Last week my friend Ben, from Toronto, came here for a visit. One evening we were sitting down for a beer at a pub, and we entered a conversation which was, in retrospective, quite predictable. Ben made Aliya a few years ago; having made Aliya, he understands all the difficulties and nuisances I experienced in the first month or so here. He was eager to hear my input on those experiences and sympathize with me, and I was eager to receive a reinforcing response from him, like “yeah man, the same thing happened to me too”.
That is exactly what happened. Very predictable.
For example, I mentioned my search for an apartment. It lasted almost a month and a half. In Toronto it never lasted more than a week. Anyways, being used to a certain standard in Toronto, I was surprised, and sometimes very annoyed as well, to find that apartments for rent here, more often than not, don’t include an oven, stove and a fridge. In Toronto, I took it for granted. Here, you’ll find an apartment with those appliances only if you are lucky, or willing to pay more.
As I was telling Ben all this, it was like he already knew what I was going to say before I knew it :)
He stopped me and said:
Yeah, it’s like “what do you mean there is no stove in the apartment?!? Where the hell is it?”
In my apartment, there was only a fridge, and even that was in there because I insisted, and the landlord had a spare one to put in. Other than that, it was bare. No furniture at all, except for a built-in closet. My apartment is not in a building, but even if it was, there wouldn’t have been any laundry room in the basement, let alone a basement at all.
Next there was the issue of the washroom. In many apartments here, the washroom is so small that you can’t open its door all the way in, because it is blocked by the sink. In my apartment the problem is somewhat different. The sink doesn’t block the door, but it is intrusive nonetheless. It is kind-of in-your-way when you sit on the toilet seat. I won’t go into the details here, I let you see for yourself. If you look at the picture, you’ll see not only the the sink is really close to the toilet seat, but also the shower itself is pretty damn close as well.
In case you are wondering about the two hoses that are on the floor, that’s because the washing machine is working now (needless to say, many, if not most, apartments for rent here don’t have an appropriate fixture for a washing machine).
I’ll finish at this. That’s all I have to say about apartments so far. Lets keep at this for now.
In other news, I sold the crappy bicycles to the highest (and only) bidder. I bought new bicycles, from a store in Tel Aviv, and I am very satisfied. I am riding them to work almost everyday now, and it’s fantastic :)