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Rain is the new snow

October 8, 2010

While I was sitting at the bank this afternoon once again trying to explain why I had a legal paycheck to cash but no Israeli ID card and therefore no legal way to have an account, there were deafening peals of thunder followed by a torrential downpour. Immediately the relatively heavy traffic outside became frantic, cars honked at each other even more prolifically than usual, and a few moments later the power went out.

An entire modern, well-manicured city was taken out by thirty seconds of rain. As someone from a place where even 16-year-old drivers know how to keep their composure when faced with three feet of snow or black ice, let alone a little thunderstorm, the hysteria was entertaining.

After only minutes the streets were flooded by runoff, and I walked the two blocks back home in ankle-deep puddles on the sidewalks (my in-laws would have picked me up, but their car was stuck behind the electric security gate of their parking lot and it took a while to figure out who had a key to open it manually). The power was out for hours in the city center, though thankfully the traffic lights were back on sooner than residential power. And surprisingly, according to everyone, this happens every year over and over again. It only takes a few drops of rain to short out most electrical stuff, and due to the notorious shenanigans that the monopolistic electric company gets away with, no one ever fixes anything — though employees continue to be paid an average of 26,700 shekels a month ($7,400), naturally.

Granted, it hasn’t rained in half a year, and a heavy shower makes Israelis drive even more poorly than usual, though who can blame them when the traffic lights shut down? The last storm like this wasn’t since last winter (“winter” being the only word available to describe the brief period of pleasant 60-degree weather during parts of December and January). But in a country with such sophisticated and innovative irrigation technology, and in a country that prides itself on being very high tech friendly, you’d think the infrastructure necessary to keep the nation running smoothly would be up to par.

It looks like rain-induced blackouts and flash floods in the streets are two more things to add to the list of what it would be nice to focus on once the majority of tax dollars aren’t going toward defense.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    October 9, 2010 1:38 am

    It hasn’t rained in half a year?! Could you grow a cactus garden if you wanted to? And I simply can’t understand how RAIN can make the power go out . . . unless it was raining cats and dogs – or camels and …camels in your case. Kyle and I are going to start saving up for our big trip next year (as long as his car holds out a little bit longer). I can’t wait to go to the travel agent and tell them that our itinerary will be NYC, Ireland, and Israel. Quite the combo. How have you been doing?

    • October 9, 2010 9:07 am

      Ireland is even more anti-Israel than usual since the Israeli government deported Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire last week for flying here and pretending she didn’t know she was banned from the country for being part of the flotilla disaster, so there probably aren’t a lot of people looking to visit both places 🙂 It was definitely raining camels and camels, but it amazes me too that rain can make the power go out after literally 30 seconds and only a maximum of four camels. I will keep my fingers crossed that your car behaves and that you two can visit soon!

  2. Claire permalink
    October 9, 2010 1:58 pm

    I KNOW! I’m sorry you got stuck in the rain, and especially sorry that you lost power, what a pain! I think that growing up in the Midwest, where we have WEATHER, can be frustrating for exactly this reason. Early this year, before the sweaty sweaty summer that we just had, I saw quite a few Tel Avivians dressed for a blizzard on my bus to school: scarf, hat, mittens and even earmuffs. During my first year (heck, all four years) in California, I was SO confused when class was cancelled for rain. All I could think about were the snowstorms used to have to walk through to get to school in Illinois. We’re tough.

    • October 9, 2010 10:45 pm

      We are tough! Everyone at the bank was afraid to go outside, but I just marched right out into the rain and walked home. Granted the puddles were intimidating when armed with nothing but a pair of flip flops, but it’s just water — and pleasantly warm water at that! I miss weather, and if a power outage was the price to pay for variety, I’m not complaining 🙂

  3. October 10, 2010 6:17 pm

    Wow… you had blackouts?? Good for you for walking right out in to the rain! We didn’t get blackouts over here, but I was thrilled to see rain too after all these months! Everyone’s starting to talk about “winter” and I just laugh at them. I miss my Tokyo four seasons.


  1. 58 (After the rain | 雨の後) « much love, kaori – letters from Israel

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