A Taste of Tel Aviv
Jun 13, 2011
|Jaffa aka Yafo is the place where the new Israel began in the late 1800's with the arrival of the first Yishuv pioneers. Little did they know that 130 years later the smallish port of Jaffa would be the site for artist boutiques and jewellery stores. Shame about that, eh? That fact, however, allowed for another forced march today - a 4 hour 'jaunt' to visit the historic port of Jaffa Jewellery Stores.
The photogenic minaret of the seaside port mosque and the bell tower of the (thrice rebuilt but still a total of 450 yr. old) St. Peter's Franciscan Monastery in behind dominating the centre of the main plaza quickly give way to the narrow alleyway that contains all thinks expensive.
Debbie's response (revenge?) to the forced march was my forced purchase of jewellery created by David Shamay at Tel Megiddo Jewelry quickly (way too quickly!) followed by further purchases of some Jewish holiday art by Michal Meron at her gallery. It was interesting that each of the galleries were staffed solely by daughters of the artists. Is this a new Israeli law: Only the artists daughters are allowed to sell their stuff?
The daughters knew their stuff, mind you and gave us directions to a hidden spot in Jaffa: the Courtyard of the Floating Tree (see photos to see it for yourself - it's an honest to gosh floating tree!).
There are wonderful and scenic views of Tel Aviv and the coastline north from Gan Ha'Pisga at the summit of Jaffa and a very good vantage point to view the manmade jetty and Andromeda Rock (sporting an Israeli flag) which define the very narrow entry point into the harbour.
The walk to Jaffa allowed us a chance to soak up sun and sea breeze while walking the Tayelet south. Many of the people we passed along the way (particlarly as we got closer to Jaffa with it's majority Arab population) were Arab women and their children taking in the sun and sea as well.
We skipped lunch today (I think we actually spent it on the jewellery but you can't eat that, now, can you?). Actually, we were saving up for Ta'am Ha'ir - "A Taste of Tel Aviv" held in Gan Yerusahalayim at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds. Over 200,000 people take in the event over it's 3-days of food, music & .... more food. We went the first night and the place was packed solid by the time we left.
Over 100 different restaurants tempted us with everything from..... well, I'm actually not certain what they tempted us with as there were zero, zilcho, signs in English so my translations of the various foods on offer ranged from the delicious to the ridiculous. We either ate a bowl of fried potatoes topped with beef strips in a rum & coffee sauce or striped sea bass with a side of pvc tubing. Either way, tasted good (amazing what they can do with PVC tubing nowadays!).
Yotvata (the dairy king kibbutz in the Negev that has a chain of milk-ish products) introduced it's latest new product at Ta'am Ha'ir by giving everyone a taste of their new 'Chocolate Ice' slushie on entry to the exhibition grounds. Seriously, it's like a chocolate milk slurpee. Yup, I think we have a winner!
We listened to a few musical groups (there were about 5 stages spaced out between the food & liquor booths with different musical thermes). Our favourite was the 70's pop rock band who sang the songs in Hebrew accented English. "Welcome to zee hotel Calley For Neeah" was a good nostalgic blast from the past.
It was fun knowing that the only English spoken by about 60,000 people was ours. It allowed us lots of room for errors and gaffes that the (mostly young) Israeli crowd was happy to correct. We watched a live performance introduction of the stars of "Chai b'LaLa Land" - a sort of Israeli idol in Hollywood production by YES! tv network, as far as we could figure out.
All I know is that the young people staffing the event within an event were happy to get me to take photos posing with a cardboard cutout of the stars of the show. I'm not sure why I do these things but I do. These are, however, the kind of things that make my wife tell people around her that she has no idea who I am and that I'm most certainly not her husband. Of course, her Hebrew isn't that good so I'm not sure anyone either believed her or understood her.
By contrast, I was lucky enough to find us a taxi cab driver for our ride home who spoke little English but was willing to patiently endure my Hebrew. It's astounding we found our way home.