Israelis are a lot like Italians. They have somewhat explosive tempers, but are some of the kindest and most loyal people you will ever meet. They just yell a lot. They’re both also, in my opinion, not the greatest employees in the service industry. To get a waitress’ attention you almost have to raise your hand like a fifth grader, but they never act embarrassed.
Yesterday at dinner, after 45 foodless minutes, Leah and I raised our hands for the waitress and were told that there was a mix-up and the waitress would go put the order in. About twenty minutes later, we noticed one of the waitresses literally crouching behind the bar chatting on her cell phone. Hilarious.
Today I went for a run to the park, which is beautiful and a blog of its own, and I panted up to a little café-stand type thing to ask for a glass of water from the tap.
“Ahad mayim?” I said with a big smile in my broken Hebrew, pointing to the sink. The man appeared furious, pointing to the big bottles.
“Oh!” I said, assuming he misunderstood, “ah…sink?” I repeated, still pointing.
“NO!” he yelled, throwing his hand down in a dramatic gesture, “I business!” as if I had asked for the recipe to his family’s long-held secret cookie recipe, which they were about to market for millions.
One of the keys to traveling is finding humor in everything, even the inconveniences. Even if it takes forever to get your food, you have the opportunity to get in a loud shouting match over a glass of water with a real-live Israeli. Live it up.
Author’s note: I wrote the post above in 2011, when I studied abroad at Tel Aviv University for a semester.