(Joel, I responded to your last comment by putting a comment on the last post)
I know in this PC loving culture of ours ‘differences’ is not a word people like to use. It happens to be true, though, there are differences between people, people groups, cultures…. So, this post is going to be about some of the differences Bryan and I have experienced here in the land of Israel. (There are also numerous similarities- people are people wherever you go)
The food. As you can see from the picture above even the same product has a different look to it sometimes. You can buy milk in a regular 1/2 gallon, or you can buy it in a box or even a bag. We usually get the box because it’s cheaper. However, when we want to drink milk we splurge and get the 1/2 gallon because it tastes closer to what we know. The Challah bread you can see is the braided bread. We normally buy pita instead of loaf bread even though they have it. The pita is fresher and cheaper. Fresh pita is the best! We get 10 pitas for 5 shekels- $1.25. The pop comes in 1.75L bottles. That .25 L is just too much I guess. The round bread is another type of bread we like to splurge and buy. It has spices on it. We also buy a bread that has black olives on it. The olives are salty and the bread is sweet. It’s also round. I love it! The apple, cucumber, and yogurt you know. The blue bag is cheese. The chocolate pastries we buy for dessert 🙂 We only eat 3 of them a night (per person) when we get them.
Grocery shopping. We go to the Shuk. I keep telling myself to get a picture of it, sorry. It’s similar to an open air market. Instead of trinkets, however, you have food, cds, clothes, toys, shoes, nuts, spices, cleaning supplies…. Whatever you need is probably somewhere in the Shuk. Each stall specializes in something. Some are veggies, other fruits, some nuts, some spices, some breads, some cheese… There are little grocery-store-type places where you can get milk, yogurt, cereal, juice, pop, eggs, cheese- things like that. The veggies, pita, and fruits are incredibly cheap and fresh in the Shuk so a lot of people like to shop there. It’s always hectic.
Salads. In Israel the idea of salad is to take cucumber and tomatoes, slice them up, put a little olive oil on them and call that a salad. FYI- in case you ever come and order a salad that’s the norm here. Some places have ‘normal’ salads but not a lot.
Cleaning the floors. Since there are no carpets here Hoover would not have a lot to do. The tiling or stone floors are cleaned in a unique way. First, they took a squeegee and put a long handle on it so you don’t have to bend down. You pour water on the floor and use the squeegee-type device and push the water around the floor. After that you shove the water out your front door or onto your deck if you have one.
The shops. They are completely open to the streets. There are no doors. It’s more like this big hole in the side of the wall that has a garage-door type thing you pull down at night to lock it up. The stores are pretty small too. Each store (similar to the Shuk) specializes. Some are kitchen products, others clothes, coffee shops, Falafels and Schwarmas, computer products, ice cream, shoes, cds, hair and body stuff…. Each morning they open up their shop and pull out bins of products and put them on the side walk. Yes, it gets pretty crowded. Each night they pull the boxes back inside and lock up. There are products both on the sidewalk and inside the store. It’s kind of like when a store back home puts out some of their racks outside their doors to interest people. Only these products are outside every day here. I am amazed more things don’t get stolen because it would be so easy!
Those are just a few of the differences we have experienced while we’re here.