Person of the Day: Our hosts, Laurie Copans, the Tzemach family, and Gil and Gal LenonaiOnce again, our people of the day are our lovely hosts and hostesses. After a few days with Ethan's cousins Yefim and Nona Manusov, Ethan and Anthony were welcomed by Laurie Copans during their last two nights in Jerusalem. Corinne and andrEa remained with their hosts Beni and Esther van Vlymen.
Laurie, in addition to working for Agence France Presse, is the highest ranked woman's mountain biker in Israel and actively involved in Jerusalem for Bikes. As part of her love of mountain biking and connection to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Laurie leads bike rides through environmentally endangered areas in the Jerusalem area. She hopes this will help raise awareness of natural resources and promote activism against unwarranted urban expansion. Laurie managed to find room amongst all her awards and trophies to house Anthony and Ethan and even succeeded in mesmerizing them both with the spicy spinach crust of her tasty quiche. Our biking helmets come off in thanks to her warm heart and culinary skills.
In Tel Aviv (our Place of the Day), the four BikeAbouters were once again welcomed into the homes of new friends and friends of friends: Ethan and Anthony were brought into the home of Ilan Tzemach, Manager of Gilad Import and Marketing Bicycles and the Wheeler bicycle representative in Israel, while andrEa and Corinne were offered a space to sleep by Gil and Gal Lenonai, friends of Ethan's friend Jen Dubin.
Ilan Tzemach and his family offered to house the two guys without any real prior knowledge of who they were or what BikeAbout is. For this we are truly, truly thankful. And we are even more appreciative of their generosity and understanding as the guys were given Ilan's daughter's room from which they worked through a busy and sometimes late-night schedule of visits, meetings, and meals.
Gil and Gal took in andrEa and Corinne with no more than a few email correspondences and the good word of a common friend. For this we are also truly thankful. They showed enormous patience with all of the BikeAbout gang as our ever-too-flexible schedule made it impossible for Ethan, who really wanted to meet them, to cross their paths until his last night in Tel Aviv.
To all these friends — and those in Jerusalem! — we are forever grateful and hope that we will stay in touch!
Place of the Day: Tel Aviv
The modern-day city of Tel Aviv was founded just north of the traditionally Arab town of Jaffa (or Yafo in Hebrew) by Jews seeking to leave the crowded confines of Jaffa. Situated only 60 km (37 mi) from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv could not be more different than Jerusalem if it tried.
Tel Aviv is a relatively new city (100 years old compared to Jerusalem's thousands of years). Perhaps for that reason, while Jerusalem seems to be preoccupied with tradition, history, and the occasional chaos that comes with the meeting of three of the world's major religions, Tel Aviv is a modern, forward-thinking, cutting-edge city obsessed with the latest fads, music, and architecture. And beaches! Kilometers of beaches fronted by numerous cafes, restaurants, and, perhaps most importantly, wonderfully soft, fine (what Padraic would call "really nice") sand.
While the area around Jaffa has been inhabited for over 4,000 years, it was only in the early 20th century that the city of Tel Aviv saw its pioneers. Tel Aviv (meaning "hill of spring" in Hebrew) was established by Jewish settlers on a sand dune north of Jaffa. During World War I, despite the Ottoman Empire's decision to break up and relocate the portions of its population that sympathized with the opposing Allied forces, the city grew slowly but steadily.