Tel Aviv

Oct. 28th, 2012 09:32 pm
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This is your classic Tel Aviv picture. About 70 percent of the city looks like this: crumbling Bauhaus. I find it both repellent and irresistible.
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Change of plans: I'm not going to Jerusalem today, I'm going to stay in Tel Aviv. I don't feel like making the long schlep to J-town again, and I do want to see a little more of TA, rest up, write and post, and get ready for the trip back home.

Pictures to follow soon.
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... or at least, my body clock is. Actually I'm in Tel Aviv, but my sleep cycle seems to have overshot the target. I'm running a solid 12 hours ahead of (or behind?) California time.
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After my last trip to Israel, I promised myself that I wouldn't let more than a year go by before doing it again. That was last November, this is October, and here I am.

I'm staying at a decent, budget hotel on Allenby Street in southern Tel Aviv, and I'm upstairs from a bar and two pizza shops. I get a kick out of this area because it's so much the opposite from the pictures of Israel that you see in tourist guides. Anyway, I'm not far from the bus station, and I expect I'll catch the 405 to Jerusalem in the next couple of days.

I've been sleeping intermittently since about 6pm. They had some loud music downstairs around 1 or 2am, I think the cops made them turn it down.

I'm feeling a LOT more comfortable getting around in Hebrew, this time around. Ate breakfast at the Bialik Cafe, on the hotel's voucher, then went back there for dinner. The waitress handed me an all-Hebrew menu so I really felt like a native. It's not a kosher place and I'm pretty sure Heh-Aleph-Mem spells "ham" (which figured prominently on most of the items), so I ended up getting a green salad, and that was pretty good.

It's probably safe to say there's not much that goes on in this neighborhood that's kosher, but if I can find a place that's K, or vegetarian, it'll make my life easier. Burger Ranch isn't vegetarian but it is K, and I'm thinking of checking it out. I'm going into carnivore mode for this trip.

But, no ham. Even if the menu is in Hebrew.
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I'm back to posting on Flickr.

During my recent visit to Israel, I had the chance to make the trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a few times. This began with the trip from my hotel to the main bus station, which is in south-central Tel Aviv. I could have taken a taxi but I preferred to walk; the walk took me south on Allenby street, and I recorded some of the sights. Those pictures are in the group titled "South on Allenby".
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So, I'm going to Israel for two weeks.

My flight leaves tomorrow morning. The trip is a 20-hour affair, which I hope my trusty Tommy gear (eye mask + noise-canceling headphones) will render tolerable.

I've been to Israel just twice before in my life. The first time was around 1985 (or maybe '86) and I was with Paula. We were living in Izmir, Turkey, where I was stationed for 2 years with the US Air Force. I don't remember much about that visit, or what sightseeing we did, if any, outside of Jerusalem.

The second trip was in 1993, immediately after I was released from my hitch in the Marine Corps. I was with Talia then, Daniel's mom. (TNG himself didn't come onto the scene until 1995.) Again, I remember very little; I know we saw Jerusalem and Tsfat (which is inexplicably spelled Safed in English), and stayed for a couple of days in Eilat in these budget-priced accommodations that looked like steel doghouses. (Were the air conditioning in one of these to fail, I imagine it would become uninhabitable in minutes.)

I know that on both trips I visited all the obligatory sites - the Kotel of course, the Old City, the Knesset building, Yad vaShem, the Tomb of the Patriarchs (at least once), and more graves of famous rabbis than I can remember, or care to.

But I never saw Tel Aviv.

Later, when speaking with Israeli friends, I'd mention that I had visited Israel twice, and seen Jerusalem. "Did you see Tel Aviv?" No. And their reaction was invariably, "WTF?!? How do you visit Israel and not see Tel Aviv?" And I didn't have a good answer to that.

This time I want to see Tel Aviv. It's a modern, cosmopolitan, traditionally secular city; and that's the side of Israel, the modern side that lives in the here-and-now, that I didn't expose myself to in my earlier, mostly religiously-oriented pilgrimages.

I am planning to reconnect with Paula, who now lives in a little town called Arad. I'll also try to get to Be'ersheva and meet up with a couple of families from the Mission community who are living there now.

I will surely make a trip or two to Jerusalem and see the holy sites; but mainly, it's Tel Aviv that I'm excited about seeing. Life is to short to spend all your time running around looking at graves.
Angels (Incitement) / Malachim (Hasata)
There aren't any angels in heaven
I'm here with you, right in between

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