Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Port

Last week, I happened to be near the Port of Tel Aviv. The heat was unbearable, so I decided to enter the area,  go to the promenade and get some cool, fresh sea air.   Alas, at 6 pm, almost no breeze; only an hour later it became a bit cool and a light breeze was felt.

almost no breeze

The port (Ha-namal, in hebrew) is no longer active;  you won't see any ship, perhaps, only some boat in the distance.Over the years, the big hangars that used to store  goods for shipping (oranges, for instance) have been converted into structures for commerce, entertainment, culture. Only their numbering reminds us of the past.

'Hangar' 9

'hangar' 11

There are lots of shops, restaurants, pubs, night clubs - both inside the hangars, and outside lining the promenade. The place has become one of the biggest  day and night attractions of the city - for families during the day, and for party revelers at night. And of course, tourists are always part of the happenings.

Upon entering the port people like to take photos near a stone structure with the letters TE IV and a heart in the middle, expressing love for Tel Aviv.

LOVE  Tel Aviv

The promenade is one  huge wooden deck. Why wood? I don't know, I only know I don't like that. I don't think it integrates well with the sea , the beach and the.whole environment.
At the northern end of the promenade one can see Reading, the power station and lighthouse; it stands out.

wooden deck;   Reading power station

Lots of people, adults and youngsters, are engaged in  various activities near and along the promenade: strolling, jogging, running, biking, taking photos. The noise is deafening. Only the sea is a big silent witness to all that.


children driving toy vehicles


on rollerblades

Small kids are the big winners of the place.There's a huge sandpit and a carousel for them, ice-cream shops, and of course, McDonalds'.


naked kid to the bucket of water- struggles with Mom


(On Fridays and Saturdays it's particulary crowded as there are special activities going on,  like yoga , and displays of a variety of market goods).

Well, crowded places are not my 'cup of tea' wether it's weekday or weekend. So, after having a bite, I took a couple of selfies and left the restless spot to go home.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Lady and the Insect Bites

There used to be a nice little garden here. Not any more. The elderly lady that owns the property, lives alone, and she probably finds it difficult to cope with keeping a garden.  Even if she can afford a gardener (and I think she can), still, hiring and employing someone is not for everybody. It could be a bit of a headache. So, it seems she has given it up.

The place is, however,  kept very clean; no leaves or garbage on the ground. No grass ,shrubs or pots either - only some tall trees lining the fence segments separating it from the street and from the neighbors.

'shaved'  spot

clean garden

There's a bus stop near the gate where I sometimes happen to wait for a specific bus. I should avoid this particular stop; the reason - I get bitten by insects that are attracted to the trees lining the fence. Strange, but it doesn't happen to me at any other place with trees in town.

gate and entrance to the house

street bus-stop

inside the bus stop

I wish I could talk to the owner about it, but she's rarely outside when I'm there.

I could report the problem to the municipality. It's  private property, but which affects  public property (bus stop area), and they might agree to spray the trees without even charging her. 
There are ecological sprays in use nowadays, so no fear of health hazards. 

However, I 'm reluctant to do that. I prefer to have a talk with the lady first, see what she has to say about it. It's not vital or urgent for me as I could just go to another bus stop, if needed. I'm just curious as to why these particular trees have such an attraction for bugs, and whether she gets bitten within her house too. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Necessity Over Beauty

The bridge in the above picture is  built over a busy, major city road connecting a tower complex (Azrieli) on one side, and a military base (Hakyria) on the other side. The bridge is 100 m long ,10 m wide, and has three sets of stairs:  regular stairs in the middle, and two escalators (up/down moving stairs), placed one at each side of the regular stairs. There's also a small elevator nearby, but not always functioning.

stairs to and from the bridge

walking on the bridge to the Mall entrance

The tower complex itself is comprised of three impressive towers: a circular shaped one, a triangle one, and a square one; the geometrical shapes make the tower compound one of the most photographed  in the country.

