Saturday, May 26, 2007

Alma, the heterogeneous beach

View of Yaffo from Alma beach at sunset
A few days ago, on the shavuot holiday, we met friends for breakfast at Alma Beach. Alma is both the beach closest to the rooftop and also the prettiest beach on the whole strip. To the immediate south, a few hundred metres away, lies the Yaffo promontory with its church spires and ancient stone skyline gently descending to the old fishing port. This proximity to Yaffo, as well to south Tel Aviv in general, makes Alma Beach the natural playground for the diverse populations who live in the area. Yuppie Neve Tsedek parents pick at calamari and supervise their kids behind expensive sunglasses ; Arab women wade into the waves, their black dresses ballooning around them. Gaggles of Filipino women from the Neve Sha'anan area, home for most of Tel Aviv's foreign workers, giggle and take photographs of each other. Ruddy Russian families scorn the pricey beach cafe for a picnic hamper and cheap beer. On the wide lawns behind the beach, entire families set up tents for the day , grilling meat, playing soccer and Arabic music. On the paved promenade, spandex joggers and fearsome bikers swerve between the tubby strollers. (I'll try to post some photographic evidence of all this in future blogs).

There wasn't a seat to be had on the beach itself so we ate breakfast on the paved area next to the kiosk. From this vantage point Hanan took this photo of the kitchen workers from Manta Ray, the fish restaurant next door, on their lunch break. The girls at the back are Asian , the guys in the foreground could be Jewish or Arab. Sitting behind us were two 60-ish Russian ladies who also seemed to belong the restaurant (click the pic for details).

Someone wrote in today's Ha-ir ('The City', one of the local Tel Aviv papers) that people come to the beach to behave like dogs: they chase frisbees and dig holes in the sand.

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