci would feel more than at home. Is this what Israel is becoming? I put it all down to the Mediterranean sea breezes, or the humus.
It also reminded me of my neighbourhood. Very quaint and homely. Almost charming. I was particularly smitten when out walking Z one day. My neighbour's dog, roughly the size of a bulldozer and always roaming free, had a go at young Z, so me, being the protective parent, shouted at the dog and made like I was going to give it a good kicking (didn't touch it, honest guv). My favourite neighbour, who really is the lowest form of lowlife I've ever met, jumped out and asked if I knew who the dog's owner was. I was always under the impression that it was his, so I said, "Duh, maybe yours?". His reply? "It's Rosenstein's dog. I'm going to tell him what you just did to his dog". I smiled back. As we all know, Rosenstein is the underworld numero uno over here. If this was Rosenstein's dog, he must really care passionately about it to give it to my neighbour. And what with his busy schedule of knocking off crime rivals or ducking automatic fire directed his way, I'm sure he's going to pull up outside my house one day. Or maybe not.
I'm especially enamored when the same neighbour gets his skin drum out and starts serenading the entire 'hood with his latest ditty. It is usually directed at his elderly neighbour, with whom he has a real love-hate relationship. It usually goes something like this:
"Your mother's p*ssy,
I hope you die soon, you son of a b*tch, you son of a b*tch"
(Repeat chorus endlessly)
Now, who'd like to see some pictures of my 'hood? Coz ladies and gents, it ain't all palm trees and beaches over here...
Posted by as at Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Monday, July 19, 2004
Sunday, July 18, 2004
A new personality test for you - I tried very, very hard, but I just couldn't find the gold jewelry:
You are an SECL--Sober Emotional Constructive Leader. This makes you a politician. You cut deals, you change minds, you make things happen. You would prefer to be liked than respected, but generally people react to you with both. You are very sensitive to criticism, since your entire business is making people happy.At times your commitment to the happiness of other people can cut into the happiness of you and your loved ones. This is very demanding on those close to you, who may feel neglected. Slowly, you will learn to set your own agenda--including time to yourself. You are gregarious, friendly, charming and charismatic. You like animals, sports, and beautiful cars. You wear understated gold jewelry and have secret bad habits, like chewing your fingers and fidgeting. You are very difficult to dislike.
Posted by as at Sunday, July 18, 2004
The weekend up north was great...the euphoria that is still here on a Sunday morning has us even contemplating upping from the hustle and bustle that is Tel Aviv to living in the sticks...but more of that for another time.
We drove up on Friday afternoon with M and L, just in time to catch a quck dip in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) before sunset, while supping a cold one. Despite a valiant attempt, my walking on the water trick didn't quite come off, though we did manage to pull off a very impressive Mexican wave - I'll post a picture of this amazing feat later today.
After arriving in Rosh Pina (wow, what a house, what they rent for $600 would cost at least $1600 in Tel Aviv), I was handed cooking duties. Despite being English, I'm getting to be a dab hand at this BBQ malarky...After wolfing down the food with copious amounts of alcohol (the beer had to be replenished via a local corner shop), we then moved into the party game phase. This involved everybody (there were 10 of us) revealing more and more intimate, and I mean intimate, details about themselves. Night merged into dawn as Van Morrison and Bob Marley blasted out of the stereo, people fell about in hysterics and empty bottles lay strewn about, providing a challenging obstacle course for anybody heading up to bed.
The morning was a bit tough for me, and I apologise for not delivering on my promise of an anglosaxy omelette (mrs. anglosaxy, you're going to have to stop bragging about my cooking skills...) . Eventually we pulled out and headed for the River Jordan (or was it the Hatzbani?) to float downstream on tyres. Not exactly white water rafting but a good laugh. The rest of the day was spent back in Rosh Pina, with the coals stoked up again to deliver some tasty chicken liver. Then we headed home, though due to a nasty accident the 3 hour drive ended up as 4.5 hours.
Back to reality in the corridor, though my boss gave birth over the weekend, so things are a little more relaxed than usual round these parts - in fact, I'd say there were definitely a few mice scurrying about...
Update: The promised pic of the Mexican wave in the Sea of Galilee, post-sunset.
