Candice and I took our time getting ready for the beach while Giff and Ayal took a short run/swim in the ocean. We met at one of the restaurants on the beach for a coffee. Candice and I got to the table first and the waiter with his accent asked us if we cared for what sounded like a “peyay”. He said there were two types, one with fresh ginger juice and one with watermelon and both served with a club soda. We went ahead and ordered it and realized we were totally scouted as tourists when he had 2 airplane sized Perrier sparkling water cans on his tray, beside the cans were two glasses of water…the glass had one cube of watermelon in the bottom of it. He charged us $4.00-WOW. Thanks for the soda water.
About 15 minutes from the Tel Aviv is the old city of Jaffa. We had been to the town for that really nice multi-course dinner but had not seen the actual city during the day. We took the day to walk through the old cobblestone alleyways and the old port area. There was a great view from here showing the beach and Tel Aviv. There were also some cute boutique shops and a big marketplace. This market was more of a flea market or giant yard-sale with things like used clothes and antiques.
We ate at a small cafe with a couple of tables right on the street, perfect for people watching. The menu had zero English but Ayal translated for us. We opted for the Bureka Special. It was delicious…it was a crusty cheese bread with eggplant, tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg and a tahini dip (sesame paste with herbs, garlic, paprika and lemon).
We wandered around a bit more after lunch doing a bit of window shopping. We also saw one of our favorite cats…I don’t think I’ve mentioned the cats yet. There are 100’s of cats roaming the streets of Israel. Instead of the city having rats, they have cats…these cats are so muscular…and thinner than American breeds. They are literally on every corner and are so cute. The one we saw today was especially cute although a little feisty.
We wrapped up our Jaffa visit and went back to Ayal’s parent’s house for dinner. Candice left for NY tonight and there was a big family dinner before she left. His family was so welcoming and it was nice to eat a real local Jewish dinner in their home. After visiting and having dinner, we dropped Candice off at the airport and Ayal dropped us off at our hotel…the Marriott (of course) right on the ocean in Tel Aviv. Giff and I will be on our own the next four days in the city before leaving for France, although I am sure we will see Ayal at some point.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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