Showing posts with label Tourists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tourists. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hula Bird Sanctuary: in for the winter

Pelicans migrate through Israel in the early fall and spring. By September and October they are usually settled here or gone to the Nile delta in Egypt or further south in Ethiopia and eastern Africa. Israeli wildlife authorities and the state's agriculture department manage the Hula bird sanctuary. Actually the direct management is done by the Keran Kayement Le'Israel (KKL - JNF) who owns the land proper.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

On The Way to Jerusalem

A remainder to the 1948 siege on Jerusalem: steel plate armored truck on the road to Jerusalem @ D-A Vider 2016
The road to Jerusalem evokes different emotions in each of us. Christian pilgrims coming from thousands of miles away are excited to end a life long journey. Anticipating a life changing event as they enter the city. they will remember every detail vividly. Zionists, who heard stories told by and old man on the Burma road can hardly believe the small rusted trucks used to break the 1948 siege. On the 480 Egged bus from Tel Aviv, most of the riders are in their own little worlds. Tourists even on their own, are not seen on buses these days. Organized groups travel in their own buses. Individuals rent cars. If you want to see how Israelis travel take a public bus.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Hilton Park" Sunset Crowd - Saturday Afternoon

Lazy Sabbath afternoon on "Hilton Park" - overlooking sunset on the Mediterranean / Late October 2015

Saturday is Tel Aviv's relaxation day. Despite claims of being a Jewish secular bastion (some claim to the point of hostility), the city does rest on the Jewish Sabbath. Early fall brings warm days, brings crowds of walkers and bikers to the Tayelet (long promenade along the beach). "Hilton park" - once known as Tel Aviv's night-time gay meeting hub, is actually a nice hill overlooking the beaches and sea. On warm calm evenings, this is a spot to appreciate a lustrous sunset.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Visiting Tel Aviv - A Surprise in Building & Quiet

Gail (a visitor from the US) with the Tel Aviv "duck" | © 2015 DAVider

The past few years, maybe going back a decade, Israel has not been a destination for visitors. This is even true to Jewish and Christian visitors who would have considered a trip to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the past. There is no getting away from the massive negative image Israel has experienced internationally. But the ones who came to Israel more than fifteen years ago take the stories of fear and violence here with a grain of salt. Gail F (an old friend visiting from the US) found the central part of Tel Aviv modern, lively with shops, cafes and restaurants buzzing, and a great place to see the strong new building trend. Comparing Tel Aviv's expensive Real Estate prices to the ones in San Francisco was just one interesting comment. She is also somewhat surprised by all the construction (building cranes filling the horizon) in the central part of Tel Aviv. For me it's just another point of reference on what we notice daily (but sometime forget). 
What's with the Tel Aviv "duck"? Search "Tel Aviv duck", here is one story in the Forward.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tel Aviv for Tourists? Not Just for Business

Renovated Ibn Gvirol street in Tel Aviv, landscaping and new sidewalks give a new life to street
It seems like Jerusalem is the tourist destination for Jews. Nazareth, Tiberius and Jerusalem for Christians. The rest of Israel is a playground for project Birthright tourists. But Tel Aviv is for the business travelers and "not exactly sure why I came to Israel for vacation" tourists. If you are not sure what Tel Aviv has to offer tourists, take a second look. Israel is a modern, democratic and somewhat fashionable state. With Tel Aviv as the economic and cultural center. The city itself is surrounded with towns and suburbs comprising the main population center in the state. This makes staying in Tel Aviv a fun and smart way to come see Israel for yourself. Overhearing two students in a Boston book store, looking at travel books, one says to the other about Israel: "people don't go there any more". Reflecting the popularity of Israel with college and first time American travelers in the 1960s to 1980s. Then, Israel was a place for young adventure seekers to volunteer in a kibutz or lay on the beach in Eilat. Fast forward 30 years and today Israel is a destination for Christian pilgrims and Jewish tourists. About half of the travelers to Israel come for religious reasons. Some tourists still come for the warm weather, especially to Eilat in the winter. But there is still a small percentage of tourists who come to Tel Aviv. Besides seeing a modern and open city, there are more cultural events here than in most small American cities. Tel Aviv has it's own style, reflecting the warm climate and liberal open lifestyle. For shoppers, this is not Paris or New York, yet there are many world class shops and boutiques of every kind. Malls and small shopping clusters are dotted through the metropolitan area. Night life is also an attraction with vibrant club scene and restaurants / bars open to the wee hours. Last but not least are the beaches. Tel Aviv has been the city who's back is to the sea. But for tourists, organized, clean and close to everything beaches are a nice surprise. So come to Tel Aviv, stay for the lifestyle and enjoy everything else this city has to offer. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let's Go Israel: Half of a Travel Guide for A Short Trip

