Tel Aviv Diary Dec 3 - 7, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from December 3 - 7, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 3, 2004

I missed everything today - the fashion show, the jewelery and tea - because of house work and exhaustion and a crisis with counter tops that demanded an immediate re-visit to the kitchen shop. I may never be forgiven for not turning up anywhere. But Fridays are short around here and there is nothing that can be done after 2. So we took Oren's SMART to the old Brodetsky center in Ramat Aviv - that old fashioned comfortable strip-square mall - and had lunch at the Paradiso to get strength to face the mess in our house. .

The thing about the Brodetsky mall is that it is wonderfull seedy. There are great basic shops - like hardware, gym clothes, dry cleaner, used books, bread, opticians, flowers, shoemaker, orthodpedics, hairdresser, post office - almost no fashion - burger king, falafel and paradiso. The people are very ordinary - nothing terribly glamorous - and thats the charm.

The communications school is also there. i forgot it before because it's so cleverly tucked away. I forgot the cafe, bike shop, vet and a few other places. But never mind.

December 4, 2004

Once again, we meet up with Ezi's high school crowd, and all the people remain alert, dynamic and interesting. This was a birthday party for one of his best friends from school, so there were lots of other people and only a few friends from way back then, but the idea became the subject of conversation for that evening and the day to come. That's my fault. I can't get over the fact that people who grew up together in the first Israeli city, Tel Aviv, continue to live there and see their past as well as their present on the street. We were talking with a guy we don't know well, a little younger than us, a bank branch manager, and he said he sometimes sees from his office someone totally out of the past and identifies him immediately. "My math teacher" he said, "came in last week." "Wht's his name?" I asked, knowing what would come next. He gave the name, and Ezi nodded. "My teacher too."

hey - i'm on channel 24 tonight - around 11:15. the clip - tell me - you can see it on the thin lips site if you missed it.

December 4, 2004

You didn't see it because my producer never sent the clip!

But, hell, who cares? Azam Azam is home! I can't believe it has been 8 years. 8 years in an Egyptian prison. I once had a good friend who spent a few years in an Egyptian prison. And when he came back his wife had found other interests. He married again and had some kids and seemed very happy. I knew him for a few years but he never mentioned it. He had these strange scars on his face and a faraway look, but he never spoke of his past. Now he lives far away and has a third wife and family. We visited him and he had a normal life and a faraway look.

Yup, Azam Azam is going to have a hard time. At the moment he's thrilled, grateful, but wow...

We were invaded by Russians today. A team of 5 Russians spent the day installing our air conditioning. They were well-organized, amazingly acrobatic, and overwhelmingly messy. Not one of them looked Jewish - maybe one of them had a Jewish grandmother, but they all looked like Cossacks to me. Maybe I'll post one of the photographs Ezi took of them walking on the bars outside our window. What an amazing cultural experience. There was a great sense of cameradie, good humor, and job intensity. But it wasn't local. Why? Nobody asked me any personal questions - no one asked me how many kids i have living at home, what i did for a living, whether i read all those books. That's how i know they weren't Jewish.

December 6, 2004

The optimism around here! Incredible! Free trade area with Egypt, real peace... suddenly there's a chance. If I didn't have to wait for the glazier and the marble-measurer I'd take off for Mrar today and bring chocolates for all. Maybe I can convince Ezi to go this weekend.

December 7, 2004

If i had the energy after dealing with windows, shelving, cupboards and plaster I'd start a tel aviv cat diary. Like the late the Sergeant Nadav Kudinsky, who was just buried together with his dog after brng blown up near Gaza, I like animals more than humans, and i am writing today's entry in his memory. Since I've been forced to take my luncheons on the bench in front of our building, they have been joining me, totally ignoring the dog. There are a lot of new immigrants in our yard, making it the place of the ingathering of exiles. The white persian who must have once lived in the lap of luxury and now even with no claws manages to sit on the ledge and avoid the dirt she hates so much; the four month old ginger kitten, adopted by the black and white male, and still sharing a carton with him, who dares sit in any one's lap in case there is a chance for food; and the new scrawny infant kitten who somehow has been left to live in safe neglect.

I'm not going to make the analogy you're expecting.

Kudinsky was the only bearer of his name who didn't die in the Holocaust. And I wish we could all live in the yard the way the cats have been living here.

And by the way, today 100 new dogs were taken into the bus security service, guarding busses.



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