Ben Gurion's house is around the corner from our apartment and it seems almost irresponsible and certainly downright rude not to pay a visit when we're so close. After spending about 45 minutes visiting his place, I can tell you one thing: he did NOT live in the lap of luxury. That said, the guy has a library collection that's bigger than most public libraries. His wife did without most of the major appliances but, it should be noted, did insist on hardwood flooring in the living room.
I led Debbie on a 4-hr. walk today. She refers to it as the March to Bataan but without the prison camp at the end. There was, however, her usual 2 hr. midday nap (well, it was closer to 3 hours today, in fact) so there's some consolation, no?
We walked a route down Ben Yehuda and then down Chen and Rothschild that we haven't trod before. Basically, as long as the street was a boulevard with a Las Ramblas-like central park corridor for walking & bikes we followed it as far as it would take us.
Amongst other things, we got a good view of the National Performing Arts Theatre ('Habimah') and ended up in the city centre at Rothschild & Allenby. That, naturally, took us directly to lunch at a kosher shawarma joint on Nachalat Binyamin followed up by a stroll through the Carmel Market before attacking an unsuspecting Yarn Store on Allenby (which turned out to be the store at No. 63 Allenby St. that SELLS yarn as opposed to the 4 flights of stairs with a Dental Office and CPA on 2 of the floors at the OTHER No.63 Allenby St. that doesn't sell yarn.
After 4 flights of stairs you'll understand that I quite wish we had come across the Yarn Store at No. 63 BEFORE the 4 flights of stairs at No 63 Allenby. As our taxi driver Ami says, however, "all of life is a lesson".
This evening we agreed to walk no more than 4 blocks to find a place for dinner. Well, Debbie actually made me swear we would not walk more than 4 blocks to find one and a blood oath is a blood oath, after all.
"Barbunia" is one of the Hebrew words used to describe Red Mullet. The other is something else but I can't remember what. Anyway, we ate dinner at "Barbunia" restaurant and, naturally, ordered the Barbunia for dinner. Interesting experience: Pick the fish you want; decide if you want it fried whole (head to tail) or grilled whole and the rest of the one price fits all dinner will arrive (including the salads; pita; etc.).
Barbunia are little fish and when fried it's like eating chicken strips except they taste like fish and have a lot of teeny bones. Actually very delicious. You eat them whole. Debbie insisted on cutting off the heads and trying to remove the bones. Not me - I likes me my fish heads - nice and crunchy!
Turns out "Barbunia" is a 'hot' restaurant on the Tel Aviv 'must go to' scene. We only know this because we were told this by the couple waiting in line behind us who we invited to share out table since they were at a premium and it looked like they'd be in for a long wait (nobody was leaving fast - mostly I think 'cause they just keep bringing more food out of the kitchen).
Gabrielle is a forensic psychologist; her husband Mike works with a Tuberculosis NGO and has heard of Anne Fanning as she is very well known in the TB world (it's like the small Jewish world except with racking coughing and sometimes actually death experiences.....hmmmm... maybe it is a lot like the Jewish world?).
Gabrielle is from Melbourne, Australia and Mike is originally from London. They've lived together in York and more laterally now they live in Brighton. They were quite fascinated to hear what the winter temperatures are like in Edmonton - let's face it, who isn't?
Gabrielle has 2 children from a previous marriage: Zoe is 24 and taking her Ph.D. in microbiology at Central Academy in London - Britain's premier science university. Her son is 22 and at university as well. Gabrielle's sister graduates from TAU next week with her Ph.D. in English and they are here for her convocation.
With his proper multi-generation English countryside upbringing Mike sports what Gabrielle calls a 'posh' accent. She feels that as a first generation Australian whose parents survived the holocaust she has moved up in the world. He's about 8 feet tall so maybe she's right.
We spent some time discussing the state of the Jewish world, including the distinction between Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, "United" Orthodox, Liberal & Progressive streams of Jewry in Britain. You know, 'the Rabbi's' v. the 'simpel Jews'. The more things change.....
Ed. Note: We started out today firmly determined to locate (and eat) Tel Aviv's best hummus for lunch but we got sidetracked. These things happen. I'm keeping the list of the Top 10 Hummus joints, however, as I'm not going to give up the hunt for the great white hummus that easily!