I must tell you that when I landed at Ben Gurion airport needing some energy while savoring at five o'clock in the morning an Israeli ice cream cone, I asked a handsome Israeli young man at the bureau of money exchange about the weather. The reason why, at dawn -- still sleepy and a little jet lagged -- I realize I have landed in the land of Israel is by the style of the answer to my question: "The weather? Depends. Where are you coming from?" "I am coming from London" "Oh, from London -- the weather in Tel Aviv then is very good!"
(My reflection is what kind of an answer I would have got if I told him I came from Rio or Dubai?) Obviously, Einstein had to be a Jew and the theory of relativity had to be invented in Tel Aviv!
My family invited me to stay in the most modern hotel of TLV, the Intercontinental, in front of the beach. Sometimes, by looking at the shore and the way it is structured, I have a feeling of being in Copacabana, in Rio de Janeiro. The palm trees just look like cousins to the ones here. Tel Aviv is a very young city and everywhere you go reigns an atmosphere of "Joie de vivre" like every city in the world that has the sea. But here it is stronger; the war and the suffering due to terrorism has made it a point to enjoy life at its best, everyday at its fullest. The beach at dawn or sunset and the nightlife are enjoyed to their extreme.
Lucky to be in Tel Aviv, my family and I rejoiced to "Break" the Passover "Fast" at the old city Arabic headquarters called Jaffa where my favorite bakery in the world -- Abuelafia & Sons -- stands firmly against all odds with their burning wood oven ready for my impatient craving for Zaatar bread.
The night life is as funky as you can imagine. There is a huge need to catch up with 60/70's rock world icons like Janis Joplin, Roberta Flack, Miles Davis, Minnie Ripperton and Jimmy Hendrix. The bars have a dark side at its extreme, the underground scene is the preferred one, and a cult for death and life cut to the edge is appreciated even if they are not aware of it -- basically a pure reflection of the condition of what their day to day has been like in the country they were born since they know themselves as people of Israel.
Saint-Tropez has nothing to envy from the beach lounging in Tel Aviv. We call it in French "l'heure Bleue" -- that interval of time between sunset and the falling of the night. It is the blue hour where everything is quiet, romantic chilling out is amazing, while Narguileh's tobamel "honeyed" tobacco aroma, the cherry and other spices fill the Mediterranean breeze longing for a longer horizon to reach being just in the moment of perfect light and sound.
New York is waiting for me. I must leave to hopefully come back soon.
HaTikvah -- the national anthem of Israel -- means exactly this word: Hope.
Hope for eternal comeback and peace.
Shalom Tel Aviv, will be back soon.
This post is dedicated to my new friend Ze'ev Lavie, for being so adorable in taking his time to show me around day and night until dawn in the hidden and secret places of his beloved city of Tel Aviv. We found out that we have so much in common that it's almost ridiculous. Maybe from previous lives.
I wish him all the luck he deserves -- and he knows for sure what I am talking about!
The events: www.absolut-events.com
The spa: www.myspa.com
The clubs Whisky a go-go port 03 5440633
Arbinka 87 yehoda Halevy st', Tel-Aviv, 077-3455511.
Nanoc'ka 27 lilinbloum st', tel-aviv, 03-5162254.
Abraxes, dance-bar with electronic music is in 40 lilinboum st, 03-5104435 .
The breakfast club (the underground place with cool music) Whisky go-go is where I held the asw party in the new part of Tel-Aviv 03-5440633
The restaurants: Barbarella
The Bars: Mezimim 9 beach
The smoke: www.sacrednarghile.com/narghile/en/tobacco.html The Recipes: www.ellenskitchen.com/recipebox/arabic/spicemix.html#zahtar | www.post-gazette.com/food/20011115thanksu.asp