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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Israeli Pharmacy

DSCN0912.JPGAfter a few days in the country with the kids, Benedetto and friends have arrived.  We are a group going on a tour of the length and breadth of the land.  The first couple of hours are tentative for many after a rough flight.

“I’m exhausted,” says one, still trying to maintain a cheery attitude.

“I need a shower,” confide more than a couple.

“I have diarrhea and couldn’t eat on the plane,” whispers another who suffered from a lot of in-flight turbulence.

We take a lovely walk through the even-lovelier artists colony of Jaffa.  On the shores of the Mediterranean, the breeze is balmy and the sun is bright.  If anyone thinks they have problems, all are forgotten as we remember Jonah and his perils at sea.th

No sooner do we check-in to our hotel than a knock comes at our door.

“I think my makeup bag fell out on the bus,” a lady starts.

We call the driver and guide.  The guide relates that the busdriver has already left for home, a couple of hours away.  I ask the friend what she might need for the night, that I would be happy to head to a pharmacy and pick up whatever.

thShe needs her contact lens case and solution, whereas she has a bit of makeup in her purse and can make do with that.

I ask at the front desk where is the nearest pharmacy.  They tell me of one just built near the port.  Problem is, as we head the couple of blocks there, no one else has heard of its existence.

We pass a guy in a storefront office, who appears to be security for the complex of stores and cafes.  He reads a newspaper while monitoring closed-circuit TVs.

“Excuse me, would you happen to know the location of the new Super-Pharm?” I inquire in Hebrew.super-pharm-4-630x285

“Sure, you turn left at the corner, go to a big building with the number 11 on it,” he indicates, holding up two fingers.

This immediately puts me on high alert, because I would imagine that holding up two fingers would mean the number two, but maybe finger symbols are different in different countries.

“When you see the big 11 on the big building, turn right, down the pedestrian walkway.  As you go forward, you will see the Super-Pharm on your right.”

th“Is it far?” I press.

“No, not at all,” he assures me.

“Thank you very much,” I am relieved.

Left, number 11, right, pedestrian walkway, right, I rehearse to myself.  Sure enough, after asking a couple of more people in what looks to be a warehouse district under construction, we find the drugstore nestled among clothing stores, and away from the cafes by the sea.

The kids would rather play in fountains by the central courtyard with their beloved Papa, so I head in by myself. Passing the fragrance aisle, I am not averse to giving myself a spray of something new.  I head to the eyeglass section, where I find contact lenses of all types which may be bought right off the shelf, which I find to be of interest that no prescription is necessary.  There are also cases and saline solutions.

Not wanting to spend a fortune for an overnight fix, I ask the pharmacist if he has any ideas or any starter kits with saline 476solution already included.  Nope.  So I buy a simple contact case and the cheapest solution in the store.  All told, it comes to under $10 in shekels.  Not bad.

I present the findings to the lady who is sitting with another couple at a cafe, trying to read a Hebrew newspaper which I have my kids decipher for them.  She is amazed that I found the items so quickly, but hey, when I’ve been abroad and I needed something,  strangers have been so kind to me.

I don’t mention that I had to go from one cash register, to another, to another.  The first clerk tells me to pay in “cosmetics” where no one is working.  Then I return to the pharmacy, and no one is there.  Then I swing back to the main register and step in front of everyone in line, since he was the one who told me that I could pay elsewhere-!  By the time I emerge, my family has left, and I wander around for 5 minutes before they show up from adventures of their own, and wonder what took me so long.

These things are never fast in other countries.

thMy family strolls back to the hotel in time for a lovely dinner:  fish, turkey, pasta, stuffed grape leaves, soup, salads of all descriptions from hummus to beets, to cabbage, and veggies such as grilled squash and sauteed brussel sprouts.  Another friend, who claims to be quite the picky eater, revealed that she was nervous about the food, however, the selection and extreme tastiness has won her over.  My kids are in heaven, since a buffet is often the answer to all ills, Mama and Papa at last together again.

A Tel Avivi friend stops by after dinner to say hello.  We recall that we’ve known each other over 30 years.  An adoptive mom herself, her children long grown, she marvels over meeting our four at last.

We take a bread, rice, and soup tray to the friend not feeling well, praying that his tummy ailment will pass by morning.  One or two guys go out for a walk, the rest of the group surely passes out before they can lay their heads on the pillow.

It’s been a good first day for them in the Land of Promise.


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