Oh my...day one. The flight.
Left early from San Francisco...had a bit of a layover @ JFK.
Fought the temptation to shop at Tie Rack.
Met the COO of my company and jumped on a late flight to Tel Aviv via Tower Air International
Munched on salmon and Amaretto...lights out.
Oh yeah...the movie was "Wag the Dog." Already saw it.
Breakfast is served...time to take that eye mask off.
Lox and bagels. How perfect for a flight to Israel.
Landed @ 3:30 p.m. - Tel Aviv time.
Left the airport almost 3 hrs. later...baggage was a bit slow finding its way to us.
COO's cousin drove us to the hotel.
The Alexander hotel is great. Right on the beach.
Room is giant 1 BR suite with a kitchen, view of the water, British MTV and 39 other channels.
Finished some work on our investor presentation and then split up.
Time to feed David.
Lost the jeans, jumped into some shorts. Boy is it humid here.
Wandered all around the beach area near the hotel.
Very cool street (called Dizengoff St.)...loaded with cafes, restaurants, and bars.
All with sidewalk dining.
I found a wonderful little bakery/cafe...
Picked up water, juice, Diet Coke, and beer on the way home.
Fairly sure I got ripped off by the vendor.
40 sheckels for a few beverages? I'll write it off as a donation to the economy.
Off to bed...first business meeting is tomorrow in Jerusalem.
Drove to Jerusalem -- nothing too interesting to see along the way. The climb into the city starts to get pretty, as you get closer to Jerusalem itself. The terraced landscaping is amazing, and this city definitely has a cohesive, and elegant look and feel, that Tel Aviv lacks.
Met with an Israeli software company called Seal Systems - in same building CheckPoint was started, across the street from Intel - Israel (no bunnies in sight).
Finished meeting and drove to the old city - stopped at the King David Hotel to get a peek at the inside. Amazing.
Parked outside the Old City walls...
Visited some amazing art galleries right outside the Jaffa Gate...amazing Jewish articles (kiddush cups, seder plates, candle sticks, etc.) with innovative and unique design. Lots of silver here.
Entered Old City via Jaffa Gate...
Started with the bazaar-like shopping district within the Armenian Quarter...Arabs everywhere!
Landed in Jewish Quarter...
Toured the Cardo area...checking out both shops and preserved sections of the ancient city.
Met a cool guy from one of the local Yeshivas, inside the Jewish Quarter...he was from Atlanta.
Decended upon The Wall (no Pink Floyd here)...one of the most amazing sights of the trip so far. "Black Hats" everywhere...I got stuck wearing a cardboard kippa, because I forgot my JCrew.com baseball hat! Major military protection all over this area. CHARITY Did my thing right in front of the wall and stuffed my wish into one of the few unoccupied cracks.
Ran into David Romanoff, the CEO of my company. Fancy seeing someone I know while in Israel!
Left the Wall and searched out the world's best falafel...FOUND IT! Amazing stuff. I jammed mine full of vegtable salads and hummus. Ran into a tour guide of San Francisco Jews doing the same.
Left the old city with David and was given his version of a "backroads tour."
Missed sooo many things in Jerusalem...plan to return as soon as possible.
Stopped at an ancient archeological site that had something to do with Samuel...a very high point with an insane view of a good part of Jerusalem and some of the bordering Arabic communities. In the crypt of the main temple, serious Judaic prayer took place.
Moved on to tour Tel Aviv by car a bit...saw the Diamond Quarter, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the weird looking IBM building, and some other attractions.
David dropped me off @ my hotel and went home to prepare for Shabbat.
I spent tonight back on Dizengoff St. Had dinner at a small Italian restaurant and a cold Carlsberg @ a sidewalk cafe.
Beach day in Tel Aviv tomorrow...
Hi LB! :-)
Another insane Israeli breakfast at the hotel...