Let's Go Israel is a great guide if you are coming for business or a short trip. Plenty of background information. See excerpts on the Let's Go site:

What tour guide do you use on your travels? This question has as much to do about style as it is about information. Are you an organized planner? Or one who noses around and explores open eyed? Do you like traveling in style? Or are seeking real life local experiences?

I met Tim, an American coin collector on Hilton beach a few weeks ago. He came to Israel for the ancient coins. At first he was not planning on touring anything but Jerusalem, the museums and coin shops around Tel Aviv. But he brought two guides, one for Christian pilgrims and another was Let's Go Israel (official site) see book on Amazon: Let's Go Israel

I was surprised, since he looked rather buttoned down and serious about his coin collecting. More of a small businessman dress and mannerism than a backpacking college grad on a summer adventure. Tim was from Tennessee and has been collecting coins for over twenty years. He actually started collecting coins on a post college trip to Europe.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update on New Port of Tel Aviv, Dizengoff and Yermiyahu Streets

Kaf-Gimel Yordei Ha'sira streets is a tiny two block street at the entrance of the new Tel Aviv port. A small detail commented in earlier article. Tel Aviv has so many little details, we sometime forget until reminded.

I have been meaning to write updates on lots of places mentioned before on the blog and cover new ones. After getting a strange comment on the New Port of Tel Aviv article fron 2007 I was nudged to get started. The last few weeks I went to the new Tel Aviv port on Saturday nights. Tel Aviv starts buzzing again after the sabbath as evening comes. This year, fall has been warmer than usual and no real rain yet. Some people want the summer to be over already, with temperatures in the 30°s Celsius (85 to 95 °F) most of us can understand the complaints. It's been a hot summer and as we near November we hoped for cooler weather. This year the heat was so strong it affected vegetable prices. Poor farmers were getting very low yields and the vegetables were small and dry. Last month prices went up three to four times normal, even the government was wondering what was happening and investigated the problem.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

NOT TOO HOT for the Beach: Tel Aviv Beach at 35 ° C

Hardcore Matkot players take advantage of a hot afternoon when Gordon beach clears out. To some, it is never too hot for the beach / © 2010

Tel Aviv beaches are a magnet to tourists and locals all year long. Except when the temperature rises above 35° C (95° F) and the sun is at it's peak. This July and early August we had a few hot days. They come in two and three at a time. Even the busy beaches empty by 2 PM. On a Saturday afternoons this feels strange. Empty spots on the beach is not something bathers are used to. The hard core sun bathers get quiet and enjoy the quiet in the air. The hard core matkot players, that are used to kids dodging balls and mothers screaming "watch out" or "go play somewhere else" are still hitting balls back and forth. I always wondered how this game became so popular. In Israel there are not that many unique games. On the beach there are volleyball nets and a few people passing a soccer ball back and forth. So inventing a game just for the beach, that is easy to get started, is a good idea. Interesting how this really simple game can become an advanced competitive sport. The competition is not the main object here. The object here is to keep the ball going back and forth. Advanced players can stand 10 meters or even 20 meters apart and hit the ball so hard, it is a challenge to hit it back. That is how two players measure their skill level. Harder and farther away you stand from each other, more advanced your skill level.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jeff Pulver on Tel Aviv Restaurants: Brasserie M&R, Rothschild 12

