Monday, January 31, 2005

Arrived in Tel Aviv

I am in Tel Aviv now. I rode the train in to Tel Aviv Central from the airport, and felt like quite the adventurer. Even took a Bus Down Ben-Yehuda street. The bus ticket will serve as a modern equivalent of the Cowardly Lion's diploma of bravery from the Wizard of Oz. In fact it was not that frightening, even given that the last Israeli bus I saw was the exploded one from Jerusalem that was on display at the demonstration in Berkeley last month.

It feels good to be back here, walking around the streets, looking at the shops, noticing the French language in the real estate agency signs, and remembering the recent French immigrants I met last time I was here. The hotel I am staying at is on the same block as an Irish pub whose owner I met on my last visit. I dropped in last night, but he was not there.

Had some Felafel on Shenkin last night, it was very good. I was a bit concerned about the hygienic implications of having bowls of salads with spoons in that the customers used to refresh their Pitas at intervals. It seemed problematic, but perhaps that is just my American fussiness. It is only two years since I had my immune system updated to accomodate Sub-continental standards, I hope it remains up to snuff, and in that way more than adequate for this place.

At the hotel last night I was watching a bit of CNN and Sky News to see how the Iraqi election went, I was pleased to see that folks there turned out in spite of (or to spite) the insurgency. I rather feel sorry for those folks too upset about the results of the last American election to rejoice in the current Iraqi one. While it is far too early to know that this is the start of a modern, democratic, Iraq, it certainly looks like it could be. Possibly I don't watch enough news on TV, and am thus too easily moved, but the shot of the Iraqi man holding his child in his arms, and displaying proudly their ink-stained fingers -- it was very powerful.

I have some shopping to do (my shave cream ran out after the first use) and am supposed to meet my group back at the airport in two hours. I don't think I have time to visit any museums this morning, but at least I had a good Israeli breakfast: scrambled egg, two kinds of fish, two kinds of cheese (one white, one Feta) chop salad, cucumbers, a roll with butter and Jam, and coffee with Milk, sugar, and honey (I know it really is too much, but I am on vacation).

Public Intoxication

I have of course heard of the term "falling down
drunk" but I am not sure I remember seeing it on the
steet before. I was walking back from the tube
station (in London a "subway" is an underground path
from one place to another, that confused me) and
feeling very tired. I noticed a very sleepy looking
young blonde woman and thought "but not as tired as
her". When her friend tried to get her on the bus, it
was immediately apparent that she was not just tired,
she was also very drunk. Her feet seemed unable to
hold her up, and she sprawled onto the pavement at my
feet. Fortunately she looked very relaxed, and I
don't think it hurt her a bit.

I felt I ought to offer to help, but somehow could not
say anything. Perhaps I was afraid she would be sick
on me, or I would get stuck on the bus. At any rate,
another fellow came along, and between him and the
first fellow, they got her up and on the bus. I don't
say they got her on her feet, because I did not see
her use them at all.

This evening, on the way back from a show, there was a
fellow on the tube who kept saying "oi" (not "oy",
that is very different) and belching. The other
passengers were either smiling at him, or moving away
from him, depending on their age and distance. I was
in the smiling category, except when my attention was
drawn to him by another in that category, and I
noticed that his shirt was off. At that moment I took
off my own hat, to cover my mouth so my laughter would
not be audible. It is possible I had been laughing
for a while, as when he got off the tube to check
which station he was at.

He got off at my stop, and asked me what the last stop
was. Thinking he meant the last stop on the line, I
told him I did not know, "I'm an American". Then
realizing he may have meant the last stop we had
passed, I told him "South Kensington, this is
Gloucester". He said nothing but walked off.

I should talk about the amazing paintings in the
National Gallery, including the grim beheaded John the
Baptist, the unconcerned though well-penetrated St.
Sebastian, and the long haired aristocrats depicted a
few years before they lost their pretty heads to the
better trimmed round heads (whence the name I

And Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Turner, Rousseu,
Rembrandt, etc. etc.

But they are closing the cafe, so I have to go.

Plus my flight to Tel Aviv is relatively early
tomorrow, so I need some sleep.

(Posted from Tel Aviv due to continuing problems with blogger)

Friday, January 28, 2005

In London

It is rainy and grey here, but I arrived no problems,
so that is good. I am off shortly to the Science
museum, if I can find it. For some reason London
seems a very different kind of place this time, maybe
because I can't tell what kind of neighborhood I am
in. There is a Marks and Sparks next to a Gap on the
High Street, and some small townhouses on a Mew behind
the hotel, and a store that sells 800£ silver mustard
containers just up the street from the internet cafe
where I sit now.

All a bit disorienting, especially after the Tube ride
in from Heathrow, on which I was listening to some
South African girl explaining to her newly arrived
friends about how she had got in trouble for
accidently alerting another girl that the man she was
seeing was married. There was a lot more to it than
that of course.

The thing that felt most home-like was all the
graffiti on the walls the train passed by. Felt like

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

New post

trying again to post.

Now trying to edit


Is it really possible to blog via email?

We shall see.

Another test

Testing the editing, and perhaps the deleting of a post.

Testing line break.


Another test

Testing the editing, and perhaps the deleting of a post.

Testing line break.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

First Post

Testing the brand new blog