Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Holy Land

Today is my first full day in Tel Aviv. I'm currently sitting on my hotel patio (at 4am nontheless) facing the Mediterranean Sea and Tel Aviv Beach trying to beat jet lag. I arrived yesterday afternoon after a 20 hour flight and a 2 hour romp getting lost on the highway, ending up in Herzliya and then continuing to drive all over the city. I can now add Tel Aviv to the fast growing list of cities I have gotten lost driving in. My first day of work here starts in a few hours. I'm excited, it looks to be a good 3 weeks.

View From My Balcony
This is my first time in Tel Aviv, in Israel. My first time in the Middle East or any place east of Western Europe. I just checked off a new continent off my bucket list! I got Asia now, North America, South America, Europe- 4 down, 3 more to go! It's a little weird being here. Mainly because it feels so normal and that weirds me out a little. Tel Aviv really is like any big city anywhere, any big city whose downtown lies directly on the beach. It reminds me a lot of California. The geography and climate and even buildings are reminiscent of San Francisco. It's about 10 degrees warmer here. SF was in the 50s/60s when I left, I think it was aroun 68 yesterday on the beach. I really good just be sitting in my SF loft, I only remember I'm in a foreign country 10,000 miles away from home because 1) all the signs are in Hebrew and 2) the outlets are different. The hotel is incredible, more like a posh city apartment overlooking the beach (OMG BEACH!). People look the same, dress pretty similar too. I am continuously suprised when I hear everyone speaking in Hebrew as everyone just looks so American to me. Tel Aviv really is a young city. On the beach I walked by the hipsters, the hippies, the yound couples in love. So SF like. Though there are a lot of Americans here as well and most everyone speaks very good English. Though I'm starting to be thanksful for all those years my parents bribed me to go to Hebrew School as at least recognizing that gimel on the Ayalon sign was probably the biggest reason why I found my way into this city at last.

When I woke up flying over the Aegean Sea yesterday, the beauty and emotion that filled me just shook me to the core. I could clearly see the sea and traced all the islands we flew over with the map on the flight. The crisp blue, oh and the approach into Tel Aviv! What a sight!
Israel is a place I have long deferred from visiting. I had opportunities yes, but never seized them. But now that this work opportunity has spring up, I'm so excited. It's definitely ironic if you know my background. I'm glad I can finally experience this magical place, where our society as we know it was born, but my way without the religious pressures or expectations or overscheduled group acitivies.

Work starts soon, gonna have to prepare myself for the Tel Aviv rush hour. This Sunday-Thurs work week is also gonna get some time getting used to. But first I'm just gonna enjoy the view while the city sleeps.

Cheers to a new adventure!

Sunset on Banana Beach, Tel Aviv

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