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1:14pm on Tuesday, 17th December, 2013:

Exploring Tel Aviv


I've just spent about 4 hours wandering around the centre of Tel Aviv. It would have been longer but the frozen yoghurt I bought seemed to set off a nosebleed so I returned to the hotel. It's lucky I did, because if I hadn't I wouldn't have seen a workman fall off his ladder. People rushed to help, but his only concern was that his mobile phone hadn't broken. That seems to exemplify how people are in Tel Aviv quite well, I think.

The city it feels most like to me is Singapore. There are signs everywhere that I can't read, with occasional interjections in English (most helpfully for street names). There are lots of shops, but they're all small and individual with very few chains — the place is chock full of entrepreneurs. I'm sure there's the equivalent of Orchard Road somewhere, with large department stores where I might peruse racks of Stuff from which to choose presents for my daughters; I haven't found it, though, so if they're expecting me to come home laden with gifts they'll be disappointed.

The street markets remind me of Singapore's, too, selling mainly the same goods and crammed into unusual spaces. The tourist trap craft market at Carmel Street is actually pretty decent, though, with some beautiful pieces on display. I know my kids would love some of what's on offer — I just don't know which some of what's on offer...

There are lots of cats everywhere, as in Singapore, but more dogs (which means you have to watch where you walk).

Most buildings have banks of air conditioning units at the back. People today were walking around in coats, boots and scarves even though it's a mild 19 degrees Celsius.

Some food shops are amazingly busy while the almost identical one next door to them is strangely unpatronised.

There are lots of motorbikes and scooters, which given that every parking space for cars is permanently occupied is perhaps not surprising.

Even in the centre, there are quiet residential streets with no shops or offices on them.

Hmm, if I'd loaded some image-manipulation software onto this new laptop I could have shown you some pictures. Perhaps when I get home...

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).