We drove down the hill to Tel Aviv-Yafo on Friday morning, leaving behind the dry heat of Jerusalem and our first week of teaching for a weekend of humidity along the coast.
Jaffa/Jappo/Yafo/Yaffa has been around since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks: it’s where Perseus rescued Andromeda from the jaws of a sea monster. Even the Egyptians had a gate on the hill dedicated to one of their pharaohs.
The Ottoman Empire built fortresses in the city overlooking the transparent ocean, as well as fountains for caravans with elaborate inscriptions in Arabic.
On a clear day you can see to the snow-capped mountains of the north and the Gaza Strip to the south; alas, Friday proved hazy.
The most incredible part of the tour was a citrus tree suspended in air growing out of an egg. Seriously.
We found the flea market in Jaffa, next to which a pickup truck was overloaded with watermelon. At 1 NIS/kilo, these things are incredibly cheap and tasty.
We had a lovely tour through Old Jaffa with a hilarious tour guide recommended by the American Embassy, then headed to the beach in Tel Aviv. Warm, decadent water. Big waves. Lots of wind. Random catamarans and paddle boarders bobbed by as we played in the surf.
More photos here.
Saturday morning I rolled out of bed at the youth hostel and ate the breakfast provided by the hostel (yay, free food; boo, kosher dairy meals), then went back to our room to take a nap. I woke up to find out that several of the other instructors had gone out to get brunch at a place with gluten-free bread. And didn’t bring me any. Oh, the injustice of it all. Woe.
We drove over to a beach north of the power plant in Tel Aviv for the afternoon where I spent as much time as possible swimming in the incredibly clear water. Eric and Shin got stung by jellyfish, and I still have water in my ear four days later, but it was incredible to be somewhere with no deadlines, no computers, and just sunlight, sand, and water.
In other news, teaching is going pretty well: the year 2 students adore Domo-kun, and only 24 hours after being introduced to the idea of interfaces I was able to convince an anti-interface student that this concept is awesome. Labs are occasionally a bit chaotic (big balagan), but I think for the most part our students are getting the ideas we want to convey. Hopefully week two will prove to be even better.