If You Must - Comme Il Faut
There's a wonderful, cozy health food restaurant at the Old Port (Namal Tel Aviv) called "Comme Il Faut". There, you have the option of sitting inside or outside. If the day is cool and breezy and you prefer to sit outside, they will give you free blankets, not as a gift but for the duration of your stay, you can comfortably wrap yourself into.
The food is exciting as well, most of it organic and healthy, with interesting combinations, such as lentils with bok choy, or quinoa salad with pears. I've eaten there several times and with pleasure. Last time I had organic pasta with feta cheese and egg plant. They also serve excellent margaritas and cheese cake (yes, this combo was the dessert of my choice). However, what's as impressive as the restaurant itself are the restrooms. If you need to pay them a visit, follow the dim purplish light and it will take you to a large poster of a man and a woman standing next to each other but looking in opposite directions. This poster is illuminated and changes colors from red to purple to orange to blue and to green. When you're done admiring it (or have completed your photo session for each color), continue walking in the direction the man or the woman is looking (depending on your gender, which I hope you're sure of). You will then end up in a place for a session different from a photo session, although, if you want to follow my example, you're welcome to take photos during or after it as well. I can only speak for the ladies restroom here and it was amazing. It was bathed in a dim golden romantic light. To the right of the toilet bowl (in sitting direction), you'll notice a shelf with incense sticks and dried, scented plants. The seat was very comfortable, and the flushing fast, efficient and noise-reduced. All I can say about this experience is: if you must, go in style - comme il faut!
On your way out, you'll notice a lovely little red purse. I assumed it was a work of art, perhaps designed by the same artist that designed the toilets, to bid you farewell. But then again, perhaps it was meant for a small donation, a token of appreciation that you were given the chance to spend at least a few minutes of your life like a queen or a king.
Tel-Aviv, the blue shutter house
We are still in Neve Tzedek but in a "newer" section. If you take a close look at the upper balcony you will see that there is a statue of a small girl, apparently standing on the balcony looking down at you. All along the walls, railings, roof line and windows you see small statues and decorations. A boy sitting on the side with legs dangling over the edge, another peeking over the ledge, or just sitting and thinking. An "interesting" house to say the least.
VT "hits" Yaffo
Zohara and I joined Nathalie, Gil, Andie and Aydin for a walking tour of old Yaffo. This section is today the artists quarters and a few restaurants and studios. There is also a place where you can take a course on "wine appreciation" (gee, I appreciate it without a course ;O))
Do this tour in Spring or Fall in cooler weather, or if you do it in summer, early morning before it gets too hot and muggy, climbing those stairs in hot weather is NOT for everyone.
This beautiful tree in a suspended planter greets you on the street, but you will have to "wander" to find it. These are not the streets of Chicago, straight and wide and at 90 degree angles to each other, here you find a winding warren of small streets, jutting off at strange angles, climbing or plunging to other levels and even some apparently ending with nowhere to go.
Shabbat (Sabbath) in Tel Aviv, II
Saturday night, one hour after sunset (the official end of Shabbat) everything comes back, full on! Buses are up and running, even more people are on the streets, with the Tayelet (Beach promenade) completely packed with families out for the evening stroll.
If you are staying in a hotel over Friday night (and just about every hotel other than hostels are likely to be kosher), kashrut rules will apply. The bigger hotels will have a Shabbat lift. Judeaism does not allow work on Shabbat and completing an electrical circuit is one such thing that is forbidden. Shabbat lifts are basically lifts that will stop at every floor, thus enabling observant Jews to use the lift - the pressing of a lift button would be completing a circuit. Ditto food - thus food that requires heating is prepared prior to Shabbat and kept warm throughout the time. Eggs, for example, can be boiled as long as the water they are boiled in is kept constantly hot. Coffee can be continually on offer as long as the machine requires no turning on and off (so once the coffee -or frozen margaritas on a hot day - runs out, thats it).
Unlike Jerusalem, there are no 'no go' areas for vehicles.
Yafo (Jaffa) is completely different as it is primarily (although by no means exclusively) Arab - either Christian or Moslim. Most things here are open throughout the day (huge queues form outside the famed Abulafia bakery on Yefet Street to buy freshly baked pitta and bread as well as borekas and Iraqi pizza).
The Climbing Wall
I've never tried this sport, but it is popular and looks fun. I pass it most Saturdays whilst on my way to folk-dancing. The wall is approximately 15 metres high.
Sun - open to members only
Mon,Tues,Wed - 5pm-10pm
Fri, holiday eves - 11am-9pm
1 climb NIS 20
2 climbs NIS 30
All day NIS 50 (not Sat)
Cell: 053-232 082