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Through the eyes of a trendy tourist – a shopaholic’s guide

  • BenitaLevin
In just over a year since we made aliya, I’ve been amazed at the number of family and friends who have visited this part of the world. Some have come on planned holidays, others for simchas and celebrations. A few have come out of curiosity – to see for themselves what this fascinating cultural and religious centre of Judaism, Islam and Christianity is all about.
by BENITA LEVIN | May 17, 2018

Living in Israel can make the world seem much smaller. Friends and family who seemed to stay so far from us, are now just one short flight away.

But it was a recent visitor from South Africa – a self-confessed diva and shopaholic – who asked for help with a few important words to make her two-week visit just a little easier. So, with much laughter and a fair amount of wine, she helped prioritise this potentially helpful snap list of necessary words for any trendy tourist visiting the popular shopping hangouts across the country.

Here’s a quick, fun shopper’s lingo guide:

Kenyon – shopping mall. This was surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the first word I was asked to translate.

Hafuch – cappuccino. Literally translated, it means “upside down” because the milk is on top instead of at the bottom of the cup of caffeine.

Hafuch Dal Shuman –. Cappuccino with low-fat milk. Apparently, important to combat the excess holiday calories created by decadent pastries and other compulsory carbohydrates.

Sababa – slang for “that’s great”. Our lovable kugel picked up that many young people use this term, and she was keen to add it to her growing lexicon.

Aizeh Kef – also popular slang, meaning “That’s great”.

Fen – a hair blow wave. Apparently very important for any self-respecting kugel, who doesn’t want to be seen with curly hair, even if she has just left the beach.

Mezuman or Cartis Ashrai? All shoppers need to know this question: cash or credit card? You could well be asked when paying for your new shoes and/or outfits.

Hanacha – discount. Experienced or outspoken tourists might know to ask about special discounts, especially at the market (shuk). New visitors are advised to come out of their shell, speak out and simply ask.

Motek – sweetie. Can be used when speaking to a male or female.

Lehitra’ot – goodbye. But translated, literally means “to see you again”. She loved this expression, because she definitely will be back.

This basic, fun list helped my guest with her attempt to integrate and get to know people here. Locals the world over would rather interact with someone who tries to get to know the language and culture of a place, even if the attempt is grammatically incorrect or the pronunciation isn’t spot-on. It’s an important message that shows someone is interested in trying to learn and understand life in a new place.

It was interesting to see our new home country through a tourist’s eyes. And it was heart-warming to see she found the people here to be open, upbeat and welcoming.

Smile of the week: After landing at Ben Gurion airport on a recent flight, I realised as I approached passport control, that I’d left a large bottle of gin – a gift for my husband – on the El Al plane. My dilemma was: Do I leave it on board or race back to retrieve it? I chose the latter, running back to the plane – in the opposite direction of scores of passengers still disembarking. And there it was – still on my seat. (My husband tells me it was a good call to race back, instead of leaving the gin on board!)

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