Posted by as at Sunday, July 18, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
We're heading up north with a few friends later on today. One of them has a brother who lives in Rosh Pina and his brother is 'out of town' for a few weeks, so, up we go. As we are planning a big BBQ I had one hell of a shopping mission last night...went to the local 24hr supermarket at midnight, you'd be amazed at how many people are doing their shopping at this time! There's something different about these shoppers, they seem more jovial and polite...then again, that could be down to the couple of Tuborgs I had an hour previously. Yep, that'll explain it. And yes, I was all alone, mrs. anglosaxy was safely curled up in bed, bless her little cotton socks.
Blogger has gone mad with a whole new set of editing tools, very fancy. I shall be able to wow you a lot more easily.
Anyway, have a great weekend!
Posted by as at Friday, July 16, 2004
Thursday, July 15, 2004
There I was driving along HaYarkon street in Tel Aviv this morning, heading north. I then came up against that notorious flashpoint, which is the junction with Arlozorov. If you are familiar with this junction, you'll know that recently they changed the flow of HaYarkon, so that those driving north have to make a little dent to the right, though with no need to change lanes. Not the most intuitive of flows, but this is Tel Aviv.
Anyway, this guy obviously wasn't aware of the change and he must have very nearly ran into me, while cursing me rotten (all in his best Arabic, of course - Hebrew curses aren't nearly as effective). As I pulled up at the next traffic light, he pulled alongside and as cool as can be, suggested I wind down (wind down?) my window. Then he very calmly said "Do you know your indicator isn't working?", while glaring...insinuating that I'd forgotten to indicate. Me? Forget to indicate? I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry - and that was my line he was using, the bastard! So I just glared back, my steely Clint poker face in full effect.
Posted by as at Thursday, July 15, 2004
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Last night I was in Rosh Ha'ayin for a couple of English lessons. My first lesson was with a 9 year old girl, very sweet. She was even sweeter when she let me in while her mother was running around in the briefest of bikinis. I didn't know where to look, for a fleeting moment thought I was in Rio...and in contrast to Expats experience, this was no cleaning lady. I just concentrated on setting up my board while she made a run for it upstairs. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed...
The second lesson saw the replacement of the now empty Southern Comfort bottle with an Italian hazelnut liqueur. It was pretty nasty stuff but I didn't want to hurt my host's feelings, of course...
Posted by as at Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Monday, July 12, 2004
It's been a good while, but the votes have finally been counted. In your opinion, the persona that most closely represents Israel is Mr Gidi Gov. Have to agree with that one. The late Ilan Ramon was second, while in third place it was the vivacious Dana International. Unfortunately, I spotted a suspicious, late flurry of votes for Dana (I'm sure it's nothing to do with Paritsky). As the mediator supreme (ooo the power), I hereby declare Dana's votes null and void. Dudu, help yourself to third spot.
That means a new poll. So, in contrast to the previous poll, I'm asking this time for the Israeli you'd most like to see eat a cockroach (Survivor style). By the way, it's only meant as a bit of fun...
Posted by as at Monday, July 12, 2004
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Not a great start to the working week...used to live round the corner from the blast location, so know the area pretty well.
Meanwhile, it's damned hot out there with 70% humidity, and supposedly getting hotter later in the week. I'm enjoying the air conditioning while preparing some English lessons at home. Later on I might head for the beach.
How was your weekend?
Posted by as at Sunday, July 11, 2004
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Forgot about this picture, taken a couple of weeks ago. I was passing a new car wash place in south Tel Aviv and was deluged by a bevy of car wash girls. Managed to grab a picture when they'd finished pestering me and looking at it now, I'm impressed with the results. The girls were pretty hideous close up, by the way, teeth missing and dodgy makeup...the sign on the far left, just to grab any unsuspecting male driver who failed to spot the place or the girls wandering down the street, says 'Girls washing'. Pure genius.
Posted by as at Saturday, July 10, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Last night was a bit of a long one...
It started with me slaving over a hot stove, rustling up some of my world famous pasta, complete with tuna and cherry tomatoes. Oh mama. Never fails to get a lingering kiss from mrs. anglosaxy...
Then the phone rang. It was M, inviting us downtown for a few beers. His cousin, who lives in San Diego, is in town for a few days, so we arranged to meet up with them and a couple of other friends.
We were both so wrapped up in scoffing the extremely delicious pasta that we didn't spot Z's Steve McQueen impression. This wasn't his first 'Great Escape', there have been a couple of nights when he hasn't even bothered to let us know he fancied stopping out and chasing a few bitches. Anyway, after a long search, we eventually found him at mrs. anglosaxy's parents place, a location he always seems to end up at whenever he gets the chance to run for it. Next time we'll head straight there and wait for him...
