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Published: June 30th 2015
The next two days in Tel Aviv were an absolute blast and full of sun, sand, dancing, and debauchery. Established in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa/Yafo, the city is very young and vibrant and has the 3rd largest economy in the Middle East, killer nightlife and a round-the-clock culture. Not sure how our group of lushes survived!
After our first late night we let ourselves sleep in a bit before heading out for a sushi lunch and a break from Mediterranean cuisine. In fact, Tel Aviv apparently has the highest number of sushi restaurants per capita after New York and Tokyo, so we had to give it a go. We found a fun little place with an outdoor patio and really reasonable "businessman" specials with 3 courses - much needed. Then it was off to the convenience store for booze and other provisions. The downtown itself wasn't much to write home about - it is fairly low-to-the-ground save some skyscrapers, and the streets were a bit on the gritty side. There were nevertheless many shops and cafés and I wish I had been able to explore it more. Also almost most everything is in
four languages - Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English - which I obviously loved.
The rest of the afternoon was spent poolside with the boys, splashing around like beached whales bloated with Ukrainian vodka and Israeli wine. We were loving it. Eventually we showered and got ready for our welcoming reception at the Suzanne Dellal Centre and short performance sponsored by the Tel Aviv gay center. They greeted us with open beer and wine so we could maintain our buzz, which made the singing oh so much more fun! Next stop was Evita, the gay bar from the night before, for a post-reception complete with a drag show! So much fun. Last stop was Drek, a night club that requires us to enter a random storefront and then take an elevator. Not sure if we went up or down, but once the doors opened we were suddenly in a packed megaclub where we danced the night away yet again. On the way home we decided it was a good idea to take a middle-of-the-night dip in the Mediterranean. Glad we weren't swept up by the undertow!
Not surprisingly we got a late start yet again on our last full
day. Luckily all we had on the agenda was lying on the beach. We'd missed breakfast but our dear friends saw a plate of lox, cream cheese, and bagels - immediately thought of us - and brought us breakfast in bed. We then threw on bathing suits and headed down to the beach walk. Just a block or so over was a Billabong surf competition, which was cool to see. Moving on along we passed a few other beaches, including the gay beach marked by multicolor umbrella structures. We ended up at Metzitzim beach where we paid a few shekels for a chair and umbrella. Free wifi was literally everywhere in Tel Aviv, including the beach, an added perk. Our friends joined us shortly after and we all headed into the water, which was turquoise and almost lukewarm, just a wee bit different than our frigid New England waters.
After a couple of hours I headed back to the hotel to do some work since I wasn't being completely backed up, then headed up to the pool to order some food before our transfer to the Dellal Centre for our concert. This concert was outdoors so they were kind
to us and let us wear khaki shorts with BGMC blue polos. Thank the gods! They then fed us a spread of various Israeli salads, chicken skewers, and beef, then some putrid coffee (the norm) to keep us all awake for the 9pm show. When it was finally showtime we headed back out from our holding courtyard and were greeting by at least 1,000 cheering Israeli spectators. The show was truly incredible and such a high; there were several points where I choked back tears - an experience I'll never forget. After the show we chose to stay in for once, but still somehow ended up on the hotel patio until 4am just enjoying each other's company. Good thing I chose morning flight to Istanbul with the 6am meeting time! Brilliant move.
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