Sorry to not get to this earlier, but the last few days have been particularly hectic. To make up for it, I will write a couple of posts to cover each day individually... First Thursday...
Having went to sleep on Wednesday evening/Thursday night at the ungodly hour of 5am, I woke up late on Thursday at roughly 11:30. I immediately went out to explore parts of Tel Aviv that I did not have a chance to visit all that much on my prior visits. My plan was to try to stay indoors as much as possible, since I had been burnt pretty bad in the Haifa/Akko sun the day before.
First, I went to the corner and took a Sheirut taxi (taxi with multiple passengers that mimics the route of a specific bus) to the Tachana HaMerkazit (main bus terminal) in Tel Aviv. I remember spending minutes in this terminal as I switched from one bus from Haifa-Tel Aviv to another going from Tel Aviv-Jerusalem. This time, I had the chance to explore the station for a few minutes, primarily to find out how long my bus to Jerusalem later that day would take (~1-1:30 hours, depending on traffic). The bus station is filled with little shops and fast food restaurants, but still resembles a shuk (open air market) for some reason. Here's a photo to explain what I mean (maybe):
Once I left the station, I immediately felt the difference between Tel Aviv and other parts of Israel. As you'll see in my pictures from Jerusalem, you'll be hard-pressed to find food/drink that are not kosher there. In Tel Aviv, right outside the bus station is a Pork dealer:
I then took a Dan bus (Dan is the main bus operator in Tel Aviv, whereas Egged runs the main lines nearly everywhere else) to Dizengoff St and specifically, the Dizengoff Kinyon (Mall). Dizengoff is a pretty cool space, with levels on inclines that feed into the next level (think a spiral configuration, similar to the Guggenheim museum in Manhattan). Here's a few photos from there:
After spending some time in the shops, I decided to explore the rest of R'chov Dizengoff, ultimately bringing me to this modern-esque sculpture/fountain. It's pretty interesting, so I figured I would take a photo and see what y'all thought:
At this point, I had been outdoors for some time and the time was getting late. I needed to be on a bus by 4:30 or so, to ensure that I got to Jerusalem by 6-6:30 to meet my cousins Rivki and Chani. Initially, I looked for the same Sheirut taxi that picked me up in Ramat Aviv that morning, but I could not find one (in fact, these Sheiruts travel to major cities from major cities, so there would not be one that travels specifically within Tel Aviv (of course I did not realize that until another 30+ minutes went by. I rushed back to the apartment with a regular taxi (cost 55 NIS or roughly ~$12-14). I got upstairs, grabbed my bags and rushed out to the bus to the Tachana HaMerkazit.
Unfortunately, the bus was held up in some heavy Tel Aviv traffic and I got to the Tachana late. First of all, I did not realize that they would thoroughly examine my suitcase as well as my backpack, asking me to open it, etc. In hindsight, it was dumb for me not to anticipate that, since they had been examining my backpack in every public place throughout this trip. Nonetheless, I held up a group of 10 Chayalim (soldiers) trying to get home for their weekend (Fri-Sat, not Sat-Sun).
When I finally made it to the gate for the bus, I immediately realized that I would be late to Jerusalem. There were about 90 people waiting on line for the 5:12 bus. That bus came and went, with many many people still trying to get on. The 5:24 bus came and went, and I was nowhere near the entrance to the bus. Finally, I was able to put my bag on the 5:36 bus and take it to Jerusalem. Luckily, I was sitting to a young South African computer programmer who was happy to let me borrow his cell phone, so that I could call my cousins and tell them I would be late...