The Travels of Cypris – Tel Aviv
My first week in Tel Aviv was a dream. I was swooped up from the airport by my kind host. We drove through the palm tree lined roads, looking at all the signs i could not read, listening to American rock music, and enjoying the street art. The closer we got to home the smaller the streets got, it seemed like we were driving down ally ways, instead of streets. We dropped my giant pack off and headed down stairs to the hummus place below his apartment. I absolutely had to eat gluten this day. I enjoyed every bite of freshly baked pita, hummus, pickles, olives, rice, beans, chicken kebab and washed it down with Israeli beer.
Next stop was the beach. It is kind of like Miami, as long as you do not look at street signs, billboards, or listen to people talking. The Israelis are beautiful people, living an active life style and basking in the rays of sun. The ocean is lined with buildings that are covered in graffiti. We hung out on an out cropping of rocks to watch the sunset. There were a few bridal portraits being taken above a couple making out.
After sunset we headed back to my welcoming place of residence. I felt completely at ease and very grateful to be in the right place at the right time. A quick bus ride to Jaffa landed us at Kalimera, the restaurant my other host works at. It is a modern place with great muscles and fresh bread. We took the long way home walking through the streets of Old Jaffa. The lapping of the sea echos through the stone walls. The energy in those ancient streets is infectious. The streets are worn smooth by thousands of years of use. You can imagine the many eons of civilization that have inhabited the area.
My sleeping area was a really long couch, one that i can actually lay flat on! I slept into the evening and then had my first city adventure. I picked my way slowly through the small streets, wandering around making sure to not get lost. Made it to the beach and enjoyed the post sunset glow over the Mediterranean Sea. Walked to a small neighborhood bar called cafe Berlin. A birthday girl was dancing on the bar, insisting on dusting the lights, and breaking the customary plate. I chatted with the party and got invited to some Italian food across the way. I learned she was turning 26 and very unhappy about it. I am so far blessed with not worrying about age. I have enjoyed the perspective i have gained in my years. Aging is an unavoidable process, so why fight it?
The next day was my first performance. It was a Stoli sponsored house and techno night. We walked through the streets and arrived at what may have been a bike shop by day. We wound up the staircase, past a few paintings and into a room with white and black large tile floors. There was an aerial sling under the staircase, a sculpture of a woman made of vines and zip ties as well as a LED lighted wingspan. The music was great, with a few familiar track here and there. I changed into my costume and rocked the dance floor. I met a couple guys from the North who had lived in South Dakota. We bonded over the beauty of the Bad Lands and then I taught him a few transitions. My poi spinning spawned a flow jam with everyone taking turns and enjoying their spin. We attempted to hit up the after party, but it had been shut down.
We went to eat in Florentina, an up and coming artsy area of Tel Aviv. Ended up at a hot dog place where we were adopted by a group of gay men. Nipple ring appreciation turned into zerberts. I got asked about my flofins, so i spun for the staff. Their love increased when i came back from the bathroom in my full costume and spun some more!
Sunday we walked along the beach to ritzy family area of North Tel Aviv. It was surprising to see all of the construction along the way. Bulldozers were driving into the sea to gather water to mix cement. I suppose beach side development is inevitable, but I could not possibly see how these buildings, almost at the water line, could survive for very long. As Jimi says,”Castles made of sand fall to the sea, eventually.” We took the scenic high road and overlooked the religious beach. This is a private beach that has women only and men only days, but i didn’t really see the point, because the barriers are only so tall, after all, we could see them! We walked down the promenade, a wide palm tree lined walking path, to the French quarter, in search of juice.
It was then time for my first trip to Carmel Market. Each of the vendors set up on a metal box that is the size and shape of a large dumpster. They sell clothing, accessories veggies, fruit, candy, spices, dried goods, meat, fish, poultry, hummus, catering items, window washing, household goods, juices and everything in between. It is a mix between a flea market and a farmers market with some of the vendors using mega phones to sell their wares. I made a lunch of fried potatoes and greens. That evening I headed out to a soul jazz performance that was so packed they would not let us in. Luckily, we could hear the great tunes from the front deck as we sipped wine and chatted about nonsense. Stop for a hot dog on the way home and get my first try at Israeli Capri Sun, it is still just as high fructose corn syrup tastic.
The next day was Passover. We headed a couple hours out of the city towards Hiafa to my host’s grandparents house. The ride was tranquil as we skirted along the beach that was filled with kite surfers, then continued past an old submarine, a roman aqua duct, sculpture garden, and oil processing plants with their many smoke stacks that look like cigarettes in the sky. Growing up in the Catholic church we had Seder meals, where we each had a piece of matzo and some horse radish. I had no idea the beauty in the ritual of the meal, i remembered it as a boring thing my parents used to make me go to where i ended up very hungry at the end.. I tried to follow along in English as they all took turns reading the ancient words of the story of Moses. My favorite dish of the Seder was the symbol of the cement used to build the Egypt – a date, apricot fig, and nut pure which was accompanied by a shredded beat salad, celery leaves, potatoes, eggs, matzo and wine. After we feasted on sprout salad, spinach cakes, gefilte fish, stuffed squash, greens, beets, ice burger salad, matzo ball soup, tea and coconut cake with chocolate mousse!!!! It was like Jewish Thanksgiving.
Wednesday was my first day of street performing and it was phenomenal! I went to the outdoor art market and set up on the corner of a street. I spun to my hearts delight and enjoyed all of the smiles i created. The next day i met with the owner of the Juggling Cafe in Jaffa and got invited to bar tend and perform at a Bat Mitzvah. I also went shopping at the market to embellish my costumes for DOOF, the trance festival I was performing at. I spent the next day sewing stuff to more stuff and packing for camping. There was plenty of beach and Jaffa street wandering for breaks between. It was then off to the DOOF, which is the name for all trance festival in Australia.