the three 'Azrieli'  towers

There's security checkup at the entrance of the towers; also at the entrance of the military compound. No security check at the steps leading to the bridge, but I've seen a guy with a gun patrolling near the stairs and along the street segment. Not that it helps much, once a terrorist decides to take some lives and on the way his own too; but ,still, we wish to believe the presence of security people might prevent such terrible acts.

bottom figure: gunman near the stairs to the bridge

gunman patrolling with female colleague

The Towers and some adjacent buildings, belong to the canadian-israeli entrepeneur  David Azrieli and his family, and bear the name of 'Azrieli Center'. In the lobby of the shopping mall (circular tower) there's a bronze statue of the owner sitting on a bench. People (me included) are usually tempted to take a selfie 'with Azrieli' on the bench. Not a bad idea, as in this way he's immortalized in everyone's photo album.

Azrieli on the bench - bronze statue

touching his shoulder

sitting 'with Azrieli' on the bench

The Azrieli towers are not the only towers in the area, and the above pedestrian bridge is not the only one connecting the two sides of the tel-avivian Begin road. I suppose that after the erection of several towers , it has become  necessary to build bridges to ease the congested traffic and find adequate solution for pedestrians. This is what I would call 'necessity over beauty.'

                                                     view of the under road from the bridge

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Arm Stretcher and Going Sleeveless

'Great  things come in small packages', they say.  The 'thing'  I'm referring to is a light arm stretcher, roughly resembling the form of the '8' digit. It's a cheap product , but one that could prove to be quite effective. 

I  doubt if it creates the muscles shown on the little box; it helps, however, tone the upper arms, and that's good enough for me. You can use it at home, take the little pack with you to work or on travels. You can practice stretching anyway you feel comfortable; but practice, you must, if you want results. A few minutes, several times a day, is all that's needed.

Summer is here and we wish to be able to wear a sleeveless top if and when we fancy that.(I usually don't go out sleeveless, but sometimes, the weather is so hot here that  I'm tempted to wear something that looks like a  'beach outfit'- that is, bare arms and shoulders). 

It's common knowledge that certain places of work have a dress code which doesn't allow sleeveless outfits during working hours. In addition, entering religious sites dressed in a sleeveless top , is regarded as disrespectful. 

If you ask me, the showing off of bare arms by the lady stars at events such as the Oscar festivity is not elegant, and far from glamorous. The same goes for sleeveless wedding gowns ;  no sleeves gives a casual, common look to the dress worn by the bride on her most important day.

Anyway, during summer, I often wear sleeveless tops, even if mainly inside my home, and it's a good feeling to try and succeed to improve the condition of the upper arms.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Spente Le Stelle

'Spente Le Stelle'  ('The stars have gone out') is one of my all time favorite songs. Both its lyrics and music are very dramatic, and this is a challenge for most singers, musicians, coreographers, stylists, translators....and viewers.

The lyrics are in italian, and cover rhymes mentioning an empty/ hopeless  night, dull stars, pale moonlight, a broken/ deceived heart, cries of love and pain. The original performer -  a young french soprano, Emma Shapplin; this song has become completely identified with her.

Any young soprano, anywhere in the world, east or west, finds it a vocal challenge and an honor to undertake the performance of this song. Emma Shapplin was and is my favorite.  (I wrote in the past about her great duet with the greek singer Dalares , at the concert in Herodion;  see my post from June 11, 2009).

Besides Emma, I like the italian Gessica La Verde ; beautiful voice, solid orchestra (Rondo Italiano), good choir behind her, a violin player near her.

The israeli Limor Shapira offers a modern, jazzy version;  tiny orchestra (piano, drums, contrabass, sometimes accordeon), no choir, rather unconventional outfit (sleeveless little black dress and high red boots). Not bad, but not the real thing. I like, though, how she moves on the stage.  Worth watching . 

To create drama that adequately matches the lyrics, there's need for good drums and choir - these are indispensable . The beat of the drums and the somber sound of the choir create that special atmosphere that makes this song 'spine tingling'. Just a pretty face, good voice and awsome outfit won't do it.

