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Israel is a great place to jam

by John Titcomb
November 30, 2004

Here with a report on our trip to Israel:

    --TV shows
    --all hours, all venues, all angles, all spins, all ages, both sexes!


Conclusions: Israel is a great place to jam, there are many good players there and many, many new players too, and any tournament there is sure to be a success. Special thanks to Dori Yaniv.

After 20+ hours in the air and a calendar day later, flying Seattle-Newark-Rome-Tel Aviv, Steve "the Beast" Hays and I arrive on Thursday Sep 16, uneventfully. We grab our luggage, go through the nothing to declare door (unless it shoulda been Matt Nails and heinsville rings) turn the corner, and are met immediately by Dori and Etai who after frisbee hugs take us directly to our hotel (the Eshel, a budget hotel that fit us perfectly, 2 minutes from Herzelia Beach). We know not to take any naps, and so we switch to jam clothes, grab our discs (nails already on, of course), and head to the beach, and this is all within an hour of landing!

Herzelia Beach is packed. In fact it's packed with beach paddle ball players. (Actually, while we were there it was always packed with paddle-ballers; it's an unofficial national sport? The beach was also always packed with pretty girls when we went there; this must be another unofficial national sport?!) But our eyes catch the glint of Skystylers to the south, and 5 minutes later we're in jam heaven! There are probably 15 jammers in action on the hardpack, some who I know from Riminis and Paganellos, and we meet guys from the army who jam, we meet Arnon and Dragon and Nerl and Hila and Tal and Becky and and and ... we jam a couple-three hours 'til the glorious golden sunset over the Mediterranean. Yes, we're in Israel.

So we earned a good nights sleep and get up late, have a hotel breakfast toward noon, and head to the beach: wow, there's a jam in progress. More new jammers, and we jam 'til dark!! I've lost track of my phlauds, gitis's, and spins, and Beast can barely crush a btb anymore; so then we go to Dori's for dinner (late) and get to be part of his family's new year meal, relax, etc. etc. Thank you, thank you. And there _are_ a couple pretty girls around.

Day done? NO, NO, NO, young man. We head out for the nightlife, with Dori and Geiger. First stop, the Feature Movie Bar, one of two sit-down-eat-watch-a-firstrun-flick places that Barak manages. Barak is a welcome site for these eyes! We also see Arnon again, too, watch the Butterfly Effect, and grab a bite and a beer. And still there are lots of pretty girls, and yes, we're in Israel. Sleep? No way. In the square in front of the theater Dori, Beast, Geiger, Etai, and I jam another hour+, with a cameo walk-on by one of the appreciative bystanders helpfully launching our disc safely onto the roof and out of play! No matter, another disc appears and on we go, with Dori's crowd appeal quite evident!

Next day, Saturday, Beast, Arnon and Barak do a morning jam near Beach9, and Titcomb gets to sleep in. Beast recovers with beers over lunch, and we both watch the ahem pretty girls, until we meet Etai and soon others on the packed sand for our next jam. It's darn windy, but we persevere. A bit later we meet Dori again for the ride to the Sportek park in Tel Aviv, our main event for this day. The place is a big 24/7 hightech sports park, climbing wall, bungie cage, skateboard ramps, etc park on the north edge of Tel Aviv, and the event is FLOW's new year's celebration. At least two mob-ops are going all the time, and there's a field full of throw and catch happening. The ultimate teams from the Tel Aviv area are also here, and they play a couple games while the rest are jamming. I'm happy to say hi to a couple Holylanders who I met at Paga.

At a certain point, we break and gather and pour honey into upside down discs, dip our apple wedges, and make toasts all around, with Beast making a mighty good speech (mine was pretty lame). Then we go back to the discs, until well past dark! And did we pass a disc window-to-window between cars while freeway driving back to Herzelia? I don't remember very well. Then we eat at Humus Mama's place, where you'll have to get the rest of the story from Beast.

So next day, Sunday is it, we rest? No, no, we keep going! Barak, Beast, and John jam a couple hours on the beach in the morning, 'til it gets too hot, and we reward ourselves with beers and baywatching at Beach9 until hunger sets in. Then Barak rewards us more with the best burgers in Israel at The Agadir, near one of his clubs, and Beast falls in love (again) with a pretty blonde. Rest yet? no way. Beast and I show up at 7p for our 9p appointment on the blue carpet and figure to warm up easy... but, again, no way: we attract a couple delayers we haven't met before and jam away until Etai, Geiger, Dean, Dori, Noa, and some others show. And then Barak arrives, and he and Dori go off; it's fireworks! Barak leaves at about midnight, but we keep jamming and jamming and then we head to the Reggae show! Pretty cool, ya man, irie, and then when the band breaks Dori and Beast do a demo, and they even get me into it! And later Geiger tells Beast how to get the girls, but you'll have to ask Beast for the rest of that story, too.

The blue carpet? There's a permanent outdoor Rimini- and Viareggio-type jamming carpet jamsite right on Herzelia beach, with lights and a good sound system and with adjacent outdoor seating, beach umbrellas, and a bar. This would be a perfect place for any part of a tournament that wasn't on the hardpack or at an inland venue like the Sportek or Rabin Square. (The hardpack is more extensive than Rimini's, flatter than Santa Cruz's, but not quite La Jolla Shores or Ocean Shores.)

So next day it's Monday or maybe it's Tuesday 'cause I've lost track of time, and we go to the TV studios for a couple hours. While we've been jamming these days Dori's been teaching frisbee classes (that's his day job these days btw), and he'd arranged for live disc segments for 6 kids shows that week on national TV, and we get to attend one. Maybe 30 kids show up all jazzed to play, and we do. Then they go on live TV with Dori explaining some throws, the kids doing a catching game, then a mini-Ultimate demo. Fun stuff, and fantastic national exposure for flying discs!

Then Tuesday night at 10p we drive with Dori to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, surely one of the main squares, maybe 100m by 100m, a lit up, and ALL FILLED with frisbee players. Tuesday night must be the National Flying Disc Night, and everybody is there! There are two if not three mob-ops, and maybe 25 pairs of throw and catch, continuous through the night. I have a special throw and catch with Noa, I see Dor's improved, Ayal is hot, Yinon is hot, Dan catches his gitis, Ofer gets it going. Etc, etc. When we leave at 2a the scene is still happening.

By now I really am losing track of the days, and there's talk of a general strike, which would close the airport, and we develop plans to jam with Ido and others in Jerusalem. Fortunately the strike ends after only one day, and we're off to Viareggio, where Beast and I have other adventures, but that's another story, too.

OK, OK, so now you get the idea. Beast and I were there for 6 days, and we jammed about 12 times totalling about 40 hours, probably more. This was neat. No tourism.

Special mention goes to Oriel, Zion, Amit, and Lusti, who as a group are the best young jammers I know of anywhere right now. And there are some other kids, too, for sure. And notably there are some young adult players who are already excellent and will only, duh, get better, to world class level, soon. While I've tried to name a lot of the players, I know I've left a bunch out, apologies, and I know I've mangled some spellings. We didn't actually meet everyone, there were so many. Like David, and Yinon's brother, and the guy in the 69 shirt, other people in the army, and and.

Dori and his crew in Israel have a great thing going. Congratulations!

Z you all again.
John Titcomb
(writing from Seattle)

PS I had absolutely no security concerns while I was there. (Errors, omissions, and any tactless insults are this author's fault; Beast can claim his own later.)

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