After Joshs orientation, I dropped Jim off for work and took advantage of the sitter to make my first road trip out of Tel Aviv to Ikea. It was my first time driving alone in Israel.
Ikea was about a 20 minute drive from the apartment, so hoping it wouldn’t be too bad. It took me about 40 minutes after making a wrong turn near the highway.
I realized right away this would involve my full attention to navigate the roads and watch my gps for directions. Many signs were in both Hebrew and English, but driving in Israel was not like at home. Drivers tend to be much more aggressive like in any big city and it was 100x the case here. Jim told me there was no being polite because drivers would not let me merge and change lanes without some type of aggression to do so.
Once I arrived at the familiar building except with Hebrew letters, I was not prepared for the chaos.
Like most places in Israel, there was a guard at the parking entrance to check everyone’s car trunk when they arrive. After entering the parking area, I noticed It was EVERY CAR FOR THEMSELVES in the massively crowded parking lot! I saw cars waiting for spaces only to get them snagged by another car who had driven up and had a better position to move in. People were laying on their horns at any delay in the traffic flow in parking lot. I drove around for about 20 minutes in this before getting lucky when one car was leaving right as I approached. Once inside it was just as busy. It was crowded but laid out similar to Ikea in the US. That made things easy to find. But there were many unfamiliar things unique to Israel and city living. I needed to ask about a few things that were not visible and learned many of the employees spoke little English. But, I was able to eventually find the light bulbs for lamps and other items. I could not find the larger ironing board on display and didn’t want to settle for the dozens of pint sized versions that were clearly visible. The beach bags on display were also no where to be found. So, I settled for a plastic blanket storage bag which got a few laughs from my sitter when I got home. But it still holds our beach blanket and all of Mika’s sand toys.
Check out was easy enough and I was able to cram everything into the tiny car we are renting.
Leaving the parking area was also an experience. In the end – mission accomplished! I’ll remember for next time this is not a trip done quickly or without a lot of patience.