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Archive for December, 2010

Pizza

I like mushrooms and extra cheese on my pizza. Pretty simple, but that’s what I like.  My children do not like mushrooms nor do they like extra cheese; they just want a plain cheese pizza.  How can you have too much cheese on a pizza?  My wife seems to think that having only mushrooms is boring, because she often gets pizza loaded with veggies.  Fine. Different people like different things, but it all seems pretty standard.

It seems reasonable that there should be regional differences in pizza toppings.  For instance, Hawaiian pizza has pineapple slices. Fine. So what odd toppings are available on pizza in Israel?

All the “normal” choices are available and seem to be popular.  Corn is also a popular choice (although I haven’t tried it).  There are a few other odd or strange choices (which I also haven’t tried.) Im not afraid to try them — they just seem uninteresting.

Having said that, all the topping options seemed generally reasonable until I discovered… sunny side up eggs cooked on the pizza. Curiously, this is a disgusting enough idea that I strangely feel somewhat compelled to try it.

Yummy -- eggs cooked on pizza!

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Categories: Food, Israel Tags: , ,

The Driving Test

Watch out… it looks like I’m getting a driver’s license!

Okay, so it isn’t that awesome — I’ve been driving in Israel for four months using my license from Maryland.  I can use the foreign driver’s license for only one year; now I’ll be able to drive in Israel for at least another 10 years.

To get the driver’s license, I first had to have my eyes checked with an optician.  This only took about 5 minutes.  I was given an official looking green form that specified (I think) that it is safe for me to drive with glasses.

Next, I had to go to my doctor to have the form filled out.  The doctor is supposed to specify any medical conditions that may impair my driving.  I’ve never met my doctor. I picked him on a recommendation and this would have been our first meeting. I picked him, in part, because he speaks English; however, he was on vacation and I met with a substitute doctor. The substitute doctor, of course, did not speak English. We stared at each other for about ten minutes. There was a crude attempt to communicate. I think she may have asked if I have diabetes. Anyway, she eventually decided that I was in good health and checked all the boxes in the “no” column. A few official stamps and a signature on the green form and I was done.

After getting the doctor’s approval, I had to travel to the Ministry of Vehicle Licensing to get the green form approved for the next phase. This simple service is only done at the district level offices. In addition, it is only done on Monday and Wednesday between 8:30 and 12:30.  After a 45 minute drive and a 30 minute wait in line, a clerk stamped and signed the form in three or four places.

The next step is the driving test.  However, to take the driving test, you need to be certified by a driving instructor. I found an instructor in Ra’anana who is originally from Great Britain.  He is a former Israeli police officer and a former driving test evaluator.  I took a lesson with him and he explained everything I would need to know for the test. For instance, I drive automatic cars using my left foot on the brake. That may sound strange since most people use the right foot on both the gas pedal and the brake, but that’s how I do it. My instructor informed me that it is illegal to break with the left foot in Israel.  If I do it during the driving test I’ll fail.

He went over all the basic laws and basically treated me like I had no clue how to drive.  I was tempted to argue with him on a number of topics (like breaking with my left foot), but what’s the point?  Turning right on red is also illegal in Israel.  He is pretty sure that the only reason why it is still legal in most US states to turn right on red is because of the existing infrastructure — it would cost too much to change it!  I really wanted to explain that turning right on red just makes sense — it allows traffic to flow without adding much risk.  The biggest risk is probably the risk of hitting pedestrians.  The cross-walks here are always full of pedestrians, so turning on red is impractical anyway.

Anyway, I took the test. It was pretty stressful. There were two other students in the car and we all took turns. I went first and my drive was by far the easiest and shortest. At first, I thought this must mean that I’m such an awesome driver that there was no point in testing me any longer. Later, I discovered that I actually committed a driving violation and that I could fail the test as a result, therefore, perhaps my test was short because there was no need to continue the test. What did I do wrong?  I approached an intersection and the road that I was traveling on turned into a one way road moving against me (so I could not drive straight).  I also could not turn right (because there was no road to the right), so I turned left. Oops. The road that I turned on to was also one way and, although I was heading in the right direction, I turned into the right lane instead of the left lane. The truth is, I didn’t realize that it was a one way road!

Apparently it was not a major concern because I passed the test. My instructor is handling most of the leg work which is really nice.  He is supposed to cough-up my temporary license this week and then the permanent license should arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks.

Categories: Israel Tags: ,

Four Months

I have now been living in Israel for almost four months.  I’m busier than ever trying to get things normalized.  Why the rush?  I’m hoping to be working soon and I’m trying to get things in order while I have the time.

We spent four days in Eilat last week.  Eilat is the southern most city in Israel. I was very happy to go to Eilat because it was starting to get cold here in Ra’anana.  When I say cold, I’m talking about less than 20 degrees!  I actually need to wear a jacket at night. I think 20 degrees Celsius is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  Eilat was a lot of fun, but it was also cold there at night.  I don’t think the pool was heated, so we only used it a few times.

Our hotel in Eilat

While in Eilat, I went SCUBA diving for the first time in about 15 years.  I stopped diving because of an ear injury — I wasn’t sure if I could equalize properly.  I was on a forty minute dive at a maximum depth of about 28 feet, so I think my ear is okay.  I’m going to try and add SCUBA to my list of activities.

I’ve been focusing my attention lately on getting an Israeli driver’s license.  Because I’m already a foreign licensed driver, the process is pretty simple — I think it is a 12 step process.  I’ve been working on it for three weeks and I’m already at step 5!

I find that when I have too many things to write about, I tend not to write about any — too many choices! I’m going to do battle with this problem and try to write blogs more often.

Categories: Israel, Trips Tags: , ,

How am I doing?

Thanks for asking!  I’m doing great.  What’s not to like about a half-year vacation in a warm, sunny, beautiful, seemingly peaceful environment.

Well, there is the fact that it’s not really a vacation — technically, I’m unemployed.  Then again, it seems like 20% of Americans are unemployed (or underemployed) and at least I’m living on my own earning in a beautiful setting. At least for now, I’m not partnering with the Government in thievery.

It has been very sunny… except at night (of course).  That’s really not such a good thing.  There has been a drought here for five or six years.  Islands are starting to appear in the Kinneret (you know, the so-called Sea of Galilee) and that’s not a good thing.  Pray for rain!

Although it is seemingly peaceful, I assume it is still true that every bordering country is just waiting for the opportunity to kill everyone here. Since I cannot understand the news, I don’t seem to notice it.  In fact, I’m totally at peace oblivious to whatever is going on around me. That’s probably not a good thing.

Anyway, I have a job interview and I’m late.  That’s also not a good thing.

Why am I late? Because I’m writing this silly blog. So this is the end for now!

Categories: Israel Tags: ,
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