Friday, August 18, 2006

Walking into Walls

Dizengoff Center
Originally uploaded by holylandhipster.
My favorite journalism professor at Queens College, Bill Neugebauer, (aka "Neuggie") once gave me some sage advice. He said, "never act like you don't know where you're going. If that means walking into a wall, then you walk into a wall and act that you had meant to do that."

Today, I walked into a lot of walls.

As expected, jet lag kicked in and I didn't get to sleep until 4:30 am. Good thing that a lot of my friends in the States were on IM, so at least I had company, I woke up to some pre-set random radio station and while it to me a while to understand the words to the song that was playing, when I did the translation from Hebrew into English in my head, it put a smile on my face. The chorus was "Ani Chozeret HaBayta". I'm returning home.

Think G-d's sending me a message?

That got me up and out of bed fairly quickly. I had a quick shower and got ready to head over to the Dizengoff Center Mall. Before I left the apartment, I called my friend Yitz's cousin Andrew, who is a founding member of the congregation I'm hoping to attention. Andrew was great and he gave me the 411 on the Minyan (service). He told me not to come to shul on Friday night because, unlike the Upper West Side, people don't really go. He also gave me the download for Shabbos and, if I wake up in time, I'm hoping to make it there tomorrow.

Armed with that knowledge, I strapped on my trusty Sketchers and hit the streets. With Neuggies words reverberating in my head, I consulted my map and quickly wrote out some notes. I was to take Allenby up to Pliskin, hang a right onto Bograshov and then that should take me straight to Dizengoff. When I got to the top of Bograshov, I saw the Dizengoff mall and was confronted with two options. One, go up this STEEP hill to what appeared was a parking lot and an entrance way. Or, two, walk around the block and hope there were entrances on that side.

I chose to go up the STEEP hill for cardio sake (see Victoria, I was thinking about ya!). That hill will have me hurting for days, talk about buns of steel! Somehow, I got inside the mall from the top and managed to make it into the building without security checking my bag.

No good. Lax security got me a little nervous, given where I was, but I quickly shrugged it off when I accidentally opened a random door to three people having a meeting.

See what I mean by walking into walls.

I apologized and hit the mall floors. And then it hit me. Friday the malls are NUTS! It's like going to the Roosevelt Field Mall in Queens on a Sunday, not something I want to do, But, with zero supplies and reinforcements in my apartment, and Shabbos fast approaching, I really needed to get some food.

I walked around the mall for 2 hours before I found the Super Center Supermarket. Now, I could have asked someone to point it out to me, but then I would have been able to find the cool stores or change cash. Somehow, I also managed to find Psycho Tattoo and I thought about going inside to say hello to Yoni and to meet Lior, but decided to come back later in the week. Hopefully, it will be quieter then. I also headed up to the movie theatre and was THRILLED to see that the new Aaron Eckhart/Helena Bonham Carter movie is playing here! I had wanted to see that flick before I left NYC, so now I know I'll have something else to do later on this week.

SuperCenter had some interesting items. I was so out of it though, I managed to buy a frying pan, some PAM but no eggs. Yup. I'm going to be frying nothing for breakfast on Sunday morning. What I really wanted were liquid egg whites, but I couldn't find any. Oh well, I'll keep looking. In the meantime, there were these food stands set up and I managed to find one with a Teudah (kosher certificate) and the woman behind the counter promised that the vegetables I bought were steamed and not cooked in oil. I got some sesame chicken (Of SumSum) and the vegees for dinner tonight.

By the time I walked back to my apartment, my dogs were barking and bleeding (my Vans ripped the hell out of my heels in the airport yesterday) and I had sweated through my t-shirt. Not too attractive.

After unpacking the groceries, I went to the Opera Promenade to see what movies are playing at that theatre. I am hoping to catch a flick on Sat night, unless I end up meeting my former client out for drinks. Anyway, I went to Aroma Cafe and ordered an Iced Aroma Diet coffee and was in HEAVEN! This stuff is better than a Starbucks Frappuccino and they even gave it to me with a tiny, little, chocolate bar. I took my yummy coffee and hit the beach. The wind was amazing, coming across the waves steadily, and the sun wasn't beating down too heavily. I sat down and started writing this blog entry in my notebook when Mottie walked by and asked me if I was writing HIM a letter. I laughed and said it was for my Mom, and he decided to join me on the Tayelet (Boardwalk). We ended up speaking for almost 45 minutes and I conducted the ENTIRE conversation in Hebrew. I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself, especially since we spoke about politics, my move to Tel Aviv, what I do for a living, etc. Mottie was pretty cool and then he told me about some big event taking place in Jaffa on August 26th. It sounds like it's Tel Aviv's version of Central Park Summerstage, with lots of live music and some dancing.

He was persistent on having me come, so I told him that my "boyfriend" and I would try to stop by. He seemed a little disappointed that I had an "Israeli boyfriend" but was pleased that I said we would stop by. (I hope that's the last time I need to lie about having a bf, but it was definitely heading in a direction I wasn't interested in).

Impressions thus far:
1) No iPods. I was surprised that no one else was walking around Tel Aviv listening to music. NYC is littered with people accessorized by the white headphones. But here, no one was plugged in. Made me stand out like a sore thumb.

2) Banana Hammocks - Seriously, this is a big problem. Not every guy should be wearing a banana hammock and yet, they all walk around proud as can be. It looked painful on some, and was just plain painful to see on others.

Well, I'm still struggling to figure out my cell phone, so I'm off to try and access my VM's. Apparently, I have four messages and I have no clue who could have already called me! If it's anyone who is reading this blog, I apologize for not returning your call! I promise I will as soon as I figure out how to get my messages.

Shabbat Shalom!

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