(Click here for Part One about my time in Tel Aviv)
Tel Aviv is a blast. You could almost say that what Jerusalem is to praying, Tel Aviv is to partying. Not that I think the two activities are mutually exclusive. Put it this way: no one could celebrate like the Jewish rabbi from Nazareth. If you don’t believe me, try turning water into wine (if you succeed, call me—I have a business proposition) and watch what happens as wedding goers chuck the “two-buck chuck” and imbibe a vino that would make a sommelier wax rhapsodic. I also doubt that having performed this “unorthodox” miracle, Yeshua (Jesus) would have suddenly become a “party pooper”—engaging in moral finger wagging or hiding out in a corner davening while all the revelers reveled. Just sayin’.
Like I said, Tel Aviv is a fun city—especially if you like to live on the edge while driving. Israelis are, to put it politely, “pumped-up” drivers. Sure, LA has its share of road wackos (mainly drivers who feel compelled to slow down anytime a foreign object appears on the freeway—such as a paper bag). But generally speaking, Angelinos are not rageaholics. Maybe it’s the California “just chill, dude” vibes, or a lot of weed consumption, or some other societal factor—who knows? All I know is that my fellow SoCal-ers are super mellow in comparison to ticked-off Tel Aviv-ers who clearly have little tolerance for slow-moving motorists.
Move out of the way, old man!
Not even old people are immune to a Tel Aviv-er’s impatience—a fact that was evident while I was eating gelato overlooking a busy intersection in Jaffa. One 80-something driver had the nerve to hesitate for a full three seconds—earning him three honks and two yells from the drivers behind him. Not content to sit idly by and watch this elder abuse, I yelled back at these rude dudes from my sanctimonious perch. “What are you honking for? Give grandpa a break!” I demanded. I got a few disapproving looks in response, but I was mostly ignored as they kept on honking … and yelling.
Apparently, this is all part of the social order of things in Tel Aviv. Everybody yells, and no one is immune from the obligatory road rage. I thought I was heroic; they thought I was an ass. “Mind your own business, you soft-serve American, ” their dagger-like expressions seemed to say. “Life is tough here, and you better damn well get into the groove of things.”
A Swede in Tel Aviv
Fashion break: While sitting on my gelato-eating perch publically berating Israeli drivers, a tall, stylin’ blonde chick walked in front of me. I had seen her before in the Jaffa marketplace. She had some sort of Scandinavian accent and really stood out—a blonde Amazon in a sea of darker skinned-brunettes. (Much the way I did, I suppose. Though I consider this a liability rather than an asset when traveling—unless, of course, I’m in Norway or Sweden.) Anyway, I loved her outfit so asked if I could snap her photo. She happily obliged and, as you can see, the girl knows how to pose.
No 40 Lashes for Me
While in Tel Aviv, I got my hair styled then attempted to find someone who could give me a long overdue eyelash fill. Actually, I had made this appointment while staying in off-the-beaten-path Arad, an orthodox religious mecca of sorts near the Dead Sea where women who wear fake eyelashes would probably be stoned to death. (Kidding, of course, but let’s just say this would be a foreign concept to much of population there.)
After two months of travel (UK, Italy, and Israel), my lashes were looking pretty gnarly—rather like dying caterpillars dangling from a twig. Ironically, the blonde girl I found to be “Israel’s eyelash expert” was from SoCal. Even more surprising was that she talked more like an LA chick than most LA chicks I know who are supposed to talk that way, but don’t. So, after a flurry of back-and-forth texts, in which she expressed deep concern for the health of my eyelashes, then questioned my desire to keep the fake ones, I made my way up to her fourth-floor Tel Aviv apartment
While some muscle-bound Israeli friend of hers eyed me (which describes the physique of half the male population of this city), the Tel Aviv Eyelash Queen motioned me to sit in her chair. She cut to the quick, being less than optimistic about my prospects for a fake eyelash future. I couldn’t decide whether her frank assessment was a surprising act of rare integrity in the beauty biz, or simply an “I don’t need the money, and I’m too tired to deal with this shit” attitude.
EQ then advised me to give it up altogether and just go “au naturel.” Since this decision would soon have me looking like the semi-androgynous looking actress, Tilda Swensen (but without the killer cheekbones), I opted to do nothing—waiting another two weeks until I returned to LA.
There you have it … nothing particularly profound, but I hope moderately amusing observations of my time spent in Tel Aviv, Part Two.
Look for Part III later this week.