Wednesday, April 15 : Jerusalem —> Tel Aviv —> Jaffa

Saturday 9 January 2010
popularity : 8%

We are happy to have breakfast on the terrace we already know. Then it’s up to everybody : go for a stroll inside the souks of the old town of Jerusalem and/or visit the David’s Tower, which reminds us of the extent to which History can be re-written (this tower is in fact a mi-na-ret, not a Jewish monument !). Lunch at the same Palestinian snack-bar as the last time we were here (near the Damascus Gate). Daoud catches us up as we are about to climb into the sherout that will take us to Tel Aviv. Au revoir, adieu, see you again one day, inch’allah!...

When we get off in Tel Aviv, we don’t know where we are exactly nor which way we should go to get to the youth hostel we are staying in for the next two nights... While Tanguy and Anne-Claire try to get some information about which means of transport to take, we just have a look at the people coming and going around us… No orthodox Jews here, but filthy streets and homeless people lying rough or on cardboard boxes. We are quite disgusted : the Israeli government had better see to it that at least all the Jews are happy in Israel rather than invest so much time and money in keeping an army of that size to “protect oneself against the Palestinians”…

As apparently nobody can help us (where is the warm welcome we always got « on the other side of the wall ?), we make up our mind to go to the youth hostel on foot and drag our suitcases and bags all along the way. We leave them in the entrance hall until our rooms are free and hurry down to the beach…

JPEG - 24.7 kb

There are but few people on the sand. The wind is quite cold, we’ll get a sun-tan next time ! We all set out fo a walk to the little port of Jaffa, which from a distance, looks quite nice compared to Tel Aviv which to us is a mere wall of luxurious high-rise hotels. We go into the old district of the town, have a walk in the "HaPisgah Gardens" (amphitheatre et "Wishing Bridge" with the zodiac signs where some of us make a wish, let’s now pretend we are real tourists!). From there we get a beautiful sight on the sea and clock tower of Jaffa. But as the French say : « l’estomac a ses raisons que la raison ne domine pas ! » : by chance we find ourselves at the really nice “Puaa restaurant”. We like it immediately : its terrace full of flowers, with the deep couch in which the most lucky of the group sit and wait until a table is free. Above all, at last, the young Israeli owners are really nice and welcoming and the meal is absolutely delicious…

It is our second day far from Aida and without our favourite rap band, but like yesterday in Jerusalem, nobody really feels like conjuring all this up. As if we all still felt too fragile to…

As night is falling, we go inside the restaurant and discover on the first floor two living-rooms with a really cosy atmosphere, both iconoclastic and intimist : it feels as if we are in a private house decorated with all kinds of objects collected on flea-markets… We spend the rest of the evening slouching in the armchairs, in subdued light, rocked by soft music and comforted by glasses of sweet chocolate mousse… We all agree : this is the place we should have come to for a soft transition with the emotions of Aida : gentleness and sweetness...

Yet we can’t help thinking of the film “Le sel de la mer”, by Annemarie Jacir we saw before our trip : the (exiled) Palestinian heroin, Soraya has come from the United States to Jaffa and stands in front of what used to be her grand-father’s house but is now inhabited by a young Jewish couple. Soraya tells them she is ready to accept and let them live in the house. She just would like them to admit the house is not theirs but her grand-father’s. The Jews refuse, get irritated and call for the police. Soraya has no choice but to go away…

Read the continuation of the trip