Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Followers,

I'll be away from blogging for the next few weeks. Hope to be back at it , by the end of September - beginning of October.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

If Walls Could Speak...

I'm not much in favour of street art in general, grafitty in particular. Yet, lately it seems I've developed a liking for street murals due to the works, scattered throughout the city, of a Tel Aviv based painter by the name of Rami Meiri ( in the above picture - mural on a building at Nachlat Benyamin street next to the Carmel market). I have the feeling that his murals brighten up the day of the passersby (me included) and that of commuters stuck in traffic jams, improve the grey urban surroundings with colorful painted wall scenes from daily life, create an optimistic, amusing street atmosphere.

grinning man pulling his cheeks provides the drivers with some comic relief

There was an article about Rami Meiri in one of the newspapers bearing the title of "Dressing the Naked City"; I would say, naked and ugly city, but dynamic and changing. Rami Meiri uses the city as his canvass depicting on it the lighter side of life: people at the beach, in the pub, children playing, etc..

The tel-avivian painter got recognition from the local establishment as a valuable street artist; he has been designated "distinguished citizen" of Tel-Aviv for his contributions to the city landscape as exemplified by his wall painting "People Exercising" on Gordon Beach ( his first public mural).

Rami Meiri started his outdoor painting on old, neglected walls for free; that was clever, as people first turned their heads to see the mural better , then gradually began to order his works, and nowadays he' s an industry .
From Tel-Aviv his reputation and his painting projects reached many other places across the country and outside it.

In the below video we see some of Rami Meiri's well-known murals


Thursday, August 12, 2010

'Huppa' at Caesarea

Last month I attended a wedding at Caesarea , a former roman ancient port built by King Herod and named Caesarea in honor of the roman emperor Julius Caesar. The wedding took place in the vast garden attached to the banquet Hall "Sea Star", close to the beach of the Mediterranian Sea.

The religious ceremony held under a huppa ( huppa - a canopy under which a jewish bride and groom stand during the religious ceremony; it consists of a piece of cloth stretched over four poles and it symbolizes the home that the couple will build together) - was performed a few steps from the beach and the waves, with the sunset in the background. Very romantic!

In a place like this, one feels not only the cool breeze coming from the sea, but also the history and archeology of the whole area. It's a weird feeling, but it's there, and slightly diverts one's attention from the fine food, the elegant outfits of the guests, the great music, and even from the beautiful young bride and groom. This feeling stays with you till you leave the place.

Herod the Great who ruled in the Land of Israel from 37 to 4BC built the city in roman style with a roman theater, a hyppodrome, a luxurious bathouse, castles, towers, city walls, and an aqueduct system supplying water to the city. Many remains and ruins can still be seen over the place.

Modern Caesarea has rich people, prestigious real estate, golf and diving clubs, fancy hotels, yet it also has a roman theater (restored) which hosts many concerts and festivals throughout the year, a very impressive archeological park with findings of excavations of recent decades, a hyppodrome, museums. It's the ultimate touristic city displaying the ancient versus the new and offering romantic atmosphere to those looking for it.

the Aqueduct and the roman Theater

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Petanque, I'm coming !

I never paid any attention to the wooden structure with the front sign "Petanque Club" located at the entrance area to my hometown; that is, until yesterday evening. I happened to be walking nearby , and I approached the cosy spot to watch the players. The weather outside was bearable ( during the day it's hot and humid and people seek refuge indoors).
Men and women , dressed casually and placed in several small adjacent terrains, were throwing some metal balls (boules). I watched the game for about half an hour trying to get the very basic rules.

Petanque ( word pronounced 'pay tonk') evolved from an old french bowl game. One of the players suffering from arthritis suggested there be no more running and jumping . Everyone should throw the boules standing still, with feet together , in a small starting circle.
The goal is to throw the hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden target ball called ' jack' ( or 'cochon'). The team that ends up nearest to the target ball when all balls are played, wins. Petanque seems to be a good workout for the upper arms (ladies, to your attention), and a very good exercise for the power of concentration.

Anyone can play this game. Age and gender are not important. (I suppose, however, that those who most benefit from this kind of sport are elderly people as it doesn't require strength and speed). It can be played on most outdoor surfaces, and the equipment is inexpensive. It looks like a pleasant, relaxing game, and a nice way to socialize and make friends. I think I want to go for it. But since my middle name is Lazy, I really don't know when that will happen.