I’m finally writing this from Tel Aviv, Israel. In fact, I’m writing this from Herods Hotel and with my window open, I can hear the ebb and flow of the Mediterranean Sea and watch some night beach volleyball. I really like the feeling of Tel Aviv thus far and like most cities, I had no idea what to expect until I arrived but like how it has that feeling of hustle and bustle. The long trip has quickly melted into a distant memory as I’m living in the here and now and ready to absorb as much of this countries culture as I humanly can…
The rest of the trip here was pleasant and I sat next to a young gentleman of 14 who was traveling with his family to attend his brother’s Bar Mitzvah. While we’re talking about the plane, this lovely lady who reminded me of grandma was also coming here for the same reason and the flight was something like 11 hours or so. The time passed really fast as I just accepted my fate and sat there in a zombie like state when I wasn’t making small talk with grandma or learning life lessons from the wisest 14 year old I ever met.
The customs process was rather seamless all and all but they always start asking questions when you’re alone, coming for 5 days and claiming to be here with the tourism board. In no time, I was through customs without a stamp. If you think you may end up visiting other countries in the region before your passport expires, it’s recommended and totally alright to ask not to be stamped. Once the luggage came we were met by some friendly faces and taken to our hotel in a cab. Not sure about anyone else but personally, I absolutely love driving into a city for the first time, you never know what to expect.
Tel Aviv is the economic hub of Israel and we drove in from the airport through one of the more developing parts. Since the civil war in Sudan, countess Sudanese refugees have been seeking safety here in Israel after passing through Egypt. I wish I could somehow compare this city to others I’m more familiar with but none really come to mind and that’s a good thing. The restaurant was across town so I’ve seen a few areas in Tel Aviv and they were talking to me. The nightlife scene seems quite happening and if time permitted, would love to get involved. I also like how they have a bike rental system so you can get around the city on your own terms without a cab.
We made our way to Lilyot Restaurant which helps a great cause, has a great dining area, delicious food and was kosher. I wasn’t very familiar with the term kosher although I did know what it meant. The food was fantastic and from the appetizers my favorite was the fried eggplant and from the entrees I really liked the fish, chicken and potatoes. I like the way they presented the countless dishes in a buffet style on the large table we occupied so everyone could help themselves at their own pace. I assure you it took every ounce of self control I had not to just eat myself into regret.
This Dig Israel Project that I’m currently on is organized by the distinguished students of StandWithUs which is a group of pro-active future leaders from countless fields including law, communications, computer science and the list goes on. I think what they are doing is very cool and glad to be included. The reason we visited Liliyot Restaurant was because it’s part of a social program where the owner takes kids at risk who aren’t going to school and teaches them how to cook. Many use these skills to start their career as a chef, you help a good cause while eating great food, what’s not to like?
I’m back at my hotel room now and it’s just past midnight local-time. I should be exhausted and destroyed but I’m actually quite wired and not sure what to do as it is only 2pm in the afternoon on the west coast of Canada which where I was in before this trip started. Suffice to say, I’m here for a 3000 year journey in 5 days so I believe the smart thing to do is try and convince myself that it really is late and that I really am tired. That or it’s time to go downstairs and take a quick peek to see if anything interesting is transpiring…
P.S: Ever heard of Infected Mushroom? Yes, they are from Israel.