Two parties in Tel Aviv
Last week was a bit quiet on the blog - mainly because it wasn't that quiet off the blog.
I headed off to Tel Aviv, Israel, for a work conference. I've not been to Israel before but everything I read said Tel Aviv is the livlier, "more youthful" place to visit, as compared to its more historic neighbours.
As ever, I can't speak from great experience on the city itself. As I've mentioned before, the nature of work conferences is generally that we fly in and out pretty swiftly for the start and end of the conference.
But even with my short stay, I got a sense of how beautiful the city is.
The opening cocktails for the event were held at the Susan Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre. As night fell over the city, the centre's main square was filled with the clink of glasses as colleagues and friends from around the world met.
The beauty of events like this is we get to sample some of the local and unusual food.
The Susan Dellal Centre is a stunning venue and the night' entertainment ranged from a string group to a dance troup. But it was the performence between these two which really caught the eye. A female opera singer was raised above the stage on a platform and proceded to sing a collection of well-known soprano pieces, to a drum & bass backing. It was best described by an Irish chap I was sepaking to at the time who, after contemplating it for a moment, handed down the following review: "What on earth is going on?"
But if we thought the opening event's entertainment took us to an unusual place, we have another think coming.
Gala dinners at these affairs are usually straight-laced black tie events, which descend into drunken revelry. So those of us who had not read our emails properly were surprised to find out that the gala dinner dress code was "ultra casual, preferably white".
This sparked a slew of swift shopping trips and outfits changes from those who were only equipped with a tuxedo or cocktail dress. I decided to swap my planned three-piece suit for an open neck shirt, waistcoat and trousers. As Oscar Wilde said: "You can never be over-dressed."
We were transported to Hanger 11, which I was told it "the place to go for an event in Tel Aviv".
Outside a makeshift beach had been constructed, complete with beers in barrels and grab-and-go food stands.
These guys were offering pieces of pretzel dipped into flavoured oils which ranged from oil or garlic to a herb mix which tasted amazing, but I have no idea what was in it.
There was even a chap doing sketches while dressed as a mariachi.
Inside, however, it all changed. A full beach scene had been constructed, complete with performers, food stands and a bar.
But the best was yet to come. How does one follow up on drum & bass opera? With a muppet rock cover band, of course.
These guys covered everything from Adele to Rag'n'Bone Man.
And once they were done the night moved on and continued until the early hours, fueled primarily by the biggest chocolate table I have ever seen.
Oh and one travel tip to take away from this: If you are flying out of Israel leave lots of time for security, but don't worry about liquids in your hand luggage, they couldn't care less how much you have.