Tel Aviv

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View of Tel Aviv from Jaffa.

The proposed three days in Tel Aviv, Israel’s liberal capital, turned into four or five. Pele worked his magic connections to arrange beds and couches for us around the city which meant I saw different parts of the city and could play nomad nomad with my two changes of clothes.

The city reminded me a little of Durban – which may have been more due to the unusual humid and cloudy weather – but add to that friends who have lived in and loved South Africa, city beaches lined with highrises and listening to Goldfish on the balcony one balmy evening and it almost felt like home. (I’m starting to feel pangs for home… Anyone want to fly me home for a weekend?)

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We got around between Batka’s apartment in Florentine, Amit’s digs on Rothschild and Or and Muli’s flat near the centre with the help of the city’s new-ish public bicycle service (and Pele’s credit card – 14 shekel for 24 hours). I’ve seen these bike services in many other countries but hadn’t used them. Very good idea. Even better idea if the city in question is flat and not all that big. Maybe Joburg could have a public scooter service…

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Tel Aviv’s public bicycle service.

The city is coffee house and shopping heaven. It’s a saving grace I don’t like shopping much otherwise my backpack would be bulging and my wallet would be empty. There are swanky, air-conditioned malls, boutique-lined streets, flea markets, vintage (aka second hand) markets, general markets, more shops and more markets. Oh, I do love markets. These pics are from the bustling (aka crowded) Carmel Market.

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Carmel Market

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Second hand/vintage market somewhere in the north (I think).

We’re not done with markets yet. Jaffa is an ancient part of the city which is now a very trendy area. So trendy in fact that Batka moved out of grimy Florentine to an apartment in Jaffa just the other day, with help from her friends and me (I held onto Batka’s handbag and her roommate’s very cute dog).

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Back to the point… Jaffa is ancient, like really, really old, but for more reliable information on its history click here. Inside the winding streets are yet more markets. Old, new, shiny, brassy, tacky, colourful, useful, junk… Love!

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Jaffa flea market and second hand market.

Jaffa was a resting point for pilgrims journeying northwards and seeing the rectangular stone buildings shadowed by date palms brings the stories we learnt in bible class rushing back (unfortunately not reliably so, but the essence is there).

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Jaffa

Jaffa Port is now a trendy stretch, home to the old harbour, exhibition spaces, craft stalls, restaurants, coffee shops and delis.

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20121008-193841.jpg<Jaffa Port. Halva is a Middle Eastern sweet made from tahini (sesame seed paste). I don’t like it. But the deli in Jaffa Port sold halva with chocolate. I liked that. Conclusion: chocolate makes everything better! />
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The street art around the port was also pretty cool.

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And since I’ve got you captivated, here are some more pics of random things around Tel Aviv.

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Giraffe on a scooter – very random. Sunset – okay, that’ pretty normal. But these cards! This is how you find sex workers in the city. Cards like these ones are scattered along the pavements and all you have to do is pick one up and call the number.

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