Well folks, I landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv at 3.30 am this morning. By 5 am, Jackie our taxi driver had sped us back home to Ashdod. Here’s what has happened since then.
First we went to our favorite supermarket, Yochananov. With all the talk in the news about inflation in Israel and the high cost of dairy products, I expected to see sky-high prices on everything ($1=3.43 shekels today). First to the vegetables: tomatoes 1.99 shekels/kilo, onions 0.99 shekels/kilo, cucumbers 1.90 shekels/kilo. Then to the meat counter: a whole cut-up chicken 19.90 shekels/kilo, frozen slabs of tuna 28 shekels/kilo. Next over to dairy for a two-liter container of nonfat milk (17 shekels). . . I won’t bore you with other details, but the bottom line is that the cost of food is less than when we were here six months ago.
Then, we stopped at Cafe Joe for our favorite morning refreshment: a large (16oz.) iced cafe mocha for me (18 shekels), and a small one for my wife (13 shekels)–exactly the same price as in December.
Next, we started to drive back home–when sirens went off all around us. I pulled to the side of the road thinking that a MADA (Israel EMT/paramedic) ambulance was coming from some unseen direction. But, we had forgotten that the entire country of Israel is holding a defense preparedness drill today, with air raid sirens blaring at 11am and 4pm.
The idea is that everyone inside buildings or walking is supposed to hit the ground–and people driving are supposed to pull over, get out of their cars and hit the ground–so what happened? Nothing. Everyone continued whatever he or she was doing completely oblivious to the noise (because everyone knew it was a drill).
Finally, we got back to the house, where as I write, a squadron of F-16′s has just roared overhead after taking off a few miles away–half of them heading south to Gaza and the other half flying north towards Lebanon. This apparently is the second bombing run on smuggling tunnels in Gaza this morning following the Hamas firing of Qassams from Gaza at Israel last night.
And it’s not even noon yet. Who knows what the afternoon will bring? Being back in Israel is being back in the center of life again–everyone on the go, everyone with a purpose, everyone doing something. From mundane activities like shopping for food to the far less mundane such as missile attack drills and roaring jets in the skies–you never know what is going to happen next.
I love it.