Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Freaks and Geeks

I got to spend some time on Nahalat Benyamin this afternoon in Tel Aviv. This is an artsy street fair that takes place every Tuesday and Friday. The best description I can give is that it was very Tel Aviv-y. Lots of interesting clothes, tattoos, piercings and musical instruments. I'm not sure what the attraction is to having a tattoos on one's forehead. It's just not a flattering look. And there was a woman on the corner playing from the classic Zionist songbook and a steel drum band on another corner. You could get a henna tattoo (but ironically, not on your forehead), buy organic soap (I'm not really sure what that means), and mainly, people watch, The good thing about the area is that you can sit in a cafe for a really long time and no one minds.

In that sitting for a long time, I had excellent humus with mushrooms, which I of course bungled in the ordering. I had the humus and the mushroom part set in Hebrew, but it was the word "and" that I said in English. Which in the end was ok, because I'm not sure if, in Hebrew, it would be humus and mushrooms, or humus with mushrooms. If anyone is reading who went with me on my first trip to Israel in 1982 and remembers the conversation on Air France about omelette du fromage or omelette au fromage, the experience was eerily similar. But I digress...

I also got to spend some time in Shuk HaCarmel. It's a little alley of a street with stores on both sides, and booths set up selling things in front of the stores, leaving a really narrow walk way for lots of foot traffic. The stores were selling fruits and vegetables, candy, cigarettes, t-shirts, toys, cheese, meat cosmetics, bread, eggs (it was at least 80 degrees out) and pork. Yes, there was one store that had a big sign in front in English that said "We Sell Pork". A lot of our participants were walking through the shuk when I was there. How did I know them? They were wearing their nametags. On the last day of their trip.

Then it was on to Independence Hall, my favorite place in Israel, bar none. I got there in time to hear the best part - the reading of the declaration, the shehehiyanu, and hatikvah.

Tomorrow morning, the last of the 15 May buses leave.....

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