Jeff Pulver is one of these people who is comfortable anywhere in Israel. He is a quiet man who runs around Israeli start-ups and tries to figure out which ones are winners and how to get them to be a winners in a world wide scale. It seems like he is in Tel Aviv about 1/2 of his time, but it's probably much less. On his Facebook page, there is an ordinary entry about an interview on TimeOut magazine:

Check out Time Out Tel Aviv - March 2010 issue - (Flip to page 12 for a familiar face)

If you go to the TimeOut he mentions on page 12, he recommends two restaurants in Tel Aviv: Brasserie M&R and Rothschild 12. The Brasserie M&R I wrote about a long time ago. It is one of these places that figured out a way to keep the quality and style as it is. Rothschild 12 [Hebrew page (achbar ha'yir) ] [foursquare page EN] is one of these famous places where you can rub elbows with Israel's fashionable set (Pulver is a guest in this club.)

Nice to hear that someone who has been all over the world likes the restaurants and hotels in Tel Aviv. Look out for reviews like Pulver to get a real sense of what people like in Tel Aviv. Obviously you don't know Pulver's taste and preferences, but it may be more reliable (and personal) than a big blog or a tourist site review. Read More...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Retirement In Tel Aviv (Part 2): Keeping Fit at 70 (or 37)

You see people of all ages in Tel Aviv. In contrast to retirement communities in many places, people stay in the city and actually some people come to retire here. On the streets, in restaurants, in symphony halls, there are young and old. Unlike many cold climate cities, Tel Aviv is a great place to grow old and keep fit. To some keeping fit is a walk by the sea or a swim in the morning surf. To some it is getting out into a bustling city and seeing people going about their daily activity. Older people are not just kept in special homes or in a certain part of town, they are part of everything here. This is a second in a series of articles about retiring in Tel Aviv (see first article.)

One retired American with family in a Florida retirement community says that he would be dead by now if not for Tel Aviv. On visits to the US he sees friends and family sitting around pools half the day. They need help getting into town just to shop or see a doctor. Most can not drive and are too far away from anything, without convenient public transportation they are essentially prisoners in a very nice building complex. In contrast at 72 he is getting round on foot and with public transportation. He goes to Jerusalem by bus or train, about an hour ride. Living in north Tel Aviv he has access to anything he can imagine. Even heading to Ikea to shop for furniture a van service called sherut (service) gets him within 10 minute walk in Natanya. His suspicion of "being dead by now" when looking at Florida retirees is a bit of exaggeration, but it does reveal an important factor in the quality of life. For the average retiree the quality of life in Tel Aviv is better specially when it come to health. Another American couple spends the summers in Tel Aviv and winters in Arizona. Tel Aviv summers are actually cooler than Arizona. They loves getting around by car and seeing the country. Most days they just walks around Tel Aviv and enjoy the variety of activities the city has to offer. From movies to museums, if you have time during the day, attendance is light and range of activities is endless. This couple clearly sees health as a combination of physical and mental activity. Israel's culture and lifestyle is an eye opening experience to many, this can help keep you fit mentally and spiritually.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hotel Location in Tel Aviv: What to Do and Where to Do It

