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Coreyoria World Tour

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Farewell Tel Aviv

Today is my last day here in Tel Aviv with my friends that I met on my Birthright trip. Tomorrow morning, very bright and early, I will be heading south towards Eilat on my way toowards Ketura. Today was a nice lazy day; we spent the morning at the beach, ate lunch at a nice cafe, perused the outdoor markets and shopping areas, and now I'm here to write a post because I'm not sure when the next time I'll be able to will be exactly. Yesterday, we made the mistake of going to the old city of Jaffa, once an Arab shipping port, now home to an arists' colony and I'm not sure how to put this nicely ... lots and lots of crap. Endless flea markets of old crap. Stalls that looked like they hadn't been cleaned in 75 years filled to the brim with mostly anything used, old and crappy that you can imagine (including sex toys -ugh!!!!). So Jaffa is creepy, slummy, and certainly not recommended visiting from moi. We tried to strike it from our memories by catching sunset on our hostel's roof, eating amazing Israeli home-cooking at a very un-touristy spot off the beaten track, and ending up at a local bar that had a great atmosphere, but not-so-great prices. 2 days ago was really the best day though. We went back to Jerusalem (per the suggestion of our friend, Enon, at the hostel who gave us so many great ideas for food and travels, including the afore-mentioned Israeli restaurant) and headed back into the Ancient City. This time it was wonderful. We avoided the tourist traps of the Jewish quarter and wandered right into the heart of the Muslim quarter. Talk about sensory overload! The smell of spices, sounds of haunting Arabic music, the hot sun beating down, the cobblestone roads, goods for sale everywhere, people everywhere wearing traditional garb - I truly felt that I had arrived in the Middle East. There was no hostility toward us and we just walked around, absolutely fascinated. We also walked through the Armenian and Christian quarters and upon leaving walked from the Ancient City to the Ultra-Orthodox ghettos. This is also a spot where few tourists venture and was truly something to see. It was truly a slum and everywhere we turned people avoided eye-contact or looked with disdain. It was self-contained and I have been told that the people who live in this ghetto very seldom leave and very few people come in. There are huge signs upon entering the neighborhood that warn one not to dress immodestly or you will be forced to leave - a rather cold world inside the gates. And everyone looked at though they were thoroughly immersed in thought. So tonight we are going to try to take advantage of some of the nightlife scene here. We haven't yet because it doesn't really get going until between 1-3 am and we've been soooo tired! Well that sums it up. I just bought two pairs of pants for $12 - whatta deal! And I'll catch you all later. Feel free to leave comments or e-mails; I'd love to hear from you!

Shalom,
Corey
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