After 9 painful hours of sitting cramped in an airport in Budapest, I found a small shout-out to home when I was finally called to (crankily) board my flight to Tel Aviv. Above the cabin door was a metal stamp tagged with the words “Boeing, Co., Seattle, WA, U.S.A.” Yeah! This airplane and I, we were both Seattle gals, both a long way from home, but both keeping on keeping on.
After 11 more hours waiting for Rachael to land at Ben Gurion International, we finally stepped through the automatic doors and into the sun and heat of Tel Aviv – a welcome change from the rainstormy July that Paris has been enjoying.
We spent Thursday finding our hostel, exploring the beach and eating falafel with our new friend Jonathon, a Dutchman. At night we went out with one of Rachael’s friends (who’s been living here for the past few months)to an outdoor bar, complete with pillows to sit on as you perch in the trees and a rope swing to play on…or sit, I suppose, and demurely sip your glass of wine.
Today we explored Jaffa, relaxed on the beach and tonight are going to a party at the home of an Israeli movie star (he just returned from the Cannes film festival, where his new movie was premiering).
Tomorrow is beach bum day, and tomorrow night, who knows. What I do know is that Tel Aviv fashion is a far cry from what we left in Paris. I’ve never seen so many pairs of spandex pants, tube tops, platform sandals and Crocs (!!!) in one small space in my life. It’s very…uh…beachy.
Everywhere we go, Jonathon and I are being toasted by Israeli Jews, for the simple fact of being here and not being Jewish. This seemed weird at first, but as R and her friend explained it to us, there aren’t a lot of people who come to Israel just to hang out and vacation. Most people passing through are on religious pilgrimages or on birthright trips to see the homeland. When people meet J and I, two non-Jewish tourists, just here to see the sights and hang out, they get really proud that we came to see their home with no ulterior motives.
That’s all I’ve got tonight – we’re in Tel Aviv until Monday morning when we’re catching a train to Jerusalem, so shalom for now.