Monday, July 26, 2010

Streets of Tel Aviv

I noted in my previous post my stop at the Etzel House and my walk around Tel Aviv. I'm always struck, when I go to Israel, by the contrasts as I move from block to block. Tel Aviv-Yafo appears, in some places, like a cosmopolitan metropolis and in other places, like a third-world slum. Keep in mind that Tel Aviv is younger than Boise, Idaho. It was established in 1909 as a settlement for Jews outside of the city of Jaffa (or Yafo, the Hebrew name). Yet it's a world city, and a place where cultures and markets meet rather than collide. It has almost twice Boise's population with more than twice its density (that is, twice the population on less space).

Tel Aviv is sometimes not much to look at, especially in the areas close to Jaffa. There's a lot of construction, and many of the buildings are run down. Graffiti is everywhere.



I asked a coworker about the graffiti, and he indicated that people just didn't have the energy to keep up with it. He recounted an experience he had when the local authorities had required him to rebuild a wall on the boundary of his property. Within hours of it being completed, he caught a couple of kids painting on it.

Amid all the old townhouses is new construction, and since the town houses are owned by multiple parties, the upkeep is sometimes a little uneven. Here's a place in Neve Tzedek that caught my eye. While the doors downstairs are quite stunning, the balconies are falling apart.



Right across the street was this beautiful house.



You'll often see two apartment complexes, one next to the other, identical in design, but one looking rather shabby and the other pristine. In a way, it sounds a bit like the Boise north end.

As I was wandering around Neve Tzedek looking for a restaurant, I walked past this compound. If anyone of my readers knows Hebrew, feel free to add a translation. Sorry for the poor quality.



It's really easy to get hung up on differences in other locales. In Sant Cugat and Barcelona, it was the poor sewer ventilation. In Israel, it's trash collection. I got momentarily lost in Neve Tzedek and walked past this street. In Boise, the trash collection contractor would leave a nastygram on this pile.



All of this contrast, but so much charm as well. On my last full evening in Tel Aviv, I took these shots of Neve Tzedek, a neighborhood close to the hotel. You can see how densely packed the houses are. There's something compelling about these warrens



The street along the left is Yitzak Eichmann, which leads up to Shalom Tower, the beige high rise on the left. It was the first high rise in Tel Aviv. The most visible street in the image below is Pines Avenue, which runs right across Shabazzi. There are some good restaurants on Shabazzi.



Finally, on my last evening in Tel Aviv, I visited Carmel Market to get a shot of the market after hours. I don't know just how garbage collection works in Tel Aviv, but I wouldn't want to have to clean out the market place after hours.



My last day on the ground I spent hitting some other museums and walking around Jerusalem. I'll post those photos soon.

*As it turns out, I hear Masada is miserable at this time of year. Perhaps I lucked out.
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