It’s certainly not considered kosher, but I love driving around Israel during Shabbat/Saturday. 

Driving in Israel is already something most people, locals and foreign, will warn those wishing to get around by car to reconsider their decision. Even before I started driving here myself and observed others on the road from within a car, I noticed that people tended to drive a bit selfishly and without regard to anyone outside of their own vehicle. (A few of these drivers are okay, but a whole country of drivers with the same mentality is a burden.) Thus after a week of many close accidents with other vehicles (-just because you are on the road and not because you are driving crazy yourself), it is nice to have a break and have the roads all to yourself to enjoy. Thus, ani ohevet et zeh. Momosh, momosh, momosh.  (more…)

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Vespa Maintenance can be costly, y’all.

The above photo was running in the ad that I found back in late November of 2011 that brought this lovely machine into my life.  What I wrote back then about my concerns with the hassles of owning a vespa in Israel made me smile when I read it today:

“..trying to figure out if the vespa’s cuteness is equal to or more than the headache of being able to work out all the details of owning it. but it is so cute!!!”

It most certainly has been worth the hassel, even though sometimes I might not agree 100% when those events are happening in real-time.

Today was my first real service check-up and luckily I have found a decent service shop in Tel Aviv to take it to. I did go before, but nothing was needed then and they sent me on my way, with orders to return around the 10,000kms. This time I knew that I couldn’t leave without fixing something, as Roxy had lost a lot of  her spunk and wasn’t performing as well as I knew she could.  (more…)

Are You “Vespa People”? And the story of my first ride on Roxy.

 This week on the ‘ol blog, I am looking forward to getting back to some of the basics about owning a vespa and provide some information I could have found very handy right before I purchased mine. I plan on writing out a few detailed posts that I think will help those out there looking to own a scooter and aren’t sure how to go about it. The questions you forget to ask are often the questions you’ll most regret, so I plan on asking you those in a few of this weeks posts. The posts will include topics such as maintenance, figuring out what questions you need to ask yourself before you even start asking questions to a dealer, and how you can figure out if a vespa is a better choice for you over another vehicle in this time in your life.

 I will go through more of these details from the very beginning steps of someone who is considering their options and wants a better idea of the larger picture and how owning a vespa could help/hinder that picture. If anyone has any questions they would like me to try and answer about these beginning steps before ownership, please leave a comment or get in touch with me (izevel1923@gmail.com). I’ll also write a bit about my own shortcomings with this whole vespa ownership deal that I really wasn’t aware of at the time of purchase and now better understand. I wanted to start off these writings with my first drive on Roxyvespa, from Jerusalem, the day I bought her to show you that things do indeed get better.

My First Ride, in summation:  It was a decent day with warm sun overhead and little wind, considering it was early December. Once the guy (who I bought it) from left, I knew I was on my own and that made me even more nervous. I haven’t drove before in Israel and have only heard, and seen, how bad Israelis are at the whole driving thing. And here I was just going headfirst into this mess on a Vespa. Sometimes, it is just better to do and stop thinking and this was clearly a good place to apply that lack of logic.

For the longer version (for those keen on vespas),  Continue reading

Vespa Adventures: Oy! Pesach Driving.

Israel for Pesach? Advise: Stay away from the highways!

Driving during Pesach is only for the brave here in Israel and maybe those looking to catch up on their reading. Beware:

“Traffic jams were reported throughout Israel on Monday, in the first sign of what has become an annual nationwide gridlock ahead of the Passover dinner.”-From Haaretz.com.

For Israelis, Passover is usually a time for family travel, particularly those who are not observant and don’t mind missing the family seder. With the kids off from school for two weeks and most companies offering half days during the holiday’s four intermediate days, it’s the perfect time to take a trip. (College students and most military personal also get this time off, so basically everyone is everywhere and things are crowded.)  Continue reading

Vespa Adventures: The Ride Home, Via Poppies!

Ready for an Adventure?

On Saturday after spending the morning the Kadma Flower Field/Garden, we were driving back towards Jerusalem when I spotted a mass of red all of the sudden ahead of us. The colour popped so much from the otherwise green surrounding that it was hard to look away. As we drove closer to the field, I realized that it was in fact a dense patch of poppies that has overtaken a bit of this particular farmer’s crop and was providing those driving along the road with a very special treat. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get a good shot in the car and that trying to find a way in with the car was beyond pointless. (And I couldn’t ask my partner to do that after spending the morning already in a field of flowers.)

That is when I decided, to myself, that I would return on my way back from the kibbutz and do my best to get in. (It is, for all I know, private farm property but with all of the ATVs running around those lands, I believe any dirt road path is up for grabs to drive.) I know that I seem to get off on many flower tangents on this blog, but for me it is a very good way to slow down for a moment and really appreciate the life and beauty around me. Continue reading

Vespa Tetris!

What’s your next move?

Riding a scooter is akin to playing a game of Tetris: hand-eye coordination, spatial relations and meditation all rolled in one.

Once you realize that there is a relationship between traffic and Tetris, your perception of the landscape your driving with forever change. You’ll watch cars whiz past you and structures begin to form as you shape your own driving course to best suit the patterns playing out before you: you’ve started Vespa Tetris. Continue reading

Here is a video I put together to show the difference between Israeli stoplights and those in the states: 

The main difference here is that instead of changing between red and green lights with only a yellow, there is this blinking feature. The biggest difference is when changing from red to green, the red will stay and the yellow light will start blinking. After 3 blinks, it will be green and you better already be going before those lovely Israeli drivers behind you run you over. This is where I get a little confused myself, because in the states it can be dangerous to go full speed just after it turns green. People tend to run their red light far too many times than not back in the states. So I thought it would be safe to assume it would happen here too. The thing is that when you have the lights set of like this, people seem to not run them as much. Israelis do run red lights of course, although I haven’t seen this happen anywhere near as often as I did while driving stateside. (And they are be NO means “good drivers”. I’m pretty sure it is widely none how crazy Israelis are out on the roads.) So when I see that blinking light, especially during my first few weeks of driving here, I was waiting for that last person to come through their red and would wait till the green. Of course, this isn’t something the Irsraeli drivers tolerated so well. All I heard that first week was honk after honk after honk. Lesson learned. Continue reading