If I thought Berlin had a ‘grunge’ feel…

15 Sep

…I sure hadn’t seen downtown Tel Aviv!  There’s no way to describe this city other than saying it’s ‘polar…’  It’s yin and yang…black and white, but with no greys.  Does that make sense?  It’s odd really, yet strangely appealing, how one moment you’re among the highrise hotels along magnificent beaches, then you’re immediately in the dirty, disintegrating-before-your-eyes slums…just like that.  There aren’t any ‘middle class’ areas, at least not the way we would think of them.  It’s as though you’re either rich (or a tourist on vacation) or very poor…

Coming into downtown Tel Aviv...

Turning off the beach, heading toward the market at city center...

Approaching the market...

Parked and walking for the market...This is what most non-residential downtown streets look...

Sam, the twins and me spent Day 2 of my visit exploring downtown Tel Aviv- specifically, the main market, it’s adjoining artists’ walk, and the beach.  OK, a little school time :)…

The Carmel Market, known as Shuk Ha’Carmel, is the city’s biggest marketplace.  It’s basically one crowded narrow alley, covered in old blue tarps, with long lines of colorful stalls lining each side.  As you walk with the crowds down the alley, the vendors proudly (and loudly!) present their goods to you. You can find just anything imaginable for the lowest prices in the city- breads, pastries, spices, candy…even clothes!  It’s also the best place to buy the freshest items: fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry, cheeses and flowers.

Carmel Market

Exotic spices...

Yep, that's one HUGE mountain of candy...

Moving like a herd through the alley...SO crowded...and no, the people aren't friendly, even to each other.

Sam, getting fresh-squeezed juice 🙂

Told ya you could get clothes here! Ha!

It's like my Stuttgart Markthalle, only outside 🙂

The Nachalat Binyamin (pedestrian artists’ walkway) begins at the far end of the Carmel Market- it’s considered ‘a festival of arts, crafts and street performances every Tuesday and Friday.’  This is where you can find ALL types of handmade art and gifts-  jewelry, paintings, sculptures, Judaica items, painted ceramics, etc.  Best part?  Artists are there- think musicians, theater actors, and fortune tellers- performing street acts while you browse!  The walkway is also lined with bistros and cafes, so it’s perfect for grabbing lunch or a coffee and people-watching :).

Heading out of the market, into the Nachalat Binyamin...

The Artists' Walkway...

This Nachalat Binyamin was absolutely my favorite part of downtown Tel Aviv.  I’m ALWAYS a sucker for local artists and I’m drawn to these areas in every city we visit- I just love the whole idea of creative people making and selling their crafts…Come to think of it, this is probably why our house is filled art from all over the world- good thing John shares the fascination! 🙂

Something I found particularly interesting about this Artists’ Walkway was what we saw when we looked a bit closer.  Take the pictures above, for instance…It looks quite pretty, right?  And it is, at eye level.  But when you look past the artists’ booths- behind them, above them- you’re reminded that not even pretty art can cover the ‘grunge.’

'Luxury apartments...'

Everything just feels so 'untouched...'

Walking back to the car...

Our next stop was the ‘main drag,’ the world-famous beaches of Tel Aviv.  This goes back to that whole ‘black and white’ thing I was talking about…All the gorgeous pictures you’ve ever seen are SPOT on, no Photoshop needed!  Crystal green and blue water, pearl white sand, jagged cliffs in the distance…Wow.

And with the perfect boardwalk for a morning run, I might add! 🙂

Standing above one of the beach cabanas...

That afternoon, I got to meet Eidson, Party of 4’s adopted cat, Shelby.  An interesting side note…Years ago, Israel had a rat problem.  To help get it under control, they brought in cats, only they didn’t think to spay or neuter them before letting them loose.  Well, we all know what happened next…Today, there are OODLES of stray cats (it really just breaks my heart) all over the place.  LUCKILY, there are at least a few folks like me (and Eidson, Party of 4 🙂 ) who ‘adopt’ them, taking them food (that day, it was kosher hotdogs 🙂 ) daily and just spending some time with them.  You non-animal people, don’t judge.

Feeding Shelby her hotdogs...She comes running from the other side of the complex when the kids call her name!

I just love this one. It seems that Shelby also likes granola bars 🙂

Since Chuck had another practice, Sam, the twins and I were on our own for dinner, so we headed to another of their favorite sushi houses, Frame.  It was DELISH.  Best part, with it being just us girls, we tore up the healthy menu! Ha!

Spicy Chili Tofu Chunks (ie. Heaven in your Mouth), edamame and steamed rice...

Ginger Chicken and Cabbage Dumplings and Asian root veggies...

So that was Day 2…SO much fun, and so many new sights/cultures/ways of life to take in!  And while I don’t necessarily find downtown Tel Aviv to be a ‘pretty’ city, I’m definitely intrigued by it and find it very stimulating.  Maybe it’s just that there are so many ‘layers’ to everything…I’ll leave you with my favorite ‘artsy’ shot of the day that kinda sums it all up, I think…Graffiti of a pretty picture with a lovely word in a lovely language on a gross wall of a should-be-condemned building…

2 Responses to “If I thought Berlin had a ‘grunge’ feel…”

  1. granmom September 17, 2010 at 10:02 PM #

    Erin, bring the receipe home for chili tofu.

  2. Robin September 16, 2010 at 1:23 AM #

    I just love the shot of Chuck and Shelby the cat!
    Cats have such attitude and it definitely shows in
    the picture. Chuck’s attitude is showing a little bit
    too. Shelby is definitely sitting tall and not at all
    intimidated by Chuck’s size. Priceless!

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