By Friday noon, businesses were shutting down and the weekend kicking into gear. Weekend is Friday/Saturday, in Israel. In some parts of the country, it's a time of stillness, and family, and resting, or prayer and meditation. In other places-- like Tel Aviv-- it's time to play.
The city is only 100 years old, with miles of Mediterranean beachfront, all of it public. There's an undulating walking and bike path the whole way. We knew what we had to do.
Our hotel was a block from the water, with bikes to borrow. We pedaled south to Jaffa, the 4000 year old port city abuttingTel Aviv. We'd heard it had morphed from dusty stone buildings and labryinth flea market shuk to a real scene on Friday afternoons. Hard to imagine. We'd heard young designers and craftspeople had opened tiny storefronts there, or were vending at the flea market (Shuk Ha Pish pishim- sounds way more exotic in Hebrew.)
As the sand turned into rocky coast, the Tayelet (promenade bikeway) turned into a narrow street lined with old walls opposite the water, former ramparts, with stairs leading up to the city streets of Jaffa. It was so peaceful along the waves we thought maybe we had the wrong info.
We started to see signs of life pretty quickly, as soon as we got up to the city streets level.
When we came around the corner to this block, at first we thought we'd walked into a private party- it was wall-to-wall buzzing. There was music. A popular song played, and there was singing up and down the street. Scene rumor definitely confirmed.
Buildings that we remembered as chipped or decrepid are spiffy. Even pink. The indie designer bit also played out. For someone who likes handmade the way I do, even as a slacker shopper, it was hard to buzz through quickly. That shop on the left, above, was entirely things made or embellished with strips of fabric and ribbons --there were scarves, jewelry, bags-- I talked to the artist a little, she was working on some necklaces inside. I bought some long dangly assymmetrical earrings from a silver jewelry designer with a closet sized storefront. If you see me teach or talk anywhere this year, I will no doubt be wearing them. We haggled over souvenirs and rough glass evil eye beads in the old market section. A quick visit was just not enough.
I left out a ton from our ten days -- but I guess I already summed up the whole trip, above: a quick visit was just not enough. But it was enough to feel utterly refreshed and inspired and relaxed and happy. We are-but also aren't -so much different than the people we were at twenty-three. It's amazing what you remember and what you forget. It is very very good to take time off. And language- don't even get me started. Who knew the brain could store words and then spit them out of your mouth without even letting you know they were still rattling around up in there?
Thanks to everyone who commented on these posts, or sent me nice notes responding to them. Meanwhile, back home and back in the swing of things, there's been knitting and new projects and behind-the-scenes from knitwear photoshoots to share. Not to mention my