I have found my way around at last, by foot. I can walk to the two big supermarkets twenty minutes from my door, one of which has an organic section that I wish we had in our supermarkets at home and the other sells fish so fresh I actually thought, for a moment, I saw one move.
There is a small park at the end of my cul- de- sac. Although I am excited that I can now find my way around I was more excited to discover a tree in the park, that I had never seen before. It is the strangest looking tree. It looks like it is from another planet. Huge bulbous baobab trunk covered in treacherous thorns and hanging from its rather wayward disorderly branches hang huge bunches of cotton wool balls. I kid you not.
They are perfectly round cotton balls that are softer than down. The slightest wind sends wispy puffs of these little balls all over the grass below and on a windy day the grass appears to quiver with white fairy floss.
Being an incurable researcher of anything different that catches my interest I looked up the name of this tree and found out it is called The Silk Floss tree (Ceiba speciosa or Chorisia speciosa).
The park leads towards the main road and is lined with these trees. Their spiky trunks seemingly protecting the softest wisp of angel fluff that carries its seeds far and wide. What a paradox. Seeds so soft they can barely be felt by the hand hanging above a thorny trunk that only the most masochistic tree climber would attempt to climb.
The sabra is similar. A tenacious, thorny desert plant, known in English as prickly pear it has a thick skin that conceals a sweet, softer interior. This cactus is compared to Israeli Jews, who are supposedly tough on the outside but delicate and sweet on the inside.
This is how many Israelis appear at first to most outsiders. It takes some getting used to. For example, I am having someone here in Israel do some work on my website and I called today to see how it’s going. The conversation went like this.
“ Hi, just wondering have you started work on my website ?”
“ OK when do you think you’ll get to it?”
“ OK, maybe tomorrow?”
Sometimes I feel it would serve me well to grow another layer or two of skin.
In the mean time, given that thickening skin may take some time we decided today to drive to a town called Holon to visit the Design Museum.
This building is an architectural work of art was opened in 2010 and almost immediately established itself as one of the world’s leading museums of design.
Although there are constantly changing exhibitions throughout the year my phone almost flew out of my bag into my hand, so excited I was to begin photographing this breathtakingly beautiful building. Until today I had never heard of “Corten weathering steel” but bands of this strong, rustic material wind their way in and out of the museum, creating shadows and glimpses of sunlight and slivers of the world beyond.
The exhibition inside the museum was called Free Wheel and it is the ‘cyclopedia of iconic bicycle design’. Anyone that knows me will know I am the only bicycle lover who can’t actually ride one. It is my desire and dream to throw one leg over this gorgeous metal structure and ride out into the sunset with the wind blowing through my long blonde hair. As some of this particular dream will never happen in this life time, I have to be satisfied with finding a grown up three wheeler and learning to ride in some protected park. (Preferably not one with Silk Floss trees protruding with two-inch spikes growing out of their trunks.)
Amongst the 43 bicycles on display there was one called Bordeaux-Paris. In the booklet that describes each bicycle it says, “In the 19th century, there were many attempts to reduce the weight of the bicycle by replacing steel with aluminum parts. In London and Paris some frames were cast in aluminum and drilled to make them hollow, but on the whole these experiments failed and few examples survived. The Caminargent bicycle created in the 1930’s was more successful however often the frame, delicate at it was would still twist.”
The plaque below this bicycle reads, “ Too delicate for this world.”