Took my first Israeli taxi to the Tel Aviv Museum of Contemporary Art...the driver was hilarious -- tried all his best English slang on me, and cut me a deal (so he says) of 20 shekels for the ride.
The museum was great...nice impressionist collection to balance the funky Israeli contemporary art collection they had...saw cool stuff from Picasso, Manet, Magritte, Dali, Lichtenstein, Pissaro, Monet, Van Gogh, and a bunch of really out there Israeli artists.
Decided to walk back to the beach instead of venturing in another taxi...didn't really know where I was going but decided to guess which direction was West.
Heard a Beatles song in the distance, so I started walking towards the music. I stumbled upon a gorgeous multi-colored fountain that was shooting different streams of water and fire into the air, while pulsing to the blaring Beatles tunes. Amazing sight! This fountain was located inside a little park area, next to a movie theater I might go visit later this trip.
Ended up finding my hotel...must have walked five or six miles.
Spent the entire afternoon on the beach, near my hotel...swam in the warm as hell Mediterranean Ocean, paid 10 shekels to rent a beach chair for the day, and listened to DJs who were blaring techno music on the beach all day! Great time...
Paid a visit to the hotel gym -- now I've earned the right to have another falafel for lunch tomorrow.
Lots of British MTV between activities...
Took a taxi to Sheinkin St. (known around here as the Israeli version of Greenwich Village)...had dinner and espresso at a place called Up Cafe. Good food, outdoor dining, etc.
Walk most of the way home via Allenby St.-- another popular shopping, bar, and cafe district.
First full day of investment meetings tomorrow...strange that it's on a Sunday, but that's the way things work around here.
Got up mega early...
Another killer Israeli b'fast.
Off to the races with my SynData team members...investment meetings all day around the Tel Aviv area. All in all, a very successful day. Received lots of favorable interest in our company.
Finished the day up in Jerusalem, for one final meeting. This one took three and a half hours, but it finished with dinner at the King David Hotel -- right across from the old city.
Finally finished the day's work at 12:30 a.m.
Off to bed...another long day tomorrow.
Hi Dixie! :-)
Yet another really long day of business-related activity.
Started, as always, with an Israeli b'fast.
Then met up with everyone and drove together to a new part of Israel that I haven't been to yet -- an area called "Herzelia."
It's so amazingly beautiful in Herzelia...gorgeous million dollar homes, private, quiet beaches, beautiful sunlight, amazing landscaping, incredible offices (that we visited).
Had lunch at a gorgeous hotel right on the beach...the "Daniel Hotel," I believe. I tried Israel's best attempt at Thai Food (Pad Thai). Not bad.
No time for dinner...had meetings straight through until about midnight again.
From a professional perspective, things are going well.
From a personal perspective, each time I see another beautiful part of Israel, it makes me want to sightsee more.
Plus, it's hot and humid as all hell here...would much prefer to be on the beach in surf trunks.
Had a funny experience today where our investment banker Howard ran into an office and yelled out the Hebrew word for "excuse me," and ended up royally pissing off a female secretary.
She misheard him and thought that he was calling her something incredibly bad (I make this judgement based only on the fact that she screamed at him, turned bright red, and told him it's not proper to ever talk like that to a woman!).
Poor Howard...his Hebrew isn't so great, but in this case he didn't earn any points for trying.
Off to bed...
Hi Al! :-)
Insane day in Israel today...one of the best yet!
Started a bit earlier than the last few days, but still had time for that Israeli b'fast (very important).
Had a series of meetings that all went well, including a visit to Algorithmic Research -- a company one of my company's partners bought last year for almost $84 million!
A few notables:
- Had an over the top falafel for lunch...this one was loaded with "charesh" -- spicy powder/seasoning.
- Spoke decent French with an Israeli cab driver for the entire half hour of my ride with him.
- Saw an amazing dog that was the identical twin to Dixie (except white in color and male sex)...after recovering from the fact that there was actually another Dixie in the world, I approached this dog's owners and asked them how they liked their "cockapoo."
