Israel & Jordan 2018 (Part 5)
The next day, we met up with Moody for a tour of Tel Aviv starting with the old city of Jaffa. Tel Aviv actually started as a suburb of Jaffa and the old city was very charming. We hit a couple of shops as we wandered around and made our way down to the old harbor which was very picturesque. Then we walked into Tel Aviv passing through some of the older neighborhoods that were really quite pretty. And finally someone got hurt and it wasn’t me! One of the Montreal boys sprained his knee while walking and taking a picture. So Moody went to get him a cab (and don’t get me started on the cabs in Tel Aviv! Crooks! All of them!). So we didn’t get done with the tour till late and we were all a bit hangry. But after our very late lunch Robert and I hit the beach in front of the hotel with our peach ice tea vodka mix and just talked until the sunset. It was really quite nice! After a short disco nap, it was time to party. As part of our tour package, we had tickets to three Pride parties. Just not the ones I wanted to go to. There was a party called Tel-A-Beef that I wanted to go to. But they were only selling tickets at the door at this point. Doors opened at 11PM, so Robert and I headed over and the queue to buy tickets was insane. We stayed till 1230 AM and then went to the party we actually had a ticket for. The Mega Pride Party at Duplex which is an odd name for a venue with three floors. Anyways, with our tickets we breezed in. The first floor was pop music, but a very mixed crowd. The second floor was more R&B and hip-hop which is interesting because you don’t really hear that in a lot of gay clubs. The third floor was more traditional gay techno music. But so loud that I thought I was going to get hearing damage. Now, the party was fine, but I had my mind set on the Tel-A-Beef party and to be honest, I like my Pride parties to be a bit . . . well gayer I guess. Not so much mixed with lots of straight guys and girls. And Robert could tell I was a little bit put out, so we walked back to the Tel-A-Beef party and only waited about 20 minutes to get in. And this is my kind of party. Lots of hot shirtless muscle men walking around. It was stifling hot and there were lots of smokers there, but still I was enjoying it. The go-go dancers were all in jean rompers. Yes rompers. Which only proves that if hot Israeli go-go dancers can’t make rompers sexy, then no one can. Seriously. We hung out there for awhile mainly listening to the music and people watching. It was good. But around 3AM, I wanted to go to sleep. As we left, there was a guy lying on the ground surrounded by some EMT type guys. Probably an OD. As we walked away, Robert is like, I think he’s dead. And I’m like no, and he’s like, no one was helping him, they were just standing around him. And he was in a strange pose, like rigor mortis has set in. Sadly he was probably correct. We managed to get a cab back to the hotel without getting ripped off.
So in theory the parade started at 1000. So I was like, we need to get together at 930AM to get a good spot to watch the parade. Well I get up for breakfast and I look at the road next to the beach and there are cars on it, a few people are walking up and down the promenade. Hmm, something is wrong. There should be no cars and a ton more people. Well the Parade starts at 10AM with speeches at some square in the center of town and then the parade “launches” at 1200. Of course. So while I’m chatting with Robert and Michael from Chicago who are staying at a different hotel but walked down to do Pride with us, I notice people are pulling together tables on the hotel balcony that overlooks the beach road (aka the Pride Parade route). So I do the same thing since this is perfect for Mathieu with his sprained knee who can just sit with us and watch the parade. And it was perfect. We camped out and slowly the street began to fill with people. Now every Pride parade I’ve ever been to, the road is blocked off. There are barricades put up to allow the floats and marchers to go by. Not here. Soon the street is filled with people, gay, straight, families, just everyone happy, waving flags, dancing, drinking, etc. Eventually the floats come down the road and the mass of people just sort of flow alongside them. To prevent someone getting hit by a float, the float is surrounded by safety workers holding a big heavy rope creating a moving perimeter around the float. So that works (ish) but people fill in between the floats dancing, etc and the parade is slow. Like super slow. And I’m slowly roasting under the sun. And the drinking probably wasn’t helping. So after the last float goes by, everyone wants to join the crowd and walk down to the big dance party at the end of the beach. In the sun. And I’m like no. I need to lay down, in the cool, and the dark. And take a nap. So that’s what I did. And it was perfect. When I woke up at 6PM, I checked in with the group and they told me it was too late and too far of a walk to go to the beach party. So I went back to sleep and then I got up to go to one of the pride parties. Well since I didn’t want to spend any more money going to a different party, I went to the party I had a ticket for called Arrissa. And to be honest, it wasn’t my scene. It was Middle Eastern music which I don’t know and don’t really enjoy and again it wasn’t really gay enough for me. So I ended up going for a midnight swim and then crashing.
So the next day was a recovery day. Everyone slept late and then we headed to the gay beach that was down near the Hilton. A 20 plus minute walk in the hot sun to get there and it’s filled with families. Women, children, etc. Usually the gay beach is at the end, the farthest away, so it’s an effort to get there and usually it’s just the gays. Not so in Tel Aviv. So we grabbed some lounge chairs and found a spot on the beach. I slathered up in SPF 70, but I missed some spots (like the top of my feet!) so I definitely got a little sun. When I got too hot, I walked into the sea and it felt great. The sea floor was very sandy and easy to walk on, so that was nice. Around 2PM, it seemed like the families were leaving and more gays were coming. I guess we were just there too early. We stayed until about 3PM and then headed back to clean up for the last party.
So the last party was Offer Nissim’s Tea Dance party. Offer Nissim is a very well-known Israeli DJ so this was basically going to a huge music festival. And I’ll be honest and say I’m not a music festival fan. Mainly because I don’t like people. Just in general. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time. I think we got there around 530 and stayed until about 10PM. Offer played some great songs. I love his remix of the Pet Shop Boy’s “The Pop Kids.” He played a fun remix of “Fame”. And he has a hit song that’s basically Tel Aviv Pride’s gay anthem: “Everybody Needs A Man.” But the people. First of all, too many of them were smoking. Yes cigarettes, yes weed, and yes cloves. And that wasn’t what was bothering me the most. A lot of them (and a lot of women) were waving their cigarettes around like glow sticks. In the air, at eye level. I’m like, that’s just not safe and a couple of times I sort of gently guided someone’s arm away from me. As the night went on, my tolerance diminished. Second, I understand a lot of people take drugs at these festivals. I really am quite libertarian about that. But when the drones (Robert’s nickname for those high on whatever) start pushing their way through the crowd to find their friends and step on my feet and don’t even apologize, I start to get annoyed. And I had someone come up to me several times asking if I need pills. I don’t thank you. And lastly, people are just rude sometimes. I was trying to video some of the cool images and lasers from the main stage and I had my phone above my head trying to get a good view and some woman is bouncing buy (literally bouncing) and then starts purposely jumping higher to block my phone. Really? What is your damage Heather? So while I had a good time dancing, when we decided to leave a bit early to avoid the crowd I was definitely ready to go. We went back to the hotel since we had one more tour the next day.