February 11, 2008
I Hate Shopping in Israel Also! - Israel Trip 2008
To continue my documentation of my Israel trip, I'll pick up from leaving beitar. So we take a taxi from Beitar to Jerusalem with my parents. I know I am getting a good deal on that taxi ride because my brother or sister-in-law speak the language and if you speak the language, you don't get ripped off.
The guy drops me off at the hotel, the bellhop takes our piles and piles of bags (99% of it not being mine). They initially tell us our room isn't available but then a minute later, they said it was now available. So instead of leaving our stuff with the bellhop, he brings it up to our room. I give him some US dollars, which is now not worth as much as it was a year or two ago in Israel. We put our stuff down, I lock my precious laptop in the safe and we head to Cup O Joe for drinks and free WiFi.
I order something to drink and my wife does as well. I then pull out my iPhone and I see I can connect to a network for free. I connect and download emails to my iPhone. A guy then comes over to me and asks me if I was using an iPhone (the first of many comments on my iPhone while traveling in Israel). Oh, forgot to mention, Israel's airport as some sweet fast Internet, downloaded email there as well. We continue to drink, while I mess around with email - knowing that WiFi is a security risk but willing to take the risk at that time.
After Cup O Joe we go to both Geula and Ben Yehuda street to do some "shopping." That is where I found the touch of Google in Jerusalem, by the way...
I quickly learn that not only do I hate shopping in American stores, I also hate shopping in Israeli stores. I get this tiring and sick feeling going into a store, hard to explain. Anyway, as my wife looks for stuff to buy, I try to pick up free Wifi spots in town. The most popular network I was able to find was Unwire Jerusalem.
We go into a few stores and my wife buys some stuff from one of them. Now this guy is a smooth talker. Everything 50% off. I like you, this costs X but Ill give it to you for Y. No tourism, need to make a sale... Etc. Etc. The whole time my wife is saying, what a great deal and I am thinking, we are getting ripped off. In any event, thinking like that while on vacation is not healthy, so we buy some things, which in hindsight, were probably good deals.
Then I finally convince my wife to head back to the hotel. As we begin to walk back, we bump into my parents who are going to lunch. So, being frugal, I latch on and score a free meal at a popular restaurant in town. Then we all walk back to our respective lodges.
At that point, I sign up for a week's worth of Internet at the hotel. The hotel speed is grossly over prices and incredibly slow. I do some email processing, some feeds, etc and then I think we go out to dinner, just the two of us, at a nice place.
Anyway, I learned that day - that shopping in Israel also makes me feel ill.