Say what you will about Israeli drivers: the fact remains that driving in Israel can be exhilarating. I'm not talking about the gridlocked streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, although there is still some challenge to be found there. No, I'm talking about the narrow roads that wind their way up and down the mountain ranges of Northern Israel. The sudden changes in elevation, hairpin turns, blind corners, and soaring vistas seem tailor-made for the video game racing enthusiast.
That is, if you have the right car. Sadly, I did not. As Fudge pointed out, I was driving the roads of my dreams with the car of my nightmares. I shouldn't complain. We were lucky to have any vehicle. Mrs. B's aunt managed to procure one for us at the 11th hour from some Charedi rental agency in Tel Aviv. The price was exorbitant, but at least we got a minivan.
However, it was not what one would call, a performer. If the Kia Rio that I rented when my car was in the shop was powered by a lawnmower, the power plant of the Kia Carnival contained, in my opinion, a gerbil in need of a hip replacement. And it was a diesel, so it was loud and smelly too. I'm not sure how old it was. This picture to the right, which resembles it fairly closely, is a 1999 model, according to the Russian auto sales site from which I stole it. I think. I can't really read Russian.
As far as I can tell, it was not capable of accelerating. Any forward movement of the van was on the basis of either gravity or possibly wind. Certainly, it didn't seem interested in going forward when I depressed the gas pedal. This was particularly distressing in situations where rapid acceleration was desirable, say when attempting to enter one of Israel's many traffic circles, or trying to make a left turn onto a busy road. This is usually what you'd hear, if you were sitting in the car with us:
Mrs. B: OK, that guy passed, you can enter the traffic circle.
Mrs. B: GO!
Me: I'm trying!
Mrs. B: Why aren't you moving?
Me: I don't know! I'm pressing the gas! Wait...are we starting to go forward a little?
Mrs. B: Hurry up! That truck is getting closer!
Me: I'm flooring it! Hey, OK, now we're starting to move a little!
Mrs. B: Would it help if I got out and pushed?
Me: It might. Crap that guy is going to hit us!
I can only daydream about what it would have been like to cruise those roads in a Lamborghini. Well, I guess there's always video games.