I like to explore all new places by foot. Even if it takes me 1-2 hours longer to go to another place within the same city, I would still rather walk than take pub-trans. This way, I get to know the names of streets, find little shops or hidden cafes, watch people (not in a creepy way), and get some fresh air (granted, if not in China or Hong Kong).
Apparently, I’ve been suuuper lucky thus far with the Tel Aviv weather. A lot of people have told me that Jan/Feb/March is normally much colder that it has been. All Israelis: I seriously urge you to visit New England in Jan/Feb/March and then we’ll talk cold.
Because of this warm winter in Tel Aviv, I’ve taken advantage and walked around a lot. Here are some things that probably every other American notices when they first get here.
1) Athleticism. People are super fit – dog walking, jogging, rollerblading, playing volleyball, squash, tennis, basketball, rock climbing, kayaking, quadricycling, etc. It seems as though everyone is active. (But people on segues, don’t kid yourselves.)
2) Security. It’s safe here, not ridden with turmoil and tension as one would expect from the way it’s depicted in the media. (At least not currently.)
3) Cost. It is NOT cheap to live here. Everything is a lot more expensive than I thought it would be, especially basic items like toiletries. ($8 USD for toothpaste. Is this some kind of sick joke?)
4) Vegetarianism/ Veganism. There’s a lot of vegetarian restaurants, which makes it very easy to attain a vegetarian lifestyle (*raises hand), or at the very least, eat more greens things than normal.
5) BAMBA. Yeah, it’s not green, it’s not a vegetable, and it’s certainly not good for you. But…bamba!!!
5) Graffiti. It’s everywhere, so ubiquitous that there are even graffiti tours.
The not-so obvious (and speaking of graffiti):
6) Carrots. Hidden between alleyways, in playgrounds, behind recycling bins, on old post boxes. Planted around King George, Dizengoff, Bograshov and elsewhere. (Where’s the Rabbit?)
7) Honorable mention: eggplants.