Got a pocketful of shekels.

Tel Aviv Travel Blog

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Tel Aviv airport.
The day was spent getting to Israel. The first requirement was to drive through Jordan from Aqaba to Amman. We took the Desert Highway, considered the “fast route. ” (I can vouch that it should be called the “boring route.”) It got us to Amman in just 3 hours -- and we were way too early for our flight. So we dropped off the car and had to kill a few hours in the Royal Jordanian lounge. We were entertained by a group of guys trying to get to Baghdad. Apparently the flight was overbooked (why!?) and they had been waiting for two days. They kept getting called to the gate, then coming back with dejected looks. I don’t know if they ever got there or not.    

Finally we boarded, and the flight to Tel Aviv was only 25 minutes.
Our room at the Renaissance.
That was too long for the pilot to go without a cigarette, apparently. Right after we took off, smoke originating from the cockpit started wafting through the cabin! I guess we paid extra to get smoked on in business class. Yuck.

The Tel Aviv airport was nice -- new and modern. It took forever to get through immigration. There was a big delay with the lady ahead of us, who was apparently trying to get her kids in without passports. Once we got through we took out some money: SHEKELS. This amused me to no end. I thought shekels were fictional or biblical…I didn’t know it was the actual currency of Israel. Steve and I are amusing ourselves by using the word “shekel” as often as possible, with a Monty Python accent, of course. “It’s worth ten if it’s worth a shekel!” (Life of Bryan).
View from our room.
Well, it’s funny to us.

We had to take a private cab to the hotel, as all public transportation was closing down for Shabbat, the weekly day of rest in Judaism. It is observed from sundown on Friday until “the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday.” It’s really kind of a pain in the butt for tourists who want to, say, take a shuttle bus or visit the hotel’s fitness center or something.

Our hotel room at the Renaissance is kind of dated (green carpet!) and smallish, but has a view of the beach. For this we paid $300 per night! Hotels were quite expensive in Tel Aviv, and there didn’t seem to be any great options, so we took what seemed the best of the lot (Hilton looked good but was $850/night. Um, no.).

I felt happy and invigorated to be in this new place, a kind of tacky, beachey city.
Tel Aviv sunset.
I took a quick walk along the beachfront promenade (Steve stayed in to get some work done). It was like a cross between New Jersey and…Miami? There were loads of people walking their dogs, playing volleyball, running, and just hanging out. As for clothing, it seemed that anything was acceptable, from itsy-bitsy bikinis to biker (as in Harley) gear. And for the first time since we started this journey, I frequently saw PDAs (public displays of affection). This just doesn’t happen in Asia, and it certainly isn’t acceptable in Dubai or Jordan. It feels more like home than anywhere we’ve been yet.

For dinner, we visited the hotel's Club Room for free snacks and drinks. Steve was very disturbed that they didn’t have hot snacks (as they had advertised), and is dissatisfied with the hotel … and Tel Aviv, for that matter. (He’s not really a beach lover.) But they have good music stores here, which has given him something to look forward to. Tomorrow we will go out to explore it all properly, and maybe spend a few of those shekels here and there.
LolaArizona says:
Beware of the rooms at the 5-star David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv ... my husband just came back from one night there and he's COVERED in BED BUG BITES ... thousands of them. He's a Boing 777 pilot for a American-based commercial airline and the David is the crew hotel. When he checked out yesterday he tried to get the front desk to at least acknowledge the situation (kind of hard to ignore hundreds of bites visible on his arms and neck) but they totally ignored it. We've now emailed hotel management as well as Intercontinental Hotels management and his own employer. Bed Bugs are awful and can invade your luggage leading you to carry them home. Get educated and stay safe! And at least until the David IC Tel Aviv addresses this issue ... BE CAREFUL if you're staying there. Lola Arizona

Posted on: Jul 11, 2008
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Tel Aviv airport.
Tel Aviv airport.
Our room at the Renaissance.
Our room at the Renaissance.
View from our room.
View from our room.
Tel Aviv sunset.
Tel Aviv sunset.
Shalom!
Shalom!
Tel Aviv
photo by: JulieFrenchi