I called Tel Aviv my home for five years, and since moving back to Vancouver I’ve constantly been asked, “What is the ‘real’ Tel Aviv like?” Although the city is hard to describe as a single entity due to its mix of vibrant architecture, cultures, and generations, some things all Tel Avivians can agree on are the beautiful weather, the lifestyle, and the amazing food.
Some could say this Israeli city is a post-apocalyptic-looking place where rundown buildings have cables and wires dangerously hanging from every wall, but others would describe a beachy, sunny metropolis with Bauhaus architecture, exotic flowers growing in the streets, and beautiful people.
The culture is a mix between the young, hip Tel Avivians and the elder generations who still live the “old” Tel Aviv lifestyle. Residing in the neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, I got to know the groups of older men, known as a “parliament” in Hebrew, who sit at cafes or bars for hours, talking and gossiping. They are part of the generation of Israelis who basically built the country from scratch. They’re known to always get involved in other people’s business, always trying to play matchmaker.
The young Tel Avivians are frequently out living and loving life, but complaining about it as well. The coffee shops, restaurants, and bars are always full, no matter the time or day of the week. Young Tel Avivians are very social, artistic, and friendly. I loved photographing the people there, including my friends, loungers on the beach, and the shopkeepers in my neighbourhood.
I can’t help but think that despite the constant honking and the yelling, Tel Aviv is my favourite place.