ברוכים הבאים לישראל… יש לך עינים קטנים מאד!!

Blonde Asian GuyI’ve never felt so out of place before. Now I know how blonde people must feel when they visit say Africa or India (and also how I felt when TNS and I visited Binghamton, NY actually); there is definitely a feeling of being a novelty as people stare at you on the street. Now Israel is a worldly country for sure, but I think that may apply more to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem than Haifa, which gets a much smaller share of the tourists. This city definitely feels very Israeli (both Jewish and Arab).

This fact was first brought to my notice by my cab driver from the airport. He was friendly enough and tried to make small talk for a while, and I tried to humor him even though he was smoking in the taxi and kept on insisting that I should meet a pretty Israeli girl while I’m here. Right. But what really took the prize was when he started telling jokes. My favorite was this one:

Constipated?“Why do Chinese people have such small eyes?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“Because they eat so much rice when they go to the bathroom they’re constipated and have to push so hard!”

I’m totally serious.

Anyway, that said I can’t claim to be the only Chinese person here. In fact on my 5 minute walk from the Technion to Ziv (the local neighborhood near the university where I’m staying) to take the bus down to Hadar (a shopping/commercial area downtown), I ran into a Chinese guy who stopped me in the street and started speaking to me in Chinese. Turns out he’s a grad student at the Technion in Biology (or maybe Bioengineering? I’m not sure) and he was surprised to see me because he thought he knew all (three) of the other Chinese people at the Technion. I regretfully had to inform him that even though my Chinese disguise is nearly flawless, I’m sadly an American. Kinda like a reverse Manchurian candidate if you will. We parted ways and I walked away thinking “Wow, what a coincidence meeting one of the only four Chinese people at the Technion on my first day!” Then as I was waiting at the bus station, two guys walked by me speaking… Chinese. Man, the Chinese and the gays, no matter where you go in the world you’ll find them! I’ve already found the former, and I’m just waiting any second now for the latter to sneak up on me and bite me in the ass. Whoa that sounds kinda kinky.

Down in Hadar and the German Colony I wandered around a bit. Haifa shuts down really early; I arrived downtown around 8PM and all the shops were already closed. I walked over to Ben-Gurion Ave and had dinner at Fatoush, where I had an amazing honey and walnut covered Haloumi cheese salad. I was even able to sit outside for dinner because it was a nice 65 degrees out! Unfortunately I was the only one who thought it would be a good idea to go downtown for dinner; the entire place was practically deserted even though I finished dinner and started walking back around 9:30PM. I guess I’ll have to wait for Tel Aviv for the sizzling nightlife…

Anyway, sneak preview tomorrow I’m going to the Bahai Gardens. Here’s a picture of the Shrine of the Bab at night to whet your appetite.

Bahai Gardens at Night

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~ by therandomoracle on March 30, 2008.

2 Responses to “ברוכים הבאים לישראל… יש לך עינים קטנים מאד!!”

  1. I LOVE haloumi sheep’s milk cheese! We’re going to have to make that dish when you come back. BTW, i like the initial shout-outs. You must really like me…

  2. Punchlines should never have more than 12 syllables.

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