Friday, July 2, 2010

Electric Cars, Laila Lavan, and Living it up in Israel

This was a huge, immense, anak week. We not only learned about how the world will be saved, I pulled my first all nighter since college, and had a family reunion of exceptional quality.

With the PresenTense crew, we visited a number of Venture Capital Firms in Tel Aviv, with a final stop at Better Place, Shai Agassi's bid to change the world through electric car infrastructure. We learned about the infrastructure, road in the cars, and were all thoroughly impressed. Beyond figuring out the infrastructure, what is so amazing about Better Place is that the cars will serve as mobile energy storage for the grid. What that means is that we can finally invest in renewable energy generation on a large scale because the cars will provide the means to store and harness the energy in an effective way.

The weekend started in earnest Saturday night with Laila lavan in Tel Aviv. Laila Lavan translates to white night, but means all-nighter because many of the museums and attractions are open late, there are concerts and performances up and down the boulevards and on the beaches, and there are people out everywhere until the sun comes up. We made it to Tel Aviv on the later side, it was probably close to 11 by the time we hit Rotchild, one of the main streets in Tel Aviv. Before we took in all the craziness, though, I had a nice reunion of sorts with Dor, a friend from my time in Israel as a student, and his brother. After catching up with a few St. Lou Jews including Michael and Noa, we made our way down the street, passing a wireless headphone rave, in which all of the dancers wore headphones so that only they could hear the music from the DJ, and a host of Elvis impersonators, before ending up at a concert of a Beatles cover band, which was fantastic. As we made our way South, we heard some funky music and happened upon a group of highschoolers getting down on the boulevard. We hung out there until they finished and caught up with Ariel, a friend from Wash U, and her boyfriend. We hung out drinking champagne on the street, people-watching and taking in the mayhem, before hopping over to a restaurant that made some of the best burgers I've ever had in Israel.

By the time we made it back to our crash pad, it was 6 am, and we had seen the sun rise over Tel Aviv.

Friday, we took our time recovering and I finally was able to see my friend's mom, who had been like an adopted mother to me while studying in Israel. I joined them for Shabbat dinner and was able to catch up with nearly the whole of the family.

Shabbat was spent mostly in Gan Hapa'amon (Liberty Bell) park in Jerusalem with a friend from Philly, although tonight, while watching more of the World Cup, we struck up a conversation with some Brazilian and Spanish kids who were doing their version of Birthright. They invited us out dancing afterwards and proved to us that Americans aren't the only ones who go crazy in Israel.

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