Sunday, August 13, 2017

Road 38 is brought into the 21th century!

Until about six years ago, every morning I would drive out of the kibbutz gates at about 6:45 am, continue about 1 km to the junction between our side road and Road 38, and then take my chances with the heavy traffic for about 3.5 km until I got to the turn off which leads to the industrial region where my factory is situated. Even at this early hour, the road would be congested; there was one place where three lanes of traffic converge into one, which was always a bottleneck. Although I could alleviate this somewhat by driving on the road's shoulder (after all, I am riding a motorbike), the ride was seriously unpleasant. The turn off to the industrial region was to the left, meaning that I had to wait for a break in the opposing traffic before turning - another surge of adrenaline and probably cortisone. Coming back was slightly easier, as the two left turns had now become right turns, but frequently I got caught by a train entering the station at about 16:40 (I had to negotiate two level crossings).

On 18/10/11 (I remember this date well because it was the day that Gil'ad Shalit was released from captivity), a back road was opened which meandered through areas set aside for new industrial areas, before connecting to an entrance to the regional school, which is very close to my house. I immediately adopted this route as no one else seemed to know about it. It was very quiet, shorter and generally stress-free. It also avoided the train. At the end of 2013, I wrote about this route, although neglected to add that a few months later, I discovered that I had indeed fractured my thumb. The surface of the road has gotten worse over the years and is now full of potholes and other things to avoid, which made the journey uncomfortable. One section - albeit only a few hundred metres - required extreme concentration.

Over the years, the industrial areas have filled out and traffic on the back road has gotten heavier. At the same time, huge improvements have been planned and implemented on Road 38. The final stage - as far was we were concerned - was completed on Thursday. This followed a few days of almost complete chaos and very heavy traffic on what should be a country lane.

On Thursday afternoon, I returned home on the new road: even better than before, there is now a turn-off before the one to the kibbutz, which connects to part of my previous route. Obviously the new road, but also the part of the old road which leads to the regional school is in good condition, so the journey was a pleasure. This morning I repeated the experience: barely another car did I see, and of course I was able to travel reasonably fast as I didn't have to dodge holes and whatever on the road.

I think that the journey has shortened slightly: it appears to be slightly less than the previous 4.5 km. I'll measure it again today. Fuel efficiency may also be increased, but the main thing is that the ride has ceased to be stress inducing, and is now invigorating.

I imagine that all other users of Road 38 are also very happy.

Friday, August 11, 2017

One second of fame

A few weeks ago, two youngsters from the kibbutz came into our flat with a strange request: they wanted to film us separately singing a phrase from a popular Israeli song, acapella. It took a few minutes for this to sink in, but eventually my wife was filmed singing one phrase, and I was filmed singing another. Afterwards, they explained that they were going to make a montage of all the people singing, so that there would be a complete song. The things people do to make publicity for our local people (hangout of the under-thirties).

Yesterday everyone on the kibbutz was sent a message, saying that the film had been uploaded to YouTube. I tried watching it on my phone, but it was very difficult to make anything out. Today I watched it on my computer, of course looking out for myself. I can be found at about 1:51, in the middle; if you watch and see a cow in the middle, then go back a second and you will see me there, wearing a pale green shirt.

Here is my one second of fame.