Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Human Being Repair Shop By Yonatan Frimer

Ichilov Hospital, 8th floor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Ward, Tel Aviv, Yonatan Frimer Reporting.

Mid-April had passed and I was still stuck in a hospital bed. I use my crutches once a day to sneak into the bathroom and the medical staff alerts me of the dangers. Some kind of bacterial infection is the culprit that has put me where I am. Although the argument that a distant motorcycle accident is to blame. I ring for the nurse to bring me another helping of pain killers.

Sooner or later this machine we call our bodies breaks down. Good health services and a socialized medical plan, a lifetime warranty for all repairs. A highly complex machine that requires the time of the highest qualified so called "doctors" that will willingly repair anything they can.

Time heals all wounds, and doctors know this. Time is often despensed along side other medicinal prescriptions. Take 2 of these and call me in the morning.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bloomberger BY Yonatan Frimer

Tel Aviv, Bloom Bar, Yonatan Frimer Reporting

Perhaps it was the somber sky or the gathering storm over a thousand miles away. Perhaps it was the specific angle at which Venus appeared that night in the sky. Better yet, we could blame fate, the shifting rift of chance and luck. Whatever the cause, something was off at this awful bar, Bloom Bar, 2 stories above the hectic intersection of Allenby, King George, and Shenkin St.

This blog was never intended to badmouth an establishment. Nor do we see ourselves on a mission to cause harm to any business. Our arms don't reach that high. But our committee has decided it is our DUTY to warn patrons of impending shortfalls and that decision is effective immediately.

What were they thinking when they designed this place. The location is ideal, the size, shape, view, everything is ideal. Yet some Israeli in the blessed country found a way of ruining it all. You could say it was "overdone". You could say that "they could have done worse". Some where even quoted as saying it’s not "that bad". But it was. It was a disaster. Too many ideas clashing together. One corner had Bob Marley airbrushed on the wall while a nearby window was playing MTV Base on mute thru a projector that made the image visible on both its sides.

Ecstasy trippers where reveling in the corner with that loud pitch response and a propensity to grind and hug each other. The populous of the bar was primarily male. Some where having a beer with a buddy in an inquisitive fashion. Others where trying their luck with the few women that had somehow made the mistake of being there and where bidding their time at the bar. One guy air-guitared as another attempted to impress the ladies to no avail.

There was no more party left in our souls. The Bloom Bar had drained us with it deranged happy Gothness and the beer and whiskey was beginning to kick in. The worst was behind us and we where ready to move on. Perhaps when the trauma wears off, one of us could write about it in the blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Vandalism and Saloma

Tel Aviv, Saloma, Nathan Fain Reporting.

If a night begins with a two hour session of vandalism on an ATM then you can be assured satisfaction by nights end. This was true of last Thursday when your intrepid leader took us out into the southern Tel Aviv streets for who knows what. We were one block away from our destination when one of us went to grab some cash from the only bank that would take her alien card. The ATM machine ate the card. I tried mine and it simply wouldn't take it. It was broken and took her card for no reason. There would be no chance to get it back for 3 days. We did what every good malchik would... spent 2 hours trying to convince the bank's 24/7 phone operators that it was, in fact, their fault and doing what we could to occupy our time (see image). Here's the thing, as a bank owner you never want someone in your ATM kiosk for that long.

Ahem, that out of the way the nights bar was a unique one. Saloma. A bar whose decor looks built from years of scavenging the Jaffa market for anything that smelt at least 30 years old. Is it 80's, 70's, 60's? It is some twisted scene where no single piece of furniture or wall hanging looks same. None the less... nice. Couches strewn about but not a lounge. It is filled with 5 or 6 rooms, a courtyard and a bar. Jukebox, wall piano, statue of king kong, sequins on the ceiling.

If you do venture to the spot don't be scared off by the door rat. When we arrived he explained that there was no room. He says this every time I've been there. Previous times friends i was with would beg and convince him to let them in. It's just one of those things. What I suggest doing instead is telling him "fine, we just want to look around". Upon walking in and seeing the place half empty we took our seats, ordered, and the rat went back to guarding his door.

Details: It is on Hertzl St., between Lilenbloom and Yehuda Halevi. Look for the two planted palm trees out front. The music ranges from funk, indy rock, electro... no one particular mood other than not-mainstream. It is a bit pricey with a local beer costing about 23. And depending on when you get there the door rats might require a minimum order. The people are interesting and would probably be approachable if it were not for the stuck-up mood that the door man sets for the place. I'd suggest checking it out at least once.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Wheels Keep On Spinning By Yonatan Frimer

Tel Aviv, Habima, Yonatan Frimer Reporting.

