I landed in Tel Aviv on March 15th at 2:34 p.m.
Flying in over the Mediterranean Ocean, I looked down and saw palm trees and thousands of white and tan buildings.
I stepped off the plane with a huge smile on my face...too big of a smile, perhaps (I imagine I looked like some demented creeper lurking in a back alley, somewhere).
Walking from the train station to my hostel with shekels in my pocket and words of Hebrew carressing my ears, I tried to figure out what Tel Aviv reminded me of...
The industrial area near the train station vaguely conjured up images of one of the New York City boroughs...but honestly, nothing else was familiar.
It's really a city all it's own.
Over the past three days, I've fallen comfortably into the open arms of my new lover. We fit so well together; it's like we've known eachother all our lives, it's like we're soulmates.
I'll always treasure India for how raw and rough it is...but Tel Aviv is stunning and gentle.
On March 16th, I met a man in Jaffa (a neighborhood in Tel Aviv, from which, I'm told, Jonah set sail for Tarshish, Lebanon and was swallowed by a whale). The man has lived in France and Spain and speaks five languages.
He told me that, when he was away from Israel, there was something about Tel Aviv that he couldn't get out of his mind. He had to return, he said.
The sea called him back.
He realized his lifelong dream: he bought a boat.
Watching the sunset over the Mediterranean, what the man said about Tel Aviv made total sense to me...
The past 72 hours have melted away...
...And I feel like months of my life could melt away this way, along the beach...
I'm sorry if I'm sounding flighty.
But, really, I'm just drunk on my love for Tel Aviv.
I visited a fantastic flea market in Jaffa, walked the entire length of the beach (it takes about an hour)...
I lost myself in Carmel Market, a chaotic place that sells everything...and then some.
I sat on the man's boat for hours, reading philosophical books and writing my heart out, while he tinkered around with the generator.
I ate an amazing hummus with olive oil, brown beans, and an egg on top for breakfast.
And nothing but red wine for lunch.
And for dinner I tasted something called shakshuka. It's made predominately of diced tomatoes and eggs. And it bowled me over with it's wonderfulness.
I took in the architecture, the art, the people, the plants as though I was seeing all of them...and all of life...for the first time. Feeling again, the way I felt in India. Like I was a child.
Yesterday evening, my sister joined me in Tel Aviv. And she, too, thinks it's...
My sister and I spent the evening sitting on the beach where I showed her my pictures from India.
We feasted on Israeli tapas as the earth became shrouded in darkness. And we talked for hours about all the things that have transpired in our lives since we saw eachother last, at Christmas.
We'll stay in Tel Aviv until March 23rd, and then visit Jersulem, the Dead Sea, Petra, Amman, and Cairo.
So far, the first three days in Israel have wowed me.
Good night. I love you, Tel Aviv.