Just so you know beforehand, not only is Tel Aviv a dirty toad hole masquerading as a "nice, vibrant place to live", it has some of the rudest citizenry I have met anywhere. They tend to be arrogant, dismissive and downright hostile at times And, NO, I am not "alone" on this, and it isn't "just me". Go there and find out for yourself. You'll see...
Driving and Parking
Driving is not one of the things which might contribute much to a pleasant stay in Tel Aviv. Especially so as there is a pretty serious shortage of parking spaces. If you are using Tel Aviv as the base for day trips with a rental car, make sure you have good parking at your hotel, or else much of your daytrip time will be spent on chasing after non-existent parking spaces.
Israeli driving standards are also not exactly top notch world class -- for many Israelis driving -- just driving -- seems to hold too little of a challenge so they are busy doing other things at the same time they are sitting behind the steering wheel -- arranging the bat mitzvah, planning the next trip to Eilat, making a serious mobile phone call to their aunt in New York, whatever. Paying attention to the road and what might be happening in it plays a rather minor role in the priorities of the average Israeli car driver. As the norm, they will only start paying attention once they have hit something/somebody -- or once they have reached their destination and then they really need concentration and skills in order to squeeze their car into one of the narrow gaps available for parking. A challenging situation at last!!!
Note: Don't count on waking up an Israeli driver through honking -- everybody honks so nobody will pay attention. I could not fully determine the causes as to why everybody is doing this honking business -- perhaps the cars have some kind of automatic honking feature -- fuzzy-control style -- and are doing it independently of their drivers just as these are driving independently of their eyes and ears most of their time? ;)
If you really want the attention of an Israeli car driver, it is best to crash straight into their car -- but be sure to really go for it!!! I have witnessed cars bumping into each other leaving nasty dents -- but whereas this would have caused a serious fistfight and some police action in Germany, in TA all that happened was a brief look through the side window and everybody got on with driving as described above!!!!Related to:
Ugly Rabin Square
With so much beautiful architecture in the city, Tel Aviv affords itself the luxury of having one of the most outstandingly ugly city halls. Unfortunately, the entire square in front of it does everything it can to give an even uglier impression. The main eyesores really being the brutalist concrete buildings framing the square on all sides. Quite a shame actually as it is such a large open space. The fact that Yitzhak Rabin was murdered here in 1995 by a right-wing extremist Israeli doesn't really help in making the place more welcoming. I'm sparing you daytime pictures.
Generally, I think architectural styles from the various periods should be preserved as part of peoples cultural heritage. However, an exception should be made with this brutalist architecture which was popular in the 1960ies and 70ies. It is quite simply ugly and even inhumane in its crude appearance.
Stray cats and dogs
Well not so much a danger but it can be quite intimidating at first. Especially knowing tourists have been severly bitten by dog in Romania. But in Tel Aviv it's mainly cats. Mainly by the water, between the beach and Jaffa. In jaffa while eating my sanwich on a romote bench, this nasty massive cat gave me a 'bad look' and kept following me, i freaked out and in the end i wasn't hungry anymore as the place smelled of cats wee.
WARNING: No matter how much you love cats, do not touch the stray cats.
Planes landing on your head
The Sde Dov airport is just north of the North Tel-Aviv Harbor where they have made the new boardwalk (2005-2007). As you can see from the picture they land quite low over your head, so if you hear a loud sound, don't panic, just look up.
W.C. - Yok
Warning, due to Jan 2007:
It's an impossible mission to find public toilets - W.C. - in Tel Aviv.
In emergency case you have to consider using hidden backyards (obviously, less problematic for male traveler(:-) Anyway, you have to supply your bag/ backpack with available toilet paper(:-)
The spokesman of Tel-Aviv Yafo municipality suggested, when was asked by the media, to use toilets in public theatres & libraries.
One more suggestion from me:
Don't leave any restaurant without 'jumping' to its toilet's room!
This is common knowledge so I should not need to put this, but will put it anyway.
This part of the world probably has more airport security than anywhere else. You are most likely going to be interviewed before your flight over issues such as who packed your suitcase etc. This might seem like an inconvenience; but think of it this way;
This is for your own safety!
It is worth it to me to arrive early at the airport, be questioned about my luggage etc as I feel much safer!
Nasty restauranteur !! beware
Well this was really funny, we planned to go to this restaurant because of its great location and my friend recommended it. Anyway it was closed till 12.00 ,so we thought we would have a drink next door a place called Mirpeset mool hayam and then go eat.
well at the place next door we sat down and looked at the menu and decided we didn't like it. so we got up to leave and the guy (restauranteur??) comes up and starts yelling at us that we have a nerve "to make the waitress walk up all the steps to us etc etc and we are so rude ... " we were totally flabbergasted and could not believe his behaviour!! all the guests were just sitting and staring!! Anyhow we got into Etzel Pini.. and told them we had just been thrown out and yelled at next door and they were extremely amused, courteous and kept asking us every 5 mins if everything was alright. And it was brilliant!
So avoid "Mirpeset el mul ha Yam " and go next door unless you like abuse
Parking in Tel aviv
Tel aviv is one of the must jammed cities in the world, almost in every hour of the day!!
Sometimes parking can get really frustrating, especially in holidays and in special occasions, altough there are a lot of huge parking lots there are days when you will be looking around 30 minoutrs for a parking space, For example when there was a red bull show that called "red bull flugtag" or in car exhibitions people park even on the sidewalk!!! The inspectors make good use of it for giving fines...
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