Friday, October 16, 2009

New city, new scene

Hello from Tel Aviv! It was difficult but on Thursday we said goodbye to our excellent hostel (the Kaplan Hotel) in the beautiful city of Jerusalem to catch a bus to Israel's bustling "big city" of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv isn't exactly what I expected... it's a big of a crumbling, uninspiring city. It isn't exactly a gleaming, modern new city nor does it have the charm and character of Jerusalem. It has the dated look of a place like Myrtle Beach (though when our parents took us there as kids, Nat and I did have a fantastic time by the ocean).

Once we arrived, we settled into our expensive yet very average hostel (the Old Jaffa Hostel). It isn't too bad - the showers have hot water, the dorms have a ceiling fan, and the rooftop terrace is quite nice. I wasn't especially thrilled about being separated from Mike and Simon (since I was put in the women's dorm) but I had fun getting to know my roommates who hail from all corners of the map.

The city is hot and humid... we made the fantastic discovery that Tel Aviv's outstanding beaches are just a stone's throw from the hostel. From the rooftop we have a great view of the Mediterranean.

Last night, we walked along the beach and watched the sun set, had dinner at a pub by the beach and chilled on the rooftop. Today we spent a few hours on the beach, swimming and playing frisbee. I have now dipped my toes in all of Israel's three Seas (the Med, the Dead and the Red... and yes I know I left out the sea of Galilee, but it doesn't rhyme!).

After that we explored old Jaffa and wandered downtown for a delicious meal at the only Thai restaurant we could find. I appreciate the city for its great weather and beautiful beaches and the fact that everyone here is so fit and active... but I guess it's hard not to be when you have such a great seawall for running and biking.

Tomorrow, we are leaving for Haifa.

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