Looking for a hotel in Tel Aviv is easy, a google search of "hotels tel aviv" returns 3,580,000 results and 11 advertisements. All this action is driven by Google's search and advertising system. People search for hotels and therefore bloggers and web site developers write about hotels. In comparison "restaurants tel aviv" gives only 1,880,000 results and 3 advertisers, most pages are written by locals for locals, "rock climbing tel aviv" gives 18,200 results and "judo tel aviv" give 55,900 results. But google and most of the hotel sites usually don't tell you much about where you are and where to find that fun and interesting "stuff". Stuff you can do, places to see, experience like the native Tel Avivians. To hard core bikers and surfers, niche sport sites can be a better place to get information on hotels near where you are going to be doing your activities. Other information such as experience with a rental business or where to find a diving partner may direct you to the part of town where to stay. I spoke with a SCUBA instructor and he explained how the one rental shop on the water may not be the best choice for experienced divers. Although most divers come to Israel for Eilat on the Red Sea, there is still good diving around Tel Aviv, so ask a local diver. There are also groups that will give you information and even let you tag along when they dive together. There are other places to dive just north and south of the city, in 45 minutes you can be in Caesarea and dive among Roman columns from a 2000 year old pier.

If you are looking for a hotel in Tel Aviv, you may want to find other things first. On a business trip and want to Kayak? Make sure you can get to the Tel Aviv marina just off Gordon street. You can also ask someone in a nearby hotel for a boat reservation. If you stay far away from the beach it may take more time and trouble than it's worth during morning traffic. The same goes with Judo and rock climbing. There is a rock climbing wall in the Ha'yarkon park, if you are staying in the very north section of the beach area it's a walk away. Would you like to start your day biking or running in the park? Ha'yarkon park runs along the whole city from the Mediterranean eastward through Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak. It has long paths, is well maintained and even serious runners on most mornings would appreciate the scenery.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lonely Planet's Israel Guide Book (an Palestinian Authority)

Today's Ha'aretz English edition (29-Sept-09) has an article titled: "Why Israelis shouldn't read travel guides to their country" By Yotam Feldman, Haaretz Correspondent [link]. The article cautions against Israelis reading the lonely planet travel guide on Israel. Although it does not condemn outright the writing. The quote about Tel Aviv is a hint of Feldman's overall view of the Lonely Planet's style:

The Lonely Planet guide depicts residents of Tel Aviv as idle and relaxed: "After a few days in Tel Aviv (or TA as it's affectionately known by expats) you may start to wonder if there is such a thing as a weekend. The city seems to be on permanent holiday, and at any time of day or night you can saunter down a main street and find crowded cafes, joggers, beach bums and dog walkers."

If you are a regular reader of this blog I hope this is not the impression you got. But truthfully, this article does remind me of the continuous impression of Tel Aviv tourist and expats pushed on me. It does seem that people come here to relax and forget that Tel Aviv is also a center of a vibrant country. I have a few stories that would make the point, they will be left for a bar or a drink on the beach (any takers?) From an outsider's view this impression of Tel Aviv as a laid-back coffee sipping and idle / lazy den is certainly understood. I mentioned the cafes and bars in Tel Aviv on more than one occasion.

Lonely Planet's web site, to some the authority on travel on a budget for independent individuals (no tour groups and air-conditioned buses here) says this about Israel introduction of Israel and the Palestinian Territories latest edition:

Like the patchwork of new arrivals at Ben-Gurion airport, Israel is an amalgamation of peoples who arrived over centuries of time, each one staking their claim to the land. Territorial disputes led to violence, which in turn made for some epic accounts in the Bible – not terribly dissimilar to what is playing out on nightly newscasts where you are today. But contrary to popular belief, Israel is not a war zone to be avoided, and it has such rigid security that travel is surprisingly safe. Somewhere along the line, politics and the bitter facts of life in this uncertain land will nudge their way into your trip. And while Israelis and Palestinians love nothing more than to argue, muse and prognosticate over the latest political currents, it’s best to leave your own opinions at the door. Enter the Holy Land on a clean slate and you’ll never watch the nightly news the same way again.


Monday, August 24, 2009

End of Summer - Hot and Slow - Economy Heats Up

Summer is at it's end. In Israel it is a quiet time. Kids are shopping for school supplies. Families are taking their last vacation, there is one full week for summer vacation (called here Ha'chofesh Ha'gadol - literally 'the big vacation'). The peak hot days of mid-August are over with. The tourists have mostly left so 'the natives' are out in bars and cafes. You can go back to sleeping with the windows open. If you plan to come to Tel Aviv in the summer this is probably the best time. There is still plenty of good beach days, now that mid-day peak temperature are bearable. So if you were thinking of coming for a visit, do so now.

