I wasn't sure what to expect on a Saturday in the city. I'd heard that Tel Aviv was different from most other cities in Israel in that there was a lot that stayed open on this Sabbath day. However, I'd also heard that people mostly went to the beach on Saturday to either be seen or nurse their hangover from the night before.
So I walked to the beach. Just so you know, there are no buses on Saturday until the evening after the end of Shabbat. (There are, however, taxis and "sherut" cabs).
On my walk I noticed that mostly restaurants and Quick (Kwik)-E-Marts were open. All of the stores I passed were closed and there was some sort of plaster statue gallery open.
Once I got to the walkway of the beach, I was promptly asked if I had a cigarette. I've also heard cigarettes aren't sold on the Sabbath. I'm not a 100% sure if this is true, but needless to say the man went on to ask others for a smoke.
"Saturday in the Park (at the Beach)
"I think it was the fourth (third) of July
"People talking, people laughing
A man selling ice cream."
My first destination was a refreshing drink at "Yotvata", which is known for its dairy products. So I ordered a strawberry banana milkshake (1/2 liter = NIS 25). It did not disappoint.
I then decided to hop over to "Mike's Place" to check out the Argentina vs. Germany soccer game. I am personally a huge Messi fan and supported Argentina as a whole. So donning my Messi Barcelona jersey, I walked down the street into the overly crowded tourist destination. I had heard of "Mike's Place", but I had never entered it before.
Two years ago, I saw the film "Blues by the Beach" at my college, presented by the film's producer Jack Baxter. Baxter, and American, was at "Mike's Place" when a suicide bomber entered the bar/restaurant on April 30, 2003 (during the second intifada) and blew himself up, killing himself and three others and injuring around 50 people (including Baxter).
It has been several years since this tragic event and "Mike's Place" is still going strong. During my visit, for instance, there had to have been about 200 people there, if not more. There were television screens everywhere and a huge projected screen.
I was amazed at how many Germany supporters were in the crowd. Luckily, my jersey seemed to draw the Argentinean supporters around me, including the loudest and most obnoxious of the Argentinean fans, who seemed to enjoy consistently yelling in my ear whenever Argentina messed up, which if you watched the game was a lot! With an end score of 4-0, unfortunately, in favor of Germany. I left disappointed, to say the least.
Somehow forgetting I was wearing my Messi jersey, I got approached by soccer enthusiasts on my walk back, either asking me what the score was or discussing their own disheartened feelings on Argentina's incredible loss. Or my favorite, the Germany fans – who I believe were actually German – coming up behind me and saying something to the effect of "Hey Messi, don't cry."
Receiving my fair share of taunting at this point, I slipped in my iPod headphones on and ignored the nutty soccer fans. Until I heard the soothing yet bizarre musical stylings of Hare Krishna. Alert again to my surroundings, I walked over to this hippie dippy going on, on the opposite side of the street. Like any person with a camera in hand, I began filming the performance.
"People dancing, really smiling
"A man playing guitar (or in this case, the accordion)
"Singing for us all
"Will you help him change the world..."
It truly was a Saturday at the beach.
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