I finally followed through with my plans of taking a trip to Israel. I had been planning such a trip for quite some time but for one reason or another, I was never able to follow through with those plans. This time I decided to finally to take the plunge and do it. I’m glad I finally did.
I flew into Ben Gurion Airport and wanted to try taking public transportation to my hotel in Tel Aviv, but it was all in Hebrew. Since I was jet lagged after flying over 24 hours, I was too tired to even attempt to figure out how to get to where I needed to go, so I decided to take a taxi.
As soon as I checked into my hotel, I went out and did some photography of the beach and streetscape in Tel Aviv. It’s interesting how Tel Aviv is such an ancient city and yet so incredibly modern. It was LGBT pride week and was amazed at the pride spirit that everyone in the city had. The last place I remember having such strong Pride spirit was Toronto.
At night for dinner, I met up with Adam, a handsome Israeli who I met on Instagram. I felt very safe in Tel Aviv and had no reservations about walking around at night. Since it was my first night in a new place I’d never been, we decided to go to none other than a Mexican restaurant for food and drinks. Make no mistake. The ambiance was fantastic and the food was as good as any tex-mex restaurant in Texas or California.
Adam and his friend Johnny, a spanish-speaking local originally from Argentina, took me on a road trip across the Judean desert, through Jerusalem, to the Dead Sea. Let me just say that Israel is a beautiful country. Once to the Dead Sea, I couldn’t help but notice how hot it was. I recommend anyone going to any middle eastern desert to wear an SPF 50 or higher. The beach at the Dead Sea was unlike any beach I’d ever been to. The water felt almost oily because of all the salt. The fact that I could freely float at the surface was too cool. There is mud/clay the bottom of the sea floor that can be used to give yourself a facial for esthetic purposes. I kid you not. It is the same stuff I used as a masque that I would buy at Winners in Toronto, except this one time, I got it for free from a natural source.
I spent almost all day walking around town taking pictures. I started by going to the LGBT pride parade in Tel Aviv. I was actually staying a block away from where the parade was passing so it took almost no effort on my part to watch the parade.
Soon after, I walked to the Dizengoff Center to check out all the stores they had. It was your typical mall: name brand clothing stores, and a food court.
After the mall, I walked back to my hotel for a short break and then made my way over to Old Jaffa Port. The architecture was very old but looked pristine and well kept. This site is significant in many ways; one of which is that it is mentioned in the biblical story of Jonah as the site that Jonah sailed out from before being swallowed by a whale. Now, while I am not a particularly religious person, I can still appreciate seeing and visiting a beautiful place with such historical significance.
I woke in the morning and went for a run along the shoreline in Tel Aviv. I went back to the Dizengoff Center to look around more and see if there was anything I might want to get for myself. I spent much of the day walking around the city snapping more pictures but I didn’t venture out too far. I was saving myself for the Pride party I was going to the following day.
Since I knew beforehand that I would be in Tel Aviv during Pride week. I decided to buy a ticket to the Offer Nissim party at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa. Over the years, I have been to Pride enough times to say that most parties are the same with a different crowd. This was the first Pride party that I actively made an effort to attend since Aqua in Toronto 2011. This event did not disappoint: Hugely attractive guys with no shirts, alcohol, good music, and lots of dancing. Israel was definitely representing. That said, I also can’t say that it was overtly better than any other pride event I have been to over the years. I had a good time, but I would’ve had just as good a time at any other pride party somewhere else. I decided to leave my camera in my hotel room since I wanted to enjoy myself without worrying about making sure my camera was safe.
After dancing for almost 8 hours straight the day before, I decided to relax in my hotel room for most of my final day in Israel. I went out in the afternoon to grab a bite at the same Mexican restaurant I went to with Adam on the first night and then made my way to the beach to catch the sunset and take some final pictures. As I sat watching the sun go down, I was thinking of what a great trip it was. I would recommend Israel to anybody as a great travel destination and I would not hesitate to go back again.