Nitty Gritty

The apartment and the office are no more than a seven minute walk, and along the same street. The neighborhood is Wadi Nisnas, a place where Arabic is as likely to be heard as Hebrew. Thankfully, I can actually communicate here. This tiny corner of the city certainly feels like the Middle East, with beige stone, narrow windy streets, and more triangle intersections and traffic circles than I know what to do with. It is built on a hill which when combined with the zigzagging thoroughfares makes it an absolute maze.

Walking a few more minutes down the street you hit Ben Gurion Road, a more major artery lined with cafes and shops that runs down sort of as an extension from the Baha’i Shrine and Gardens. It is, naturally, far less visually appealing than the gardens but my proximity to such a famous landmark is certainly noteworthy. I will have to scope out how to gain entrance.

My apartment itself is not quite what you’d call the penthouse suite. It is accessed through a shabby alley that leads to a sort of quadrilateral blacktop area, and the initial confrontation is from a three-story ruin, replete with empty window and door spaces, graffiti on the walls, and metal doors hanging dejectedly off their hinges. Initially taken aback, I was led around a corner and shown my new digs. I’ve got it all: refrigerator, sink, coffee maker thingy, actual 4-burner gas stove (I hope it lights, I should find some matches), and something resembling a microwave or toaster oven which I have not yet scoped out that closely. I probably won’t know how to use it anyway. There is also a Brita in the fridge already full of water so I can get started on the impending Israeli version of Montezuma’s revenge.

The standing-room-only kitchenette leads way to a bedroom/living room/space with two windows, a mirror, a couch, a wardrobe, a desk, a bed, A/C (yay!) and a bed. And the modem/router that is still hooked up. Little dance for joy. There’s also an abandoned copy of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, so I have something to replace the trashy chick-lit I left on the plane.

The bathroom is classic Middle East: drains in the floors, 100% tile, and a European-style shower head that comes just barely to my shoulders. But it’s clean, and the only sign of pestilence is the very dead, very upside down roach staring up at me from the corner. As long as there are no alive ones we will be all set.

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