My New Vespa Flare,
Yesterday was my first drive into Tel Aviv on the ‘pa. I only went there with one aim: to look at the Marni Collection at H&M. I somehow ended up with nothing from that store, but a lot of little things from various others I wasn’t aware existed. To note, what was left at the store wasn’t worth all the buzz I’ve seen and heard about the [Marni] collection. It is overpriced, over sized, and cheaply made (-so therefore looks horribly cheap). They didn’t have any of the jewelry, so I can’t really say much about that side of the collection. (I admit to being a bit in love with the little white flower necklace, but wasn’t able to find it.) So instead of buying anything from there, I wondered around trying to only window shop. Of course that only worked for a brief second or so. I’ve been scouting the web for cute vepsa related accessories for a while but haven’t seen anything I couldn’t live without. Then I passed this one store and noticed a pair of cute shoes first, which drew me inside where my eyes landed on the collection of various vespa bags! I almost broke out into a happy dance because I’ve already seen so many of those bags online and didn’t think I would see them in Israel for sale- anywhere! I might have drove the sales guy crazy since I wanted to look closer at half of the bags till I found the one:
the one that must be mine,
It is cool, chic, and effortless. A brown washed leather with a few details placed around it as to get your attention but not outdo itself. I never really understood why women like bags with all that hardware. It makes the bag look cheap and bulky. You don’t need all that around to drawl in attention, or at least the attention you want. The bag should have been designed well enough to not need all of that ‘glitter and gold’. Perfect example being the Sofia Coppola LV bag.
It’s like buttah,
This bag is utter perfection and nothing shall surpass it. But that really isn’t a bag to take out on your scooter, so the new messenger bag shall provide the needed service for me quite nicely. I was using a vintage bag that I bought at a local (US) second hand store for under $5.00 and utterly love it also. If you weren’t yet aware: second hand stores are completely worth the patience and time you give to look through the mess. I miss these types of stores here, as I always seemed to find absolute treasures at the various stores back in the states.
My regular vespa messenger bag (from second hand store),
…and the driving in Tel Aviv?
I am sorry for getting a bit off topic in this post, but fashion is an important aspect of the Vespa Lifestyle. Just ask Kate Spade and the Vespa USA team. Now back to the subject at hand: driving in Tel Aviv. Oh yoush, silly yoush. Some background on my driving history: I have no issue with driving back at home and have even less of an issue driving in cities. Manhattan (even Mid-city) isn’t as bad as you hear it is to drive- but don’t try it. L.A. is a breeze, once you are moving. Chicago is so much fun and the 41 Highway is one of my favorite drives in the country. San Fran is almost a headache, but still somewhat manageable. I finally learned why the whole country hates California drivers after I drove around that city my first time. Point is that I can drive with the best of them and evolve/adapt to the driving style that the place calls for to survive. Even throughout Europe, the cities weren’t as bad as you would expect as long as you keep your cool and watch out for all those people on whatever mode of transportation they are using. (I have never drove in Amsterdam and I actually found myself having trouble walking there without almost getting killed- with trams, bikes, buses, cars, scooters, and whatever else people use to get around on-, so I don’t think I’ll ever rent a car there.)
So I was surprised that I felt a little (maybe more than a little) overwhelmed while driving in Tel Aviv. I think I even lingered in the mall more than I wanted to because I wasn’t ready to get back on the road. I don’t know why I felt this way. Was it the subtle aggression I felt from the other drivers? Or maybe I wasn’t sure of myself and everyone else seemed to exude confidence, so that affected my driving/confidence. (Of course it did, silly.) There were scooters everywhere (everything was everywhere, really!) and I even saw quite a few woman driving! BTW: Yesh. And finally! I was going to park how I usually park elsewhere, right in front of the mall, when I saw a little sticker that made it clear that that wasn’t allowed. I was surprised since, as I’ve wrote here before, it seems that just about anything goes for those on scooters- in terms of parking at least. (Generalization coming in, 3..2..1) Israelis kind of take advantage of a situation if they can though, so maybe the city had to enforce some kind of restriction before there was total anarchy. (You should have seen the pile of bikes. And, yes, I do mean pile! Hipsters.)
I didn’t even want to adventure into the city to look around more after I finally get back to the ‘pa and just headed back to the main road I came in on towards Rehovot. I am the kind of driver that needs to know the laws of the land and how to operate within those laws before I feel confident in my abilities. Driving a scooter is already pretty risky, so I don’t want to push myself when I’m not ready and take a chance when so many people are in every direction. There is also the fact that people are trying to speak with me and my Hebrew is sub par. I had someone trying to tell me something while we were both driving in heavy traffic towards TLV. (Um, really?) I think it was pretty important, but the whole thing was a big bust and he sped on ahead. I wonder if he would have done that if I were male? I kind of feel like that exchange wouldn’t have happened if I were a guy. As I’ve also noticed that being a woman on a scooter here makes you a bit more invisible to 4 wheeled cars than a man [scooter] driver. They are always invading my space (because there is space to claim and take I’m not occupying already??) that has been rather unsafe for me at least. Oy, people. Respect.
Then when I finally got on my scooter to drive, I had a green and starting going when a little kid just rode through his red, on his bike, while talking on his cell. I was so close to hitting him. By that point, I was ready to leave all that Hipsterdom that is TLV. I know it is an amazing city, but I’ve been to tons of those and lived in quite a few too. And something doesn’t appeal to me about it… but I’ll keep trying. Because everyone else keeps talking it up all the time. And I’ll go back for anther ride sooner than you’d expect, to give it another go and see what happens. Maybe someday my senses won’t be so outta whack when I’m there and double rainbows will appear in the sky.
P.S. I absolutely love, love, love everything that TLV stands for… but my tolerance for hipsters isn’t as good as it use to be.