Shabbat in Tel Aviv

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Friday, January 18, 2008

We pick up our Israeli soldiers (6 soldiers that will be with us for the remainder of the trip) and do an ice breaker in a local park in Tel Aviv.  All the soldiers are between 19 and 22 but act older than the 22-26 year old Americans.  It is extremely interesting to get a different point of view and to talk to these kids about how different our lives are.  We walk down Nahalat Binyamin street (artist's market) and I get to know a few of the soldiers who are extremely friendly and happy to be on "vacation".

Old Jaffa is the original ocean front town and I find it enchanting.  There is a photo shoot going on and we see a Bride and Groom taking pictures at another place. 

Yael is full of fun stories about Jaffa and we are told that the seafood restaurants are to die for, but that we wouldn't be going there!  I will most definitely venture back here after the trip is over!

Independence Hall, where Israel was declared a state not 60 years ago provided for a good museum before returning to the hotel to light the candles for Shabbat.  The group gets dressed up and hits up a local beachfront bar, The Beach, that isn't much different than the places we saw in Barcelona on the boardwalk.  There is a little bit of dancing, a lot of déjà vu back to the middle school dance years and a good time was had by all late night in the hotel lobby.  We meet Heather's friend, Josh, who grew up in FL with her and is now in the elite forces unit in the IDF!  He seems anything but American even though he's only been here for 9 months if I remember correctly...

It's been good to connect with random people in late night talks at the hotels.  Card games seem to be the common theme, however, I've been able to get into some more in depth conversation after the crowds start going to bed.  I consider calling home but hold off...
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