A long, hot summer in the offing

Good morning, Israel

There’s a mousse loose in this house!

Well, here we are, at the end of the first week of July, and still only at the beginning of summer.  For the foreseeable future, daily maxima of between 29ºC (on a good day) and 32ºC or higher on a day that the gods have wish to punish us further, daily minima varying between 24 and 26º, which means uncomfortable nights, 70%-80% relative humidity, a blank rain radar map.  Uninviting?  Wretched? Well, whatever.

But here we are, ensconced here for the whole of this summer, which will terminate some time around October with a bit of luck or continue through to November if we continue to displease the powers-that-be, i.e.,  the meteorological gremlins.  This will be the first time in two decades in which we’ve been forced to stay all summer with no chance of relief for a few weeks in cooler climes.  I can’t say I’m enjoying it at present or looking forward to the rest of it over the next three months — not even a little bit.  By 8 o’clock in the morning, it’s definitely uncomfortable.

Hot morning in T-A.jpg

Drinks break, corner of Nordau/Ibn Gvirol, Tel Aviv , 08.14 hrs

Whatever.  

It appears that Tel Aviv Municipality is intent on weaning its residents from their dependence upon their automobiles.  Its method is not terribly sophisticated: just get rid of all parking spaces.  In the last post, I included three photographs of a former public parking area about 100m to the east of the house which has been designated for the construction of kindergartens and the like to reflect the changing demography of the neighbourhood.  This week I observed a similar process under way about 400m to the west although quite what has been approved for construction here is beyond my ken.  In total, these two transformations will have resulted in the loss of between 90 and 120 parking spaces (the variability of the estimate is a result of the haphazard and sometimes inconsiderate manner in which many Tel Avivians park their cars). Add to this the seizure of valuable parking spots and reserving them for car clubs and the like—apparently at the expense of spaces designated for the disabled—and one is forced to use bikes or public transport — or taxis, where it involves moving a wheelchair about.  

Another car park gone

Walking through Tel Aviv Port on Friday last week, one sees all sorts of interesting things.  For a start, there were lots and lots of pink ladies.

Pink ladies 1

And then I came across not a pink lady but a lady of a different shade and slightly flatter shape coming towards me from the opposite direction. As I’m always on the lookout for something photographable, and given that the woman in question was attempting to be discreet (well, I mean, look how her coiffure was preventing me or anyone else from identifying her), I decided that discretion is not always the better part of valour and went ahead and pressed the shutter button anyway. 

Discrete.jpg

The hydrant was, it seems, somewhat embarrassed by the whole event although for what reason beats me.

Shy hydrant 20

Coming out of the port, I passed one of the bistro/restaurants that had not yet opened for business but which had received its daily supply of 20 kilograms of chipped potatoes, which had been dumped on the footpath outside awaiting someone to claim them.  As I passed, I looked back, as it struck me that these might have been Irish potatoes although I doubt that they were and that the colours were purely coincidental.

Irish potatoes

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Exiting the park, I encountered one of the occupational hazards of street photography—or as I prefer to refer to what I do photographing the geography of the mundane. An d what could me more mundane than an elderly lady (or of you prefer it in plainer English, an old woman) about to cross the northern end of Dizengoff Street.  I watched her for a few seconds and then decided that I would point the camera at her and take this photograph.  As I had a rather large telephoto lens on the camera, I wasn’t exactly invisible so she must have noticed me.  And as we crossed paths a few seconds after I took the photo, the implement in her right hand became a weapon of war and was used as such, striking me on the right leg as she snarled at me: “Why did you do that?”.  I didn’t stop to explain as I really didn’t have an explanation or at least not one that would have satisfied her and I proceeded on my way.

woman with cane and rightly so

The following day, there she was again.  This time, I had an almost unnoticeable pancake lens (27mm wide angle) on the camera and photographed her for a second time, making sure to take a step to my right so as to avoid her, passing her on her left hand side.  However, she must have been a tennis or hockey player in her younger days because the stick was swished to her left this time and narrowly avoided catching me for a second time! She may not have noticed the camera but she certainly remembered me!  I shall have to be more considerate of the sensibilities of older people in future (some hope!).

woman w cane again

That was no joke and I haven’t really learned my lesson but one lesson I have learned is that sometimes when you’re looking for something interesting to photograph, it pays to look either upwards or downwards rather than straight ahead or sideways.  It was by looking down that I observed this cockroach scurrying across the footpath to relative safety before it was trodden on.  I’m not very keen on cockroaches and in Western culture, they are often depicted as foul and filthy pests but I must admit that they do display a certain survival persistence and I’m sure that after humans have finished ruining the world as we know it that the cockroaches will likely make a better job of it.

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Keeping my head down, a little further down the street, I came across what I can only describe as a very poor attempt at a joke.  Some years ago, the Municipality spent a lot of taxpayers’ money marking out bicycle lanes parallel to the footpaths and, where it was sufficiently wide, on the margin of the footpath itself.  On main streets, these lanes are  even signed with arrows indicating that the two-wheeled vehicles should follow the same directions as the motorised ones.  This was intended to separate bicycles and scooters from the pedestrians, thus avoiding unnecessary accidents.  And what has happened since to this municipal investment?  There has been a gross expansion in the number of electric scooters and bikes most of which appear to be operated by people who have noticed neither the directional arrows nor the warnings about fines for improper use.  These things are more dangerous that they might appear as they seem mostly to be operated by people who wish to see how close they can get to a pedestrian without actually making contact.  In addition, these things are virtually silent so one has little idea what is coming up behind you and usually the first warning is of the operator screaming into a mobile phone.  I have yet to see a rider stopped by a person in authority and given a fine, hence my conclusion that what has been glued onto the footpath was little more than a sad joke.  (By the way, 250 shekels is about £55 or $70 or just over €60.)

and for our next joke

Fine for riding here — so we do!

Scooter rental

Electric scooter collection park, Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv

Well-dressed cyclist

Well-dressed cyclist, Arlozorov Street, Tel Aviv

And while continuing my walk down Ibn Gvirol Street (to purchase coffee beans, if you really want to know although I won’t be in the least bit offended if you don’t), I passed a pizza joint which had invented a novel way of ridding itself on the previous evening’s uneaten materials.

Last night's pizza

Passing the fishmonger’s on the way home, I was fascinated by the artistic skills of one of the employees who had invented a novel way of displaying some of their wares. 

fish installation

As usual, a stroll through the Yarqon Park yielded its usual number of images, some interesting, others less so.  The gentleman in question was doing the right thing as far as he was concerned.  Back to the pathway, behind the bushes, &c., &c.  What he didn’t take into consideration was his visibleness from the opposite bank.  Had he realised his error, he might have been a little peeved as well as peed.

ICU

Others just use the park to prop themselves up for some light reading early in the morning.

The march of folly

Light reading material: Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly

Feasting

Some pigeons reckon that this is a feast worth fighting over …

… whereas others are confronted with the question of whether to share or not to share

To share or not to share.jpg

flower

On Pinkas Street, Tel Aviv

Illywarra

Illywarra Flame Tree, Brandeis Street, Tel Aviv

Red to yellow

Loud and Colourful.  Hayarqon Street, Tel Aviv

The Ginzburgs

The Ginzburgs are not too keen on visitors. Aristobulus Street, Tel Aviv

.

I am who I am

I am who I am.  Nordau Boulevard, Tel Aviv

 

 

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