It’s 7:30am and I’m wide-awake in my sun-filled apartment in Florentine. Today, I didn’t need an alarm because it’s Sunday morning in Tel Aviv and the city’s cranes and bulldozers are already hard at work. I peek out my window to see another building torn down next to the neighborhood’s newest skyrise. No doubt, Tel-Aviv has turned into a full-on construction site flooded with detours and blocked-off bicycle lanes. Today, my goal is clear – survive.
Before heading out for work on Rothschild boulevard, I grab my sun hat and every remaining ounce of courage, to walk down the street and order my regular small cappuccino הפוך קטן (hah-fooch kah-tahn) at my regular café. On the way, I notice another three buildings in my block draped in scaffolding for future renovations שיפוצים (shee-poo-tzeem), as if a volcano erupted overnight – national outline project תמ״א (tah-mah) has turned my block into a heavy metal concert. As Thome Yorke said, for a minute there, I lost myself. Is my cappuccino worth it? Well, YES.
Determined to get on with my day, I put on my headphones and began my 15 minute stroll to work. My favorite song was playing when I stumbled across a huge barrier – The sign read: construction site אתר בנייה (ah-tahr bnee-yah). Another one?? I guess I’ll take the detour. The municipality calls it ‘an alternative route’. Meanwhile, I feel like a mouse racing through a dust-filled maze that’s lined with colorful signs reading Light-Rail הרכבת הקלה (hah-rah-keh-veht hah-kah-lah). Then, finally after 35 minutes, I somehow made it to Rothschild Boulevard, thus ending my never-ending trek to work.
Will all of this chaos one day resemble a Middle-Eastern Paris? Is the universe telling me to change my name to Emily and move to Europe? Jokes aside, The light rail is designed to make Tel-Aviv convenient, efficient and modern. I sure hope it’s worth it….
But even when a walk to work becomes a treacherous journey, the streets of Tel-Aviv hold a joy and charm that is unmatched. So don’t let it stop you from enjoying a day in the city. Just be sure to bring a (big) bottle of water, sunscreen, a few very loud playlists, and maybe even a helmet! However, the most important advice that I can give you is to simply go with the flow לזרום (leez-rohm).