Tel Aviv Diary - May 26-30,2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 26, 2011

can't find it? well, i lost my kindle somewhere on herbert samuel boulevard the other night - must have fell out of my car when i kept getting in and getting out waiting for my guests, who i probably misdirected, t find me.

or maybe i got pickpocketed while watching the water show.

or maybe i left it somewhere neutral, like the dentists, when i went there in a daze at 7:30 a.m. Anyway it so distracted me i didn't remember to nag Ezi about talking to doctors to get some decisions made. I did, however, manage to sign a petition in support of a palestinian state.

May 27, 2011

There is no way I would give up Fridays in Tel Aviv. Even though I haven't had time to enjoy them lately, there is something absolutely irresistable about sitting in a cafe or walking down a Tel Aviv street in the atmosphere of the coming sabbath. Even if it's a business meeting, it's somehow slower than the usual meeting. In the old days we'd meet every Friday afternoon at the Writers' House, tables and tables of writers. But it was long ago, before the little squabbles began and all the money for writers got cut off. We were like a special class in and of ourselves, talking philosophy, literary criticism, gossip. And today, when we all met at Pappa's today to have a beer with Mark Strand and talk about poetry and society, I longed for the old days. Yes, we're all busy - and we have all kinds of problems and commitments - and we live farther away too - but it is so wonderful to meet we have to do it again.

May 28, 2011

Amazing how so much of Tel Aviv is disintegrating. I noticed it only recently when squiring a tourist around, and today when I translated a catalogue for my accountant. He's doing a photography exhibit on the crumbling of the apartment he grew up in. It's really ugly, but i guess it's comfortable for me, like old slippers. And I love the old sooty buildings almost as much as I love old trees. Remember, I said to myself when I passed Hassan Bek mosque the other day, remember when you took photographs and I wrote poems about this place when it was deserted, decrepit? The photos were lost, the photographer is long dead, and I have no idea about what happened to the poems. The building has been restored, but it still holds the memory of our afternoon together...

May 29, 2011

Silly woman, says my friend, Tel Aviv is not a city of the past, but of the future. "In medicine, in high-tech, in food, dance, theater, music - Tel Aviv is the place. All the medical services, bank services, shopping, post, everything online you enjoy, he said, it's all part of this city. The parking lot signs that guide you to where there are spaces - the eternal summer atmosphere, the casual barbarism, the intimacy of slippers in the street. He went on and on and warmed with each thought.

His enthusiasm was contagious.

May 30, 2011

I used to go up to the hill behind the university during the Gulf War, and look at the city. The view there is magnificent - showing the tall buildings, the bright lights, the Yarkon river that borders the north of the city, and all the highways. It can't be, I used to say, that this city will be destroyed. The rockets were falling so close the windows at the university shattered, and by sundown it was not safe to be away from a shelter. I wasn't a heroine. By six I was right there with my kids and dog, ready to put my gas mask on at any moment, But in the day, I joined my friends at the cafes, shopped as much as I could, and admired the city.


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