Now for the economy. Do you remember the Clinton campaign slogan: it's the economy, stupid? In Israel now this seems to be the case. The Netanyahu administration seems to be completely ignoring other things. Rightly so. The Israeli economy did not heat up the last ten years like other world economies. Locally there was the Lebanon war, than the Hamas take over in Gaza. Economically the Israeli Real Estate market never had the bump up from increase credit. There was never an increase credit here, the banks are too conservatives for that. Israel also did not suffer the sub-prime crash and then financial crisis which followed. But we kind of feel that the market should be going up now. Which is quietly happening, but without international news coverage. Israel economy is too small to make the news. Also, people expect news of Israel to be either something with the Palestinians or a high tech genius making it good in silicon valley. The Shekel is up and not going down. Stanley Fischer's attempt at holding back the shekel's rise with $10 million per day purchase of US dollars has finally been declared a silly attempt at controlling the Israeli shekel's exchange rate. People are spending more overseas and buying dollars and euros. Inflation is up in real terms. In Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas property values are going up slightly. Rental prices go up first, they are more flexible. Home prices are holding flat but rumors of higher demand and inflation in building supplies and builder's salaries are starting to worry buyers. In addition, since Israeli real estate prices have not gone down and are expected to go up, builders and Realtors are pitching to foreign investors. Everyone is hoping to get a piece of the foreign pie, even if it is smaller now. There is also a slight rise in interest form French and British Jews who see investment in Israel as a way to show solidarity for Israel and get a good return. Well, as the air temperature drops the economic temperature raises. If you do not plan to come fore vacation, come to invest. Jump right in, the water's fine!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Tel Aviv Travel - Saturday Afternoon in a Quiet Cafe

Levi's Dockers are the unofficial Tel Avivian's work dress. Israeli dress code is less formal than Europeans

One of the biggest misconceptions about Saturday's in Tel Aviv is how secular Jews keep the shabbat* (the sabbath for Christians). To some, Jews keep the sabbath by congregating and praying in a synagogue or a traditional Friday night meal with blessings and candle lighting. Another misconception, also an extreme view of secular Judaism is the belief that secular Jewish shabat means a day spent on the beach or driving around the country, completely ignoring traditional Jewish tradition. This view also associates the non-traditional shabat observation with being opposed to Judaism altogether (throwing the baby out with the bath water). Tel Avivians actually do not take sides in a religious tug of war between secular and religious followers. Shabat is spent here probably like secular Jews have been doing for centuries, in Tel Aviv there are a few nice modern amenities to make life better one day a week.

In the early afternoon hours on Friday, as if an invisible conductor lifting a baton, Tel Aviv's residents' urgency slows down. Tel Aviv's shabbat is quiet. Streets go silent as a few cars move slowly, a cafe here a kiosk there stay open the rest close down turning busy sidewalks into empty spaces. People who normally rush and shove slowly take a layed back posture, the rudeness turns into courtesy. Stores, boutiques and malls slowly empty and are closed for a day and a half. Buses and trains stop running. Weekday casual dress is toned down more: T-shirts and rumpled polos instead of ironed and starched shirts, Levi's 501's instead of crisp creased Dockers. Women in sun dresses and halter tops instead of matching outfits from Fox, Castro or Honigman's (latest fashion is a must in Tel Aviv, a halmark of a woman in this city). On weekdays Tel Avivians are always in a hurry, buzzing everywhere nonstop, there is definitely a New York hurriedness here. Secular Israel really does come to a rest, this makes Israel a unique place, American's the first time here, used to seven days of shopping wonder what happened. Nothing really happens, it's shabbat.

