Need a good beach read? Visitors to Tel Aviv‘s Metzizim Beach can now borrow books for reading on the sand. The city has launched the first beachside library, providing over 500 free book rentals in five languages, including English, Hebrew, Arabic, French and Russian. Prefer to read online? Tel Aviv is also one of the most connected cities, with more than 80 free Wi-Fi spots for public use on the beaches, boardwalk, in parks and in major tourist areas.
Tel Aviv’s street art – in addition to sabich of course – was a highlight of my visit to Israel and the West Bank last spring. I snapped graffiti, spray-painted eggplants, political stencils and stickers.
Clearly I wasn’t the only one to find this element of Tel Aviv’s public culture interesting. Flickr user AlexSven photographed this complicated image in July of this year.
The rainy day colors and textures of Flickr user Better Nothing Than Almost’s photo caught my eye today. Taken near Tel Aviv, Israel, the blurry drops of water that cling to the window create an impressionist-like effect on the image. I love the hushed color palette, darkening skies and bursts of warm light. It feels eerie yet warm at the same time.
They say all art is subjective, and no artform is more contentious than graffiti. Some might say even a detailed mural is defacing public property, while others might consider a bawdy limerick on a bathroom wall to be social commentary. In recent years, artists like Banksy have elevated graffiti to public art. This Lego fellow cleverly rendered in 3-D shows his love for the city of Tel Aviv, taken by Flickr user mjlacey, as a great example of fun and positive street art.
Flying around Europe on low-cost airlines over the last few months has taught me a few things. Among the most useful lessons I’ve picked up: Baggage and check-in fees and charges are enforced quite unevenly.
European low-cost carriers present their customers with a frightening thicket of charges and fees. These charges, which serve as a revenue stream for the airlines, are less readily enforced by contract agents who are not direct employees of the airlines in question, though bona fide airline employees also appear to enforce them inconsistently.
Some anecdotes from the last few months follow.
In Tel Aviv in March I tried to inform the easyJet check-in agent–clearly not an employee of easyJet–that, having failed to pay to check a bag online, I would need to cough up some shekels to do so. Not only did she refuse to take money to check my duffel bag but she clearly had no idea that I was supposed to be charged to check by bag in the first place.
Flying airBaltic between London and Finland last month, I was made to weigh my carry-on en route to Finland by an airBaltic agent. Returning, the contract employee in Oulu didn’t ask me to weigh my bag, which, at 9 kilos, was right at the weight limit.
Three events, arguably, serve as a representative sample. I flew WizzAir last week to and from the Balkans. WizzAir demands that its customers’ carry-on bags not exceed ten kilos, but neither the agent at Luton nor the at Dubrovnik on my return weighed my bag to see if it had exceeded the limit. In both cases I was very likely just over the baggage weight limit.
This is a case not so much of lessons learned than of a pattern observed. Contract check-in agents don’t appear to have been taught about the intricacies of their employers’ rules and regulations, first off. Secondly, and just possibly, if your carry-on bag looks diminutive, you may be able to get away with a few extra kilos.
That said, this is not an official Gadling recommendation to start to think of these charges and fees as inconsequential. They’re imposed to make money and they succeed in doing so for their airlines. To some degree, I’m sure I was simply lucky in these instances. But clearly the fees and charges are not being enforced as fully as they were designed to be.
[Image: Flickr | jenny-bee]