Up early to catch the tram, right outside the door, to the bus to Tel Aviv, to the train to Binyamina, where Lilli came to pick up me and Suzi, the other volunteer who will be spending the first three weeks of my stay.
The trip was pretty uneventful, except that I had counted the tram stops wrong, got off one too early, had to wait 10 minutes for the next. The tram is beautiful, brand new, and free. But, according to Sofia, my “orienter” people don’t like it, because it took too long to construct and the construction was very disruptive, and because it only serves a certain small area( I am guessing a more well off area). That may be, according to Sofia, why they have made it free, to mollify people.
Lilli drove us the 20 or so minutes here to Umm el Fahem, gave us a quick drive around town, then brought us to the gallery and to our apartment, which is on the upper level of the gallery. It’s quite nice. There are two bedrooms, each with two beds, a small kitchen/dining room, and bathroom with shower. It’s air conditioned, great because it has been unusually hot. Best of all, the apt opens onto the roof, which at least at the moment, is also a sculpture gallery, part of the current exhibit. And the views of the city are wonderful, especially in tandem with the sculptures.
Said, the gallery founder and director, had had the fridge stocked for us; lettuce, avocados, peppers, scallions, tomatoes, limes, yogurt, milk, cheese, more pita bread than we can eat in a week, and left bowls of fruit on the table – apples, much tinier than the ones at home, huge pomegranates, bananas, oranges, grapes.
Yesterday, they treated us to lunch, which is the big meal here. I ordered a plate of spicy fish in a delicious sauce, and there was a buffet salad table. The owner said he’d bring over the salads, and brought us huge bowls to share, of rice, hummus, tahini, eggplant salad, tabouli, a cuke and tomato salad, pickles, I probably missed one or two. I’m afraid we left half of it. I hope someone ate it.
I will stop here, resume tomorrow to describe our longer drive around the city today, and our meeting to discuss all the things we will be doing while we are here.