Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Israeli Fashion

I have been making some observations about Israeli fashion. Here are some of the impassions that I have so far (if you are not interested in fashion stuff don’t read on):

Overall -    The look here is very relaxed, which most of the time is nice, however…. I have been shocked at what I have seen people wear to work, not that it’s horrible, it’s just that it would be considered completely inappropriate in the States. For example, the girl/woman that was working with me to open my account at the bank wore what in US would only be tolerated as weekend day-wear to hang out in, may be go to the grocery store or the gym. This was not an isolated experience, she dressed like that every time I came to the bank, and there are other examples. Most of the people I see just dress really relaxed, lots of jeans.

Men -      One thing I noticed is that they dress more colorfully than in the States, which is a good thing until you start getting in to the Ed Hardy territory. (HATE Ed Hardy!!!) But I haven’t really seen that here, so good for them. I also don’t think most men here know what a suit or a tie are. From what I understand men in general don’t like either of those things too much, so I guess men in Israel should be happy about their ignorance in that respect.


      Cloths – as in US leggings are very popular, which goes along with the relaxed, comfortable look quite nicely. Otherwise the usual casual look prevails. Going to a wedding tomorrow so I will have more fun observations, however I have been to one here before and all I can say is that more than one person (both men and women) was wearing jeans or a jean skirt/dress thing, or a jean onesie – it was not cool... at all.

     Shoes - they are all about the boot, this is a chunky boot, a cross between a regular boot and a cowboy boot. It also seems that the shorter leg height (on the boot) is much more popular than the higher length. There are not a lot of heels, and the few heels there are, are on the shorter and thicker side. Overall the shoes are much more chunky than what I have become used to. Chunky in an artsy-craftsy way not chunky in a polished way. The only time I have seen elegant , high heels was at night when we went out to a clubby area, otherwise Israelis like to stay low to the ground in sturdy shoes.

Honestly I am a bit perplexed about the shoe/fashion thing. Israelites are much more influenced by European fashion than by US fashion (there are much more European labels here than US ones). From what I know the European look is much more elegant and polished than the US look. So what gives? Why the chunky and super duper casual???

I understand that it’s a cultural thing that influences the casualness, but still….

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

1 Month Anniversary and more

Last Wednesday the 17th of March marked 1 full month since we came to Israel. We celebrated this momentous occasion by going out to a restaurant. Except we did not plan ahead of time (we like to be spontaneous) so we ended up walking around for almost 2 hours looking for just the right place. We do this sometimes and what usually ends up happening is:

a.  We get excited to find the perfect place
b. Start looking for it with the best intentions
c. I start getting hungrier and hungrier
d. Dima gets very picky, and even though we pass many places none of them seem to fit Dima's criteria for the night
e. I get very cranky from the hunger
f.  Dima can't pick a place because the "perfect place" does not exist
g. I start feeling like I am about to pass out
h. Dima gives up because I am pretty moody by this point
i. I pick the first place I see just so I can get some food in my empty growling stomach
j. We eat whatever the restaurant has, which usually is not what either of us would have wanted, sometimes.... we are pleasantly surprised
k. We never learn from past mistakes and inevitably repeat the cycle

This was that kind of an experience, however, thankfully we were pleasantly surprised this time. Well at least I was. We ended up going to a type of restaurant I have wanted to go to ever since we got here. Its a place where you order yummy, succulent skewers of meat and with them come unlimited varieties of salads. I love the whole concept. I ended up very happy with the whole thing... I mean how can one not be happy with fresh delicious meat and salads?!

Later last week, for our weekly adventure, we went to an Israeli Army museum, which was basically a large outside space full of tanks (it used to be the British Mandate's fort/prison or something). Basically Dima's idea of heaven. Mine... not so much, but it was very nice outside so i made the best of it.

Here is a link to the pics from that trip:


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pointless trip - Har Masor

Last Saturday Dima and I decided to go on another trip down to the desert. We wanted to go hiking and found a perfect spot, even though it was far away, it was scenic, adventurous and with enough climbing and crawling thrown in to make it fun and worth our time to make the drive down.

The trip took us over 3 hours, about 30 minutes of which were spent driving 6 miles down a treacherous dirt road in a car that was never meant to go off of a paved highway.

The most ridiculous part came when we arrived at our destination, which by the way looked very promising and beautiful, and saw about 20 men sitting around at the base of the trail. Now I am not sure what they were doing there, some looked like they were smoking hookahs others… god knows… All I know is that there was over 20 of them, they were either Arab or Beduin, and that I was full-on freaked out. I realize that most likely these were very nice friendly people however, neither Dima or I had any idea what we were dealing with, and there would be very little chance we could communicate given our knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic and their knowledge of English or Russian. So without ever stepping out of the car we turned around and drove back.

