As inauspiciously as this day started, it certainly turned out to be quite the adventure. After breakfast and some quality computer time, my roommate and I hailed a cab to get to Tel Aviv. What transpired took us through a full range of emotions, from fear to fascination to appreciation and overall a thoroughly enjoyable day.
The cab that we got into featured a very animated man in the driver's seat and his wife riding shotgun - this hard working man was making the best out of his Sabbath-spent-working. We requested a simple ride to a good coffee shop in Tel Aviv, but instead we communicated in broken English for a few minutes and ended up being taken to a local restaurant where the four of us enjoyed a colossal lunch. What we now surmise to be a traditional Israeli meal started with about 10 delicious adornments to be loaded onto pita bread. After about 10 minutes came skewers of selected meats, including lamb, beef, and turkey fillets. Jacob and I ate until we were satisfactorily full, then proceeded to watch in awe as our driver, Noam, continued to eat for another thirty solid minutes. We learned later that this man eats only one meal on the Sabbath, and we better understood his mammoth consumption.
60 Sheckels later, we were full and ready to proceed into Tel Aviv. We were dropped off downtown, and were asked for $100 (yes, dollars) for the ride. We used our powers of negotiation to bring it down to $65, a price that we still balked at, but were willing to pay for both the ride and the great company of this entertaining and friendly couple. We were shown much of the city, a great restaurant, and even got to witness some less-than-legal, alcohol assisted driving. (You may have some strong questions as to the wisdom of the decision to ride in the car as this was going on, but given the situation, we felt it best to just go with the flow).
Once dropped off downtown, we set off to see what this city was all about.
After exploring the beautiful beaches, maze of streets, and friendly people of Tel Aviv, we headed to the David International Hotel of Tel Aviv, where we partook in some beverages and good political discussion. Now, writing from the Inca Cafe (a cigar bar inside the hotel with free wireless), I am in a personal state of blissful leisure, taking down some Guinness, watching soccer on TV, and listening to some new music (The White Stripes) courtesy of Jacob.
If all of our off days are spent like this, I will be a happy man.
Opening day is tomorrow, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the much-publicized Israeli support for the newfound baseball. Let the games begin!