I arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today and took a taxi then to Jaffa, where my â€œguest houseâ€ is â€“ Beit Immanuel Guest House. The guesthouse is a pretty interesting place â€“ itâ€™s staffed (Iâ€™m pretty sure) primarily by Messianic Jews. Too bad Iâ€™m not going to be here for their Friday evening worship service, it would have been pretty interesting I think. My room is pretty nice and has A/C, which I have turned on HIGH (which means the room is freezing â€“ dad, youâ€™d be proud of me). Although, for those of you traveling to this area, who want to experience a bit of the Tel Aviv nightlife, Beit Immanuel is NOT for you, as they have an 11pm curfew. I guess good Christians in Tel Aviv need to be in before all the â€œsinningâ€ starts. Anyway. And for those of you who think maybe, just maybe Jaffa sounds familiar, it should. It is the town that Jonah fled to, and where he caught the boat to Tarshish (Jonah 1.3).
I spent the afternoon at the beach, which was very nice, and then I met a friend from New Jersey (New Brunswickâ€¦random, I know) and we walked around Neve Tzedek, which is a very hip, yuppy neighborhood, just south of central Tel Aviv (think Soho, and thatâ€™s about right). We had dinner at a little cafÃ© where I paid 24NIS for a Corona (I could get one in Palestine for 10NIS, goodness) and I also got a really interesting fruit salad. Tomorrow I plan to check out Jaffaâ€™s large Shuk Ha-Pishpeshim (Flea Market) â€“ anyone need anything? Persian carpets? Leather goods? Perhaps an arguila? Just let me know. After the Shuk Iâ€™ll walk around Old Jaffa, check out the mosque and church, maybe a few art galleries, as Jaffa is filled with galleries.
In the afternoon, Iâ€™m going to Beit Ha-Tfutzot (The Diaspora Museum). It sounds pretty interesting. According to my Letâ€™s Go guidebook (which isnâ€™t the best, but oh well) â€œthis outstanding museum chronicles the history of Jewish life outside the land of Israel, from the Babylonian exile (596 BCE) to the present day. A display of synagogue models shows how Jews incorporated local architectural ideas in building their houses of worship; they resemble Italian villas, American ranches, and Chinese pagodas. Thereâ€™s even a model of a synagogue designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.â€ After the museum and a dinner, itâ€™ll be time to hit the sack, because I have to get up around 3.30am and catch a cab to the airport. Iâ€™ve thought about how Iâ€™m going to acclimate back to American culture and all of that. Well, Tel Aviv is helping me; at least financially. Dropping 78NIS ($17) for a beer and dinner is definitely helping me get prepared for American prices when I get home (Iâ€™ve been used to dropping 20-30NIS, or $4.40-$6.60 for most of my â€˜bigâ€™ dinners in Palestine). Oh well â€“ gotta start the transition somewhere.