Joining a gym ISN’T easy

Today was our second Friday in Israel.  I still can’t get used to Fridays being the weekend here.  It was also the first day we could sleep in late and forget our laundry list of things we still needed to do. Many stores, restaurants and all schools close early for Shabbat.  Today was also the day I decided to walk across the street to join the gym.

I was missing my workouts at Rally and I thought this would be key to getting me back on a regular routine.  It was also too hot during the day to run on the beach if I missed my early morning window.  Many people run at night when it cools down, but if I don’t do it before noon, it usually does NOT happen!   I’m definitely a morning exercise person.

A few of our Israeli friends belonged to a low cost gym I almost joined a few days earlier. A friend took me and it looked like it would meet all my needs. They were also running a special to join that day.  BUT, as I’ve learned quickly, most of the “deals” in Israel have to be done with an Israeli credit card. Surprisingly, many businesses don’t even take American credit cards!  Israeli credit cards are tied to an ID number that every resident has assigned to them. You need to give that ID number along with the the credit card when you make purchases. The ID number also applies to online purchases.  We tried to have our friend buy a television for us online because the price was much cheaper than the store.  Again, the American card would not work.  I think that was one of the many surprises we are learning LIVING in another country vs VISITING it. We needed to get our Israeli credit card right away!  We still had not made it to the bank to open a personal account, so we did not yet have an Israeli credit card.

This day, I didn’t care about credit card issue.  I was anxious to join the gym across the street from our apartment even if I had to bribe someone.  I knew this gym had had nice equipment, a salt water lap pool for Jim and a great kids pool for the Summer and Mika. 

They gave me a quick tour reaffirming everything I already knew.  It had a nice lobby that required a key to enter,

the workout areas larger than the one in Boulder.  The locker rooms were also nice, but the lockers required a lock and  I didnt see any towels.

After a long process explaining the memberships we got to the payment part. Again, it was a problem I did not have an Israeli credit card for the monthly billing. I was thinking I sat here for over an hour for NOTHING?  The manager came over to speak to me and we came up with a solution.  I would pay for the first month with my American card and that would give me enough time to get the Israeli card for later billing.  The process took almost 2 hours and although I was anxious to workout, i had to leave because my window was up and we were taking Josh out for his last dinner at home in an hour!

One comment on “Joining a gym ISN’T easy

  1. Same thing happened to us here. We paid our first payment in cash, tried one payment on our US credit card, and ultimately brought in checks from our new Israeli account because our Israeli credit card was still not working at the gym. At least it is all settled now, and I took a great pilates class yesterday and even did Israeli dancing there earlier this week.

Does this ring a bell? Have something to share?