Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hard Now Easy Later




With  trusty Nikon under repair, I've been been relying on my smartphone camera to snap significant moments. Clumsy and slow, it's no replacement but, deeply conscious of failure to keep promise to blog more often (computer also in repair- it's one of those times...),  in the pragmatic Hebrew phrase - ze ma yesh (it's what there is). So, a few days ago I wandered a few yards up the road from the Rooftop and, completely blinded by the strong spring sun, pointed the phone in the general direction of the new hoarding blocking the view into what used to be the Beit Romano car park. The sign informs us that [ it will be] "hard now and easy (light) later" and that "the light railway is on its way to the Dan Bloc."



'Hard Now, Easy Later'. First, this conjured up an image of me sitting in the car a few yards from home but blocked by endless lines of trucks carrying mounds of sandy soil. Second, it had  a political ring to it too. The sort of thing a finance minister would tell the public before announcing spending cuts. In fact, the new hoarding covered over an example of a  graffiti tag that has been spotted in the area. This shows Binyamin Netanyahu appearing above cliches like, "I love you but I'm not in love with you" or " It's not you, it's me".  This week Netanyahu stunned everyone by forming a mega national unity government with Kadima just as the Knesset was about to be dissolved for new elections. 

But let's get back on track.  

The car park, which sits on part of the old Ottoman railway line from Jaffa to Jerusalem, has been closed off and filled up with mobile offices and various piles of equipment for some time and I knew that the area was part of the works for long-awaited light rail system. Still,"hard now, easy later" was unnerving. If the 
NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. (NETA in Hebrew) was telling us that it was going to be hard, then perhaps actual work was imminent on tunneling the 'underground' that the Tel Aviv conurbation has been promised since the 1960s. 

A quick look at Neta's website (in Hebrew - the English part is useless) informed me that in January the company had issued a massive tender for the excavation of two tunnels, for the underground sections of the Red Line, that will run from Petach Tikvah to Bat Yam via central Tel Aviv and Yaffo and a spit away from the Rooftop. Each tunnel will lie 20 metres underground, will be 11 kilometres long and will be excavated by the same monster excavators that dug the Channel Tunnel!  


Although this graphic description added a dash of realism to the planned mega-project,the overwhelming majority of cynical Tel Avivians will tell you with complete certitude that it will never happen. Either the company that wins the tender will go bankrupt or war will break out with Iran or... 



Integrated mass transit system or not, Tel Aviv is still a good place for live shows and even my phone camera can capture some of the atmosphere. Here's the very wonderful Medeski Martin and Wood 
who played recently at the Barby.



And here's Lazer Lloyd, the Matisyahu of Israeli rock and blues, playing an excellent set from his new Clapton/rebbe inspired album 'My Own Blues' at a cool venue called The Zone (ha-eyzor). 

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