Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Land of Milk and Honey

"A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey; a land where you may eat food without stint, where you will lack nothing."

--Deuteronomy 8:8-9

We've found an apartment in Tel Aviv! It is a great duplex with a rooftop living room that overlooks the sea and the city. It's located just five blocks from the Shuk Ha'carmel market (which is pictured, I think, on the cover of the adjacent book).

I like the looks of the apartment (judging from the photographs), though some of the ameneties seem meager (there is no dryer, nor microwave). Compared to some of the other places, it seems spacious, though. I suspect our budget would have gone a lot farther if we chose to live in the burbs near the Intel plant instead of in the center of the city. But isn't that the way with everything? Our house in the city proper of Portland is half the size of our friend's places in the burbs.

It's in a restored Bauhaus building, and has a sweeping view of the city. Mostly, I am excited about the neighborhood we are living. It seems just perfect. Am I too excited? Am I seeing things that aren't there? I googled the address and up came dozens of restaurants and shops.

But it's the market, the Carmel Market, that has most tickled me. From what I can tell, this marketplace, or Shuk, is about the same walking distance as the Portland Farmer's Market is from our house now. The Shuk, however, sells more than just produce. Having looked through photos on the internet, I have determined that I can buy almost anything I might need there, sundry-wise. As a result, I plan to pack a lot less.

We have two bedrooms, an office, two bathrooms, the living room (above) and an eat-in kitchen. As you can see there is a very large wrap-around deck that extends to the master bedroom.
There was one curiosity that I noticed as we looked through the photos and descriptions. The term "safe room" is used constantly for the spare bedroom. Why do they call it that, I wonder, there is no safe in there that I can see. Then it dawned on me, there are no windows. This is where you go if there is bombing.
So despite all of the pictures of ripe fruits and tanned, happy people, the specter of death is there. It's not that I feel like it won't be safe, I just that there is so much that Israelis (and Jews) have suffered through. The place seems to resonate with a kind of weary history.
So we are busy packing and getting ready. I bought a ton of travel books and maps (and the above Israeli cookbook). We are making plans to see friends before we leave. Hope we get around to seeing all of you! And if we don't, well, there is that 'safe' room that you can stay in if you want to come and visit!

1 comment:

Niki said...

Actually the market on the cover is in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.