Third day: Old Jaffa

 

July 10 was the day I forgot I have a body part called the neck. I forgot my neck exists while I was spraying sun screen before I embarked upon about 5 hours of walking outdoor. I thought my Florida base tan was able to protect me. But no. I have never burned so bad in my life. 

Our agenda was to walk all the way from Kikar Rabin Square to Jaffa while visiting various historical spots along the way. The trip was planned to last from 9am to 11pm and I walked back to my apartment with my friends after the trip ended.

The red line indicates our group walking route and the blue line indicates the route my friends and I took walking back home and our apartment is beyond my screenshot of the map.

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This is a beautiful fountain located closed to Kikar Rabin Square. We walked past it shortly after we started our trip.

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This is the Habima Square. I wasn’t really listening to the tour guide but it is really clean and apparently a popular place for local Israelis to hangout. (It looks empty in the picture because we visited the day of Shabah.)

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Below is the Independence Hall located on Rothschild Boulevard. From what I can recall from the tour, the building is built to resist air raid (not sure how) and was where David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, lived. Our friendly and patient tour guid (the lady with her arm in the air in the picture below) emphasized how, comparing the simple and maybe crude residence of Ben-Gurion to the luxurious and well-maintained White House of POTUS, Israelis are proud of their culture of practicality and simplicity.

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The following couple of pictures are just some of the sights we saw on the way. I am always very fond of narrow allies. What makes me particularly joyous about the allies we passed by is the fact that they are very clean. I have walked through the narrow and busy, either residential or tourist, allies of Macau. They are always sort of filthy, either with wet or scattered trash.

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Here we were at the coast line and approaching the Old Jaffa.

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This man throwing Frisbee with his two dogs on the beach made my day.

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This is a public well.  The story has it that a oppressive and authoritarian leader (I can’t remember his name) who likes to beat whoever disobey him with a baton once travel back and landed on Jaffa at night. He knocked on the gate and demanding the guard to let him in, saying that he is the leader of this land. In the dark, the guard couldn’t recognize him and refused to let him in. Their reason was that if they disobey their leader’s rule by letting any strangers into town, they would be severely beaten and punished. The oppressive leader, rejected by his own guards, had to spend a night outside by the port, cold and thirsty. When the sun came up the next morning, the guards recognized that, indeed, the guy was their leader, and let him in, and were, of course, beaten. But the leader decided to build a public well right outside this gate where a mosque is located so that all the travelers and visitors can have access to water.

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While the tour guid was explaining the story for us, a couple of locals stopped by and got what this well was intended to give — free and clean water.

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Here are the stairs walking up to the lookout point of Jaffa.

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This is the wishing bridge on the Jaffa Port. Myth has it that because Jaffa is mentioned in so many ancient and religious stories, if you make a wish next to you zodiac sign on the wishing bridge, your wish will come true.  Well, how can I miss that? Of course I wasn’t being greedy; I only made one wish.

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Here are some snapshot of the beautiful allies of Jaffa. The Jaffa city was so white and pure, like a virgin’s wedding dress. Every building was mainly built with white sand stones. You can smell the salt in the humid breeze. While I was walking down the narrow stone stairs weaved within the stone-built houses, I could almost see that, hundreds of years ago, the old freshman carrying an oil lamp with his calloused hand, navigating his way through this slippery stairs, eager to sit his sunburned and thin body in front of the dinner table where his wife would welcome him with a kiss, all while the sun gentling setting down behind the walls.

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Also, I had my first Shwarma. It’s an upgrade and more exotic burrito but I loved it.

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The following are just pictures of the gorgeous and breathe-taking beach line on our way back from Jaffa.

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At 8pm, we had another group dinner at Café London by the beach. The food was simply amazing and I had a great time dinning with my friends beside a beautiful sunset.

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On our way back from the dinner, we passed by a vibrant and interesting open dancing crowd by the beach. Loud and catchy music is playing and people are free to join the crowd anytime. While all my western friends are astonished, I have seen such thing in China. It’s called 广场舞 (google translate it). In China, it’s more like a leisure exercise for grandmas and grandpas where they can get move around, make friends within the community, have a good time.

What caught me by surprise was that everyone in the dancing crowd here are more or less middle age and SO GOOD at dancing. Seriously, some 40-year-old lady with perky butt walked into the dance floor like she freaking owns the place.

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A little warning if you plan to visit Tel Aviv: Stay off the bike lane. The bikers here are ruthless. They DO NOT care if you are walking right in front him or what, he is NOT slowing down until you collide. They do not just do this to tourists. I saw them just soaring freely everything, toward everyone, on the bike lane. So stay off the bike lane. Not for the sake of being a nice and polite citizen, but the sake of your own life.

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I am not really a history person, never into museums or exhibits. But Old Jaffa was absolutely riveting with all the myths, legends, and histories behind it. Looking out at the horizon beyond the clear blue ocean, I wonder what was going through mind of those Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, non-Jews, pilgrims and non-pilgrims when they stepped onto the wooden ships to embark upon a potentially endless sailing. What power moved them to travel toward a direction when there seems to be no land? Will any of us ever be brave enough to board a ship without technology, without abundant food supply, without fragrant tanning oil, for  weeks or even months, to simply purchase a couple loads of food or spice, to conquer the unknown, to visit a certain place, or to just go home?

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