After having yet another shower, we met up with M and his cousin at Le Central for a quick beer. While there, we came across a word that most Israelis don't seem to know, but love upon hearing: flip-flops. 'Na-aley etzba' just doesn't have the same quirkiness...I also got some good news about my plans for the long, chopstick-laden flight, but more of that when I get to join all the dots.
We then crossed over the street to Blaumilch. This place was heaving, god knows why. A 'stum' place that manages to pack 'em in. I tried my usual trick of speaking English to the doorman/bouncer, but he wasn't impressed. The girls had to flutter their eyelashes a tad too much in order to get us all in. I hate these places. Always amazes me, Israelis are possibly the most impatient people in the world, yet are prepared to stand in a queue for an anonymous place, undoubtedly serving up anonymous drinks. I'm going to queue for a beer? Right, right...
After walking in and walking straight back out, we then moved on to Scores, my favourite pool bar. I'm not sure how, but I ended up teaching this cute blond how to play pool. I had to explain, repeatedly, how to splay your hand on the table. Unfortunately, as mrs. anglosaxy was looking on, I couldn't explain in great detail...
Our own private taxi service ensured that people got home, before we headed home ourselves. The night ended with me doing my Jonny Wilkinson impression with a few of the empty bottles pictured in the post below. At 4am. Zzzzz.
Posted by as at Friday, July 09, 2004
The anglosaxy castle is deluged with bottles of mineral water these days. The empties pictured below, all 20 of them, were consumed in approx 10 days. Not that there's anything wrong with Israeli tap water, the mineral water just offers a 'cleaner' taste...It also seems to be getting cheaper and cheaper, now you can buy 6 big bottles for 13 shekels, which is almost $3.
Posted by as at Friday, July 09, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
I had a nice lesson earlier today with my new student. She's cute and actually quite good at English, even for a 10 year old. What's even better is that she lives 5 minutes away, while her mother has a whole bunch of friends who also have kids that need their English improving. Ker-ching!
I'm also considering doing a small summer school for August, trouble is there is a hell of a lot of things to sort out to get it up and running...I think I have enough kids to do it, it's just working out how to fill 3 hours 3 times a week with enough fun activities...Any parents out there sending there kids to a summer school type thing? How often/how long are they there? And, as I have no idea what to charge for this, what kind of price would you think is fair?
Posted by as at Thursday, July 08, 2004
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
I cannot believe this. With all due respect, I think 2 houses (worth a cool million each), plus 250,000 quid a year, plus extras for the 3 kids, is quite ample. Now the ex gets a third of his income for the next 4 years, on top of all the existing payments?? I shall be wearing my Romford Pele t-shirt in sympathy, especially on the news that Arsenal aren't going to be renewing his contract...time for a beer, Ray.
I'm particularly impressed with a BBC series they are running at the moment, (I'm watching it on Yes+) Canterbury Tales. This is a modern adaptation of the Chaucer classics of some 600 years ago. I remember studying them for English A level and not quite getting the same level of enjoyment...Anyway, catch it while you can, highly recommended. Though shame you have to wait for the reruns to catch the cracking episode with James Nesbitt...
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
I've just come out of a meeting with my boss where we had to review my professional, interpersonal and management targets for the coming year. Let's forget for 2 seconds that these three words do not belong in this company's lexicon. Do you know how hard it is to bullshit your way through this stuff when you have absolutely no intention of seeing them through?
This is what I should have gone with:
1. Professional: Let me see...leave the Tech Writing profession or at least this place.
2. Interpersonal: Mmmmm, how about a long email to my boss explaining that I've decided to take a year off travelling and teaching?
3. Management: Well, maybe I could manage my time a little better and spend more time down the beach...
More of this review stuff to come in the coming days as my boss gives me a yearly assessment. Last year's was a classic, there couldn't have been a worse review in the building (I was trying to get sacked). In my defence, the year before I was a very good boy. I can see that I have struggled to come in to this place for at least 2 years...think it's time some changes were made...
Posted by as at Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Monday, July 05, 2004
Hats off to Greece this morning, they completed their amazing run and beat the hosts in last night's final. If only I'd put a tenner on at the start of the tournament, would have reaped a tidy sum at 100-1 odds. :-(
I sat with a bunch of guys last night, all Israeli and all favouring Portugal. I was the only guy going with Greece. There's no doubt that Portugal are the better team, and that they play more attractive football, but Greece deserved their victory and I was delighted for them (maybe it's the Brit in me and the natural allegiance with the underdog?). Perhaps they can be an inspiration for the Israeli game? Look what a strong defence, organization and discipline can do for your team. You're right, I'm having a laugh. Just wouldn't work in Israel...
