Tel Aviv, Israel
At about 04:20, there was a loud crash and I could hear glass shattering through the open door to the balcony area; this sudden explosive noise woke everyone up in the dorm room and we were all wondering what it may have been. There were no follow-on noises and we all soon resumed our slumber. When I finally woke up after 09:00, I showered, dressed, got ready, and walked out to the balcony area. From our hostel, I saw what the source of the loud noise had been; the third floor balcony at the apartment complex next to the hostel had broken off and taken the second and first floor balconies with it (the first floor balcony was covered and had glass windows); when I later told the receptionist at the hostel what had happened; she commented that the buildings in Tel Aviv are so old and falling apart. Once the German photographer and I were ready, we decided to head out together to Old Jaffa and take pictures of the Old City port and the surrounding area; although the German was more interested in taking candid pictures of people (he brought a camera with him that allowed him to be somewhat stealthy in his pursuit) and I was more interested in buildings. We then exited the hostel, stopped at a food stall where the German bought some food, walked to the beach promenade, and then walked south to Old Jaffa. We passed some unusual people, street entertainers, and many happy dogs being walked by their owners. We then reached Old Jaffa and walked to the port where Jonah is said to have departed from before being swallowed by the whale. Old Jaffa was nice, albeit small and in no time we walked past the port, up the hill, through some old neighborhoods, past a couple of churches and mosques, and then we had exited out the northern end of it by the old clock tower. We then walked north on the beach promenade before coming to Allenby Street; we then followed it east and southeast in search of a currency exchange that was open today, on the Sabbath – we didn’t find one. Next, we stopped for lunch and we each had peach juice and a falafel pita. The German then grabbed some cash at an ATM and then we walked through the old part of Tel Aviv, to the Bialik House (a home built in 1925 AD and designed in the Bauhaus style – like many other buildings built in Tel Aviv from the 1920s and 1930s; these buildings were designed by architects who had fled Germany during the rise of Nazism). The Bialik House was the home of a famous Israeli writer of children’s books and is now a museum. We were going to purchase the entrance ticket and tour the house, but it was to close in a half hour; so we continued on our walk to the nearby Jaffa and Tel Aviv museum, which is housed in the Old City Hall (located right next to the Bialik House. Then, we walked past a Jewish cemetery before arriving back at the hostel. Once back at the hostel, we met the couple from our trip to Jordan (the American guy and Mexican woman; they both just arrived from Jerusalem); we then decided to head out to the beach together and get some sun. We changed in to our swimming suits, grabbed towels at the hostel, and walked out to the beach. We stayed out there for about one and a half hours; at one point, the German, American, and I took a dip in the Mediterranean, which felt colder than yesterday thanks to a slight breeze. We then returned to the hostel for a short while, showered, and relaxed; I had some of the Israeli produced Gewürztraminer (produced near the foothills of Mount Tabor and which tasted of peaches, pineapple, musk, and roses) along with some grapes and slices of salami. At 17:00, the German and I grabbed our cameras and walked back out to the beach to capture the sunset. We spent about thirty minutes on the beach and watched a few people flying above us with gliders being propelled by fans behind their seats. There were also some Hare Krishnas singing and dancing about near the beach. After capturing the sunset, we returned to the hostel, I had some more wine and grapes, and then we got ready for dinner. At 18:00, we met at the lounge by the reception desk and watched some National Geographic while waiting for the Mexican woman to finish doing her hair. At 18:45, the German and I decided to head out to the restaurant and meet the couple there; we walked east to King George Street, found the place, and just after arriving, the couple showed up. We then ordered our dinner and I had a Seven-Up, two baked sweet potatoes, and a pita stuffed with vegetables, bits of hard-boiled eggs, and pickled fish. After dinner, we walked to a cocktail bar just behind our hostel that came highly recommended, but it was packed full and we needed a reservation beforehand. We then walked to the bar by the United States Embassy and had drinks there instead (I had a Mai Tai). While at the bar, I noticed we had just missed a “Pimp & Ho” event last Thursday night (the German and I walked by the place and saw two people in costumes, but figured it was nothing) which apparently had a “blowjob competition” – shame that I missed that. After finishing our drinks, the couple left to go to a concert at Tel Aviv Port and the German and I returned to our hostel. We were going to join the Pub Crawl at 21:30, but no one was downstairs and decided it would be lame if it was just the two of us (especially since the German doesn’t drink). So, we waited until after 22:00 and then walked back to the bar/restaurant by the United States Embassy to watch the “Naked Souls” play (a duo that performs blues and rock music); while there, we had some more food (nachos with cheese and beef and sauces to dip them in; I also had a cheesesteak sandwich, Guinness beer, and two shots of Jameson) and played the trivia games on the touch-screen monitor at our table (we did well enough to get on the high scores list for the Entertainment trivia three times, but, sadly, we did not get the highest score). Then, after we realized it was after midnight, we paid our bill, and returned to the hostel. I had a can of Heineken and we hung out at the hostel’s rooftop lounge, waiting for the couple to return from the concert; after 01:30, we figured they probably were not going to show up and soon afterwards we went to sleep. The next morning we found out that the couple did not return to the hostel until after 02:00.