Given that she has lived here for over 1/3 of her life, I thought it rather odd that my wife has never really spent any time at all in Tel Aviv. After I completed Ulpan, I lived there nominally for a year, but as the majority of my time was spent in the army, I didn't get to know the place to well but enough to figure that I'd be visiting and not living there. It had been a while since I'd wandered the places I got to know and, given the lovely weather and time off work for good behaviour, I thought it a good opportunity to introduce my better half to the fleshpots of the big city.
Given that parking on the street in Tel Aviv is nigh on impossible I headed for a familiar car park next to the HaBima theatre and from there we set out on foot. Rothschild is a great example of the broad boulevards which proliferate in Tel Aviv but which Jerusalem lacks; lined with tall trees and with plenty of space to sit, run and walk the dog, I have always felt that they provide an oasis amidst the chaos.
Turning into Rechov Shenkin, my wife's eyes lit up. Shenkin has become a byword for everything that is hip and funky; it is lined by shoe shops and clothing boutiques; trendy restaraunts, stores selling candles and soaps, interesting furniture and other kitsch. It is thronged with the dyed, the pierced and the tattooed, all ages, shapes and sizes - projecting or trying to project a certain fabulous cool. We wove our way down, stopping to look in windows and try on various items, soaking up the atmosphere of the place. We stopped in on Ozen Hashlishi, an old fashioned music store, light years away from the sanitary order of Tower Records and bought a couple of new CDs. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) I'm not a great shopping partner - my wife will have to find an accomodating friend to accompany her for a return trip which won't take long given her enthusiasm - she even went so far as to compare it to The Village - rare praise indeed.
A view of Shenkin
From Shenkin we crossed King George into the artists' fair in Nachalat Binyamin. The fair runs throughout the summer on Fridays as far as I remember but was especially busy during Pesach. Jewellery, blown glass, toys and original items for the house were all carefully laid out on tables for the buying public to check out. The area is full of character with buildings and businesses that must have been amongst Tel Aviv's earliest, including many fabric cloths which my wife really appreciated.
Artists' Fair in Nachalat Binyamin
Tel Aviv was a real success - there are so many funky places and we were only skimming the surface for a couple of hours - I suspect it may become a regular stopping point now that it's been dicovered. We even managed to catch up with some friends from the UK who were staying nearby. Jerusalem's great but it has a downside - Tel Aviv is a very different City with a different sort of person and is far more lively - lots of fun in short.