Friday, September 17, 2010

The Bedouin stole my Balloons

First it was my Internet; then it was my balls; now it's my balloons. My gas balloons, that is, otherwise known as propane tanks on "King of the Hill". Each house or apartment in Mitzpe Ramon has a local source of gas for cooking in the form of two propane tanks. The second backs up the first when it's empty. Then you call the gas man and he replaces the empty so that you have a full backup.

Everyone chains their two tanks together and then usually to the wall of the house. Some people even have metal cages to protect their tanks. Protect them from what? Bedouin theft. A pair of smaller tanks with propane costs about 560 nis, or $150.  I kept meaning to chain mine but never got around to it. Eventually I forgot about it, thinking stories of stollen balloons were just an urban legend.

Various techniques of protecting gas balloons. Israel was the first country to invent the lead balloon.

Returning from shul on the first Selichot night, I wanted to make a cup of tea, but there was no gas. I reassured myself that we must have gone through a balloon with all the cooking for Rosh Hashanah, but in the back of my mind there was this nagging doubt. When I went out to check the next day I found this:

The Bedouin absconded with my balloons on Selichot night.

It was hard enough to get the gas man to come before Rosh Hashanah, not to mention the expense of replacing the balloons. Now they look like this:

My gas balloons, restored to life and tethered. I don't know why two are harder to steal than one, unless the thief is working solo. Two are quite heavy and awkward to lift.

I had the Rosh Hashanah Gas Balloon Blues.


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