3 HOURS of driving through the desert were pretty much completely wasted. And there was no time for us to go to a different place since it was already pretty late in the day. So we ended up randomly pulling off the dirt road as we were driving back and just running around and checking out our surroundings. One thing I did not mention is that the dirt road that leads to this hiking trail goes through a training zone for the Israeli Army, to be specific its where they do their target practice for rockets and whatever else. So it was fun checking out the left-over’s of the rockets, or the targets, or whatever else we found. In general it was pretty cool running around a real life desert. But of course it would have been nice to have done the hike we came to do (and the view from the top was supposed to be amazing).

You can see pics form the trip in the below link:

The rest of our weekend was very similar to the experience described above. On Friday we tried to go to the new IKEA in Rishon, it’s the second one in Israel, the one in Netania has been there for 2 years. It was a mad house, with a line for cars to get in and another one for people to get in after they have stood in the line for the cars. We drove around and drove back home. Mind you this was after we spent good 45 min driving around looking for it.

After we went on our trip to the desert we decided to try to go to IKEA again. This time it was even worse!!! The line was all the way from the highway. We drove away then too. I don’t understand why the insane lines, its not like IKEA is completely new to the country, its been here for years, it’s just a new location. Ehh whatever we went to the other location that’s farther way, and I hope will not have to go back to for a long long time :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trip to Me'arat Keshet (Arch) & Akko City

This past weekend after having explored a bit of the desert prior weekend, Dima and I decided to move on to greener pastures. Which in Israel can only mean one thing - we went north.

It’s amazing how tiny this country is. We drove about 20 minutes out east and spent the rest of the way going north along the West Bank border. The separation barrier wall, the one that stirred up all that controversy in 2006 when it was started, ran along the highway we were on at some points, so I actually saw it, its sad that is has to be there. At one point the distance between the border and the coast is about a 10min car ride. Anyway that was a tangent, back to our trip.
The place we went to was right below the border with Lebanon, I would say we were 5 minutes away from Lebanon. Too bad we could not go there, would be cool to check out Beirut. The entire trip from Tel Aviv took us about 1.5 hours.

So Me'arat Keshet is an old cave that has caved in (for a lack of a better word :), up in the mountains. Its very scenic and a great hiking area. Side-note the entire area looked a lot like Milos, a Greek island we went to last summer/fall. We climbed around there for a while and then drove a little southward to a city called Akko.

It’s a very old city that has been continuously populated since 16 BC, can you believe that?? It’s over 3600 years old. The old city that still stands there now was built by the crusaders and others (at least that is what I understood). It seems the crusaders were responsible for the tunnels and a citadel (which was used by the British mandate as a prison). From my understanding some of the construction there dates back to 12th century. Its fascinating to see people still living there.

Well that’s that for the trip. We are now itching closer to finishing up project "Make this place a home". You know a lot of it is just cleaning up, furnishing, fully unpacking everything and stocking up on food.

Here is a link to the Facebook album from this trip:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Retraction to my first post!

I have a retraction - people in Israel do have dryers! My statement was based on 2 specific observations:

1 - Last summer I spent a week in Israel staying with Dima in his shack. I spent a good deal of time doing his laundry during that week of precious vacation time, and all I had at my disposal was a washer, no dryer in sight.
2 - When walking around checking out Israel I noticed that many windows and balconies have cloths-lines with stuff drying on them.

For whatever reason it did not occur to me that the living conditions in a shack (in a small town) and random observations (I air dried some of my cloths in the States because the dryer would ruin them) might only reflect a part of the whole story.

Well... upon further investigation, i.e. asking 1 person, I found out that some people do, in fact, own dryers. I am not going to estimate the percentage here, however this is a wonderful discovery.

I no longer have to feel guilty and spoiled about desperately wanting to buy a dryer! Which I will do as soon as possible for the following reasons:
1 - When your towels air dry, they come out feeling like dry, crinkly, cardboardy hay, instead of the fluffy, wonderful blankets of warm comfort you want to wrap around yourself after a nice hot shower.
2 - Air drying takes way too long.
3 - Also I have been told that cloths need to be ironed after air drying since they automatically come out wrinkled?!?!

Now I don’t know about this yet since I was only able to do one wash (of towels) before the water pipe connector thingy broke and I was left yet again without a functioning washing machine.

I might have to come back to the States to do my laundry like a dirty collage kid coming home for a break.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Year/Country New Me

Hello everybody,

Have not posted in a  while, have been trying to get the internet connection situation in check... still working on that. However while its still working i am going to put up a quick new post. Its going to be a bummer if it breaks right in the middle of me writing this.

So the pic you see above is from the very first dinner I "cooked" in Israel, which took place earlier this week. You see the thing is that our stove is out of gas and to get the gas hooked up is a big hoopla that I am not going to go into here but to say the least we have had to go out a lot to eat which, if you know me, was great news.

Ok on to more important things. It was my B-day couple of days ago and to celebrate all the new things in my life I decided to make a little change in my appearance. It somehow got in to my head that I must go blond, however all the hairdressers that I approached with this told me that its a horrible idea. They did it in a nice, straight forward Israeli way that made me feel stupid but grateful. In the end I settled for some highlights and a nice chop to the length.

All in all... I am starting to get sick of new me....nehh.... just kidding, its all good :)