Tel Aviv Diary - May 14,-19 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 14-19 2019 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 14, 2019

s i helped out at Ricky Freisem's book launch in Milta's Book Shop in Rehovot this evening. it was a great evening and I found myself getting into the groove just like old times.- loving the breath of a poem. what a great audience in a great place.

and the discussions after were fantastic - we read poems mostly about wars in Israel and someone came up after to tell me that for Israelis, war is something they are used to enduring.

last night at the Irish embassy the Irish singers for Eurovision appeared and their polish and their professionalism really surprised me. The Austrian entry also performed. There is something so fake about performance singing - and something so genuine about a simple singer singing his own songs.

May 15, 2019

is there any way tel aviv can declare independence from israel? the obvious criminality of the national government has become so morally repulsive to me i can't see any way to even criticize it. who would have believed we could come to this - law manipulation and bribery for protection from prosecution? we were looking at some slides my parents took of their trip to Israel in 1964, and their wonder at the fulfillment not only of a Jewish harbor but a socialist government. i'm sure they were being manipulated into seeing the best of the land, but they weren't being deceived. and they knew they were being manipulated. and they didn't care.

May 16, 2019

we got out of tel aviv just in time today. yesterday we made the glorious mistake of going into tel aviv for dinner near the Eurovision village and could find no place to leave our car. Finally, after a prolonged traffic jam that turned out to be less critical than we were told, we decided to try the Intercontinental hotel. The guard caught us at the entrance: "Do you know how much this COSTS?" yes, we answered, and he let us in. after all, we had people waiting for us.

okay, it was fun - and worth the parking fee of 90 shekel.

Tonight, however, will be impossible. it's "white night" here and we were warned to get out of the city by 5. so even though there were no crowds in Dizengoff center, few people on the streets, we knew it would be more crowded than ever and we left our babysitting tasks early and raced home. We'll have to leave home soon for a meeting, but we feel like we've saved ourselves from traffic. Public transportation in Tel Aviv will come eventually - maybe in two years - but for now, we have to structure our lives around traffic.

here's a sample of my reading of the other evening"

May 18, 2019

It was a good night to go out in Tel Aviv - everyone was at eurovision or at home watching tv. so we went to Sarona and there was room to park but by the time we left the restaurant there was no room there either. it is as though we have no idea of the real world, of what's going on in the air over Syria. Or anywhere else.

May 19, 2019

i promise i'll try to say more tomorrow. i usually write this at night, and lately i'm unable to stay awake. i think it's an allergy, but maybe i'm mourning the dying of my friend Mira, whose turn for the worse a few weeks ago made it clear that her home care became home-hospice care. Yesterday when i visited her i told her how much i love her and how i will always hold in my heart our shopping, our dinners, our visits, our concerts. Always ready to take a chance with me, she came to Ronen's concert with us in Carnegie Hall, but couldn't manage walking home with us. that was weeks before she was hospitalized. oh dear, i fear i have uncovered the reason for my literary lassitude.

even though we went from Mira to dinner at Claro's and had a magnificent dinner. we were with Canadian friends so i peeked at the English menu - and was piqued by the item "sweetbreads." My Canadian friend and I come from a Yiddish background and one of our greatest treats was inner organs - especially spleen. so we ordered it. and then i looked at the hebrew menu - "almonds" somehow didn't seem like the accurate translation. of course not. Almonds are testicles. Did i tell my friend - when she had already swallowed a few bites and declared them wonderful? not on your life! on the way home i remembered the first time i was in a Yemenite restaurant and innocently ordered a version of this dish. the waiter refused to write down my order. why? i asked. my partner interpreted - it's meant to increase your sex drive, if you're a man - he translated for the waiter. since it was the only thing on the menu i hadn't tried i wanted to insist, but the entire retaurant opposed me. no 'almonds' for you!

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