Saturday, September 17, 2005

Free Concert in the Park

Usually in normal places like New York, a free concert in the park, like Central Park for instance, is frequent and there doesn't seem to be a disruption of life around the concert area for hours before and hours afterwards. But not here. Oh no. Not in Israel.

I got an invitation as a holder of an Isracard charge card for a free concert in Park HaYarkon in Tel Aviv. The artists performing are well known Israeli musicians - Idan Raichel, Arkadi Duckhin, Rita, Noa and I thought it would be great practice if ever the Rolling Stones gave a (non-free) concert at that venue where there is room for up to 150,000. I sent away for my 2 tickets and in the end no one was really overly-anxious to go, but for my Good Daughter who wasn't working that night and decided to keep me company. For the occasion, I brought along 2 low sitting beach chairs. It's like you are sitting on the ground, only you have back support. I felt stupid carrying them to work, but my co-workers got a kick out of them and put them in the reception area to try them out for themselves. They are indeed very comfortable even though they look ridiculous in sky blue.

I was working on a project at work and we finished it after meeting for hours on end that week. My boss was so appreciative. Such a Sugar Daddy he is - he asked me where I was going after work and said he, personally, would pay for a taxi to take me there. Sheee-it. Now that's a treat because I was kinda dreading shlepping my plastic chairs all over Jerusalem to get to the bus to Tel Aviv and then from bus to taxi in Tel Aviv. It just all seemed so hassle-free. Weeeeee! My Good Daughter was thrilled at the news and we celebrated by having a quick dinner out beforehand because I really didn't want to munch on cotton candy for dinner at the venue. My Eldest Daughter and Hubby heard that I got a free taxi ride there and I think they were kind of jealous that I had it "easy" this time.

The taxi came for us at 6:45 and we got inside like the two princesses that we are. As the taxi hit the airport area before Tel Aviv, there was lots of traffic. The driver told us it's always like this because people work in Tel Aviv until 7:00 pm.

"But this is going 'into' Tel Aviv, not out of Tel Aviv. What is going on?"

There were two things I was grateful for that evening. That Galgalatz, the radio station he had on, played kick-ass music and that I wasn't paying for this taxi and that he did not have it on the meter because from that point on the ride that should have taken us another 20 minutes turned out to be another 2 1/2 hours. That's right. Welcome to New York highways! Don't I miss the Major Deegan H'way? I hadn't been stuck in this type of traffic jam in decades.

My cab driver showed a great deal of restraint and I didn't hear one curse word in any language come forth from his lips. He did rest his head on his arms as if he had the biggest migraine in the world, but that was the only tell-tale sign that he was frustrated. Meanwhile as we got closer to the gig (which was the reason for the traffic jam), people rolled down their windows and teased the driver mercilessly.

"HHHHHAAAA!! You are coming from Jerusalem? Did you just spend three hours driving here? You can get in front of me"

"Hey! This is 3 hours salary for you. Aren't you thrilled?"

We made the last 45 minutes of the show but couldn't see the people on the giant stage. We were happy to plop down our beach chairs on the ground and look at the big screen.

After the venue it took us about 45 minutes to get a taxi to the Central Bus station (we were minutes away from being stranded in Tel Aviv) where we got on the last shared-taxi service to Jerusalem for the night. And I vowed never to go near any concert at Yarkon Park ever again, with the exception being the Rolling Stones....

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