Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Remarkable Friendliness of Strangers

I had four days to chill out in Tel Aviv and no friends around with whom to hang out or crash, so I decided to give CouchSurfing ( a chance. While I knew that the site offered free home hospitality around the world, I was excited and touched to discover that it’s members wanted to hang out and show you their favorite spots in Tel Aviv.

With the wonderful rhythm that happens when visitors are embraced into a friend’s life, my time was filled with dinners at amazing restaurants (including the best gluten-free restaurant I’ve ever tried), dancing at a music festival in the wonderfully quaint Bialik Square, 2am drinks at sidewalk cafes, and chilling on the beach with new friends. Between my host, Yonathan, who included me in all his plans, and the few other members I had time to meet up with, my social life was even busier than it is in NYC. Even better, they introduced me to the side of Tel Aviv I had been looking for and never found during the eight years I’d lived there, and I finally fell in love with Israel.