Monday, August 16, 2010

chutzpah, they say

Parking in Tel Aviv is a lot like Boston.  Dan has a resident sticker on his car, so we've been trying to park it on the street overnight to save the hotel parking fee on a 2nd car.  (I don't have a resident sticker yet, thanks to the bureaocracy at city hall, but that's a whole other story).

So tonight Dan parked in the short-term hotel spaces that are reserved for 20 minute in-and-out visits.  On our walk back to the hotel after dinner, we saw a great spot close by, so I stood in it, while Dan went to get the Explorer and bring it around.  This is where it gets fun.

Within 30 seconds a guy pulls up to within a foot of my legs.  When I didn't move (I kept reading a little brochure I'd picked up on the way home), he got out and started telling me how you can't reserve city spots (never mind that I've lost oodles of spots to other people doing the same thing here).  How did I know what he said?  Because he used English.  I think he figured I wouldn't know how it goes here, and so began the game of Chicken.  While he continued his rant, a jeep started to back into the spot from the other end.  He came within a few feet of me as well.  Not sure what the two of them thought they'd do if I actually moved.  But I didn't.  The first guy got back in his car, rolled a few more inches toward me, and sat there.  The guy in the jeep now got out and asked me what was up.  I told him I was parking here.  So he gave up and drove off.  Guy number 1, still there.  After another couple minutes of trying to engage me in a heated debate while I continued to ignore him, he drove off. 

Another minute passed, and a third car pulled up.  This one didn't get out or ask anything, just tried to pull in.  When I didn't move from my strategically positioned middle of the spot stance, he drove off too. 

Next came a woman, on foot!  She walked up, and started asking me in English if I speak Hebrew or English.  I ignored her initially, but she was persistent.  She said, "it is a big spot, for two cars, no?"  I said, "well, I doubt it.  We're parking an Explorer here."  She gave me a confused look.  So I stretched out my arms wide and said, "a big truck."  At which point she lost hope and walked away. 

Another minute passed and Dan finally made it around the one-way streets and pulled up.  Here they call it chutzpah.  I call it survival in Israel.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, eh?

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