Day 2: Old Jaffa, Yeminite Quarter, Zappa Club

Trip Start May 14, 2008
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Trip End Jun 17, 2008


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Sunday, May 18, 2008

It is a late start today; the jet lag may be catching up with us.   Listening to our bodies, we decide to taxi our way over to Jaffa instead of walking the Promenade.  It is quiet when we arrive, with only a few people about.  We explore Old Jaffa, and as more people begin coming, we discover the narrow alleys leading off from the square.  At one point, we hear live piano and violin music and we wander over to where it seems to be coming from.  Looking through a window, we wonder how the piano had ever gotten through the alley and the doorway into the room!  The music drifts and seems to hang in the air waiting for someone to hear it.  I love this labyrinth of stone alleys.  After I take off my bifocals so I don't trip on the steps (!), I begin to feel a sense of comfort and calmness being surrounded by such old stone walls and steps.

For lunch, we do our now typical routine of asking for directions; we're looking for the Abulafia Bakery located at 7 Yefet Street, just south of the clock tower.  The person behind the counter describes the choices and gamely we pick a calzone like pita stuffed with feta cheese and a pizza like hot cake topped with herbs.  They are warmed up for us in the brick oven.  We return to the central park area and find a shady bench to picnic and taste our treats.  I remember the first bite of each; the breading, fillings and toppings are unique and exceptionally fresh!  Give Abulafia a try, it is very tasty and it really hit the spot!

And now we meet up with Yona Wiseman again (www.yonawise.net), this time for a private Walking tour of the Yemenite Quarter, which adjoins the Carmel Market.  We had not realized yesterday that we had passed so close to these streets! I am fascinated with different cultures and traditions, and felt that without someone personally sharing information and walking through the streets with us, we would only be looking at buildings and not gain any insight into Yemenite history and culture, of which we know very little.   Yona, through photos, stories and anecdotes about people, makes the area come alive as we walk the streets!  Today is Shabbat and the area is very quiet.  But my mind fills in the spice vendors, bread maker, smells from the hummus stand and restaurants, and the local characters from the area.  Other days, Sunday through Friday, would be better for this tour, but it is our only available day - and better to do it today than not at all!  At the end of the tour, Yona invites us to her apartment where she clips fresh lemongrass and mint from her terrace garden and makes fresh tea for us.  A very pleasurable and relaxing end to an informative tour!

Now this evening is exceptional for Harvey and I.   We don't usually STAY OUT late.  From our perspective, tonight, we are GOING OUT late.  At 9 PM, we meet up with Avi, his father (Josef) and sister (Keren) at Zappa Music Club, about 11 kilometers from the city center.   After some wonderfully flavored food which we all shared and some wine, SARIT HADAD and her band perform.  We have never experienced so much positive, dynamic energy in an audience and performer!  With people moving to the music, waving their hands in the air, giving Sarit flowers and taking photos from their cell phones, it is hard to believe that there are any worries in Israel.   The only thing on these peoples' minds is the music.  After an evening of pulsating music, we make our way back to the Cinema Hotel.  Our heads hit the pillow and we are asleep! 

Harvey reflects that, for a tourist, Tel Aviv is like the story of the blind men touching different parts of an elephant and thinking that they know what it is.  Is Tel Aviv the renovated Old Jaffa?  Is it the hustle and bustle of the markets or music festivals?  Is it the incredible nightlife we experienced?  Or is it the high tech district where Zappa was located?  The people are urbane yuppies, soldiers walking around with guns, music lovers, relaxed caf dwellers, tourists of all sizes and shapes.  Today, we visited one of the oldest ports in the world and experienced some of the most modern music of today.  Of course a lot of that music is based on ancient themes.
My intention for the day was "There are no ordinary moments".   Today was like a cascading waterfall; one moment flowing into another, a steady stream of new places, new smells, and new tastes.  Taking it all in, senses fully alert and spirit open.  Nothing was ordinary!  Sensory overload.  I am overwhelmed.

Click here for today's photos!
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