On Thursday night, after our Sukkot feasts, Paul and I took our bikes to the train station and brought them on board to Tel Aviv. Once there, we met up with our host Guy, who had offered us a place to stay while his flatmate was on vacation.
That night he took us to Radio EPGB, where a live radio station plays in an outdoor hangout spot and bar. Tel Aviv hipsters were gathered there en masse, sipping on drinks and doing their best to make seats out of picnic tables and plastic stools – it reminded me quite a bit of Pittsburgh. Afterwards, Paul and I walked up Rothschild street for a bit and got vegan ice cream at Iceberg, which made me quite happy.
The next day, Paul and I ventured up the coast on bike to visit the organic farmer’s market at the port. We walked around there a bit, and on our way back hit up the Carmel Shuk for casual browsing and clausterphobia. I finally found a small purse, and Paul found shorts. Small victories.
For lunch, Guy showed us an incredible humus place near his apartment. Listen, Israel has forever changed my perception of humus. I can never look back. My only choice is to find a humus master to pass on to me these humus secrets. Otherwise, I fear I may never leave.
That night, I got in contact with a nearby vegan friend, Raviv, and he invited us over for Shabbat dinner with his three flatmates. Paul, Guy and I walked over, and enjoyed dinner on the rooftop of their Tel-Aviv apartment. The view was pretty incredible, with city buildings shooting up in every direction. It was dark, but the weather was perfect, and the food was also quite tasty (though I was still full from humus). Afterwards, some of Guy’s friends were playing in their band at a local venue. I was really impressed by their performance, and most songs were even in English, so I could um, almost, kind of understand what they were saying!
Since Saturday is Shabbat, with nothing much open, Paul went on a journey to Herzliya on his bike. I managed to sleep in (a skill I’m honing in Israel), and then Guy and I hung around the apartment, listening to music and eating more humus. I had somewhat forgotten how much I enjoyed taking time to really listen to music, especially with a nice set of speakers.
That night, Paul and I went out walking again in search of nightlife, and ended up at Flame bar, where we had some solid hang outs.
On Sunday, we met up with my friend Tom (who I met last time!) at the Icon Sci Fi Festival. I also ran into Lia, who is a soldier volunteering at my school! It made me feel strangely connected with being in Tel Aviv, meeting up with “all these people I know.”
There were many a nerd in costume, faces full of glee, hearts full of passion, and many nerd wares for sale. I loved every moment of it.
They even had some used English sci fi novels for sale, though the prices were not great (English novels are hard to find in Israel). I used the opportunity instead to remind myself to get some e-books when I got home.
Last, but certainly not least, Monday was the biggest Vegan Festival in the world – and I got to go! Paul and I biked half an hour to get to the park where it was held, and Rachel bused in from Ashdod to meet us there.
The entry fee was 65 NIS, but it was worth it – 100+ vendors offered vegan products and samples all over the grounds.
There was also a big stage with live music, various lectures (in Hebrew, mostly) concerning vegan topics of discussion, and lots and lots and lots of food.
Never have I ever eaten so many yummy samples of vegan food. Going to Zenith Brunch in Pittsburgh is the closest thing I can imagine, though it seems like child’s play in comparison..this, this was something else. After we had eaten our fill and were ready to burst, we came across some kind of cake competition (?) Festival-goers were shoving pieces of cake onto plates. Team America had no time for plates. I had cake all over my hands, on my neck, on my toes even…it was cake massacre.
Trust me, you don’t want to see pictures of that.
Then that night we watched Ghostbusters at Guy’s place and I fell asleep. Sugar crash…
Tuesday morning I hopped on the bus to Jerusalem for the next leg of my journey. It was a smooth transition between cities, especially without having to schlep my bike to Jerusalem – it’s waiting for me in Tel Aviv, where I’ll be back again tomorrow!