Tel Aviv with Exclamation Points!!!

Happy Dance!!!

 Tel Aviv with Exclamation Points-001Tel Aviv!!! After a run on the beach this weekend, I returned to the hotel and did a happy dance that Prince Charming was mocking/enjoying all day. I can't believe we waited this long, but the stars finally aligned, and we went to Tel Aviv twice in one week. This weekend to come we will leave for our long-awaited, full-length honeymoon(we previously had a "mini-moon.") But that didn't stop us from acting like this Tel Aviv trip  was also our honeymoon. Charming booked our honeymoon, and got such great travel deals that with the leftovers we were able to splurge this weekend on a hotel in Tel Aviv that was less than one block from the beach, and even had a little view of the water:

Well fack me, it's the Mediterranean!

Fack You in the Mooth

Sweet, charming children live near our apartment in Ramallah. They are polite, genteel, peaceful boys between the ages of 8 and 12 who are apparently learning to write certain words in English. Someone recently gave them all plastic machine guns, and now they run around the rocks and rubble nearby play-acting battle. Also, they (we theorize) recently wrote a sweet message on our car: "Fack you in the Mooth." Charming washed it off our front windshield on Wednesday morning and we set out for a day trip to Tel Aviv where he had some business to attend to. It was only after arriving in Tel Aviv a couple hours later that we saw the message our back windshield had been sending to all the traffic behind us: "Fack You." Oops.  Turning lemons into lemonade, me made the phrase both a term of endearment and a useful expression of wonder, as in "Well, fack me in the mooth!" We used it often in Tel Aviv and promised ourselves we'd return for a three-day weekend which we have now just completed. Fack yeah!

Hummus Loving Babes

Tel Aviv feels like the San Francisco of Israel. The most refreshing part for me was seeing the street fashion and sculpture. It was food to my poor, art-starved eyes.The ladies of Ramallah, truth be told, do put some thought into fashion. They match the shoe to the handbag and aren't afraid of color. They often wear sparkling head scarves. But it's hard to enjoy fashion if the culture dictates you not show your Allah-given shape:
Tel Aviv culture, by contrast, is not afraid of shape. I think my favorite look from the weekend was this:
The shoe! The slit! The strut! The textured wall! The weather-appropriateness! I'm in love.Can you handle a bit more aesthetic gushing? Here's Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, graced by a stunning Holocaust memorial sculpture by artist Yigal Tumarkin.
I'm  a self-centered, pleasure-loving snob who loves good food and art. Sometimes I wonder how I can survive another day in the rubble and trash-covered West Bank.   I wish both countries would get their act together - that Israel would stop oppressing Palestine and Palestine would stop the random acts of violence.Israel can be violent too - but it's usually a quieter violence. For example, Charming has been frustrated that after his organization funded a new road leading to a small Arab village, Israel demolished the road, leaving the inhabitants stranded. The hearty young people will probably survive, but the infirm may die without speedy easy to food and medical care.  Palestine needs to resist, but not with violence.  Did you know non-violent resistance has a 75% success rate, compared to a 25% success rate for violent resistance? Someone needs to tell that to the world's terrorists, because they apparently haven't heard yet.This is not my conflict, though, and I'm only here to help where I can. Complaining doesn’t help. Thankfully, I'm also here to spend money and eat good food.  Anyway, I have a dream, that eventually, one day, a long, long time from now, or maybe sooner then we think, there will be stability in the Middle East. Israelis and Palestinians will have hummus-loving babies together and everyone will enjoy art, bicycling, and wearing Ray-bans in peace and harmony.

Cyclist in Tel Aviv.

Things I Said I Would Do

There are some things I said I would do after my wedding, and gaining weight was one of them. I knew I'd eat a lot of delicious food during my and Prince Charming's honeymoon season and that would cause me to put on, oh, five to seven pounds. Done! In Tel Aviv, we ate like professionals.I ate:

  • A  larger-than-Texas sesame bagel smeared with cream cheese and pesto and stuffed with tomatoes, olives, sweet corn, and a hard-boiled egg, then toasted in a panini press.  Here it is.

Get in my mooth!

  •  Sushi rolls topped with cold quail eggs and washed down with hot saki.
  • Chewy french style bread ribbed with olives, topped with toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds, and spread with blue-veined cambazola.
  • Foccacia and fresh penne pasta salad with bright green broccoli, vivid red tomatoes, and peppers the color of sunshine. It was topped by a snowpile of curly shredded parmesan and washed down with local white wine.
  • The creamiest, richest tiramisu of my life.
  • Passion fruit sorbet laced with the fruit's crunchy black seeds.
  • Chocolate in bar and cake form.

Are you hungry yet? I am and I just finished eating a massive meal. I'm so thankful for good food.  I think enjoying food is one of the reasons we are here on Earth, so go out or stay in and cook something AMAZING today!

Another thing I said I would do after the wedding - or rather, would not do, is cut my hair. Why do lots of women cut their hair after getting married? I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I love long hair, and I swore I'd leave it long because I like it that way. But once we got to the West Bank, it felt heavy in the humidity and heat. I was ready for a change. Transitions go together, maybe. The heat and my need for an outer change to reflect the big life changes happening led me to steadily cut my hair off bit by bit, culminating in this final chop I had done at a Tel Aviv salon:

I enjoyed the experience of getting my hair cut. I like the novelty of looking different. But I know I'm going to want long hair again in, like, three weeks. It will take 18 months. But this is the second post in a row that mentions hair, so I'm going to stop talking about it now.  Let's talk instead about eggplants.


Yes, eggplants. They are painted all over Tel Aviv. Some graffiti artist is doing his or her thing with the spray can and the result is eggplants everywhere.

Eggplant graffiti in Tel Aviv.

What do they mean? It's a mystery. There are eggplants of varying shades and emotionality all over the city.

Photo from Tel Aviv blogger Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.

What the fack? I looked up the symbolic meaning of the eggplant and couldn't find much that seems to apply. In some Asian cultures the eggplant symbolizes a variety of things. If anyone finds out anything, let me know.I'll close this post with the sun setting on the beach in Tel Aviv where we had beautiful moments.