Also managed to pick up a new customer for English lessons during the game. Another cute 10 year old girl. But why did her mother have to call during a particularly active part of the game? Has she no shame?
Posted by as at Monday, July 05, 2004
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Tonight it's the final of Euro 2004. Greece v Portugal.
Do we really care who wins? Do we think it's going to be an exciting game? Nope to both.
Do we care about the imported Vodka red label and the BBQ promising a wouthwatering variety of meats? Yes we do.
Do we mind that the BBQ is two doors down and means I can have one or three more than usual while saving taxi fare (only one staircase will have to be negotiated)? Absolute-ly not.
And do we care about the men only invitations? Not a jot, my old china. Tonight is officially a WWW free zone. No women = no whining, whining, whining...
Posted by as at Sunday, July 04, 2004
Saturday, July 03, 2004
As we roll into July, the summer sauna kicks in. And us Tel Avivians are the ones who pay. Let me correct myself - us Anglo Tel Avivians are the ones who pay.
Tel Aviv and the rest of the central coastal area is always the most humid in Israel. Temperatures during the day often don't get so high, maybe averaging out at 32-33 degrees. However, the humidity is often the killer, reaching 70-80%. If you don't have air conditioning, you melt. It's as simple as that. My own personal favourite is stepping out of the shower and towelling down...within seconds you are wet again as the sweat glands start working overtime. Do you re-towel or run for the fan? Mmmm...
Now, you're probably asking yourselves why not stick the air conditioner on all day, right? We do have an air conditioner here, but the problem isn't me, it's mrs. anglosaxy. She's a native girl, with Iraqi-Iranian blood coursing through her veins. That means she sleeps fully-clothed with a big, thick duvet. In the height of summer. So whenever I stick the air conditioner on, she suffers. When watching TV, she can often be spotted sporting that same duvet, wrapped delicately around her shoulders. I can be spotted sitting alongside her, wearing, well, a pair of shorts and nothing much else.
Sleeping is the biggest problem. With the air conditioner banned at night, I have to work with a fan to get my body temperature down. But the sweet, cold air is not permitted to ruffle mrs. anglosaxy's duvet. That means I have to position the fan very carefully, otherwise my life won't be worth living, at least not for that night.
A couple of examples of what I go through:
1. Yesterday we did some weekend shopping at the local supermarket. Until the car's air conditioning kicks in, it's already time to get out and peel the t-shirt from your sticky back. I headed straight for the frozen products section and stayed there most of the time. I particularly love it when they have those clouds of cool mist shooting down across the various products from above. I would dearly love some of that at home...
2. The day before yesterday, took mrs. anglosaxy down to Banana Beach in Tel Aviv to enjoy the sunset and to celebrate her finishing one of her two Open University exams. After the sun had disappeared (approximately 3 seconds after), the shivers set in and we had to go. The temperature at the time? Approx. 25 degrees.
I'm not sure how other mixed marriages (Israelis and Anglos) work it, but I don't enjoy those sweaty July and August months, unless I'm beaching it. Dare I say it, I even enjoy coming in to the corridor of hell because of the rampant air conditioning...and if the corridor of hell is my preferred choice...
Posted by as at Saturday, July 03, 2004
Friday, July 02, 2004
I reckon I'd do a better job than most of those they drag on to Israel's Channel 1 for Euro 2004...look at my surprise team of the tournament tip before the first game even kicked off. Not bad eh? Greece. I reckon they now have a mighty good chance of winning it.
I have no idea who they have on the BBC these days but there's probably more than one Scouse scallywag. Esteemed forebear, can you put me right? Personally, I miss Frank Bough (pre-snort).
Anyway, us sorry England supporters may want this t-shirt...
Posted by as at Friday, July 02, 2004
Thursday, July 01, 2004
That's the number of emails currently in my Inbox.
I got my screen back yesterday, but am now going to have to plough through countless hot teens and viagra marketing pitches. Pure marketing genius...Any one recommend a good spam blocker, preferably a freebie? I even called my ISP to see if there was anything they could do, but all I got was: "If you find a good spam blocker, tell us about it".
Posted by as at Thursday, July 01, 2004