Day 26: Evita and Moses
Trip Start May 19, 2009
30Trip End Jun 16, 2009
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We arrived at the tour's starting point, and before we knew it, there was a huge crowd, maybe 30 people, assembled for the free tour, one of several given by the city. Our cheerful and knowledgeable guide, in her South African-accented English, took us along the median strip of broad, pleasant Rothschild Blvd. to show us some of the architecture that distinguishes Tel Aviv and which earned it a "world heritage" designation from UNESCO in 2003
We returned to nearby trendy Sheinkin St. for lunch at Orna & Ella, where we had had a snack previously, and which we know from the film "The Bubble." It was one of the few businesses open on Shabbat in the area, and boy were they doing a brisk business. After lunch, we hitched a cab ride to the Azrieli Center, Tel Aviv's tallest buildings: one circular, one square, one triangular. As it was Shabbat, the mall was nearly empty, but we were there to go to the observation deck on the 49th floor. Although the views were impressive, and the audio commentary sufficient, the place was like an empty reception hall, and there were only a couple of other tourists there. No amenities, and dirty windows to boot. Moreover, the best views were reserved for the restaurant, which was curtained off. Still, we could see the whole city if we tried.
After a rest and cool-off back home, we decided to catch some films at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, which apparently kicked off the new wave of Israeli film not long ago. It was the last night of a French film festival, so we saw a documentary on Yves St. Laurent (Hebrew, but no English, subtitles, but Kevin got the gist of it with his French); and a cute comedy, "Vilaine," fully subtitled in English and Hebrew. As it's a serious filmgoing place, we were really surprised and annoyed at all the talking going on around us, incessantly, during the first film. One chatty couple eventually left early (yay) but another took their places, right behind us. Some sharp words did the trick, but then the woman was heard to be taking pictures. I ignored that. Another girl was using her phone down the row from us, but also left early after some time. Unbelievable. (The second film, no issues.) Anyway, there were DVDs and books for sale in the lobby, so we got some of each.
We decided to take a pass on a third, albeit short, Israeli film at 10:30 p.m., and instead to head to Evita for a late snack, the two hot pretzels at the Cinematheque not really counting as a proper dinner. Well, we get there--dark again, not open. What's with the "open at 6" voicemail--and their big flatbed truck/float in the parade yesterday? We called and the voicemail is still saying the same thing
I love Rothschild Blvd. Day and night, it's alive with activity. Lined with fascinating buildings, laced with history, full of restaurants and cafes, the median tree-lined strip busy with joggers and cyclists and walkers and people sitting on benches or patronizing the handful of snack kiosks that dot the median, not overly commercial and not fully residential... And there we were, part of the lively buzz of the place. In the cab home, at 11:30 p.m., we looked at all the full cafes and restaurants, thinking what a great, lively, cosmopolitan place, and given that Sunday is a weekday in Israel--what on earth were these people all doing up so late?