Once in a while, I check Youtube for new additions, new versions of the song. I prefer the 'live' ones with  full performance of singer, orchestra, choir, special fog effects, dramatic outfit.
Well, the search is often disappointing.

The song was released around the year 2000 (in 1997 precisely). The original clip ,is also the most powerful, fascinating one; the lover here hasn't just betrayed and disappeared, he looks ...dead...lying on the sofa, around which the whole clip is centered.  She's in despair.   Quite a masterpiece!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

S I X- at the Woodland of Dorohoi

Six towns, six stone columns, six burning candles, six flower wreaths, six flags, six guests  at the stage of honor.....

the woodland of Dorohoi

On Thursdayׂ (31.5.2018ׁ), 
I attended a commemoration in the 'Forest of the Martyrs'  near Jerusalem, at a spot called 'the woodland of Dorohoi'. Here, there's a six- column stone monument placed around a tree stump, symbol for the six towns of Dorohoi region in north-east Romania, whose jewish communities have undergone persecutions during the Holocaust.

the six-stone columns monument

six flower wreaths

The Dorohoi region during the WW2 period, included six towns, each surrounded by a number of villages: Dorohoi , the bigger town, and five tiny additional towns: Saveni, Mihaileni, Darabani, Herza, Radauti-Prut. My family was originally from Saveni  (so, by the way, was the american  composer of "Popeye the sailor man" ,Samuel Lerner).

horse of the border patrol by the tree, 'paying respects'

the horse rider patrolling.

youngest generation

I wrote about this memorial in the past, and I also mentioned in a previous post the sad fact about my mother being exiled to bloody Ukraine where she lost a baby and a younger sister. Although I was born after the war , I grew up in the shadow of its atrocities with heart broken parents who had lost everything.

Me...contemplating the area

The climax at this event for me is always the prayer of 'El Male Rachamim' (God full of Mercy). If the cantor is one with a good, powerful voice, it gives me the chills, and hot tears fill my eyes. The prayer (holocaust version, there are several) goes like this: 

'God full of Mercy/grant proper rest for the souls of the holy and pure/ who fell at the hands of murderers, whose blood was spilled in camps of destruction in Europe/ who were slain, burned, slaughtered and buried alive with extreme cruelty'.

six  candle flames

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Ibrik Championship

'Ibrik' is a  turkish word referring to a little hand hammered copper pot used for making black turkish coffee. This pot (holds one or two servings) usually comes with a long brass, wooden or ceramic handle, and a spout through which the liquid can be poured.  The arabs and the israelis call it 'fengian', the Greek, 'briki'.
Coffee , as we all know, crosses borders and cultures, and it's always an interesting, loved subject.

ibrik pots and adequate tiny coffee cups

There's a coffee shop in the center of my hometown which keeps a stand outside, near the entrance, with some twenty-five such pots. ( it looks a bit like a Christmas tree with ornaments).At first, I thought it's just a gimmick to attract customers, but no, the pots are for sale, and for quite a high price.

closer view  of the ibrik pots and the tiny coffee cups

I always keep an ibrik in my kitchen; mine is made of stainless steel, not of copper, and it's not hand hammered. 
I rarely drink turkish coffee these days, but I sometimes make it for guests who love this kind of black liquid.

I put the three-four components:cold water, coffee, sugar and or milk into the ibrik; place the little pot on the stove's lowest fire and wait until foaming begins. The foam gets put into the tiny coffee cups. I wait again till boiling  starts for a second time, and immediately (without boiling) remove the ibrik to serve the coffee in the little cups. Turkish coffee is being served with a glass of cold water to enjoy the coffee better.

It may sound simple,  but to make good, genuine turkish coffee is an art not easily mastered, and certainly not by anyone. There are annual regional and national organized contests in many parts of the world, and there is a world wide contest named 'the ibrik championship'(see its logo in the header above). It's considered one of the most fascinating individual contests.

Last year's golden medal (competition held in Budapest, Hungary) went to a young India born contestant, working in Dubai. This year's champion is Slava Babych of Ukraine.
Here's a little youtube video with Slava.