Happy Memorial Day, for those reading this blog in the states!

This is a day of honour, thanks, and remembrance for those who have served and for those who have been lost in battle.

I hope that your extended weekend has been a lovely one and please be safe out on the roads.

Yesterday was also the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, so there was a great deal of dairy-type foods around the dinner table this past weekend. So many holidays! I don’t understand how so many people here are so tiny with all these holidays and the foods that come with them.  I know I’m not as tiny as I was when I arrived last September.

Preparing for Summer Rides: 

As it is basically summer now for most of us, be sure if you own a vespa(ECT.) to keep in mind the harshness of the sun during your rides out. Today I was out on a morning ride and found a field of sunflowers to shoot. When I was done with the photos, I felt effects of heat exhaustion and had to rest in the shade for about 30 minutes before I felt okay to drive again. (This was after drinking water and re-applying sunscreen, while shooting the photos. High for today is 37°C in Rehovot! Whew.) I’ve never been so thankful for those random Israeli Bus Stops in the middle of nowhere than I was earlier today. They are so random!

This Israeli sun is fierce and doesn’t play around no matter what you are doing, so remember that if you plan on doing traveling here in Israel during the summer months (starting around mid-May through October).

 A good, basic list of things to keep with you on summer rides:

  1. H2O! Water, y’all. Don’t leave your house without at least a good amount of water. I try to at least have about a liter on me, when I go out on rides outside the city.
  2. Cell Phonefor the unexpected at basic level. Don’t forget your cell phone on rides, more so if your out solo!
  3. Gloves, not only to wear as protection gear, but the tops of you hands are constantly exposed to the sun. Sunscreen will help, but the sun (after some time) will begin to burn your hands.
  4. SunscreenDON’T leave home without it if you are going for a longer ride. Bring it regardless of what you are wearing and even if you have darker skin tones that can take more sun. The areas that people forget about when applying sunscreen and often get burned are: the back of the neck(somehow always gets burned), behind the ear-neck area, the upper chest area, “T-Zone” on face, top of your feet (if open shoes), and top of your hands. The top of the feet section is one that a lot of people forget about, so if you are going out of the city for a longer ride and have open shoes, make sure to rub in that sunscreen everywhere. ALSO: the tops of your legs, above your knees. Depending on what you are wearing, this part of your legs with get a lot of sun on rides also.
  5. Sun Glasseswhatever kind works best for you. Riding facing the sun or as the sun rises/falls will present some visual difficulties and you will want to make sure that you are always able to see what you need to see. Whatever works best for you and allows you to comfortably see all that you want to see while driving is good enough for me.
  6. Helmet, one word: Bugs. There are more bugs in the air during the summer months and they hurt your face. A full face helmet might be too hot for you, but try to get a helmet that has a visor that protects at least till your chin area. Trust me that a big bug hitting your face at those speeds isn’t fun.
  7. Tissue or towel, this item is good to have around if you like to clean up during rides. Stuff gets on your face when you ride, depending on your helmet. Tissues help with this. Those wet towelettes are great way to cool down and clean off at rest stops also.
  8. Little snackthis isn’t a must but you never know if you’ll get hungry. Depending on the length of your trip, not as important as the others.
That is my basic list of things I try to always keep in the vespa seat bucket out on rides, beyond what I keep in my bag of course (insurance, driver’s license, ECT.). All of this usually fits, with room to spare, in the seat bucket and doesn’t get too hot from the engine. It really isn’t that much once you pile it all together and shouldn’t take up that much extra space, so bring it along!
Is there anything that you would add to the list that you find useful out on summer rides? Share the wealth below in the comments, as your tips might help other riders as well.

Happy riding, everyone!

Oh, the locals. Always a pleasure. Or at least, an experience. 

Israel is such an interesting place to live and just when you think you’ve moved beyond the culture shock and finally understand the local customs, you realize just how much you’ve left to learn. Read further down for further “Israeliness”. Plus, check out a personal little blurb from me down at the bottom. Soak it all in and then have a lovely weekend indeed, y’all.  (more…)

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

Happy, Happy Holiday! Or, Friday.

Sorry I haven’t been around much this week, as it has been a busy one to be sure with the whole Pesach thing here in Israel. (As a friend said it best, ‘Tzipporah, 1: Chametz, 0.” Ha. Of course, I didn’t really clean and left many bread crumbs scattered about. So my score would be more like: Me, .3: Chametz, 1,934.7.)

Anyway for ALL of you out there,

I hope you have a happy and lovely Friday and weekend!  Continue reading

Vespa Adventures: Purim Parade in Holon 2012, The Adeloyada

This gallery contains 28 photos.

The Adeloyada, The country’s largest Purim parade marked its 20th anniversary this past Thrusday in Holon, Israel. This year’s theme was “Tastes of Childhood”: with around 6,000 disguised participants and many colorful floats that displayed everything kids love to eat, from ice-cream to lollipops to hot dogs, marching to the rallying cry of “Ochel, kadima ochel”… Read more.