My fit friend Julie. It was like Israel boot camp, but I could not have asked for a better person to tour with.
When I talked to Julie the week before our big trip, she mentioned that she enjoys walking, and she hoped to walk everywhere in Tel Aviv.
“Perfect, I love walking!” I said.
But then, as I got to know Julie better, I began to realize we weren’t exactly on the same level with the physical fitness. Yeah, she walks, and she runs, and she exercises.
She’s what we call fit. Super fit. I’m what we call….not fit.
My gut closely resembles this Israeli statue…
He’s cute, isn’t he?
I could not have found a better person than Julie to tour Tel Aviv with. We were already acquainted well enough that I felt comfortable with her, and yet we were new enough of friends that there was no arguing. Ha!!!
Besides, Julie is awesome. She is laid back, intelligent, sensible, down to earth, and an excellent conversationalist, which is perfect because I often have a super hard time thinking of what to say. She also was better than me with figuring out where we were and how to get where we were going, which is important in a foreign country!
Go ahead and laugh. You know I have no sense of direction. And maybe you THINK I talk a lot, but inside I’m working hard to think of all those words.
This is the street in Tel Aviv that runs along the beach.
Tel Aviv Boot Camp
We had a routine that worked well. Breakfast and supper were free at our hotel, so that was what we ate. We had a late breakfast, skipped lunch, and then there was 4:00 tea time at our hotel, with snacks. Then there was dinner at 6pm.
So yeah, we just skipped lunch everyday. We didn’t save any calories though. They fed us so well at the hotel, we weren’t even hungry at lunch.
Tel Aviv Beach
Alan and I did a little walking on the beach together too.
You know I’m thrifty, and Julie is too. I’m so easily influenced by who I’m hanging out with! I didn’t buy all that much, but we did walk around tons of shops and markets.
We went into Israel expecting to barter for everything. People had told us we would need to barter, and yet, that was not what we found. Maybe it’s just different in Tel Aviv, but most everywhere we went the shop owners and workers said, “No, we don’t do that here. It’s just one price.”
I bought these Coca-Cola in Hebrew shirts for my 2 biggest boys.
I scored this entire outfit at the Shuk for only $100 shekels…That’s like $35!!
First of all, several different people asked Julie and me if we were from Germany. ???!!?? Germany? No! America!
I found that odd, kind of funny, but also sad, considering Israel’s history with Germany.
But the funny story was the sales guy we met at the Shuk, where I bought that exercise outfit.
He was an unusually friendly young Jewish man, probably around 24 years old, a cute, small guy. What I didn’t realize at first was that he actually lives in Miami, but he was in town for an event and helping his dad in their store that day.
“Where are you from?” he asked us, after explaining the day’s sales to us.
Each time people asked, I found myself not knowing what to call our country. Isn’t that hilarious? United States of America is sort of a mouthful. So sometimes I said America, and sometimes I called it the U.S. or the United States.
That was not a sufficient answer for anyone that asked. Every single questioner actually wanted to know what state we were from.
I move every 2 to 3 years, so my new policy is to be from wherever I currently live.
This particular sales guy laughed when I said “America,” and said, “Well, yeah, I know, I mean I didn’t think you were from Germany!”
Julie and I looked at each other, mystified. Well, the rest of the country seems to think we are from Germany, and even this guy referenced it, so clearly their history left scars.
But he knew we lived in the States because he’s been living in the U.S. himself for several years.
We bought this from an arts and crafts fair in downtown Tel Aviv.
So we explained to the sales guy where we were from. He said to Julie, “You look like a runner!” Then they talked about running and swimming…Funny…no one ever asked me what sport I participate in……hahahahaha…
I was shopping for a cute exercise outfit, so I picked up Larges, but I’m usually borderline on sizes, so I was glancing around for a fitting room.
“Oh, you don’t need a large!” this sales guy had all the answers…”This stretches, see? You need a medium.”
Flattering, but I actually didn’t even need to try on the pants. I’m 5 foot 6 with enough hips for all 3 of us standing there. I require the large, and I’m thankful I didn’t take his advice.
Shirts are a different story. I have to try on every shirt I buy.
There I was, in a foreign country, trying on a shirt, in a storage closet, in an outdoor market area (The closet had walls. The store did not.), with Julie standing guard in the OPEN doorway, with the super talkative young sales guy, waiting outside the closet. He was waiting to “snap a photo (of me) and put it on Facebook.”
Laugh. Out. Loud. “Yeah, you are not putting this on Facebook.”
I was in such a hurry to be done with the process that I bought the shirt, without being sure if it fit well or not because I didn’t want to look in the mirror long enough for him to get a Facebook photo.
Why do I care about him taking my picture? I’m a blogger for crying out loud. Yeah, well, I’m a vain blogger who carefully crops out all chubby bits before posting pictures online, and me in a spandex work-out tank? No way was I putting that out there.
That sales guy was hilarious. He talked to us all the way out of the store, as we left, and invited us to come back and see him tomorrow.
I never did make it to the Dead Sea, but I did buy this soap at the craft fair, which was made from Dead Sea Mud.
Gotta love mud.
This was another character that we met.
Okay. Sorry it’s all mirror-backwards, but look how hard it is to read a receipt in Hebrew and shekels!!! If it weren’t for the numbers, we wouldn’t even know it was backwards.
That receipt was from a group dinner. Don’t worry. We didn’t spend anywhere near that much.
Ah! I can’t wait to go back someday.
P.S. I lost 3 pounds.
At the Dizengoff Center, a shopping mall exactly like you’d find in America, I found MY store. Yep. April is a cosmetics store.
Julie and I averaged about 9 miles a day, over 20,000 steps. We were sweat-soaked each day when we made it back to our hotel room. If you go for a week, you need to pack like 14 outfits.
By the time the trip was over, I had definitely built up my endurance. I’ve been sure to get in at LEAST 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise everyday since we got back, so this trip was a grand success, in more ways than one!
Be sure to check out my last post on Tel Aviv to learn more about this bustling city!