Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Street fair, now with frog man

Last night, I went to a street fair on Emek Refaim, a hip street near the Merkaz, the arts center where the WUJS Arts students have our class.  It was incredibly crowded and fantastically fun; after the customary search at the entrance, we were greeted by the pulsating beats of an electro-funk-dance band whose name I do not know.  I do know that its drummer is pretty insane.  They were still setting up like most of the bands and were not yet in full flight.

As we walked through the packed street, we saw food, jewelry, crafts of all kinds, and circus freaks.  My favorite was probably the frog man on top of a bus stop, playing a stringed instrument (my thanks to Adina for the pictures!).

The crown hints that he is at least a prince among frog men.  However, the tough economy must have hit the frog man economy hard if even their prince is trying to make a little extra cash playing street festivals.

By the way, no one in the US should ever complain about rudeness in a crowd.  In Israel, even old women don't say "excuse me" or "pardon me" when moving through a crowd.  Everyone just pushes.  What passes as polite or impolite here has taken some adjustment.  Or as one Israeli told us, telling a server "Give me falafel!" is polite.  Most Israelis just say "falafel!" and turn back to their cell phones.

All this walking, gawking, and talking was thirsty work so I bought fresh strawberry lemonade at a stand.  This wasn't strawberry flavored lemonade; it was freshly squeezed strawberry juice mixed with lemonade.  It was also delicious and quite refreshing.  Adina was distracted by shinies, Alex enjoyed his last cigar, Rock ate his precious schwarma, and we headed back home.

However, the band from the beginning was playing a full set, using the oh-so typical layout of drums, bass, keyboard, female rapper, and didgeridoo.  The crowd ate it up and danced alongside a fire twirler.

Honestly, it could have been a street festival in any interesting city in America, albeit with more Jews, schwarma, and ventilation system cleaning robots on stilts.


  1. I got some cool photos of some fire dancers (from mexico I think) in Jerusalem after Shabbat a few weeks ago. When I post (ALL my photos) I will send you a link. Glad you are having fun. Street festivals in Jerusalem are awesome.

  2. I think you mentioned before that the Israelis have no phrase for "excuse me" or other terms of social forgiveness. Therefore, they do no recognize rude behavior.

  3. Oh, they have "Excuse me" and use it to get people's attention. They're just very pushy in a way that can put off others. It's not really a criticism, just an observation about etiquette.

  4. Is schwarma the same as schawarma?