A walk with friends on a shaded boulevard just off King George street in central Tel Aviv

On a warm July afternoon north Dizengoff street is quiet. There are a few cafes and restaurants open between Dizengoff circle and Arlozorov. A mix of groups finds it's way to Etnachta, a small bar-restaurant at 190 Dizengoff. Two Dutch businessmen spending a weekend away from home ordered a complete meal one item at a time (a la carte), one could not decide on roasted eggplant with yogurt or tahini so the waitress bought him a sample of tahini. A few couples on dates, maybe even the awkward blind date, trying to look cool and composed (nice wicker chairs and shade make this a comfortable place to meet). A young couple with a stroller situated just outside the delineated tables area, Etnachta has tables under beach umbrellas on the side street, a regular arrangement for most busy street cafes in this part of town. Groups of friends come and go, coffee and a croissant on a warm shabbat afternoon is a great way to catch up and feel connected. Some seem to be comfortable enough so this is a weekly ritual, with the slow economy restaurant business is slow, but the pleasure of sitting an hour with a cup of coffee is not such a luxury item (25 to 45 shekels for coffee and a baked item per person - about $6 to $11). Etnachta serves a light menu, this is true of most places open on Saturdays, Tel Avivians are not eating the main meal just snacking about with friends. Strangely enough there are not many tourists in this part of town. They tend to be on the beach or in nearby beach restaurants. There, the nonstop international time schedule infiltrated Tel Aviv giving the beach a resort feel. The beaches are noisy and busy, summer is the high season and tourists like to lie on the beach. This is another part of the city... next time... the beach life in Tel Aviv, a tourist attraction!

*shabat in Hebrew literally translates to rest or to strike (work stoppage) or to stop working (not necessarily as a work stoppage in an organized or unionized context). Read More...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama, McCain, Work, and Tel Aviv talk...

Tourist advertisement for Turkey

The Jewish holidays are officially over. It's back to work in Tel Aviv. If you are not familiar with the holidays in Israel welcome to about 4 weeks of half days, days off, and a great deal of people going on vacation to Turkey. Why Turkey? It's NOT Israel so they are going 'abroad', it's affordable, and for the most part it's as undeveloped as the Israeli desert.

So we are back to work and the media is filled with the American elections. In the past, Israelis were interested in the American political news almost as much as Israeli politics. But for some reason this is not the case. First of all, the Palestinian fighting is at an all time low. This makes the issue with the American politicians almost disappear. Regardless how you look at it, the security issues are what was driving Israeli-American politics for over 60 years. The media has a great deal of influence in Israel and therefore dictate what people talk about. It also dictates what the Israeli political system does about the Palestinian situation. So the newspapers and TV are showing McCain and Obama on late night entertainment shows. But what they say about the financial crisis on Wall Street is not that interesting to Israelis. There is a simple explanation, most Israelis do not believe that a new president can do much about the economic situation either in the US or globally. Why? Israeli's don't believe in any government's ability to influence the economy. Also, Israel has been dependent on American businesses for so long it is hard to imagine hard times on Wall Street and how it will influence our jobs.

A roman amphitheater in Turkey, a tourist picture

The first priority of the day is the economy. The US is still going to play a big part in the Israeli economy. But it seems like the global giants may be replaced by smaller companies. The cooperation between small American companies and the Israeli worker has been the main form of cooperation before the 1990's. Even Intel which built it's first factory here 30 years ago was not the electronics giant that it is today. But the same goes to other electronic companies: Kulicke & Soffa, Vishay, KLA - Tencor, Flextronics, and the list goes on. The global business giants like AIG, Citicorp, and Merill Lynch came to Tel Aviv and wowed some people. These are big players with lots of resources and a great deal of ambition. But the smaller American companies which come to Tel Aviv for the raw people talent are the ones which succeed and thrive. Maybe now it's time to get back to what Tel Avivians are good at: creatively building products and services for the world to be wowed - RIGHT BACK.

