Except for a short season way back in my college days, my public transportation experience was limited.
I’m from the burbs, and even downtown sees little public transportation. We all have cars. My city is a design of urban sprawl. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of blood pressure rising traffic jams, every city or town has one on occasion – even if it’s a mama duck escorting her little brood across Main Street or a loose cow planted in the middle of the road.
And then I went to Israel.
Although cars are plentiful, they are a precious commodity and not everyone has the luxury. Busses, taxis, taxi vans and trains serve the people. You want to get from point A to point B? Depending on the distance, you either hoof it or use public transportation. Everyone does it. It’s a way of life.
I spent my first Israeli adventure on a tour bus. For a newbie, this is the way to go. You gulp down your last shlook of coffee, hop on the bus and off you go for the day. Nice.
My first public transportation venture was on a taxi van with a friend. I watched and learned.
If you don’t have exact change, 5 shekels, you give the driver your money, sit down fast, because he’s already pulled back onto the street, and wait. He makes change and hands it to the person behind him. Depending on where you end up sitting, your change gets passed back to you via hands reaching forward and then back to the next person. It’s quite a fluid dance.
And your change? It’s all there.
Taxis are quite another story. Be prepared to live the phrase, “if you don’t like how I drive, stay off the sidewalk”.
My experience on a metro train happened on my last visit to Jerusalem with Hubster. Because they’re still a new thing, people are getting used to them. Israeli’s haven’t tackled the fine art of courtesy, so it can be a challenge, especially since they are crowded. Everyone wants to get on or off at the same time. And when the automatic doors close, you’d better have all parts of your person in or out.
On his way home from a busy day at work, he meets Joshua Josephson. And not only that, he invites him home to meet the family, have dinner and eventually lets him stay for a week.
Where will this encounter lead?
Marta Burden is a published author with stories in Inspire Anthologies, including Faith, Victory and Promise.
Drawing from her many visits to Israel, Marta seeks to bridge the gap between the Christian and Jewish world.
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