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Peppino’s Big Adventure

16 Aug

The inscrutable gas pump at Paz gas station in Herzliya

Ever since the gas station at the entrance to Herzliya installed a new machine for self serve pumps—with instructions in Hebrew only—I’ve been obsessed with figuring out how to use them. And not only that. I want to be able to create an info sheet for work that will aid non-Hebrew speaking people in using the machines.

This evening after dinner, I recruited Brad to come with me to the gas station so he could aid me in my mission to take photos of the machine display and figure out how to use the machine. I hadn’t taken into account that it was a Thursday evening and traffic was guaranteed to be heavy. (Thursday is Israel’s Friday.) Plus, I’d let the tank go to nearly empty before setting out on this mission.

My little Fiat Panda, Peppino, didn’t like running on fumes and was not handling stop-and-go traffic very well. He was bucking like a disgruntled bronco. Then, I heard the dreaded beep beep beep signal alerting me to a warning message. “Limited Range” flashed onto my dashboard display. Yikes! Almost out of gas! We crept along in the bumper to bumper traffic as my heart leapt into my mouth. Fortunately we didn’t have far to go and Peppino limped up towards the gas pump.

Just as I’d suspected, even though I’d had two previous goes at it with help from kind strangers, I was having trouble navigating the menu on the touch screen. And, just as I’d suspected, Brad was able to figure it out. So, mission accomplished, we headed home, Peppino now happy with a bellyful of fuel.

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First Adventure With Peppino

7 Jun

Today I took Peppino out for our first drive outside Herzliya. My destination was the Italian Ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan. The members of my Italian class, had been invited to a mid-morning coffee hosted by Stefania Mattiolo, the Italian Ambassador’s wife. I didn’t drive all the way to Ramat Gan but just as far as Ramat HaSharon. I parked Peppino in front of Liliane’s house who drove us to la Residenza. Liliane is a very nice woman I’ve met through the IWC. I learned today that her husband is a former ambassador to Israel from a South American country. They have been living in the Tel Aviv district since the 1960s.

Italian Ambassador's Residence in Israel

La Residenza

We had a lovely time at the Italian residence. Stefania served up some great strong coffee and tasty appetizers, both sweet and savory. I believe everyone of our group of eleven had a chance to chat directly with Stefania. She is friendly and personable — we are all on a first-name basis with her. I took the opportunity to inquire about interesting places to visit on my upcoming visit to Italy in November.

Italian Ambassador's Residence in Israel

La Residenza

Later, we all gathered for a group photo and then Stefania invited us all to a Gala Evening she will be hosting later this month in support of the Italian synagogue in Jerusalem, said to be one of the most exquisite in Israel.

My Italian Class

My Italian Class at La Residenza


Our gathering came to a close around noon. I rode back to Ramat HaSharon with Liliane and then Peppino and I headed back to Herzliya. I missed a turn going home and ended up on some back roads near the beach in Herzliya. It took me a while to figure my way back but I had fun getting to know how to handle Peppino.

Meet Peppino, My New Best Buddy

6 Jun

Fiat Panda front

Fiat Panda rear

We bought a second car! It’s a 2005 Fiat Panda. I call him Peppino. Ain’t he cute? He’s very small, perfect for driving around in on the streets of Tel Aviv and zipping into parking spaces the Toyota can only dream of. I just got him today and am still getting used to driving him. Such a different feel from the Camry.

Peppino and I will head into Tel Aviv tomorrow. The Italian Ambassador’s wife has invited the members of my Italian class to a coffee at the Italian Ambassador’s Residence. I’m excited but nervous. It’s in a part of town I’m not very familiar with. Wish me “buona fortuna!”

Fiat Panda Car of the Year 2004

I don't mean to brag, but Peppino comes with excellent credentials!