Poker Chick is sad to report that for the first time ever, she's not coming back from Tel Aviv with bags and bags of souvenirs and goodies*. Why? She can't afford it. Yes, we've been through the weak dollar argument. But it's clearly more than that. The Israeli economy is booming.
The average 2-bedroom apartment in TA probably costs more than the equivalent of $500,000USD. Coffeeshops and fancy boutiques are everywhere. Shoes for 1,000 shekels. 1,000 shekels! Shoes? All the same stores as everywhere else too: Steve Madden, Aldo, American Apparel, Kookai, fancy French stores. The french are everywhere here. Did we mention the place is full of French? PC has never seen so many stores with "On parle francais" in the window before. Anyway.
So there was no point in buying anything. First of all, the unique stuff was not so unique anymore. PC even came across a gorgeous pair of earrings that she already owns! This store got them from the same distributor in India that the NY store she had bought her pair at did. Is that a sentence?
Even the food got fancy. Yeah, you can still get falafel, shwarma and pizza. But more common are gelaterias, creperies and fancy coffees. You think a frappucino is good? It's got nothing on this stuff. Even the coffee is fancy. A regular coffee at breakfast is a "caffe afooch" - literally translated "opposite coffee" but basically it's a cappucino. That's the basic stuff.
Like any country, poverty is still a reality. Big Boy claims 1/3 of Israelis live at or below the poverty line. This may be true. But these people couldn't even come close to affording living in Tel Aviv. It's been called the"Israeli Riviera" for a while, but this is the first time it really seems to have earned that title. We'll post a "Riviera" pic when we get back.
It's tough to partake, when one is fromthe poor country. a.k.a. New York. Poker Chick's gotta go get some water now. For 9 NIS a bottle. Papaya juice was even more. Sheesh.
*Ok, yes, she did buy 3 pairs of shoes, a present for a friend, and half a wardrobe for the mini. But you had to expect a minimum, right?