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).


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