People started showing up around 22:00. Thats 1o PM in military time. This was a bar "roll" nota crawl. A few hundred roller bladers show up for a 2 hour run across the hills of Tel Aviv. A few of the more seasoned rollers dress with reflective vests and carry hand-held fog horns.

Once the madness starts its just concrete and wheels for 2 hours. Traffic is messed up as hundreds of rollers swarm the city. Traffic lights are occasionally respected, but typically they are just a guide for those who need to take frequent breaks. At one point we rolled over a boardwalk that made a precusion sound as thousands of wheels rolled over the wooden surface. The most prevalant road obstacles where not the cars. Two things caused the most danger: pedestrians on cell phones and rollerbladers getting the phone number of some young eager female most likely on her first run.

At the half time stop I spoke with the founder of Israel-Rollers. He made it clear that I am joining at my own risk and welcomed me to the group. He told me along with the others that the websites, was the best way to answer my questions.

The run ended at some bar in Jaffe. I didn't make it that far. I broke off from the group early in the evening with the advent of a blister on my injured foot. Next time I would go the full length, if I could make it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mecca Bites? By Matt Berman

Herzlia, Israel, Matt Berman reporting:

Here's my version of our crawl.

It was an ordinary Thursday night from my calculation. Actually, on an ordinary Thursday I probably would be home watching TV, but instead I was out in Tel Aviv checking out a local scene. The goal was Lillenblum St. to go to the Velvet Underground but we never made it. Oh, we made it to Lillenblum all right, but due to lack of vision or signage we never caught the VU. Next time, next time.

We ended up on Rothschild, I think, and after walking into a black hole of a bar--this place was pitch black--we traversed its length and made a quick exit. The music was deafening and not even very good. Besides, it was a very narrow and claustrophopic place. They called it Bordau, a name intended to sound like French for whore-house. It's wedged in between Churchill's--a place that remains a mystery because of the 40 shekel cover they were charging--and the place we finally settled down in, called Mecca.

Mecca is a very cool bar. Or rather, bars--one upstairs, one down. You walk in and are greeted to a spiral staircase that takes you up to a virtual catwalk. For some reason there are stools lined up but the path from the staircase to the bar is so narrow that if people were sitting there nobody else would be able to pass. Anyway, at the top of the stairs, you go left or right around a square walkway that lets out on one end--you actually want to go left because you hit a dead end going right--and into a cozy area with a full sized bar and some tables. We spent most of our time downstairs, but I think it was more crowded upstairs.

The downstairs bar is in the shape of a question mark. When we sat down, we were presented with friendly service from Oren who, like most Israelis I have met, was disappointed that I spoke to him in Hebrew. He complained that he couldn't practice his English to which I replied, in Hebrew of course, "Speak to me in English, but I have to practice my Hebrew." (He spoke to me in Hebrew.)

The bartender who ultimately served us was a girl from Tel Aviv who seemed very American, but according to her she didn't spend much time there at all. Seemed hard to believe. We ordered beers--they have Goldstar, some light colored ale that Yoni ordered, Carlsberg (I think) and Guiness. I would not recommend the Guiness because the chance of having it poured wrong is about 50/50, but if you're a gambler then go for it. Anyway, I didn't look at the menu, which was a mistake. I would probably eat there next time--if the food is like the rest of the place then it is good. And there will definitely be a next time--but I'll make sure to spend more time upstairs. I might even gamble on a Guiness.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Philler Up, Cowboy By Yonatan Frimer

Ba-Ka, Jerusalem, Israel, Yonatan Frimer reporting:

My high speed travels to the hills of Jerusalem came to a comforting cruising altitude at the Wine Tasting party at Dr. Phil's penthouse near the old railroads of Ba'Ka. The air was crisp that night, and the large rooftop terrace had to be partioned off by elagant glass separators so that the crowd could mingle in warm surroundings. Some of the smokers ventured off to the roof, where no-one but a few cellphone freaks would mind their smoke.

The smokers had a party of their own. A clique crowd which hurtled down cigarette after cigarette thru their lungs and into the night air. The open terrace was perfect for them as they took seats. They where really enjoying themselves. Allowing whomever else wished to bum and join in celebration. It was the feeling you get when you stand at the edge or a very tall building or right before morning, when the night is at its darkest. The potential of the great beyond. Some smoked the Reds, I enjoyed a few Lights.

Back inside, there was a very socialist atmosphere. Everyone meets everyone and there is wine to lubricate. One of the girls had brought her best pasta salad, another, cherry pie. The good Doctor explained that he had rented the glasses from a friend in the catering business, "60 in all at(sic) it was not nearly enough."

