Tel Aviv, Israel ~ Boardwalk, ancient Jaffa and reconnecting with childhood friends.

After some time on the Moshav, we are ready for the city. 

I do not know Tel Aviv at all, so we are glad to have an opportunity to spend some time here to get a feel for it. Tel Aviv is definitely a happening, buzzing city with many different neighborhoods, things to see and do. It’s very dog friendly a la Paris and has a lot of attractive women… as is one of its’ claims to fame. It is also known for being one of the most gay friendly cities in the world. All of these are aspects we both appreciate.

We are staying at Tal, my nephews’ apartment on Dizengoff street, for a few days, until he goes to the US. Luckily we get some time with him before he leaves ~ then we stay in his place while he travels for work. The best part about Tals’ place is how close it is to the boardwalk and the ocean! 

Oh yeah and a pretty decent hummus place right outside.

Tal on his motorbike outside his apartment, Dizengoff Street.
Tal opposite a wall of PK, BSB small oil paintings done in Highland Park over the years there.
We are minutes away from the “namal” port area which has lots of restaurants and cafes, an organic market and a lovely open space of boardwalk overlooking the ocean. We are minutes from the beach too. 
The port area boardwalk is huge with plenty of places for resting, walking and enjoying a spot in the sun.
On a sunny day with a rough-er sea.
Hummus and salads. We are really enjoying the quality of the food in Israel.
We take advantage to enjoy some “down time” with perfect weather.
Beautiful yoga studio right on the boardwalk of the port.  Expensive! I will stick to incorporating yoga and stretching into my daily “routine” . Hence the concept, “Where there is a wall, there is a stretch.”

Once again, we manage to juggle work and play.  Ben has set up multiple meetings with Israeli defense companies and the Israel Defense Forces and starts to conjure a set of strategic relationships that will mature over the next few months.  First opportunity: Israeli helicopter maintenance capability to be connected to Ben’s India partners to address the large Indian helicopter maintenance market.

For a city beach, Tel Aviv beach has soft sand, good swimming and being winter, few people.
We enjoy some beautiful sunsets on Tel Aviv beach and boardwalk.

We walk along the beachfront of Tel Aviv to the ancient port city of Jaffa, a (long) walk away form the Tel Aviv boardwalk ~ with it’s beautiful architecture, interesting flea market and the best masabacha (elevated hummus) that we have while in Israel.

Tel Aviv has really nice open public spaces. There is Jaffa on the horizon.

We spend an evening in Jaffa after our walk on the beach, and then return to experience it and its flea market in the day time.

Jaffa’s beautiful architecture and creamy stone walls and streets.

Lets not forget another reason to go to Jaffa.. and that is the Masabaha at Abu Hassan. Masabaha is a type of hummus, but this in no way describes the gastronomic treat that this bowl of warm chickpeas delivers. Soft and creamy with whole chickpeas on the top, parsley, paprika, secret spices and a generous heaping of green/gold olive oil.

We arrived at Abu Hassan for our late breakfast (masabaha is derived from the word sabah, which means morning in Arabic.) The small place was packed to capacity with people basically inhaling their plates of creamy deliciousness, rather rapidly. It is customary to use leaves of raw onion and pieces of pita bread to dip into this upscale and substantial version of hummus.
After this, we become hooked on masabaha and tried it as often as we could, in Jerusalem as well. All were very good, but this first one, was for us the best!

View from a park top in Jaffa, looking towards Tel Aviv.
Typical street in Jaffa
A mural and a store owner seem to blend in seamlessly.
The flea market has all sorts of interesting antiquities such as these coffee and tea pots.
Painted ceramic tiles with scenes or Arabic writing on them.
The flea market area is great for walking around, due to the active vibe and attractive architecture and small streets
Chocolate rugulach (a la Maya of Cherry on a Bike), although not as good as hers.
But we had to try them of course just to find out!
In Tel Aviv,  I (Peta) meet up with Stan R. He and I were best friends in Johannesburg, South Africa in 4th grade, age 9! Fellow troublemakers in school… 
Shortly after my family returned to South Africa from Israel, Stans’ family moved to Israel permanently (aliyah). We have not seen each other since we were both 9 years old and playing next to the pool at my house in Johannesburg, on the hillside. 
So I have to wonder how it will be to see Stan again?… so many years later…given that we were friends 49 years ago!
The answer is quite simply… Fantastic!!!
Me and Stan ~  How awesome is life!
We met up again for dinner one night, and this time with Ben.
Stan and I today, years later have many compatible interests and much in common and being with him is as natural as breathing air! What a treat to have time to reconnect together.

Interestingly I have the same situation and feelings with upcoming meetings with my 2 Israeli friends from the time I lived in Israel in 1967

In all three instances I am overjoyed to say, that without a doubt my friendship bonds from early childhood are incredibly powerful and remain undiminished by time.

Dorit…the Israeli girl who went ” all out” to befriend me  and made all the difference in the level of acceptance which surrounded me in those early days of school in Haifa in 1967, Over the years she managed to “track me down” ~ not easy given how much I have moved…. She has been very eager to reconnect and when we finally do, it’s easy, wonderful and warm.

Dorit has a daughter aged 11, the same age she and I were when we were best friends in Haifa.

Ehud…a hugely cute and charming 10 year old boy I had a big crush on and believe he had similar feelings.  Ehud got a huge surprise when I called him a mere 48 years later. He was as excited to meet me as I was him. Amazingly, after all these years and a lot of life that we have both lived, we still have great chemistry! Ehud told me that even his mother remembered me… (as the little “mulatta girl”! — evidently, being from South Africa, and having white skin, confused her…)

Ehud ~ My first  crush. Still charming after all these years!

In all three instances I am overjoyed to say, that without a doubt my friendship bonds from early childhood are incredibly powerful and remain undiminished by time.

After all our socialising, probably more social than we have been in a very long time, we get one more family day with Niki when she takes the train into Tel Aviv to meet us at the superb Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Milton Avery
Chagall, of course.

Interesting mobile of hanging objects. (Reminiscent of our orange wall with orange objects in Highland Park at one time.)
Huge flock of birds  where the ocean meets the river, near Tal’s apartment
Last day in Tel Aviv brings us the best beach weather and this time we actually have swimsuits on and spend some more time soaking up the sun, sand and sea. Not bad for December!

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