Two for the Price of One

Only in Israel is a movie theater exit simultaneously the entrance and exit to a nightclub.
The movie ended, and we headed toward the exit. The exit was a winding staircase that, instead of leading back into the lobby of the movie theater, led directly outside. As we arrived to the end of the staircase, we noticed a crowd of young, attractive Israelis waiting impatiently behind a barracade, harrasing the bouncer and selector in front of them. At once I realized we had not only exited a theater, but were also leaving the entrance and exit to a popular nightclub on Dizengoff. My question was whether or not these clubgoers were under the impression that we were leaving the club.


Name Calling

Only in Israel are you sunbathing on the Mediterranean beach only to be startled by the voice of an anything-but-tactful lifeguard singling out the unruly beachgoers.
Being that the Tel Aviv beach is overflowing with people both on the sand and in the water, there must be a convenient manner for the lifeguards to grab the attention of the particular person they are trying to correct. This includes shouting over the megaphone statements such as, "You, the donkey in the black shorts..." or when speaking to a young boy regarding the trouble he is in for being unsafe in the water, "I just overheard what your father told you, and it sounds like you should really listen to him because if not, oyvavoylecha." People watching and lifeguard listening equals pure entertainment at the beach.


Drum Roll Please

Only in Israel are you jogging at gym when an unexpected drum circle forms in front of you and the sound of drums begins to resonate.
It seems as though it was a coordinated surprise put on by the manager of the gym in order to entertain the workout-goers. Well, not surprisingly, those working out barely acknowledged the drum players. Rather, earphones remained in ears, workouts were carried on, and a scattering of smiles and sneers were directed toward the players. I, on the other handed, wanted nothing more than to break out in dance to the beat of the drums. Instead, however, I only dreamt of such things. I respectfully removed my earphones to give the drum players a bit of deserving attention.


No Meter Running

Only in Israel do taxi drivers oftentimes refuse the business because they would rather not activate the fare meter.
Many cabdrivers would rather offer you a price made up on the spot (usually of higher price thanwould be payed if the meter was running instead) than have activate the meter, receive the fair amount of money, and have to pay the legal taxes for which a cab driver is required.


Only in Israel are you en route to your nearest bank branch when all of a sudden you notice that both pedestrian and vehicle traffic are at a stop, and that there are barricades and police cars surrounding the area around the bank. Only then do you notice the intricate-looking robot carefuly examining an unidentified bag left on a bench.
A girl on her bike stopped beside me and asked, "Oh, is it an unidentified bag?" in an annoyed tone of voice, obviously having experienced such an event multiple times. Those around me seemed bothered by the need to wait in safety while this possibly bomb-filled bag was checked. I, on the other hand, was rather grateful for the precautionary search.


Shots on the Horizon

Only in Israel are you attending a beautiful outdoor wedding only to hear sporadic outbursts of (practice run) gunfire shots coming from the navy seal base nearby.
Please keep in mind that the wedding ceremony and reception were on the seashore and that I was mistaking the gunfire for music. I would also like to note that I was not afraid....it sounded far in the distance.


Construction Zone

Only in Israel do people move construction barricades in order for their spouses to be able to park in a construction zone.
There is a serious lack of parking availability in Tel Aviv but that's no excuse for potentially having your car bulldozed.


Playing Doctor

Only in Israel are you at the hospital and asked by the nurse if you want to get an iv put in or not. I was not aware that I had a degree in Medicine.
After the iv was haphazardly removed, I was released from the hospital with blood and liquids dripping down my arm.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Only in Israel are you welcomed back to the country with hugs and kisses from your friendly owners of your past frequented convenience store and shwarma stand.
I would like to point out that they are both Israeli men in their 50s. I was also asked by one of the shuk salesmen and a home-goods store owner where I had been for the past year and why I had not come to visit them.


Free Spray

Only in Israel do you go up to a store counter, pay for a boxed-up perfume, only to have the cashier open up the box, take out the bottle, spray a a squirt on her wrist and proceed to tell you that it is one of her favorite scents.
It was an inexpensive body spray but that's beside the point.


Workout DJ

Only in Israel will you find a dj spinning techno music at your local gym. I was unaware that gyms are, in actuality, disguised dance bars with fruit shakes replacing alcohol and running instead of dancing. Thankfully, I'm all for techno but for those who are not, it's pretty unfortunate. On a completely different note, I'm pretty sure men don't go to the gym in Israel to workout those muscles. I think they may see gyms as a pick-up bar.
Other music played at gyms includes house, pop, house, and pop.

Rum Raisin Yogurt

Only in Israel do you find rum raisin-flavored yogurt in the supermarket refrigerated section. Never crossing my mind that such a flavor would exist, I did not bother to read the words on the label and only glanced at the picture of raisins. Next time, I'm reading the label and checking it twice.
Other yogurt flavors include passion fruit, peach, pineapple, cappuccino, apple cider, kiwi, and good 'ole strawberry.


The Return to "Only in Israel..." Days

It's all coming back to me: heat, humidity, sunshine, flies, chutzpah, shouting, shoving, veggies, meat, oh, and the driving. I'm back in the "Land of Milk and Honey". Wait, scratch that. I'm back in the Land of Matkot and Hummus. And, to be honest, although this description may not seem all that appealing, I couldn't be happier to be back in Israel.

This should have been introduced last year, but well, better late than never. I'm here to give you a glimpse into some of Israel's everyday baffling encounters one may think are fictitious, but in actuality are true and genuinely amusing.