On Wednesday, we received a brief history of the beautiful and ancient city of Jaffa. The old stone streets were worn shiny and smooth from thousands of years of pedestrian erosion, which is juxtaposed with the far more modern look and feel of the city of Tel Aviv.
In Tel Aviv, we experienced the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an open air market, where you can find anything from counterfeit merchandise to hand made jewelry; all manner of Israeli meat, which is, in my opinion, best with generous amounts of hot chili sauce and amba mango sauce.
After the market, we ventured to Rabin Square, where our guide Shany, as well as local people in the street taught us about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the polarizing effect the man and his death had on the nation and people.
We then made our way to the beach, where we swam in the Mediterranean Sea. It's difficult for me to put into words why it was as much fun as it was. I suppose it was one of those classic " you had to be there" moments. Something about the perfect temperature of the air and water, the taste and feel of the salty sea, and the incredible feeling of being surrounded by so many new friends made it a fantastic outing.
We had dinner at the hotel, then headed across the steer where we were met by Shorashim leader and musician Udi Krauss. He played a powerful and energetic set made up of Israeli music, most of which was written by himself and his band mates. He ended the set with the song Salaam, and expressed the Israeli people's and Israeli artists' desire for peace in the region.
Our group ended the night by sampling a bit of Tel Aviv's nightlife. We went out not as a structured group, but as new friends celebrating our time together in a new and exciting city.