Weekend in Tel Aviv

Stephanie and I had an amazing time visiting her friend Josh in Tel-Aviv. One of Josh’s apartment-mates was out of town, so Steph and I shared her huge, comfy bed in a really nice room. Even though we stayed up late every night, the few hours of sleep I did manage to get there were pretty solid.

We arrived Thursday night by train with our friend Paul, who had plans of his own to meet up with people in Tel-Aviv. After Steph and I arrived at Josh’s apartment, we all went out to meet up with Josh’s friends at a bar. It was crowded in the outdoor seating area, but a bunch of us sat on crates around small tables and drank “Arak” lemonade, snacking on an endless supply of salted sunflower seeds and salty-dressed arugula.

An example of how weirdly small Israel is: Steph and I are explaining to Josh’s friends that we teach English in Ashdod. One guy asks what schools, and Stephanie tells hers. “Oh, cool,” he said. “My mom is the principal at Renanim.”

Oh my god. Renanim is MY school.

Stephanie with my principal's son, Amir! Soooo funny that he's a friend of Josh's.

Stephanie with my principal’s son, Amir! Soooo funny that he’s a friend of Josh’s.

Seriously, what are the chances?? Of course when I told him he was shocked and laughing, and he sent his mom a text about it. I wonder what she’ll say when I see her Monday…

Friday morning, Steph and I woke up early to go to the Carmel Shuk. We spent a long time walking around, looking at all of the tasty eats, and shopping for cheap clothes and chochkies – we didn’t buy much, but what we did find were great deals.

Steph smells the fresh fruits and nuts

Steph smells the fresh fruits and nuts

The falafel pita sandwiches we had at 10am was the first I’d had since my first week, and it was absurdly good – only seven shekels.

A thriving Vegan community in Tel-Aviv!

A thriving Vegan community in Tel-Aviv!

Steph and I walked past a few of these “Vegan Friendly” stands, one of which was near an outdoor dog adoption event. It was sad, since the dogs there were all in the “final chance” stages, but also so wonderful to pet and play with them for a brief moment, and to see such a strong vegan presence in Tel-Aviv.

Pups!

Pups!

Two of Josh’s friends had invited us to their place for Shabbat dinner, so Steph and I bought ingredients for guacamole at the Shuk and brought it over with some wine. The dinner was small and a really great time – we had great conversation and great food.

"Shabbat Lite"

“Shabbat Lite”

Around midnight, we set off to meet up with Rachel’s friend Tom, who had invited me in the first place to come to Tel Aviv for a Sci-Fi Film Festival. We never actually attended any sci-fi events, but we had a lovely time meeting and hanging out with her and some of her friends in an Irish Pub (yes, in Israel).

Tom and me!

Tom and me!

At 3, we said goodbye to Tom, went to a more dance clubby spot down the street, and danced to some true Israeli Nightlife music, such as Cotton Eye Joe and The Final Countdown. We just don’t get it.

Saturday, we slept in and had a delicious brunch at Fresh, where Paul met up with us.

So delicious, and lots of clearly labelled vegan options! My vegan sandwich was superb.

So delicious, and lots of clearly labelled vegan options! My vegan sandwich was superb.

All of us then spent the afternoon walking around Jaffa’s artisan craft stands, followed by a long, leisurely walk back through Tel-Aviv.

An art gallery in Jaffa Port

An art gallery in Jaffa Port

There we had a quick meal of dinner remains from the end of a dinner gathering at Josh’s friend’s apartment. Who should also be at this dinner affair, but some teaching fellows from Petach-Tikvah. Again, Israel proves to be small.

We returned to Ashdod Saturday evening, since today was our “enrichment” trip to Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea (both places I’d already visited, but it was still fun to hike and float and mud it up). I’m pretty exhausted, but very happy with how everything went.

And I didn’t even get sick!

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