Arrival in Tel Aviv

I made it. I can’t calculate the hours I’ve been traveling, since I’ve been through a zillion time zones (not really, I just suck at math). I arrived at the Crown Plaza Hotel approximately two hours ago, and I’ve been chillin’ here with Jad, the really friendly receptionist who looks oddly familiar, until the conference starts.

I had a nice little layover in Zürich before continuing on to Tel Aviv. I hopped on a train into a nearby town called Baden. It was really pretty, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back any time soon. The Swiss German and Dutch languages give me the willies, strangely and against my will. Plus, it’s très cher! Here are a few snapshots:

Colorful houses on a river in Baden

I found a lovely river rapidly flowing next to the old quarters.

Colorful houses and cobbled street in Baden.

I adore cobblestones and colorful houses.

Jewish museum in Baden

Leave it to me to immediately stumble upon all things Jew whenever I travel. I found what appears to be a Jewish Holocaust memorial museum. It was closed, though.

Beer in Baden

I’m not usually into the pale ales, but I rather enjoyed this one.

Ben Gurion airport, no matter how much it changes, will always send me right back to my childhood. I still remember my first trip to visit the family, spotting my aunt’s smiling face amongst the pushing crowd. That trip was my first introduction to Bamba and those extra thin pretzel sticks which have since ruined the possibility of enjoying any other pretzel ever. Sitting here, listening to the various conversations in Hebrew, really makes my heart throb with nostalgia and with sadness. Why, oh why, did we let that darn preschool teacher talk us out of keeping me fluent in Hebrew? Why?!

I did, however, carry on a semi coherent conversation with the taxi driver on the way to the hotel. And when we pulled into Tel Aviv at 4:00am, there were still young folks littered about the streets, drunkenly hailing taxis. I should expect it by now, but I will always be surprised just how hard they party out here.

The conference doesn’t officially start until twelve hours from now, so I may just wander around Tel Aviv for the day. It’s Shabbat, which, from the looks of the packed streets last night, means that everyone will be at home with a hangover. No wonder Lonely Planet ranked this place among the top ten party cities in the world.

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