Ancient Jaffa and Modern Tel Aviv


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My honesty of telling the immigration officers at Tel Aviv Airport about my travel plans to visit Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine resulted in a fifteen minute questioning in front of the immigration queue, before the officer sent me to have another thirty minute questioning at her supervisors office. The fact that I had a beard, that I had quit my job and that I had not booked my accommodation before my arrivals seemed to make them even more curious and I was asked to show facebook messages in Norwegian with travel tips from my friends, my couch surfing conversation history and all tickets booked for the trip. At the end they just said welcome to Israel and I was given a visa slip instead of a stamp that otherwise would have resulted me not being allowed to enter certain arabic countries. Also at my hostel overstay, which was an old industrial building they had a gate for their strict guest only policy, bars on all windows and a bomb shelter which confirmed that I was in a place where safety and precautions were taken first.
During happy hour at the hostel almost all guests got together to talk over a few beers and then I joined a few of them over to one of the cofixes, a chain of small caffees selling the cheapest beer in Israel at only two usd. When we went to the clubs the beers where eight dollars and upwards, which just is the price you would have to pay to experience world class nightlife. Most clubs are open all night, and in the morning some locals go to after-party bars to keep it going until noon the next day, just as if they wanted to catch up on all the parties they missed out on during their two to three years compulsory military service.
The next morning Incas up early to explore the city center, the beaches and do the free guided tour of Jaffa, which is a four thousand year old historical city which now is a district of the about hundred year old city of Tel Aviv. The tour took us through sites important to the stories of the Bible, British colonization and to the modern Jewish art district that it has become today. At the airport on the way out to go to Cyprus I had to go through the whole security interrogation again that I am sure will repeat itself when I once again return to Israel in a few weeks.

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