Thursday, April 2, 2009

I don't know why you say Shalom, I say Shalom

Shalom (Hello). Well, unless something goes terribly wrong, this will be my last post from Israel. And while I perhaps haven't found it to be all that was promised, I believe once I get some distance from some of the acute annoyances, I will remember my visit fondly.

In less than 2 hours, I will depart for the airport to fly to Cairo at 1:10 am, arriving at 1:40 am local time. I assume that catching a taxi with a driver who knows how to get to my hotel, which is right across from the pyramids (and I have the address written in Arabic), shouldn't be too difficult and tomorrow I will awake to see one of the great wonders of the world.

Today started with another moronic and mean cab driver, who despite being provided with the name, address and location of Museum of the Jewish Diaspora written in Hebrew by the hotel clerk, still took me to the wrong museum and blamed me for telling him the wrong place. I finally got to the museum, which was a nice display about the dispersal of the Jewish people over the centuries.

I then went, again via cab--and here I'll stop to say that I don't think in my entire life, let alone on a single trip, I've taken as many non-airport cabs as I have in Israel. I prefer traveling by subway, and these don't exist in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, at least not as far as I found for getting to the tourist sites--to the ancient port of Jaffa, which is now part of Tel Aviv. Strolling around Jaffa was enjoyable and presented some nice Mediterranean Sea perspectives.

After Jaffa, I wanted to take a cab to Rothschild Avenue, an area with supposedly many prime Bauhaus architecture examples. I was a little worried about conveying this to a cabbie, but lucked into a taxi driver with good English and strong comprehension of what I was looking for. Instead of just taking me to Rothschild, he drove me around--with my full compliance--to several of his favorite Bauhaus buildings and other notable structures in the area. When we finally got to Rothschild Ave., it was clear that what he showed me was much better than what I would've seen on my own.

I finally found and ate a bagel in Israel, shortly after having a donut, and if anyone wants to invest in the first Holey Land bagel & donut shop, featuring real Chicago/New York-style bagels, I think we'd make a fortune. Though I still don't think I'd want to live here.

But after the architecturally-savvy and nice cabbie, and another visit to the record shop, whereupon learning about the clerk Dov's fondness for Wilco, I wowed him with my Jeff Tweedy in a living room story, although the human interaction was a bit less than idyllic overall in Israel (and I never did meet any nice Jewish girls, except for my cousins), it seems the Israel part of the journey has ended on a positive note. Though of course, I still have to go to the airport and get through security. Fun.

Hopefully, my hotel in Cairo--the Sofitel Le Sphinx--has a computer to use, and I'll try to check in tomorrow.

Shalom (Goodbye). (and Peace)

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