Tel Aviv is a vibrant, modern, athletic city, kind of like LA but smaller and much more enjoyable. We are staying right on the beachfront, where a long paved walk runs for miles along the ocean. It leads from the old Arab city of Yafo at one end all the way up to a converted port area, where former warehouses now house trendy restaurants and boutiques.

We went out for a “short” walk last night, and as usual, it turned into a two hour trek almost all the way up the beach. By that time, people had mostly finished their independence day excesses and gone home, but there were still a ton of people out, running, walking, eating, and memorably, doing gymnastics on the monkey bars.

Here’s some pictures from that walk, including the stop for Gabe’s falafel that we made on the way back to the hotel. The young man working there picked up the pita, tried to be tough when it was obviously burning his hands, then caught me watching him and gave up, throwing it down on the counter to wave his hands about in pain. The other guy laughed and immediately picked it up to fill it at Gabe’s behest, saying, “He’s half like a man, half like a woman.” We had some good laughs over that one.

The more I see of this city, the more I love it. It’s modern yet steeped in history, open yet fiercely proud and protective, gluttonous but also stringently athletic. Not surprisingly, the people here are much the same. Everything feels just a little bit more alive, more colorful than the States, the people I meet are more friendly, loving, and in touch with their emotions. It’s refreshing, exhilarating, exhausting. I love it.

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