Well, this is the story of Obama and McCain in Tel Aviv. Not much of a story. I think that this is a sign of Tel Aviv maturing. Like every impressionable young person we went to the big city, saw the bright lights, got intoxicated by the big talk, than realized that 'going back home' and doing what we know how to do best is what works. With the economy and the temperament of Tel Aviv the departures of a the giant global's' logos on big buildings will be a small change. People are going to continue their creative hard work to the next employer that appreciates them. If the employer lasts a little longer and sticks around, they will become a part of the Israeli / Tel Avivian landscape. If not, they will just be a faded memory, and in Tel Aviv, that 'ain't bad' either. Read More...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Lobby - Pickup Bars, Strong Drinks, and Quiet Streets

No need for refined graphics, "The Lobby" is quiet and classy.

"The Lobby" is a small bar on Bazel Street (#30) in Tel Aviv. It opened two years ago in a very quiet location. I can't believe that the owners planned on opening a pick-up bar with strong drinks. Well, this is not exactly a "classical" pick-up bar. The location is just one aspect. Most people would assume that a pick-up bar is going to be in a desolate industrial zone where there is plenty of room and parking and only the desperate and sexually adventurous would be trolling dark bars in search of a one-night-stand. Pick-up bars also come in the glitzier variety catering to lonely business types with a few extra dollars to buy a broken hearted girl a drink. Somehow "The Lobby" has become what I would call a "locals'" pickup bar. Since tourists and business travelers usually take over the bar scene in the city in search of a willing one-nighters partner, there has to be a place for the locals. My "locals" term is describing not just Tel Avivians but also out of town Israelis looking for Israelis and not foreigners. You may think that this is a little discriminatory on the side of Tel Avivians or even Israelis. But a few visits to "The Lobby" and you will see that the place is comfortable and friendly. There is the sexual tension of a pickup bar but also a feel of a friendly neighborhood drinking hole. To some this makes "The Lobby" a less intimidating place.
      The Lobby is essentially a small room that holds about 30 people. There is a long counter on the right side of the room where two barman mix strong traditional drinks. Doreen the waitress (a twenty something divorce lawyer by day) was recommending the large Mojito (a liter of rum, sugar, and your favorite juice with lime) or a Long Island Ice Tea. On hot Tel Aviv summer nights, the Caribbean drinks seem to be the weapon of choice here. "The Lobby" is furnished in comfortable seating, high tables and chairs and decent bar stools at the counter. There is definitely a "regulars" arrangement with reserved spots at the counter and some reserved tables. The lighting is muted but not the kind of dark that you can't see a face 10 feet in front of you.
      The drinks are strong and big. Besides the regular western (European) drinks there is a good selection of Caribbean / Cuban / Mexican drinks. I was a little disappointed when they didn't have a traditional summer Sangria with ice. "The Lobby's" version is served warm for cold winter nights. Staff at "The Lobby" is young and energetic. They greet most guests as if they are regulars, even the ones which are there for the first time. Even a group of 20 something girls which seem to have one-nigher pickup on their mind seem to be welcomed by Doreen and the barman. Overall I give "The Lobby" a high score. If you are looking for a comfortable neighborhood bar for a good drink and a slice of pizza this is the spot. If you are looking for a pickup bar, come here on Wed. to Friday (the other nights are a little slow). [The Lobby, 30 Bazel, Tel: 03-5462714 - Note: This area has little to no parking at night.] Read More...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Life in the city: M.A.S.H. sports bar on Dizengoff

Happy bar owner with sports figures... go figure, but cute ;~)' So you can't find a ticket to the football game or affort the plane ticket to go to your favorite English Premier League game??? Too bad     ;-(   --   --   WAIT a second... I have an answer for you. Get up and to to 275 Dizengoff Street (Tel: 03-605-1007) to the M.A.S.H. Sports Bar (MASH stands for More Alcohol Served Here).

