Wednesday, April 13, 2016

After you! No after you!

Five random immigrants to Israel meet at a bus stop: an older Ethiopian lady with several bags of heavy shopping, an immaculate elderly Argentinian couple with matching his n hers walking sticks, a middle aged Briton with a massive sack of toys and a young Indian man with what looks like a month's supply of eggs.

The bench at the bus stop only seats three.
Cue ten minutes of "after you" standoff as all five try to insist the others must take the seats, even though not everyone even speaks Hebrew well enough to argue with more than hand gestures.

Resolution: the three women sit, but they budge up so that the elderly Argentinian can sort of squeeze in with his wife with his tush half off the seat while the Indian stands nearby and the two men exchange complements about each others' impressive handlebar mustaches in a mix of broken Hebrew and sign language.
Would have made an amazing Gashashim or Hamishiya Hakamerit skit.*

* veteran Israeli comedy groups

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Overheard in the waiting room

At the doctor's office today in the waiting room there was an adorable elderly Yemeni couple sitting together. She wore amazing silver filigree jewellery and a colourful headkerchief with a simple long black dress. He had traditional style peyot. He had his arm around her and she had her head resting on his shoulder. So so sweet, but I didn't want to intrude and ask if I could take their photo, much as would have loved to, would have made a beautiful portrait.

Everything was delayed because the doctor had been called out on an emergency, and things could have turned ugly had it not been for the good humour of the secretaries and patients combined even as the waiting room got more and more crowded as the delay continued for several hours.

Entertainment was provided by the automated checking-in system which decided to give certain people several numbers in a row, spitting out paper slips with numbers on them so fast that I was looking around the candid camera.

The lady who got the numbers jackpot turned to me with a smile, her hands full with wads of paper and said "See, it's dishing out bouquet's for yom tov!" Someone else called out "How often do you get extra for free, enjoy the perks!"

Just as things were finally starting to move another elderly couple emerged from one of the treatment rooms. He was tall, bearded and stately in old fashioned Bedouin robes and artfully draped headcloth. She wore an exquisite hand-embroidered traditional Bedouin women's dress covered in intricate cross-stitch designs, an older style one you don't see often today because they are so labour intensive to make, her head covered with a fine white damascene headshawl.

After the cute elderly Yemeni couple finished with the doctor they blessed every person they passed on the way out. "Good health and a speedy recovery" to the bald woman who'd just finished chemo. '"You should have an easy birth and much joy from your child" to the pregnant lady. "Next year you will hike Masada and run a Marathon" to the man with a bandaged leg. And so on.

Just as they were heading out another couple emerged from one of the treatment rooms, this time elderly old school Bedouin, he in stately robes and artfully arranged white headcloth, she in magnificently heavily embroidered traditional dress of a style not often seen today because it is so labour intensive to sew the intricate tiny cross stitch designs.

The nurse wished him refuah sheleimah (complete recovery), and he turned to the whole room and in very elegant Hebrew without a trace of an Arabic accent, blessed everyone in the waiting room with good health, good tidings, happiness and pride and pleasure from their families - and hag sameah (happy holiday).

His wife whispered something to him in Arabic, and he added "and a happy and kosher Passover to all".