After midnight, although I had not yet turned into a pumkin, I did have my suspicions. Better to leave on a high-note. Besides, I was all tapped out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ode to the Viper By Yonatan Frimer

Florentine, Tel Aviv, Israel: Yonatan Frimer Reporting.

So quickly did pass the night,
without a mention, not even slight
would they be here at all
without the Bar Crawl
DRINK UP! Its total bull-shite!

Back to STAN with weather...

Not Tel Aviv, Not a Bar, and definetly not crawling

Tel Aviv, Ganderwidth, Israel. Yonatan Frimer Reporting.

Everything was not where it was supposed to be. It was not Tel Aviv, t'was the hills of Jerusalem, and this was no bar, this was an apartment. This food, a knight in white aromour delivered it from his castle. All the guages were all off; Where we loosing or gaining alitutude. The air was thinner, I could tell by the absence of the waspiness in my voice. What was I doing here? How did I get cajoled into this box? Am I not supposed to be in a flacid pose leeking in some bar, collecting data for you internet readers to claim as read content? Thats one question this reporter can't answer. But does that really change anything?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Helena, by force if not by nature, hssssss BY Samantha Fox

Habima Sq, Israel, Samantha Fox reporting:

Pitter patter, pitter patter came down the endless rain on this cold night. We trudged towards our destination hardly inspired by our bleak surroundings. I had no expectations and little desire for the evening. To accompany my male friend and his three other lady friends for the night would be mildly amusing at best and tiresome at its worst. My male companion was taking me and three other girls out for the night, but I secretly knew I’d be the first to go. I gave myself 45 minutes as the rain bounced off our foreheads.
My companion and I arrived to Helena, which had a sign designating to be called Apropo, to be met by a large crowd standing outside. Another female companion joined us. I lost myself in conversation with her and forgot to care that we were standing outside with a goal of being admitted into exclusivity. Suddenly a voice yelled out our male companion’s name..and viola, we were in. The night was getting interesting.
The mood inside the packed bar with the sawdust floors was riveting. I was transported for a minute second back to the look alike bars in the dry prairie Texas towns. But this bar was no diminutive hang out for bored college kids on a Tuesday night. I absorbed its class as my body surrendered to its warmth. The wooden floors, were not a necessity of cheapness, but a throwback to the pottery barn of culture. Maneuvering our way through the thick smoke-congested crowd, we found our companions on the other side of the large rectangular bar and joined them on the chic barstools. Quick introductory kisses, and genuine fun began.. The atmosphere was contagious. The only thing missing was Tom Crusise and O’Flannigan to mix our drinks in acrobatic demeanor.
Our new female companions immediately embraced our presence. As we animated the conversation about such nonsense as the politics of the day, one of the females leaned across two stools and grabbed my wrist with an unexpected viper grip. As I ceased to notice the noise of drunkenness surrounding us, I simultaneously wondered if she was leaving finger prints and where the weak point was in her ferocious grasp. Finding none, I wondered if I had really learned a thing in the past few months? Was just dream? Or was it real? What is Real? But I digress.
The rest of the night passed in a whirlwind. It was a night of firsts. My first shot. My first circulation of the wrong number to unsuspecting men. And then I realized it. This entire room of people, acting what can only be described as moderately hip, was Jewish. There was no pretense. We all understood. Through my growing buzz, I watched the room flirt, observed the glazed looks on some of the faces and felt my own growing tiredness.
Time for the night to end. But it wouldn’t. I waited with growing impatience as my male companion engaged in the last wisps of conversation with the viper. The wisps, I suddenly understood were poisonous, and then suddenly her aggression was upon us both over a trumped up charge. She wanted to avenge her friend, and I was the unsuspecting target. Revenge and honor were at stake. As my irritation rose and viper’s hisses grew louder, I felt the strong-arm of my male companion on my arm pulled me away and led me out. His cell phone rang and rang. The rain came down. The smoke followed us. The night ended.

(Yonatan Frimer contributed a word here and there to this article and this parenthesis at the bottom that you are reading right now)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Helena Blend By Yonatan Frimer

Tel Aviv, Israel, Yonatan Frimer reporting:

The night had began to enter its finale and I was just going out. The first destination on the map was Helena, as recommended by my campanion who said she was bringing a friend. I started the evening by landing at the bar and enjoying a heft of bread and beer, and by fending a steak scam that the bartender was trying to pull on me.

Once my campanions arrived, we deposed of several drinking in a short manner of time. Other bars where had to be gotten to, but the evening progressed well enough to dismiss such invitiations. Sometimes its best to stay the course without requisiting the abort procedures. Sometimes plans turn out better than you expect and you don't need to fall back on your back up plan. Options are power, and the option to stay increases that power. What the hell am I writing here, I have had way too much to drink this evening.

