Dispatch from 104 Ben Yehuda, Tel Aviv
I got out of Chicago an hour or two before some incredible storms hit. If my travel agent had booked me a flight one later than the one I had, I don’t know that I would be in Tel Aviv yet. I had a four hour layover in Newark, where, typical Leah style, I fretted about my luggage and checking into El Al. Once the line opened, they took my passport away twice, but at least I wasn’t searched in a room with a huge metal door like in Zurich last year. So its improving.
The flight left more or less on time and I watched one lame movie, then slept for the remaining 7 hours. Out cold, except I woke up occasionally to nudge the young teenage boy next to me. Occasionally he got a little too close for comfort, so I’d nudge him towards his brother on the other side. Please, no cuddling the Leah.
Got in to Tel Aviv, made it through passport control without a problem. Got my luggage, super. Shared a taxi with two women from Atlanta who are “just here to play!” I found the house of my hosts, no problem, but had missed them. They left me a note inside the lobby, but it didn’t occur to me that the lobby door might be open. I walked up to a cafe, got on twitter, and Talia (aka @TalTalk) offered to come get me for the night. Hooray for Twitter! Talia and I chatted on the way to her house, but once we got there, I passed out.
In the morning, I reconnected with my hosts (introduced to me via colleague and friend Danielle) and Talia generously brought me back to Tel Aviv. That afternoon I closed my eyes for a minute, aka passed out, and then later went for a walk and coffee. I came back and met more family, ate a light dinner, and slept some more.
Yesterday’s plan forever had been to go to Tzfat for a couple days. But with Shavuot, the MashBash and my extreme sleeping, I didn’t have time to properly go to Tzfat. Alls well that ends well, because the day I had in Tel Aviv was magic. One of my hosts, Nira, told me a route around Tel Aviv to walk and then finished drawing a map that I started based on her directions.
I put sunscreen on my face, but not on my arms (foolish Leah will never learn), and set out. I wandered though Dizengoff Center, Carmel Market, B’zalel Market, down Allenby to the beach, and paused to take a phone call from Wolf PR. Ishai at Wolf suggested a friend of his that would be at the MashBash for me to talk to and apologized that I might not be able to come to the office.
I continued on my way and twittered my locations. Eventually I settled at the same cafe as the afternoon before, then got a tweet asking if I would be available at 4:30 for coffee. Hooray! Twitter strikes again. This time it was Ivri Lider, a very well-known Israeli singer, who was turned onto twitter a couple months ago. He had some cancellations, saw my open invitation for anyone to join me and decided to join me. He’s lovely. So nice and definitely sees the value of social media for artists of any type.
Then I got a call from Ari, the friend of Ishai’s at Wolf PR, to chat about his start-up Sightix . We decided to just get dinner a bit later, so that’s how I wound up having sushi on the Port getting to geek out and talk about search skills and social networks. Sightix is exhibiting tonight at MashBash, so we won’t have a chance to talk. I’m thrilled I got to learn more last night and am itching for an invite to try the service in the fall.
This morning, I’m on a patio on Ben Yehuda. Tonight is MashBash, where I’ll get to meet lots of Israeli Web 2.0 folks. Tomorrow night I’m getting together with local blogger and twitterati that I haven’t met in person. Although after tonight, many of us will have met in person.