Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sin City

I love Tel Aviv. I feel so free and easy when I'm there, and life seems so uncomplicated. I'm learning the city little by little. I decided to go with Hubby this past Friday, to renew our Canadian passport, pick up Madonna tickets, have breakfast at the Port and see the Pride Parade.

Being that we're car-less, we took a bus from Jerusalem, and the bus just glided its way into the Big City that never sleeps in the Middle East. We seemed to get there in no time at all, being that there's not much traffic on a Friday.

The Canadian embassy/consulate wait was two hours and I just KNEW that if I waited with a very ADHD hubby, things would not bode well for me, so I left that for another time when I'll go alone. But I wondered why the wait was so long. The U.S. Consulate is quick and efficient, and the Canadians either don't have the staff, or don't work fast or take long lunches. Who knows. We navigated towards the nearest bus stop and found out from one of the locals that it was an easy 20 minute walk from the Central Bus Station to the Embassy. Next time I'll do that instead of paying a taxi 30 NIS. I'm such a fucking tourist.

Picking up Madonna tickets was next on my list and we decided to take in Tel Aviv by walking the entire length of Ibn Gavirol Street in whatever shade we could find. Everyone was having breakfast on that street. Organic this and organic that - even a shop with organic falafel. I was impressed. We wondered what it would be like if we lived in Tel Aviv instead of our sleepy suburb of Maaleh Adumim, and I warned Hubby that he'd have to earn three times as much because a) I would need to get through all the restaurants - at least for Friday brunch and b) the designer stores for clothing/furniture/house stuff were much more interesting than what you see in Jerusalem - and more expensive. We got to the ticket place only to find out that the tickets for Madonna's concert weren't printed out yet, and won't be until the 21st of June. Hubby wanted to argue with the ticket people, but I told him it was pointless when signs were posted all over the place about the new date for pick up. A bit disheartened at two failed errands, we walked the rest of Ibn Gavirol Street until the street turned lush and shady, less trendy, with more middle-class families eating at greasy spoons on the street. We were right at the edge of Yarkon Park where we walked on the bicycle path towards the Port. There were people out canoeing in the kryptonite-green Yarkon river, which stunk at one picturesque point - which was an absolute shame. Aren't they supposed to be cleaning up the beautiful river?

We asked English-speaking bicycle riders for directions to the Port, and they pointed us in the direction. I told them we were "hicks from Jerusalem". Ah, yes, so were they, they laughed. "Good thing I didn't say we were white trash from Jerusalem, eh?" I ribbed Hubby.

We dropped our weary selves onto Comme Il Faut cafe right by the sea. I didn't care if breakfast was $1,000 at this point. We ordered a breakfast for two, gouda cheese, salmon, sparkling wine (!), salad, eggs with ricotta and hyssop, olives, labane cheese, cream cheese, good nutty bread, home-made jam, and carrot juice. I didn't want to leave! The sound of the waves was soothing and then an old, fat guy who we recognized from the Elvis Inn, who thinks he looks like Elvis, was walking up and down smiling at his "fans" sitting at the cafes, while he carried his beat-up guitar. Well that sight was more amusing than soothing.

We made our way to Ben Yehuda Street to wait for the Pride Parade to pass this way. I decided that seeing the Gay Parade in Jerusalem was too stressful, with all the Hareidi demonstrators who sometimes turn violent against the marchers. It's not fun for me at all. But there were no hecklers out today, at least none that I saw. Hubby found a sex shop on the street, and walked in. I couldn't do anything but follow him inside, and thanked God that I don't know a soul in Tel Aviv, and that no one knows me either. We spent the first few minutes chuckling at all the contraptions, looking like Virgin Sex Store Shoppers, which we are. We ended up asking the pretty saleswoman all sorts of questions - like how do you use this and how do you use that. One contraption was so amusing that she said all the "girls" buy for themselves. It looked like the kind of beaded necklace I used to string together when I was a kid, but they went from small to large beads. I will not explain further, so do not ask me. This is a relatively clean blog, except for my bad language.

We made a hasty exit, not buying a damn thing (it wasn't on our spending plan), because we heard the marchers coming our way. As I knew, the parade was fun, lots of drag queens, lots of young kids - mostly young kids marching, and many of the guys with lovely bodies (for me) to look at. Some wore very interesting outfits, and if I can ever get the photos of the parade out of my husband's phone, I'll post them, but if not, I'm sure I can find them somewhere on line. Yes, I just did and they're here . We decided to hit the beach with the rest of the party and got us some chairs with an umbrella a few feet from the water. The chairs were well worth the money but the expensive beer and mojitos weren't. We people-watched for a couple of hours until the sun nearly set.

The privately-run mini-vans do run on the Sabbath and we were able to easily get back to our city. So if you're secular, need to "get away" and find Jerusalem stifling when you're not feeling particularly spiritual one weekend, it's easy to just hop into one of those mini-vans and head out to Tel Aviv.


rabbi lars shalom said...

a welcome return

Shari said...

A lovely description. I also enjoyed it because usually you don't describe fun things that you do together with your husband, and it was nice to read about you enjoying yourselves together.