Tel Aviv Diary - May 10-14,2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 10, 2011

No picnic for us. I couldn't handle the park, so we decided to look for a resaurant. Ha. Even WE couldn't get in to Pappa's, and every other place was closed or booked. So we found ourselves at the Dixie Restaurant in Ramat Gan, a place I remembered pleasantly. Although it too was crowded, it took only a few minutes of eating before I had to ask - why. On either side of me were complaints about the tastelessness of the food, while I was digging into my hamburger which was fine because there was little about it that could be ruined. I could have made a barbeque on the little square of grass down the street and we would have enjoyed it more, even though it was crowded with strangers.

Never mind.

We're going down to the desert in a day or two so we have to get our work done today, and a picnic would have been too much.

s May 11, 2011

Friends of mine are rejoining the Labor party, and I'm considering it too. As much as I like Zipi personally, I don't think Kadima has any agenda and Labor seems to be more alert to social issues, security, responsibility. I'm not a very political person, but this is not a place where one can be non-political. Take, for example, the idea of Independence Day in relation to Nakba. There is no way you cannot celebrate this day with out a directpolitical opinion. Shomo Avineri has a good point of view on this: Nakba

I'll never celebrate the nakba but i will sympathize wih those who were affected by the situation.

May 13, 2011

We went deep into the Ramon crater today, stopping at the Carpentry to climb the mound of petrified lava that resembles wood chips. We were all alone in the crater – at least it seemed that way for a while – and suddenly I realized why desert people don’t have problems of identity. You have to know who you are when you’re surrounded by nothing but stone and lizards. There is no possibility of considering your reflected self-image and all that. An hour after that we were in line in the supermarket and Orit noted that the line is the same here as it is in Tel Aviv, when we noticed two Beduin in jalabia and headdress with faces fierce as desert fighters, and she retracted her remark. Their sense of self was so strong that even in the ubiquitous supermarket line they stood out. Everyone else – like us - was boring.

Lunch was in Hakatzeh – almost as good as Hachavit was yesterday, but totally unable to beat the view from yesterday evening at the cafe in Bereishit. Hakatzeh has home-style Israeli food – cheap and tasty and nourishing. Hachavit has great kebab and wonderful soup, and in the evening is said to be hopping. But we were very curious about Bereishit or Genesis, the new exclusive hotel which is still running in, which is said to be the latest in Feng Shui design. And indeed it was pretty impressive. We hadn’t been able to get a room there, which is why we’re staying in the Isrotel Ramon Inn, and we had to check out the place.

It was pretty empty – a few guests and a lot of polite staff – but extremely engaging. Every window of the lobby had an amazing view and every view of the restaurant or cafe had something amazing to see. The sophisticated primitivism impressed even us, and even from far away this state-of-the art hotel seemed as if it had always been there, dialoging with the crater.

May 14, 2011

I am so glad I'm not a travel agent. You should be glad too. Because I didn't do most of the things you need to do if you're a tourist in Mitzpeh. Except for the pool in the hotel and the lookout points of Mitzpeh Ramon, I did little hiking and less touring. The only thing I regret though is not staying another day while Nakba is observed.

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