Posted by: thedirtybaker | June 22, 2011

A Short Wander in Tel Aviv

In Ashkelon, my kitchen facilities were limited; I was mostly eating bread,

Checking out the city: how much do spies cost?

storebought hummous/ eggplant salad, fruit, and yogurt.  I made eggs a few times, too.  So it was high time for a good meal after my meeting at TAU, and to check out a bit of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv is the biggest city in Israel.  It’s not the capital, but it’s where the embassies are because other countries won’t recognize Jerusalem as the capital.  It’s also not a place that I’ve liked in the past.  It  seemed to be full of wannabe Euro-trash, who were consumed with their own coolness.  This somehow failed to impress me.  The Tel-Avivis were snooty about Jerusalem, which they saw as backwards and religious.  (For parts of the city, I agree with them, but not the whole city.) I also disliked the architecture, which tended towards highly functional concrete block housing.  Ugh.  It is not comparable to the beautiful Jerusalem-stone buildings.

When I lived here, the dominant style was for Israeli women to wear super-skinny, stovepipe pants that left no space for muscles, let alone fat. That was ok for the unfortunately large segment of the secular women who neither worked out nor ate much – they mostly smoked and drank coffee.  It wasn’t a workable look for me, though.

Bike with surfboard attached

Unless I had a reason to be in Tel Aviv – either work or capoeira – I avoided it.  However, I am now reconsidering this avoidance.  The city has definitely improved in the last 9 years, and now looks downright livable!  First of all, when I got off the bus, I noticed bike racks everywhere.  I don’t know that I saw any bike racks in Israel in the past!  I saw a kid riding his bike with a surfboard attached.   There was also a differently paved lane on the sidewalk.  It had bicycles painted on it – they put in a bike lane!!!  Interestingly, it’s on the sidewalk, not in the street.  That gets around my biggest fear of cycling in Israel: the idiotic Israel drivers.

I saw many people using the bike lanes, and a lot of people were also out jogging/

Bikes locked up next to a bike lane - is this really Israel? (Yes)

walking, etc.  I’ve never seen that many Israelis exercising!  And fewer people were smoking, too, so that was a step up.

Israel has always had a lot of baked goods, but I’ve also noticed an increase in bakeries and ice cream shops.  This may be part of the reason for the increase in exercise by Israelis, but I have no real clue about it.  They appear to be correlated, at least.  There is also an increase in coffee shops – though there have always been a lot of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating.

"Bicicletta" bike sho

Next time I come to Israel, I want to ride a bike around in Tel Aviv, and test out a range of bakeries.  All in the interests of science, of course.  🙂  So in short – Tel Aviv has definitely improved, and is almost livable now!

And, of course, the other great priority in life - I wonder if they have it in IV form?

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