And so I got home Thursday night, and had a wonderful night, going to bed with the excited expectation of getting up and getting back on a train the next morning. Which we did. Some notes that I wrote:
Sitting in the train at Sderot – it feels entirely different going for a day trip – not so much excitement, and no fear.
Watching a giggle of girls at the foyer of the car desperately hpoing they go up. It’s a double-decker train with the wheelchairs and bicycles downstairs.
9:02 train leaving. The firls are upstairs thank goodness – we can still hear them perfectly clearly. We have the whole lower level to ourselves now.
It is still winter but starting to warm up a touch. Fields in all different shades of green and freshly ploughed fields the colour of terra cotta, or brown. We just passed Yad Mordecai. The scenery cannot compare with the most gorgeous places on earth, or even in Israel, but it is home and it is beautiful.
Slowing down for Ashkelon literally hundreds and possibly thousands of cars parked in rows and reflecting the sun. There is an old house with crumbling roof that is the old station house from British Mandate times. I hope I can go see it properly sometime.
Still between fields but now iwth the occasional factory or warehouse. Heading for kvish (highway) 4. — And there it is on our right.
Just pulled in to Yavne – Maarav (Yavne west) station. Realizing with a huge sense of relief we don’t have to change trains! Yeaaa!!! Can’t see much from the Yavne station platorm. Maybe another time.
Takana Rishon L’tzion Mosha Dayan appears to be underground but I think it is just the massive amounts of concrete everywhere. Yup, not underground – they built the actual station right over the tracks. I wonder why?
Bat Yam Commiyut likewise appears underground. Holon Wolfson has tall concrete walls but bright sunshine shining down anyway. Very nice looking station.
Long stop at Tel Aviv Mercaz. The only station in Tel Aviv we didn’t manage to get out and take a look at. It looks like a train station. 🙂
That’s the end of my notes, but the day was filled with fun and excitement. My youngest daughter Simcha joined us on that trip so there were four of us. We got off at the Rosh HaAyin train station, which is nestled in a corner of a meeting of highways. Years ago we lived just down the road, effectively, from Rosh HaAyin, and had been to the station and the shuk there more times than I can count so it wasn’t new ground. Still, the wheelchair made a difference as did not having a car. Leaving the station we found a taxi driver and asked for a ride to the shuk, haggling the price down from 38 to 30 shekels. Not any kind of a big deal, except that T(he) H(usband) despite almost ten years in Israel can’t haggle to save his life. Really he can’t.
The taxi driver turned in to the parking lot by the shuk where the handicapped parking is, thinking he would drop us there and leave, but there was an attendant at the entrance who argued with him – I guess the attendant was afraid the taxi would park there or something? *I* don’t know. It was in Hebrew and a typical Israeli interaction which left TH and the kids and I getting out of the taxi at the entrance to the parking lot furthest from the shuk. The taxi driver wasn’t happy about it, the attendant wasn’t happy about it, but we figured we could walk along the sidewalk and get there so why fuss about it.
Visiting the shuk was wonderful, both for the memories, and because we were there with no constraints, no list of produce we had to buy and get home in time to prepare for shabbot. We just wandered where we could – I took it as a sign if too many people were blocking a ‘street’ (the aisles between the stalls/shops) that we should go some other way. We listened to music, ate pastry, I found shoes I can slip on without help that fit and don’t hurt my injured toe. That is a long story, the injured toe, and not worth the telling. We bought a bunch of fruit and some veg and challah and pita and we found some packages of American bagels (that’s what the package says) and bought trays and trays of fried chicken and egg rolls and potato borekes and other things I don’t know the name of that contained chopped turkey and onion rings and chicken fingers. I’m sure there were other things but that’s a good representative sample.
We bought iced drinks, lemonana and coffee. Lemonana is lemonade with the herb nana, which is a mint. Very tasty.
We walked up towards the entrance to Rosh HaAyin trying to find a taxi back to the train station. Never found a taxi, but we found a bus stop and a bus to the train station was arriving shortly, so there we waited. The bus was more of a very large van. It was ‘handicapped accessible’ in that there was a piece of the floor which could be lifted on hinges and laid down to form a ramp. The person in the wheelchair has to sit backwards to use the seatbelts. I chose to sit forwards which required some extra maneuvering of the wheelchair but gave me a less unpleasant ride, even though I couldn’t face any of my family members who were riding behind me.
At the train station we took our chicken and eggrolls and borekes and, … and found a nice place to sit in the sun and have a picnic. The fried chicken is really excellent and is a reason to go to the shuk all by itself. My taste buds may be a bit effected by living almost ten years in Israel, but I have to tell you that fried chicken is not something that is easy to find here and so finding good fried chicken is no small thing.
We cleaned up after ourselves, entered the train station and boarded the train, heading towards home. We hadn’t been more than a few minutes along our way when an extremely upset train conductor came up to us asking if we had left bags behind at the Rosh HaAyin station. Forgetting your bags in Israel is extremely serious. There is too much history here of people finding bombs in wallets, bags, and even bread left lying around in places like busses and train stations. Son E was holding the bags with the picnic and the bread and had forgotten to take them in the dash to get me on the train.
Add to that we were on the last train to Sderot, and it was late enough on a Friday that we couldn’t just go to another bakery to buy the challah and pitot (pita, plural), and it was really a bit of a pickle. I thought quickly and asked daughter S if she would get off the train at the next stop, go back up to Rosh HaAyin to get the bags, and take the next (last) train from Rosh HaAyin. We had no idea how far that last train went or how we would pick her up. The train conductor’s brow cleared at that. The forgotten bags were no longer a problem, for him.
TH and E and I continued the ride back to Sderot with no further excitement but that of trying to figure out how we would manage with one car and very little time before sundown and my middle son wanting to be picked up from Netivot and TH and the food that we had needing to get home to have some time to prepare for shabbot and somehow having to be able to get S from wherever she was going to end up.
And I’ll have to finish this another day, as it is time to study Hebrew. L’hitra’ot,