We took the opportunity on Saturday to visit the beach in Tel Aviv and enjoy some of the hot weather. We went with my partner’s brother and his family. They were very well prepared for the trip with an umbrella, picnic mat, sustenance and sunscreen.
We drove round and round Tel Aviv looking for a car-park. It seemed the beach was the place to be. The beach in Tel Aviv wraps around for miles and is lined with colourful umbrellas and lounge chairs. Eventually we found a carpark quite close to the promenade and made our way to the beach. We walked down the steps from the promenade and I eagerly kicked my thongs off to walk on the sand. “Geez, that hot” I cried as I hopped up and down on the burning sand and hurriedly put my thongs back on.
Eager to cool my feet in the beach after the scorching sand, we pitched the umbrella, rolled out the mat and hopped across the sand into the beach. The water was beautifully warm and required no adjusting or tentative wading to deeper water. I dived straight into the refreshing waves and floated on the gentle water. The beaches in Tel Aviv have a water break so the waves are very gentle, not like the icy, unforgiving waves of the beaches on the south coast of Australia.
After the swim, I sought refuge from the sun under the umbrella. I enjoyed a good vantage point for people watching. After about an hour and half, a new group of people moved into the paid beach area near us. A group of people aged around 25-30. They began to set up some kind of amplifier. The girls were laughing shrilly and the boys were yelling and whooping at passers by.
Then, they put on their music and pulled out a microphone. The peace of the beach was officially disturbed. I watched, amused as they sneakily poured alcohol into their cups and became more and more enthusiastic about their beach party. In my last post, I mentioned how all over the world, people love music and dancing. On this day, it occurred to me, all over the world, bogans will be bogans.
Unfortunately, their fun was short-lived. One of the guys had been using the microphone to harrang passers-by, much to the amusement of his friends. Then beach security came to shutdown their MC gig. At first they complied, piping down just long enough for the officer to walk away. It was not long till the party started up again. My partner and his family were slightly mortified by their countrymen and women behaving in such a rascally fashion. I had to laugh, although they were a menace to others on the beach, I had to admire them for their persistence albeit with a lack of regard for everyone else.
I went for another swim in the welcoming Mediterranean waters. I listened as the lifeguard yelled at people from the sidelines. Although I couldn’t understand what he saying I could hear the frustration in his voice. He was asking people to come closer to the shore and telling them not to swim in the dangerous areas. There were at least 100 people in the water and it was likely that the people he was directing his comments to, were not even listening. It’s a tough job. Later that day in the news, we heard that on that day, five people had drowned at beaches around the country. A reminder of the importance of listening to the lifeguards. (note, no drowning at our beach, but witnessed a rescue).
When I got back, our partying friends were locked in a debate with the beach security officer again. It seems their flagrant disregard for orderly beach attendance had not impressed the officer. He whipped out his note pad and told three of the burlier men of the group to come back to the station. At least that what I think happened. The remaining group was only moderately more subdued after that.
By that time, it had been at least a few hours since our last meal, so of course it was time to eat again. We piled back into the car, bound for Jaffa. Jaffa is a predominantly Arab area and you can see the changes in the architecture as you go from Tel Aviv to Jaffa (though the drive is so short, I thought we were still in Tel Aviv).
There we went to a fantastic fresh food restaurant area. It reminded me of La Boqueria in Barcelona or the Victoria Markets in Melbourne. In fact, the whole area was so trendy and quirky, it would fit perfectly in Melbourne.
We dined at a restaurant called ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ They specialise in seafood as the name suggests. In my post ‘Wined up’ I talked about the over-supply of food before lunch is ordered. This place was all that and so much more. As soon as we sat down, our whole table was covered with Israeli, Arab and Turkish salads and dips. We also had Iraqi pita which is bigger and thinner than normal pita. We ordered various BBQ meats – the serves were so generous and all the food so full of flavour.
After our feast, we strolled around the markets to work off our lunch. There were some beautiful jewellery and handcraft stores. Eventually the heat got too much so we headed back to Jerusalem. It had been a gorgeous and relaxing day.