Friday, December 22, 2006


Tel Aviv, the beach town

Tel Aviv beachfront, taken from the shallows.

When I first planned this trip, I was going to be in Israel late July/ early August, and was insistently told it would be hot. I assumed that this Mediterranean, subtropical climate would still be warmish now, at the end of fall, beginning of winter. I packed short sleeved shirts and doggedly clung to the notion that there would be beach weather – the low end of the range to be sure, but warm enough that I would want to swim in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

What was it about lows in the high 40s that I didn’t understand?

It was a mere fortuity that I brought my polypro jacket (the one I use as the liner to outer shell for skiing), and I have gotten lots of use out of it, sometimes even on top of my lighter polypro sweater.

Not that I’m complaining – it has been very pleasant shirtsleeve-and-sweater weather, even in the desert, which is ideal for sightseeing. Tel Aviv turns out to be one of those cities, like San Francisco through much of the year, and LA in the dead of winter – where you can be hot and cold at the same time. The sun is so bright that it heats you up, but the frequent breezes have a distinct chill. As a result, you find yourself sweating in your sweater, but cold without it, so you’re constantly toggling your layers.

Anyway, I’m a guy who will be damned if he’s going to skip the beach, and after two days of excessive walking around, I fell into a daily beach routine my last three days in Tel Aviv.

The view from where I sit. Despite that late-afternoon-looking sun, it
was only about 2:30, but the days are very short about now.

Basically, I did an early shift of sightseeing, and then went to the beach for the warmest part of the day to grab a beach chair. Within a few minutes the chair guy would swing buy and charge 6 shekels for the chair for the day. After that, I'd wade a few minutes, then plop down in the beach chair to read and people watch for a couple of hours.



In this position, I dressed for the beach like they did in the 19th century when they believed you would catch a chill and die if you had wet exposed skin: long pants, the polypro sweater and, eventually, the polypro jacket, both zipped up to the top.

I love this type of wave pattern: the breakwater causes the waves to come in from two sides,
approaching each other almost at right angles, making little parallelograms. I waded to within a stone's throw of that breakwater to take some pictures of the beachfront.

Great views, though.

View of the beach from my room at sundown. My chair would be
in the lower right quadrant of the photo.

Sigh. It really does look lovely.
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