At the MASH you will find many compatriots. It's not quite like being there, but its' as close as you'll ever get without getting on a plane. The MASH has a real sports bar atmosphere, dark and cool when the action is slow, hot and noisy when the game is going full bore. When the game is good, you will find English, American or even Russian / Ukrainian fans screaming and jumping like the best of them. This is one place where you can cheer and boo just like you were in the stadium and barely get noticed. You may even find an opposing team fan who is a great noise sparring partner. Don't worry, it's all in good fun, no real head bashing or beer mug throwing here at all. They tend to carry all the big games that make sense. Specially football (British meaning, soccer for you Americans) and basketball. But you can also request any other event if you have a group, they may even put your 'American Football' game on a side screen or the main projection screen if no local sport team is playing somewhere. You would be amazed how many games and Israeli + a tourist fan can come up with! No kidding, some times of the year it's non-stop from about 6PM to when you wish to go home. Oh, another thing about Israeli bars, they will "close the kitchen" at 2:00AM but you can stay to see the game if you are making enough noise and buying beer. MASH mascaraed as a timid bar...
Also, the MASH has lovely servers which will provide any alcoholic drink or bar food item. They have a decent selection if beers, ales and mixed drinks. The M.A.S.H. will also take care of your hunger with burgers, hot dogs, schnitzel, french fries, onion rings and a complete English Breakfast (served hot anytime).
... come cheer your team, enjoy the booze and have a nosh at the M.A.S.H. // sam-d (back on the blog, in T"A) Read More...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Life in the City - Beuty is skin deep... and cheap

Last week I was watching Fox TV. There was a program about women going to third world countries for cosmetic surgery. Then a doctor from the US came on the screen and gave a speech. You can pretty much guess what a doctor from the US is going to say about any doctor from anywhere, specially on Fox TV! He said even though these women could get their Liposuction, breast implant and nose 'job' for 50% to 70% less money, they should not be going to third world countries, like Thailand, China or Mexico for these operations. He questioned the doctors and pointed out that if there is a problem with your operation in the US, there are plenty of lawyers to help you recoup your expenses and get some sort of "fix".

Proportzia is Israel's most advertised chain of plastic surgery clinics
      To some degree I agree with US doctors. Why go to a third world country when you can go to a first world country. You can also go to a "first rate city" like Tel Aviv and save the same money. Tel Aviv has world class doctors and world class hospitals. There are also world lawyers and lots of them.
      Israel health care system is mostly socialized. I say mostly because plastic and many surgical procedures have been privatized or semi-privatized for years. Patients with means to afford better care and more attention from doctors have funded a small and highly prized "parallel" medical system. Doctors who can and desire to offer more care and in better facilities have also elected to open their own private clinics and to band together and run high quality clinics and even surgical services. For the most part, the actual surgery is done in the state run hospitals. This is specially true in the bigger operations. But, when it comes to patient care, diagnosis, and follow up, private doctors offer services on par with any western private medical system. That is why patients from all over the world end up on Israeli operating tables. This is specially true for NONE plastic operations. From Eye surgery for acute cornea conditions to heart conditions. From Russia to Malaysia and most of African countries. Israeli medical professionals and organizations are open to most patients.
Starmed doctor and specialist referral site, a place to check experience and qualification
      When it comes to elective plastic surgery, Israeli's have been flocking to have their eyes, breasts and fat refocused, enlarged and reduced. This is partly a sign of prosperity in the country and partly a sign of influence from the US and Europe. It is also a sign of the aging population, eye surgery is mostly to people in their 40's to their 60's. Breast and other plastic procedures are also for these from age 35 and up. So if you look at Israel from an outside perspective, you will be delighted by the capability, experience and service here.
Dr. Marcus Harel advertises breast implant services for patients outside Israel
      So, if you want to have cosmetic surgery, call your travel agent and make your plans to come to world class medical city Tel Aviv. Have your surgery and enjoy your recovery in the city by the sea, in a world class hotel with world class service. No need to save money going to a third world city when first class is here for you. See you in Tel Aviv sam-d-man... in the city Read More...