Early in January, my family and I headed to Tel Aviv for a brief visit. In case it hasn’t been clear, I’m not crazy about the city but everyone else wanted to see what it was like and my mother had a good friend from her kibbutz days there that she wanted to see.
We arrived just before 3pm and checked into a hostel (prices are absurd in Tel Aviv) right in the city center before hopping into a cab and heading to Abu Hassan in Jaffa for hummus and masabacha. The food, as always, was divine and I stumbled through my orders in elementary Arabic. My mother wasn’t crazy about the masabacha because for some reason she didn’t like the taste of too much tahini in hummus.
As her friend was busy that afternoon, we ambled down to the Jaffa port and walked along the beach-side promenade into Tel Aviv. The sunset was stunning, so we stopped at a little cafe overlooking the promenade for some drinks. However, even in the most perfect of moments, I can’t get away from the fact that I’m in Israel. As we were heading up, right at the border between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, I noticed some Jewish youth harassing an Arab family heading to a park with their kids. I watched a little bit, concerned, but the family ignored them and headed into the park to play football with their children.
The following morning, we walked into Neve Tzedek where we had coffee with my mother’s friend while the two of them caught up. We then ambled through Neve Tzedek and towards the Jaffa flea market where my mum came across some antique silver spoons that she liked. Feeling as though the pendant I had gotten her wasn’t really enough, I gifted them to her before we headed out. We walked back to the city center through Tel Aviv proper – which is much more unattractive than both Jaffa and the seaside promenade.
That evening, we met with my mother’s friend again for supper at a bar called Lucifer, near the great synagogue, that serves food from two restaurants. The food was absolutely delicious and the company was great. Unfortunately, however, I was quite unfortunately sick and had to leave early. The rest of the family continued to enjoy Tel Aviv’s night life and celebrate my brother’s last day. At 3am, we all woke up to say goodbye.