Saturday, September 17, 2011


If you ask what led me to decide to travel to Israel, the answer would be a combination of meeting Daniela and pure Wanderlust.
There's nothing that I enjoy more than just traveling and enjoying a different culture.

When I was planning my trip to Israel, being the control freak that I am, I wanted to plan a complete itinerary. When I spoke to Daniela about this, she being the more spontaneous traveler said, 'Oh no, don't worry, Israel is a really small country so we don't need to plan a thing'.

So, on Day 3 of my trip, I was sitting in Bat Yam with absolutely no plans.
I decided to be adventurous for once in my life and take an Egged bus to Eilat and go snorkeling in the Red Sea. I had also read about a Jazz festival that was going to happen there and was pretty excited about it. I suddenly felt as if I was in a movie and everything would have a happy ending. I would take the bus, it would break down (the twist), I'd talk to strangers (something I never do) and find true love. But, unfortunately for me the movie had a twist in it before it even started.

I called Daniela's friends to ask for suggestions on how to get there and luckily one of them called me back to inform me about the terrorist attacks that had happened on an Egged bus going to Eilat just that day.
Did I get scared? Not really. I live in Bombay so why judge.
But, Murphy's Law seemed to be working overtime.
Instantly my plans were cancelled and I was back to square one.
It was time to eat a nice big lunch and digest the fact that I had absolutely no idea where I was going.

I thought maybe I shouldn't be too ambitious and just take it a step at a time.
So, I spent half my day in Bat Yam and then took the bus to Tel Aviv and spent the rest of the day there with myself.
It was strange since this is something I never do.
It was like forced Vipassana. Who was I going to bore with my life stories now?

I walked around, took photos, did some sketching, ate a nice big lunch, went to the mall, sat down for about half an hour to digest the food properly before going bathing suit shopping and took the bus back to Daniela's place in Bat Yam.

Now taking a bus is really simple. But, to me every street looked the same and knowing when to get down was a task since I couldn't even remember a place with signs since I couldn't read Hebrew.
Also, counting a new currency takes me about 2 days to perfect.

But, after this it was all smooth sailing.

Daniela's friend, Horin was kind enough to take me out and show me around while she was away and I had a super time. 

It was a case of wallflower meets social butterfly.

Along with the tour of Israel, I even got a free blowdry on his scooter everyday. My look was a combination of helmet hair and Macy Gray (sometimes with a free topping of sand). But, I think I pulled it off even though I looked like Shahnaz Hussain's younger sister.

The next few days were filled with an array of happenings. There were lazy days at the beach, some dancing, birthday parties, Shabbat dinners and some sightseeing.

By the end of the week I had memorized the 30 minute route from Bat Yam to Tel Aviv and it made me feel powerful. I would spend my days exploring the city and come back in the evening with successful shopping trips at the Supermarket. I was even making salad. Ok, so that happened just once and I did have cornflakes for dinner too but the point is I was eating salad and even enjoying it (just because I had made it) while watching The Holiday on YouTube (just because).

I took the bus to Tel Aviv practically everyday.
Tel Aviv has this have-no-worries-and-sit-on-the-beach-all-day milieu which attracts people like me and makes us want to never leave.
I enjoyed being in this city so much. Everyone seems to be walking in the direction of the beach.
And even though there are a lot of tourists, even the locals dress like they're on holiday.
Now who wouldn't want to live here.

I also went to Jerusalem twice.
That's 2 trips to the Western Wall. That's double the number of wishes.
More on that next week.


GIRIJA said...

haa! loving the posts. keep them coming. so awesome that you finally spent time with yourself in a totally new place. seems quite daunting.

Neha Kamath said...

ya im really not the travel alone and make new friends kind of person but have to say it was really an amazing experience.

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