They were quite taken aback..and started to wonder of all Americans use such words when they first greet strangers.
Turns out they thought they had some sort of terrier -- but they really referred to their dog as a mutt.
I set them straight.
Beautiful animal. Such a sweet, sweet face.
- Had dinner with a friend from Philly who's also in Israel on business this week.
We ate an a very good "dairy" restaurant (yes, it was Kosher) right on the beach in Tel Aviv, close to the old city of Jaffa.
Quite a popular joint...about an hour wait.
It was a crazy night all around the beach hotels (where I'm staying). Tons and tons of people cruising the boardwalk and driving up and down the main street with stereos blaring unfamiliar music.
When I got back to my hotel at about 1:30 a.m., it was still insanely crowded outside.
Off to bed...I start @ 6 a.m. tomorrow!
07.29.98 to 08.01.98
My most sincere apologies to any devoted Kraneland readers that I've disappointed over the past few days, by not updating this page.
Although already rather busy, my meeting schedule expanded to the hours of 7 a.m. - after midnight every single day.
Even yesterday (Friday), which is supposed to be a pretty lazy business day in this country, was filled with meetings.
Since almost all my waking hours have been spent on behalf of SynData, I don't have too many colorful stories about my travels...
A few highlights:
- The Israeli b'fasts are still powering my brain through most of the days, but I miss Starbucks and Noah's Bagels!
- Been eating lunch and dinner mostly at nice hotels with four or five-star restaurants. This is what the CEO of my company likes, so we tend to do it his way most of the time. I was able to break away on Thursday and grab another killer falafel for lunch!
- Most of my meetings are in various technology parks or famous "financial districts" in greater Tel Aviv, so I haven't been able to see much more of the country.
But, I did have the chance to venture to Haifa for a meeting yesterday. Didn't quite get to make it to "true" Haifa, but I was able to see how beautiful this old city looks, sitting on top of some serious hills.
- Got whacked in the arm by a machine gun yesterday -- an Israeli soldier was trying to cut past me on the street, and the butt of the machine gun that was hanging off his back bumped me.
- No harm done at all, but it opened my eyes even more to the fact that you see people with guns all over this country.
- No major violence during my trip, but an Israeli soldier was killed yesterday during an ambush by Lebanese psychos. Another Israeli was hurt when a tank turned over and squashed his head.
- Had dinner with my friend Steve again last night. Had a wonderful piece of grilled Salmon and some Israeli Cabernet Sauvignon at a restaurant on the beach called "Picasso." Definitely one of the better restaurants in Tel Aviv that I've found, so far.
- Walked around the crowded beach area after dinner. Ended up in a mostly Arab part of town...decided to turn back and avoid making national news.
- Got propositioned by ugly, old Russian prostitutes for the zillionth time. They're like mosquitoes that don't go away!
- For the past few days, the weather has been hot as hell (humid too). Today was no exception.
- It's really quite amazing how intense the heat combined with the humidity can be.
- I had today off due to Shabbat...
- Steve and I spent today in Jaffa (an old city south of the beach area I'm staying at). Amazing little town.
- Hiked throught the old city, shopped at some cool, old Judaica shops, had lunch at a great restaurant overlooking the entire Tel Aviv shoreline, checked out an Arab shuk (flea market), etc.
- Dinner at a beach hotel...needed some air conditioning to survive. I think I drank 200 bottles of water today, just to stay alive!
- Off to Jerusalem one more time tomorrow...it's a national holiday tomorrow called Tisha Ba'av (memory of the destruction of the first and second temples).
- Most stuff is open, but since it's a fasting holiday, all restaurants and markets will be closed.
- I'm going to re-visit the Old City and try to walk some of the Old City Walls.
- May be taking public transportation there...wish me luck!
- I have a meeting with a major Israeli phone company tomorrow night...I hope the guy I'm meeting is not too cranky from the fast!
- Until tomorrow... :-)