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Friday, April 08, 2005

Photo Friday (vol. XXII) [curtains edition]

Before we get started with today's subject matter, I feel like I may have given my readers short shrift last week with only one picture... So, to make amends here are a couple of bonus shots:

The first bonus shot is a really grainy picture of one of the storks I mentioned this past week.  I usually have my digital camera in the car... but it isn't always safe or convenient to stop and take pictures.  This shot was taken south of Hevron, miles (kilometers) from the nearest village.  Sorry about the quality... Remember, I use a point & shoot:

Next is a sight that I believe is a fairly new addition to the scenery... or perhaps I just never noticed it before.  This is located on the hill just outside of Jerusalem on Route 1 (this turn off would take you into Givat Shaul).  What you are seeing is a big analog clock and a digital readout telling drivers exactly what time Shabbat starts in Jerusalem.  Unfortunately I couldn't zoom in enough to be able to let you read the display. 

Although this is a really neat thing, I can't help thinking that it would really stress me out if I was stuck in traffic (this area is always a parking lot) and getting close to Shabbat  Somehow I'd almost rather not know exactly what time Shabbat starts in that scenario, since I'd be powerless to arrive any sooner!

OK... on to our subject of the day:  Curtains.

When you go to a new country, one of the things that adds to the feeling of 'strangeness' is the plethora of cars that didn't exist where you came from.  Eventually the eye becomes used to the 'strange vehicles', and one day all the cars seem perfectly ordinary.  That's when you know you are starting to feel at home.

However, since moving here, I have continued to be baffled by something I see every day in traffic.  Specifically, many of the cars here have curtains.  I have to say that this is every bit as strange to me today as it was the day I got off the plane.

Considering how many serious traffic accidents occur every day, it defies logic that this would be desirable or legal since it completely blocks the driver's view behind and alongside his/her car!

In fact, one of the main selling points car manufacturers use to tout their products is visibility.  'This car has better visibility than that'... 'Our car was designed to reduce the blind spot found in other vehicles'...etc.

By installing curtains, the driver is turning back the clock on auto design and safety 50 years or more (not to mention that it makes a car look butt-ugly). 

You think I'm kidding?  These pictures were taken within a 5 minute period (I promise I didn't spend more than that looking for examples) on route 40 near Kfar Bilu.  Most of the pictures were taken at a stop light... but the couple of 'moving shots' were taken without looking... so don't worry about mytraffic photography being more dangerous than the curtains!:

This is an 'unmarked' police car... you can tell by the red license plate.

This next one is a type of utility vehicle that is quite common here.  These seem to be especially prone to having curtains installed:

Another similar vehicle (different manufacturer).  Yes, this person seems to have three cell phones installed in his car!  He can't see you, but he can reach you on the phone without a problem!:

Lest you think that only cops and utility vehicles have curtains... here is a typical sedan:

Last but not least... the biggest proponents of the 'salon look' in vehicles seem to be taxis.  It's hard to see because he also has tinted windows... but he has the back curtain parted just a bit:

I apologize if any of my readers have curtains in their cars... perhaps one of you can explain this unique 'fashion decision' to me.

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by David Bogner on April 8, 2005 | Permalink


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...how about crocheted covers for toilet paper rolls? Or maybe First Aid Box sewn covers, embroidered with one of those witty sayings? No true, you say? Come for a visit and wonder... :)

[I definitely prefer the Mafiosi curtains fashion]

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Apr 8, 2005 9:06:55 AM

The hell with chrome rims, I need some lace curtains in my Honda.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 8, 2005 10:12:58 AM

I've always wondered about the curtains myself and thought that they helped block out the sun's heat, which in wintertime isn't a big deal. Come summer though, it's a huge necessity around here. I have a rollup blind for the rear window of my car for this reason, but it has micro holes in it, so you can see out the back window when it's rolled up. (I also have one of those whole car covers for when the car is parked.)

Of course, in a couple of those pictures you posted, it looks like the owner is just trying to block folks from looking into the car.

Posted by: jennifer | Apr 8, 2005 1:13:58 PM

Ahhh. You brought back fond memories of the sky blue VW bus we had for the first half of the 1970s. Very groovy. I think VW bugs MUST have curtains.

Posted by: Alice | Apr 8, 2005 2:59:00 PM

mademoiselle a. ... I'm tempted to make a joke, but someone I think the world of (and who reads this blog) has crocheted covers for the toilet paper AND the 'fresh air' spray! I miss out on so many opportunities to poke fun by having really eccentric friends.

Jack... You would so get your butt kicked if you tried to tailgate at the Angel's game with curtains in your Honda.

Jennifer... They make all sortsof window screens and removable stickers that are transparent enough to see through but which block out a lot of the sun. As you've mentioned there are also many other options. This just seems dangerous (not to mention ugly).

Alice... Why am I not surprised. We had one too for a while... although I honestly can't remember if it had curtains. Groovy :-)

Posted by: David | Apr 8, 2005 3:08:41 PM

Take the trend all the way. Put curtains on the front windshield.

Shabbat shalom.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Apr 8, 2005 5:38:15 PM

I must say, I never get tired of all the cultural tidbits. The curtains thing is just...strangely fascinating. I would assume, as Jennifer suggests, that it would be a sun-blocker technique but a couple of those photos really make you wonder what is behind door #3.

Posted by: Bayou | Apr 9, 2005 2:03:13 AM

Definitely not the fashion statement! Now I know why Israeli drivers are so bad. It is not that they are willfully ignoring all the known laws of physics -- no, it is not possible to squeeze a large car into a space that will acccomodate a breadbox even while traveling at a million miles an hour -- it is that their curtains keep them from seeing that it is only a space fit for a breadbox!

Posted by: katie-yael | Apr 9, 2005 6:03:42 PM

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