Saturdays in Tel Aviv are like the episode of Hancock's Half Hour set on a quiet Sunday in the early 1960s in East Cheam. They, Hancock, Sid James, was Hattie Jacques in it, too, had finished reading the Sunday papers and have nothing left to do with the day. Another nine and three quarter hours until Monday, Tony says, despairing.
I suppose, in a significant respect, Tel Aviv, even in mid January, is nothing like East Cheam. I wore shorts and sandals today and even though it wasn't warm enough to lie in the sun, I walked up and down the boardwalk. People were jogging shirtless, and there were surfers in the water, too. Otherwise, all the shops are closed, as are most cafés, except in the very centre. It all opens again, after Shabbat, an hour after sunset, and people come back out, on to the streets.
I sit outside a café I go to often, wanting breakfast. It's 18C and the outdoor heaters are on. Ido, the café’s chef, sits and smokes and chats to me. The other day immigration officers took away a sous chef for being an illegal immigrant from, I think, Ramallah. He’d been asked for his official papers many times and always evaded showing them. Ido, Irish until thirty years ago, keeps calling the man, the wog. I asked him to stop, I don't like the word: wop, chink, frog, kike, whatever, there's no need. Ido protested, But that's what he is! but didn't use it again.
He changes the subject by telling me the name of his favourite dildo, it's size, and who used it on him last night. Shimon, 20 inches, and ‘some guy’, in case you were wondering. I’m surprised he isn't metric. Some things are always measured in inches, I suppose.
He shows me the top of his tattoo, which is of a large feather. It’s well drawn, actually. It starts at the small of his back and, I don't really want to imagine, sweeps downwards.
We discuss what I want to eat, and arrive at bacon and eggs. He finishes his roll up and goes inside and a few minutes later brings me just that. Most pork here is Russian-style. It is finely sliced belly pork, not unsmoked streaky, but I am happy to find it, underneath, fried into two crispy-at-the-edges eggs. It's hardly pretty, but I truly appreciate it. Another customer wants the same. Later that day it goes on the menu, as Simon's Breakfast.
Today's word: aroochut bokehr – breakfast – ארוחתבוקר