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I took a break from regularly scheduled lounging about looking American, to check into a virtual book club featuring Coming Clean.  If you’re a member of a book club interested in reading Coming Clean I would be happy to do a similar virtual participation. Feel free to email me at kim@thekimchallenge.com for details.  Also, doesn’t that coffee look amazing?  I’m going to miss Israeli dairy products.

Today is Tuesday, The Fella and I don’t leave until Friday night, but I’m already dreading the end of vacation (but not dreading too much, because I’m going to Puerto Rico next week for some girly time on the beach).  I’ve been trying to convince him that we should move to Tel Aviv for a while.  It only makes sense after all, I’ll learn Hebrew much easier if I’m immersed in it—and the goal is for me to speak relatively fluently before we start making people.  At the rate I’m currently learning, I should expect my first child shortly after my 60th birthday.

Alas, Roy is not as keen on returning to his hometown as I am.  I guess I might feel the same way if he started asking me to move to Long Island.  I love it there, but I don’t necessarily want to live there.

 

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In other news.  I’m a big red monster.

I am not a beach going kind of gal.  Not because I don’t like the surf and sand, but because there is not a sunblock I have found capable of protecting this pasty white skin of mine.  Roy and I went to the beach for four hours on Monday.  Needless to say, I am a lobster.  Even my lips are burned.  Sigh.

I have also learned the lesson that bathing suits with cut-outs are a really bad idea.

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Since I’ve been to Israel a few times now (three to be exact) here are my tips, if you’re interested in visiting:

1. Eat all the dairy.  It’s amazing and worth any tummy troubles lactose intolerance may bring on.

2. Do not eat all the Chinese food.  There isn’t much to be had, but what there is isn’t like any Chinese food I’ve ever eaten:

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3. Being American is A-Okay. When I studied abroad in the Netherlands in college we were told to tell people we were Canadian. I still have that feeling while travelling that being an American abroad is a bad thing.  Israel may be one of the few countries left that really like Americans.  In fact, when Roy wants to ask strangers to take pictures of us he uses his American accent because he says people are nicer.

4. Eat all the dairy.  Especially the ice cream.  Especially the cheese.

5. Everything is smaller here: from the flies to the pigeons to the paper towels to the soda bottles to cars to the people. Be prepared. I feel like a giant.

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6. It’s not cheaper.  One of the cool parts about travelling for me, at least when I was younger, was that the dollar was strong and when I went abroad it was like the world was on sale.  Not so much anymore.  Much of the world’s technology and pharmaceuticals are created and innovated in Israel.  Their economy is pretty good right now and the exchange rate doesn’t do much for the American dollar.  Rent in Tel Aviv is just as expensive as rent in New York City, which means it’s ridiculously expensive by the standards of just about everyone else.

7. Since rent is expensive, so are hotels. You can save money and get a more authentic experience by renting apartments, we used airbnb.com.  We’ve found places in good neighborhoods for as low as $80 a night.  I’m sure this is true for just about everywhere else.

8. Israel’s population is very much a melting pot.  I would guess that most people would think of the Jewish State as looking pretty white, but that’s not true.  First of all, not all Jews are of European decent.  Many, many of the Jews in Israel are from the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. Secondly, Israel is not made up solely of Jews.  Arabs (Muslim, Christian, Druze, and others), Christians from all over the world, Africans both Jewish (there’s a fairly sizeable Ethiopian Jewish community) and non-Jewish, and a sizeable Filipino population,  make their home here among other smaller populations.  Despite what we see on TV, this doesn’t really seem to phase anyone and people get along rather peacefully.

9. Come ready to haggle.  Israelis are big hagglers.  Roy likes to use the term “combina” which has its root in the English combine. It’s basically a twisting around of circumstances to make for a good deal. Not in chain stores or cafes etc., but pretty much in every other privately owned establishment.   Everything is marked up here, but you can usually “combina” a decent price with a little smooth talking.

10. Israelis are really hot, I suggest marrying one.  Or, if nothing else, a good make out session.

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Oh, and eat Bomba.  It is THE snack food of Israel. Think puffy Cheetos, but sans cheese and with peanut butter.  Good stuff.

Where is your favorite place to travel?  Best travel tips?