Who’d have guessed it? I’ve fallen in love, and it feels so good! The sights, the sounds, the people (well, obviously not all the people, and certainly not in an individual, sexual sort of way! Get your minds out of the gutter, people!)! That’s right, I’ve fallen in love with Tel Aviv! I know what you’re saying. You think it’s too soon. I’ve been on the new job for less than a week. You’re thinking that I’m still in the honeymoon period, that chinks in the armor will start to show soon enough. Okay, I’ll grant you that it’s certainly a possibility, but only as something in the vague, distant future. Not something that’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next week, etc. For now, this is it. The real deal. The tingly feeling (or is that a Fimbley Feeling? Too many hours spent viewing the kiddie shows on BBC Prime, no doubt…) I get when crossing the bridge from the train station, the adrenaline rush as I power walk through the streets towards my office (which may very well be connected to the caffeine buzz I pick up while inhaling the large, low-fat cappuccino I grab each morning at Ilan’s Café). Oh, and did I mention the magnificent vistas from the 7th floor patio of our office, with sweeping views of Tel Aviv? I know it sounds so cliché, but on a clear day, I can even see the sea! Oooh! It’s just so lovely!
Of course, with all due respect to those of you who actually live in the city, I’m not sure that I could live there, as attractive as it seems at times. I like my quiet and I like my space, both of which are at a premium in Tel Aviv. Still, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time there of late, and find that I’m sometimes envious of those who don’t have to tramp back to the suburbs at night, those who can step out of their homes directly into the hustle and bustle, with restaurants and shops at every turn. I mean, shit! How exciting must that be?! Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live. However, you can’t really walk anywhere, and the public transport is less than stellar. And despite the fact that we’ve got a number of shops open on Saturdays, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I sometimes wish for something more. I mean, not that I’m expecting a food festival or love parade, all I’m saying is that it might be nice if things were a bit livelier.
And Tel Aviv is definitely a happening place. Why, in my own little adopted corner of it, there are a veritable plethora of restaurants to suit all sorts of tastes, at least one excellent coffee place (as mentioned above), an assortment of shops and bakeries, and, for those of you who might be interested (though there’s certainly no need whatsoever to bring your interest to my attention), there’s even a selection of strip clubs. A most diverse area indeed. I haven’t had much of a chance to explore (and there are a few establishments that will most likely not make it to the list), but I do know that the British Council has an office around the corner, with a quaint little café that provides a range of current British newspapers, English news on the telly, a small library and a bank of computers connected to the Internet. Even the name of the café was quaintly British, though it escapes me now.
Just being in this exciting city makes me feel good, like I’ve suddenly been presented with a gift of endless possibilities, all mine for the taking. I can make plans with my Tel Aviv-based friends to meet up for lunch or a drink, or attend a stimulating lecture. I can go to the theatre or a concert, or catch a movie at any one of the many cinemas that the city has to offer. I can sit in a café for hours on end, nursing lattes and writing, while the world of Tel Aviv passes by. Aaaah, bliss.
I’m not quite sure how to end this, but it seems that the decision has been taken out of my hands, as the train will shortly be pulling into my stop, and given that it’s Sunday and the path to the door is an obstacle course of people, bags and weapons (many soldiers with rifles casually slung over their shoulders), it’s best that I start now, otherwise, I’ll never make it off the train, and will miss my morning coffee (shudder).