Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Gas Man Cometh

Ever since we took delivery of our appliances we have been waiting for the gas man. Waiting...and...waiting. Our stove has gas top burners, but an electric oven. Don't ask me why this is so. It seems to be true of all stand-alone Israeli stoves. Unlike the US, where gas is piped into homes through a general utility, Israeli homes are supplied gas by tanks installed oustide the house. These tanks are called "balloons". Since our apartment had been completely renovated, no balloons had been installed. This is left as an exercise for the new renters.

Our new gas/electric stove

We had called the gas man three weeks before. Every week he promised he would come, but never did. Part of the problem is the remoteness of Mitzpe Ramon. The gas man only gets down here every other week or so. I had no idea who or what this gas man looked like, but last week I was out walking with Pam, Yair and Spot. I had just decided to let Spot off his leash so he could wander free a bit, and Pam was in charge of Yair at a corner crossing. All of a sudden, there heaves into view this huge flatbed truck with gas canisters on board. Aha! The gas man. But he doesn't seem to be going to our apartment building. I take off after the truck, running in the street, waving my hands to try and flag him down. Of course, Spot must now fend for himself, and I fear he will run into the street which is suddenly full of cars. In the mean time, Pam and Yair make their way to the Cafeneto. I run up to the gas truck, gesticulating wildly and asking him, in English which he understands none of, if he has come to install our gas balloons. He points up the street, where all of a sudden there appears an even bigger flatbed truck with a cherry picker basket and even bigger balloons. Could this be the big boss, Alfred the Gas Man, whose coming we have been waiting for?

Yes, it is. He even has our address written on a crumpled piece of paper. He can't find the address, but, then, no one can, because our apartment building is set back from the street. I tell the gas men not to move and run back to the Cafeneto where Pam has taken Yair, and she tells me that Spot is wandering lost on the street because "he is blind". (He is not blind.) I grab the leash, retrieve Spot who is a bit frantic on the sidewalk, and deposit him at the 'neto with Pam and Yair. I hop in the cab of the flatbed and direct the gas men to our apartment.

The Gas Man Cometh

Once there they run a copper line to a pair of balloons they place in the back of our apartment building. These devices work like the propane tanks on your BBQ in America. The two balloons are attached to a valve. One balloon is active, and the other is standby. When the active tank is empty, your turn the valve and the reserve tank takes over. You then call the gas company to come and replace your empty tank, or balloon. Hopefully they will get here before the remaining balloon is empty. So, we finally have a working stove and new "balloons".

Our gas "balloons"

It is customary to chain the balloons to each other and to the side of the house to prevent thieves from making off with them. We have the chain and lock but have not secured the balloons yet. I hope they will stay in place until I can get to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails