This afternoon, I wandered through Ha Carmel and Nahalat Binyamin markets in Tel Aviv.  In my mind, I had somehow managed to blur these two together, and ended up in a deja vu moment where I was walking through a food market thinking I had gone to a touristy crafts market.  This happened to me when I visited the Ismalovsky Market in Moscow -- I followed the crowds and ended up off course.  Today, while I enjoyed the intensity of the food market, it was the crafts that I was after.  Eventually, I turned down a side street and ended up in the correct market, after passing through a manned entrance gate.

A market is a market anywhere in the world, but at Nahalat Binyamin, most of the wares related to Judiasm.  The crowd was homogenous, with lots of my loud fellow Americans present.  In contrast, the Ha Carmel market felt more like "it's a small world", including the surprising (to me) sight of a butcher shop with a big pig and Chinese lettering on their logo (pork is not Kosher).

At a couple of different places in the Nahalat Binyamin market, Hasidic Jewish men were offering to put Tefillin on passers-by.  I am not sure why -- it seemed out of place to me.

Eventually, the sky opened up with a five minute downpour, which convinced me it was time to rest for a bit.  I stopped to buy some bread in the food market, delicious pita sold in multiloaf packages.  Yum.  Falafel is next on the must-do list.

Backing up, the rest of the journey over was uneventful.  Eight hours later, I am still thinking about the man sitting next to me on the flight.  We hadn't spoken all that often during the flight, but at one point, shortly before he said his morning prayers, he looked over at me with a big smile and a knowing wink.  He offered thoughts on what I should see while here.  

As we landed at Ben Gurion Airport, he wished me a good visit and said, "you need to come to Israel more often".  I am sure that is not the last time I will hear that this week.

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