Day 23: Ben Yehuda and Ben Gurion

Trip Start May 19, 2009
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Trip End Jun 16, 2009


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

(Day 23, Tel Aviv, Wednesday) Time to bid farewell to our charming room at the hostel in Jaffa's market area and move into our apartment for the last six nights in Tel Aviv. This is what we had in mind when we first envisioned the trip: renting an apartment by the beach for the whole time, less like tourists than temporary Tel Avivis, and taking trips to see this part of the country and that. As it happens, practical considerations changed the itinerary, but we are having our desired slowdown for the last third of the trip, here in Tel Aviv.

By noon, we had moved our growing baggage into our apartment and unpacked again so as to feel at home. The place is in a gay-friendly (or gay-owned?) building a couple of blocks from the beach, on busy, broad Ben Yehuda St. (named for the man who revived the Hebrew language), bedecked in rainbow flags for this Friday's Gay Pride parade. We've got strong air conditioning, a living room and bedroom, and DSL. Good to go. Our unit is #521, but on the 4th floor--and there are only two other units: 522 and 530. Whoever did the numbering around here was on something strong. At least we're not on floor -1 (yes, minus 1)!

Despite still recovering from our day at the beach, we decided it was time for another one, especially as I've been fighting off some congestion for the last few days. We walked down nearby Ben Gurion St. (named for the first prime minister of Israel, their George Washington) to the boardwalk. On the way, we passed Atarim Square, now an abandoned and overgrown plaza, but once a busy shopping and dining area where I used to love to hang out with my friends on my summer in Israel in 1978, so it brought back a lot of memories. We headed north on the boardwalk to Hilton Beach, where the boys are. But there was very little shelter to be had, so we just shuffled to the next beach over, where there were lounge chairs and umbrellas aplenty, and a waiter to bring us lunch and drinks. We settled again right at the receding tide, ate, drank, read, and evaded the sunshine creeping around us. I took a few dips in the sea, which felt a bit warmer than the other day, perhaps because it was so shallow for so far, but Kevin stayed dry. I listened to Israeli radio (political talk and an oldies show). Nearby, there were easily five or six games of matkot (paddleball) going at the same time. Plunk-plunk-plunk.

The rest of the day was uneventful. We walked to Dizengoff St in search of food, coming full circle with our first night in the country, when we did the same from the opposite direction. As is becoming a familiar routine, the place we were looking for was not to be found, so we had some shawarma on the busy street corner and went back to the apartment, with a stop at a drugstore for me. Kevin had a staff meeting by teleconference, and I watched more Israeli version of familiar reality shows on Channel 2. Tonight: a cute show with opening credits like "Sex in the City," featuring a former pair from their "Amazing Race," older women from a kibbutz, who spend the day in the Big City (Tel Aviv), getting spray-on tans, learning hip-hop dancing, and DJ'ing at a gay club. Tomorrow is the finale of their "Amazing Race," which maybe I'll get to see.
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