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Apr 13 2011

Sushi in the City

By at 12:18 pm

Shopping on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Just don't eat the sushi.

We don’t have a car.

(For an LA expat, there approximately 1,253 things wrong with that sentence.)

I’ve taken to rug-weaving in my spare time. Because basket weaving is for amateurs.

Mama wants to get the hell off the farm.

(After all, it’s hard to tromp around in high heeled hooker boots in the mud. And while I may have given up the convenience of having a car to live here, I will not give up my shoes.)

Still, what had come so easily once upon a time — a sort of blase urban-chic ensemble, artfully applied minimal-makeup and on-purpose bedhead hair — has now become an exercise in hysterical mental calisthenics.  (Like Gwyneth Paltrow turning into Snooki from Jersey Shore. Except more orange.) It’s all a matter of context: the women on this kibbutz look like an add for Evian Water–pure and clean and natural strolling around in comfortable clothes and sandals. I on the other hand, stuffed into skinny-jeans and Spanx look like Britney Spears circa Matt Lauer.

Enough with the cornfields and the nature walks through the orange groves. My hooker boots needed to hit pavement. Hard.

Anyway, B. and his brother decided to take a kibbutz car and drive to Tel Aviv.  Ah, Tel Aviv. An urbane oasis that has taken on almost mystical proportions for me since we arrived in Israel. While it isn’t that long a ride from the kibbutz to The City, since we are car-less, Tel Aviv might as well be on another planet. A planet next to the whispering waves of the Mediterranean Sea, where effortlessly elegant people stroll along the tayelet talking about Important Things.  A place of art museums, concert halls, and overpriced shops where Hebrew becomes a second language amidst the warble of tourist-talk. Tel Aviv: A shot of citified adrenaline, more potent then the two lattes I drink each morning. I. Needed. This.

So, I cadged a ride. Through the gates of the kibbutz. Down the main road.  Onto a real highway and snagged in a snarl of traffic worse than the infamous 405 Freeway.

And finally, to a mall.

(CUE HEAVENLY MUSIC.)

A real, live, mall!

Ok, so it wasn’t the cultural exchange I had fantasized about, but still. I am from LA, and we know how girls from LA feel about their malls, so I may have done a happy dance in the food court.

I staked out a comfy chair and table at Aroma Cafe, ordered my latte, and rode the wireless wave for a while, checking out the people and feeling very cosmopolitan.

I was in a real city. Drinking coffee. The kids were miles away at daycare doing whatever it is they do, and the smell of the designer boutiques and industrial-strength department stores were more potent than any aphrodisiac.

I had arrived.

(And when they started playing Katy Perry’s song, California Girls, over the loudspeaker, I was sure it was in my honor. And I may have even smiled knowingly at the barista. )

After people watching and facebooking and working on an article for a few hours, my friend L. met me for lunch. And tweaked out on the novelty of being in an actual mall in an actual city in my actual high heel hooker boots which look  a little less ridiculous in  Tel Aviv than they do on the lawn in front of the kibbutz dining hall when I’m chasing after M. and Little Homie, with an actual friend and the promise of adult conversation, I thought I could have it all: And having it all meant having sushi for lunch.

A kosher sushi stand in a mall in Israel, thousands of miles away from an actual ocean.

But lured by the promise of plump raw fish, I ordered. The wasabi tasted like maror on the Seder Plate–only green–and the tuna had a little gefilte going on. But still. It was sushi, and I was out with my friend, and I ate, relishing the taste of soy sauce and the feel of the splintery chopsticks against my fingers.

Oh, but it did not end well.

(You know you’re in trouble when the sushi chef’s name is Shlomi and he’s from a kibbutz in the Negev Desert. Just saying.)

Never again, Kosher Sushi.  Never again.

The City chewed me up and spit me out.  And I think I’ll stick to shnitzle and salad on the farm from now on.

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