Header Photo Credit

*The stunning photo in the header of my blog is all thanks to Ron Shoshani. Visit his facebook page for more of his amazing photographs of Tel Aviv!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do We Look Like Criminals?

About three weeks ago, Yotam and I moved. Our new place is located in Hatikvah neighborhood, about a five minute bike ride or a ten minute walk from our old place in Shapira neighborhood. Neither apartments are far from the central bus station, right at the south- edge of Tel Aviv. Most North-Tel-Avivians and suburbanites consider these to be dangerous areas. They are riddled with immigrants from the Philippines, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bucharia and Russia. The streets are dirty and the houses are in even poorer condition than the average crumbling Tel Aviv apartment buildings.

Our old neighborhood, Shapira, was notorious for its nearby, and rather small, 'red-light-district' where scantily-clad, sickly-looking women work the corners near streets lined with topless bars and peep-shows. Our new apartment, further away from the prostitution, is closer to the street-filth. With an outdoor marketplace right nearby, nightfall ushers in all sorts of surprises. The streets are littered with garbage from the morning, and the alcoholics stumble about.

These conditions never seem to seriously impinge on my personal life. Sometimes the streets smell, but by the morning the trash has been collected and the streets cleaned. I've never been assaulted, followed, or accosted by anyone. If someone thinks I'm something I'm not, I tell them, and that's the end of the story. Nevertheless, I took comfort in seeing police cars patrolling our streets. That is, until now.

A week after we'd moved into our new place, Yotam and I headed out to visit friends. Our first stop: Noa and Nir for a home cooked meal. We were without a working kitchen, waiting for renovations to begin, and desperate for a nice, warm meal. Our second stop: the old apartment. We stopped in to visit our old roommate, Gil, have a smoke, and pick up painting supplies and shelves we'd left behind. By the time we began to make our way home, it was already around 1:00am and we were tipsy. But, we made it home in one piece. I left Yotam downstairs to untie the shelves and painting supplies from his bike and brought mine up to our apartment. When I went back downstairs to help Yotam with the rest of our things, I was met with a crowd of police. They had detained Yotam and were questioning both of us.The entire thing seemed so absurd that I had difficulty keeping a straight face. They began asking me all sort of ridiculous questions, like how I know him, what we were doing there, what Yotam was doing there, and why we were out of the house. The strange thing is, they didn't even ask for our ID cards. I thought it would have been quite obvious just from chatting with us for a few moments that we were upstanding citizens, high-achieving students and good people, but it took them a good 30 minutes to release us. They questioned me, detained Yotam, sent me back into the house which I was reluctant to comply with, and then demanded I come back down again. We were tired, it was after 1am, and I started getting nervous. What did they want with us?

Well, in the end, just as we'd expected, they let us go and left us alone. Stupid police. All I can say is, we're lucky this didn't happen to us in the States.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think!