Friday, May 27, 2016

Tel Aviv Hotel 0745

When I woke up yesterday, I had no idea what I was going to do that day. I'm in a new city, so I just wandered around. Sometimes you have the most amazing days when you least expect them.

I spent most of the morning and afternoon wandering south, eating snacks and looking at architecture. I explored Neve Tzedek, a traditional neighborhood with yet another performing arts center. It's pretty obvious that Tel Aviv is a city that cares about art.

I walked around the American-German Colony, which has a similar history as the German Colony in Jerusalem, but is nothing like it today. Jerusalem's German Colony is a trendy shopping neighborhood. Tel Aviv's American-German Colony is an old neighborhood with preserved houses and churches from the last two centuries. There's also another performing arts center.

Then the day really got interesting.

I met some dancers at the Suzanne Dellal Center. We talked about things to do in Tel Aviv, and it turns out they have plenty. We pretty much scheduled my entire Friday, but they also had something for Thursday night. They had an extra ticket to a concert they were going to and asked if I wanted to go along. Without knowing anything about the concert, I said yes. I'm here to explore and part of exploring means taking whatever opportunities pop up.

We went to Yarkon Park, which I only saw a tiny fraction of on one of my morning runs. At the park, in the middle of a big field, a full concert was set up. There were more people than I expected. I thought it was going to be a small show with a local band and their handful of fans or some kind of lesbian concert. Since the dancers are lesbian, I thought it might be a lesbian concert, whatever that means. It didn't take me very long to figure out that we were going to see Elton John. I didn't even know he was in the country, but judging from the reactions of the crowd, he's very popular here.

The seating was strange, but it was a great show. Since it was out in the park rather than in a stadium, seating was actually standing. There were bleachers with seats, but those were farther away from the stage and off to the sides. They were the worst seats in the house. We were standing relatively close to the stage. It's hard to say what row we were in since it was essentially a mosh pit, but there were far more people behind us than in front of us. I read that there were 40,000 people in the audience. I can believe that.

The park turned out to be a great place for a concert. Since it started just after sunset, we could all see the faint glow of dusk behind the stage. The sky was dark most of the night, but during the first song, there was a nice mix of blue and orange with a couple of tiny clouds right above the stage. It was the kind of thing you don't get in a stadium. With the palm trees around the stage and twinkling city lights in the distance, this might have been the most beautiful rock concert I've ever been to. It was a little warm outside, especially with 40,000 people huddled together, but at least it wasn't August.

I don't know what it looked like from the back, but near the front, we had a large center screen and two giant video screens on either side of the stage. The screens were probably very helpful to the people in the back. It looked like they were far away. We were close enough that I mostly just watched everyone on stage. Someone said it was his “original band”, but I don't know what that means or who was ever in any of his bands.

He did a few songs from his new album, but it was mostly the '70s, classic songs. There was a lot of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, Honky Ch√Ęteau, Madman Across the Water. Maybe that's not so great for the hardcore fans who want to hear more Peachtree Road and Reg Strikes Back, but for people like me, it was great. I recognized most of the songs, except the new album.

After the concert, we went to Bakala, a crowded little Mediterranean restaurant on Dizengoff. This is one of those places where friends meet to hang out, but there was a wide variety of Israeli salads. Even if everything isn't the best, there are so many different options that you have to like something.

Another difference between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is that Tel Aviv is truly a 24 hour city. It's not just bars and seedy looking places where you really don't know what's going on inside that stay open late. There are a million places to unwind after an Elton John concert. There is almost as much to do at midnight as there is at noon. Jerusalem, on the other hand, goes to bed early.


  1. You obviously like tel aviv better since the posts are much longer.

  2. I don't know which city I like better. They're both great. In Tel Aviv, I had a hotel laptop to write the posts. That's why they're longer.


No hate, please. There's enough of that in the world already.