I find it humorous when my husband -- who has been here in Israel for over 10 years now -- discovers something new that I have already figured out for myself in my one brief year in the holy land. Case in point: the other day, we were on our way to Tel Aviv via an Egged Bus from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to Tel Aviv's Arlozorov Station when he discovered an exciting realization. There was free Wi-Fi on the bus. You should have seen his amazed face fill up with joy and glee. My response? "Yeah, and...? What's the big deal?" He looked at me, trumped. "Since when do they have free wi-fi on buses here?" he asked. "Since always!" I replied. And by always I mean since at least the time I have been living in Israel. Next, the look of defeat crossed over his face as he realized how many rides he had taken with his laptop or iPad, not having taken full advantage of the journey. His frown didn't last for long as he whipped out his iPad tablet and got busy connecting to the Internet, just because he could.
So, for those of you out there who weren't aware, yes, there is free wi-fi capabilities on any Egged Bus in Israel, both inner-city buses and long-distance buses traveling between two cities. That means that you can pull out your laptop, tablet, android or blackberry on your long rides and enjoy surfing the net, watching a show or checking your email and facebook accounts. This generous gift, racking up at a price tag of over $2 million, is an obvious one for a country that lays claim to being at the forefront of the technology and high-tech industry.
Around town, I've noticed several of the coffee shops have free wireless as well, including any of the Aroma Cafe locations (our Israeli version of Starbuck's), The Coffee Bean, Restobar, The Village Green and the Coffee Shop chain. Additionally, most of the major hotels will offer free Wi-Fi including the Inbal, the King David and the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem as well as Tel Aviv's Dan hotel chains, the Sheraton and the Hilton.
If you already knew about the free Wi-Fi options on Egged Buses around town, then kol hakavod to you (job well done). If not, there's your new fact for the day. Shabbat Shalom and have a restful weekend!