Helena was not our last place, but simply our launching position. Off we went to Blend which my campanions friend had befriended the bartender in a previous time in her life and was trying to win her back. Why do these things move to be so difficult.

Blend is unique in that it has ecylyptis trees growing in the middle of the establishment and the energy is very unique. Like a well overtaken jungle parimeter in the latter years of the Vietnam war. Blue screens glowed along with DOS based accounting programs. The night was winding down, how much longer did we need to go. The end was coming, it was time to move on. We moved on. We moved on

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Great Plateau, By Yonatan Frimer

Spring Hills, Israel, Yonatan Frimer Reporting:

A massive ship loomed in the horizon. The dark night accentuated its form, despite its blinding flood lights. Perhaps t'was an oil-tanker with unclear orders, or some form of electrical plant floating upon the somber waters. Whatever it was, it didn't make a difference. My companion and I where on a mission to find a suitable drinking establishment and no buoyant fortress was going to distract us.

The original plan was a rather pretentious location with soft-glow candles adorning the many empty tables. My better-sense required my foot to be put down and I demanded a higher content assignment for the evening. My aloof companion was fussy at first, but not to the extent of the threatened "take away" - a classic sales technique for closing the most fickle of clients. After a stroll along the Tel-Aviv promenade, a walk that revealed the popular places to be closed during these winter months, we landed upon a bar called the Masada Cafe. I know these are modern times, but I kept a sharp eye out for any unwelcome Romans. One can never be too sure in these parts.

My companion seemed adamant about choosing seating of corner location. With no objection on my part, we proceeded to order. I a beer, and for the lady, Merlot, with that bitter aftertaste. Despite our suitable conversation, my focus was still aimed at the massive floating object, fully lit and fixed upon the sea. Was the paperwork still being processed? Did some form of beaurocratic error keep this massive tanker afloat far upon the sea till offices opened the next morning. How many more drinks would I need before I could ignore this fact in front of me. What could this girl say that would draw my attention elsewhere.

We left bar in a rush and left a hefty tip. The waiter bid us farewell, but surely he thought even better of us upon seeing his 40% tip on the collection tray. The question remains, who do I have to give a 40% cut to get that oil-tanker out of the view.

"Call me!" She exclaimed as she boarded a cab. "Maybe" I responded. I still had a lot of work to do.

Yonatan Frimer contributed to this article.

Monday, January 02, 2006

All Pearla, No Oystera. By Yonatan Frimer

Florentine, South Tel Aviv, Israel - Yonatan Frimer reporting:

The winter solstice had recently passed and a New Year was upon us. The fabled 2001 "A Space Odyssey" was at least five years our junior and it was time for a drink. A companion was selected during the forth-night's celebration and a choice watering-hole was all that stood in the way. Several attractive bars seemed to loom in the horizon, but the music, vibe and, dare I say, shape, was particularly intriguing to my companion and I on this cold Tel Aviv night. But find our place we did indeed. A small corner bar, a sign bearing its name had not even been put up yet, a sign that would soon read "The Pearla"

It was not our first choice, mind you. We explored the nether regions of "The Whiskey Bar", which emanated a strange silence at this time of night, and decided, in the end, to expend our drinking allowance at the unnamed corner bar, the one we would later learn was to be called "The Pearla.

Pearls are beautiful items of jewelry that are caused by an irritation upon the insides of a sea creature called the oyster. This particular bar was a manifestation in that irritation in many ways. While many of the bars in the UN protected "Bauhaus" area of Florentine certainly make an attempt at creating a pleasant and romantic atmosphere, The Pearla actually delivered. The minor details of the establishment are lost in my writings, but the vibe was kept strong and eminent by the fantastic choice of music being played by MP3 upon a virtual turn-table. The hit list was made by the owner, who claimed his name to be Erez ,as he made futile passes at my drinking companion. "I opened this place just 3 -weeks ago" he boasted "We are getting a sign next week". I could tell my drinking companion was not impressed.

Who opens a bar in this land marked with suicide bombings and political turmoil? In this region full of dilapidated warehouses and random staircases which appeared to be the norm and no longer the exception. There was at least 5 other bars within a happenstance away and for a Monday night, business sure was booming. Where we witnessing the end of an era. A voyage in time when video phones are the choice not taken and debates range from hybrid-cars to oil-politics. Alcohol was the modern vice of choice, to drown our sorrows and forget our tomorrows. We no longer felt safe in our lives and needed a warm place for escape. The Pearla delivered, an while it was at it, it did it well. Sometimes is just all oysters and no pearls, but tonight it was all Pearls, without even one oyster.

Except for the screaming drugged up prostitute which I'll leave for next time.