Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tel Aviv and The Night of The Palmello


My advisor convinced me to contact a few scientists and take a few meetings while in Israel. My first was with a doctor in Weissman University in Rehovot. He was studying how heat shock proteins affect the efficacy of vaccines. So early Sunday morning, Z and I take a bus down to meet him.

I walked around his lab and felt at peace. This is going to sound really dorky but science is so comforting to me because it is the same in every culture. I don’t understand the language but I walked around and could tell that they were testing proteins because of the western blots set up, could tell they were testing DNA because of the PCR machine and could tell they worked with bacteria because of the growing cultures. I could have stepped in that second and produced work. Because acrylamide is acrylamide is acrylamide. Pure poetry.

I appreciated the lab’s cabinet of alcohol. Because really, after a long day, nay week, of fucked up results, you really need to take a shot of ethanol to sterilize your insides.

I didn’t love his project, but with his help I set up a meeting with the most important Vaccinator in all of Israel.

From Rehovot Z and I took a bus to Tel Aviv. When you’re sitting on a bus, people behind you pass their money to you and assume you are going to give it to the driver. Like “eh, it’s easier for you to reach him so of course you will do that for me.” Love that.

My friend Talia wrote us a list of places to visit in Tel Aviv and we immediately set off to find Café Shapira, where Talia worked when she was living in Israel and has the “best shakshooka in Tel Aviv.” The café was perfect. It was raining so we sat under a large white umbrella of a tent where we were outside seeing and hearing the rain all around us but keeping deliciously dry. A man in the corner stretched out with a cigarette, newspaper and bottle of wine. The couple next to us leaned in and talked sweetly. It was very Paris. We were served hot tea with honey and blankets before the menu. We luxuriated in the comfort of it all and ordered shakshooka I’ve tasted yet with the plumpest pita and the freshest garden salad.

After the rain died down Z and I walked around and got purposefully lost. Tel Aviv is gorgeous. The architecture is as unique as the people. We found our future apartment ten times over. Whenever we asked people for directions they would say “Yashar Yashar Yashar Adhasof.” “Keep going until the end.” The end of what exactly we never found out because not one person in that city got us to a place we were trying to go. Thank god.

When it got dark and we had walked around for about 8 hours, we settled at Café Conversation. We ordered coffee, wine and cheesecake. We sat there for hours, our cheeks flushed by our scandalous and gripping conversations. And obviously the only logical place to go after such talk was the beach.

We bought a palmello (a large grapefruit type thingy) and peeled and ate it on our way to the Tayelet (Boardwalk.) I took off my boots and waded into the freezing sand. The water was dark and crashing and Zahara told me the story of Moses parting the Red Sea. Mmm.

We took a bus to Zahara’s Aunt’s (Auntie) house who lives just outside Tel Aviv. At this point in my journey I smelled like a wet dog. It was nice. Auntie fed us and we took showers and cozied up on the couch and watched Robert DeNiro. Perfect night. We fell asleep so fast and slept until 10am! A first.


I had time before my second interview in Be’er Sheva so Zahara and I walked to another part of the Tayelet and got gelato and walked up and down. The boardwalk is made to look like rolling sand dunes. It would be sick on a longboard.

Tel Aviv has adult playgrounds next to kids playgrounds! What an idea! Adults can exercise and work on on the machines while the children play at the park! Obesity—cured. Done. Next.

We took a bus to Be’er Sheva and I met with this famous Vaccinator (a much sexier version of the Terminator.) He sat down and looked at me and asked “what can you do for me? What do you want? What can you bring to this project that we haven’t thought of yet?” Gulp. In short he was a tough bad ass and I loved it. However I do need to do more research on his project before I can apply for a job. He told me that getting money to fund me is no problem, the problem is can I be challenged and can I challenge him? Fuck. Yes. Love that. Love him. Anywho, I’ll look into that more when I get back to the states.

After the interview we met up with Shiri, Zahara’s cousin, and had a cup of tea at her house. And we boarded our last bus to Jerusalem. What do we do on all of the buses? We talk. Really, this trip was just one long conversation with Zahara with different backdrops. I’m really going to miss her.

Back in Jerusalem, we spent the night packing for our Tiyul (trip) out into the desert early the next morning.

Although I am going to be back in the states today, I will continue updating this blog with entries about the Tiyul.

1 comment:

  1. "The end of what exactly we never found out because not one person in that city got us to a place we were trying to go. Thank god."

    hehe, love this. So true! baruch hashem ;-)