Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12/6/11: Sissys, Arabs, and Flea Markets! Hello Jaffa

Ida and me on our way to Jaffa
The profound happiness you get from family is truly overwhelming. Yesterday my step sister, Ida, arrived in Israel to visit me for two and a half weeks, and I have never been more happy. Ida and I have been friends since we were babies, and I have been lucky enough to call her family for the last 10 years. Yesterday I returned home from class to find her passed out in my bed due to the exhaustion of the 15 hour flight from California to Tel Aviv, but I had to wake her up due to my own overwhelming excitement! We had great sister bonding time, caught up on each other's lives, got her all situated and unpacked, and then headed out for a roommate/sister sushi dinner at the amazing restaurant by my apartment. After we ate it was time to head back, do some homework, and get Ida to bed so that she could get a head start on fighting jet lag. 

Today, since I only had one class, I thought it would be a great time for the two of us to go into Jaffa for the purpose of giving Ida a feel for some of Israel's old, mixed cities, and showing her one of my favorite places in Israel. We left my apartment around 1 and headed into the old city. Neither of us had eaten a lot so I decided to take her to one of my favorite cafes right in the heart of Jaffa. It turned out to be a great decision! First of all the weather was perfect so we decided to eat outside, the food was even better than I remembered it to be, and we even decided to indulge and treat ourselves to a glass of wine :-) 

Enjoying my glass of red! 

Ida having fun with her white

Our AMAZING food! 

It was a sign that going to Jaffa was the right decision for the day because right when we arrived the gorgeous Call to Prayer was sounding in the background, and I'm so glad Ida could experience that taste of, what I consider to be, the true Middle East. While we were eating my Arabic tattoo was quite a hit with both the restaurant staff and the group of Arabs sitting behind me. I could hear them talking about it and trying to figure out if I was Jewish or where I was from. Between the mix of Hebrew and Arabic I could make out a good portion of what they were all saying! I really just can't put into words how much I love being around Arabs, the Arabic language, and places where the Jewish and Arab cultures mix. It gives me such a sense of warmth and satisfaction, and if Jaffa were closer to my university it would be the only option of places for me to live. 

After lunch we decided to walk along the water for a little bit, see the port of Jaffa, and head off to the famous flea market, Shuk Hapishpishim. The port was gorgeous and while there we were stumbled upon two wedding parties taking their wedding photos there. It was a beautiful place for the pictures, and a perfectly picturesque day to have them done on. 

Port of Jaffa

Once we were finished with the sea we headed off to Shuk Hapishpishim for some window shopping in the market place. The culture is so vibrant there, and you can find almost anything and everything you could possibly want from Judaica to home decor, and so on. 

Entrance to Shuk Hapishpishim 
After we were done window shopping Ida needed a little coffee pick me up so I took her to my favorite, Arab owned, coffee shop in Jaffa. We each had a drink, I got to speak a little Arabic, and then we ventured back home. It was such a wonderful day and was topped off by my roommate Morgan cooking us an Indian dinner :-) I seriously have the greatest roommates! 

Who knows where the day will take us tomorrow but I'm sure we will have an amazing time whatever we do! 

Lilah Tov ya chaverim <3,
Jordana Simone

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