Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ups and downs

Yesterday began with great intentions.  I had the material printed to mail two proposals. I had directions to a copy place from my host (second time he gave directions--apparently the first time I had gone to the wrong place).  At eight-thirty I headed off to make copies and mail stuff.  And...the place he claimed existed didn't.  I walked all the way to the main post office, where an attendant asked if I wanted a number.  In my broken Hebrew, I explained that first I needed to make copies.  He sent me to a place near where I'd been before--which didn't open until nine.  So I headed off again, figuring that I'd go to the ATM machine and perhaps get coffee first.  But, of course, the place didn't exist. I wandered back and forth and up and down.  Finally asked a security guard.  Who sent me to the bus station.  This turned out to be wrong, but not as crazy as it sounds--there are lots of little shops in the bus station, as it turns out.  All of which were selling food, not copies.  Oh, and the ATM machine was out of order.
So, having struck out on all counts (no copies, hence no post office; no money, hence no groceries), I headed back home to feel lonely and grumpy.  Then I tried googling office supply in Akko.  Nothing. I tried Haifa. Nothing.  Finally found a chain in Israel, with a branch in Akko--at the fancy mall where I had previously bought paper.  Headed out again to the mall--which is worth a couple of pictures:

At the mall, the guard asked where I was from and, on hearing California, spent fifteen minutes explaining how he and wife were here from Florida and his wife, who is Portuguese, was lonely in the small village in which they lived because he had inherited four dwellings (houses? apartments?) from his parents.  I was happy to listen--both to English and someone else's problems.  The sales clerk at the copy store sent me to the photo shop where, Hallelujah!, there was a copy machine.  Which I couldn't pay for with my Visa card (the store didn't take international cards).  So back upstairs to find another ATM.  Finally, I had money and copies.
Back to the (branch) post office, where I took #80.  They were then serving #53.  So I sat back.  The place was air conditioned and there were lots of people to watch.  Two things struck me: first, that the lines were moving pretty quickly.  And second, that no one seemed to mind waiting.  The place hummed with conversation.  People sat in more or less relaxed poses.  Lots of different types, too.  Arab woman with tight pants and hijab.  Orthodox man with long tzitzit and knitted kippah.  Russian woman with huge torso and chicken legs. Children of various ages.  Old men and women.  It was actually pretty relaxing to sit and watch.
It took about twenty minutes before I was called, then another twenty to fill out the paperwork to mail everything.  But finally it was done and I headed by a bakery with really, really good rolls, then to the shuk to buy fruit and then back to get to work.  Which is what I did for the rest of the day.

This morning I was back to "running" to the sea and back.  Was out at 6 AM and back by 6:45.  I checked the distance: 5.7 km or 3.5 miles.  And I did it without walking.  I feel pretty damn awesome!

And now to writing for the rest of the day.

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