Tel Aviv

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
Trip End Jan 20, 2013

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unfortunately, I think we have seen the last of our sunny days.  We arrived Tel Aviv and it was cold and rainy.  Tel Aviv is the only other city that we go to on this Israel trip that is not necessarily religious.  It almost freaks me out.  You think of Israel to be rough and really strict by looking at the news, but Tel Aviv is just like a European city.  It is very expensive and we basically stayed in a red light district with many bars, clubs, shops to smoke, strip clubs and there was another shop next to us with a mushroom banner in the window.  We arrived here overnight from Elait and took a nap almost right away.  The bus had a guard at all times with us carrying and fully automatic weapon.  It was a bit strange thinking we crossed the whole length of the country in 5 hours.  Yesterday, we were at the Red Sea and today, we are at the Mediterranean Sea.  Tel Aviv is the newest city in Israel.  It had a very good economy here with all the newest business and skyscrapers are going up like crazy.  We went to the Carmel market and bought some fresh food like strawberries and a few other things.  They had a lot of spices, olives, fruits, vegetables, clothes, toys, fake bags, souvenirs and stuff like that.  The market ends close to the waterfront.  The waterfront leads to Jaffo, which is the old historical part of Tel Aviv, but it is a separate city because I have heard that no city can be bigger than Jerusalem.  They kind of split the city into two to make sure it is not larger than Jerusalem. The waterfront has a nice relaxing walk.  The last few weeks, we have been in desert and now finally, we get to see a bit of green scenery and parks.  The grass is nice here.  The beaches on the other side of the country are more rocky and calm, but here is a nice sandy beach with much larger waves that gear more towards surfers.  It is also a bit colder here and for the first time of the trip, we had to wear our jumpers.  The rain clouds were in the air and the rain will come soon, but it didn’t happen today.  In Jaffo, we saw all the historical sites that don’t take long.  It is not big.  It is on the peninsula, so it has a great view point of the sea and the city.  The basic sites are the clock tower, a church and courtyard with fountains.  This part of town is supposed to be old and historical, but much of it has been renovated and is nearly brand new.  
I did get a chance to check out part of the nightlife near my hotel.  I woke up early one morning instead of staying out late and only spent about 30 minutes out of my hotel at the bars.  The bars here are very smoky.  Cigarettes are still not illegal in bars here and the bars stink.  I don’t like cigarette smoke, so I had to stand in the corner.  After about 10 minutes of observing, the bartender stood on the bar and called everyone that did not have a beer in his hand to the bar.  He said I had to buy a beer or leave, so I bought a Heineken. He took nearly the same price of beer in tip, but kept the tip in his hand.  I asked for it back and he gave me one shekel.  I asked for the rest and he gave me one more shekel.  He still had 17 coins to go.  I asked for the rest.  He gave me one more shekel.  This pissed me off quite a bit.  All my life, I have liked Israel and the Jews.  I’ve met quite a few traveling and I took offense to it when people said things like that is Jewish or quit being Jewish.  Let’s face it though.  This guy was being Jewish and now I know what some of them have that stereotype.  Nothing crazy happened in the bars.  The guys easily outnumbered the girls.  
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