My wife and son had gone to bed, but I was still hungry, so I headed to Don Camillo, one of the restaurants at The Jaffa hotel in Tel Aviv.
I brought my laptop along and had planned to work while I ate, but instead I ended up chatting with the waiters…
Very Friendly Waiters
One waiter saw that I took a picture of the dining room and of my appetizers and asked me why. It wasn’t in a demanding or threatening way, but just out of curiosity.
I explained to him that I am a travel blogger and I write hotel reviews. He wanted to learn more and I told him how I started, what I wrote about, and pulled out my laptop and showed him my blog. He kept asking questions…about traffic, revenue, and publicity. I gave him some ballpark figures and he was shocked. I guess he had no idea you could make decent money writing a blog. I emphasized that it must be a labor of love, not a job, and that it took years to earn any revenue (I’ve been blogging for 10+ years now on Live and Let’s Fly).
He apologized for “bothering” me and I quickly stopped him and indicated it was no bother at all. I enjoyed the conversation very much and heck, I was sitting alone anyway.
So I returned to my work and then another waiter came up. He was an electronics guy and noticed my 16″ MacBook Pro and my iPhone 11 Pro I was using to take photos. According to him, these had not reached Israel yet in a widespread way and he asked if he could take a look.
I’m not one to generally hand over my phone to a stranger, but he was standing right next to me so I obliged him. He loved the new camera…
Then we started talking about the laptop and he asked me how it was working for me. I explained I had upgraded to it because my old computer was several years old and could not really handle the burden of running Windows and Mac OS simultaneously, which I need for my other business. He recommended I switch from Parallels to Boot Camp, but I love Parallels because you can run the two operating systems seamlessly in Coherence mode.
Anyway, it was another nice talk.
My main course arrived and I was left alone for a bit (though I had another conversation about kanafeh after I finished).
I didn’t get much work done during dinner, but I walked away very satisfied.
This was literally a first for me. I have long chats with waiters and waitresses in LA, but that’s because I go to the same restaurants each week…not because they are friendly with strangers.
I’m not sure if it was Israeli hospitality or it just so happened that the two guys liked my electronic devices, but it certainly made eating alone a little more fun! It was just one reason I loved Tel Aviv so much.
Do waiters ever come up to you and just start talking?
That happens in Italy a lot. I had many occasions the owner of a small restaurant spent a lot of time talking to me and my family. I like it a lot since you learn about the culture and they always bring something special for you to try. As long as they are not intrusive that is ok.
Interesting indeed. Israelis are a friendly bunch.
But when I stayed at the Jaffa in December, it was clear that more than half the staff are not Israelis (in fact, they could not communicate in Hebrew at all).
These two were Israelis for sure.
Love your reviews about Israel! I read them all! I moved to Israel in 2004 (from Holland) and it’s nice to see some positive news about one of the most interesting places in the world.
Don Camillo used to be a popular name for restaurants, due to the popularity of the original stories as well as the series of films in the ‘50s and ‘60s with Fernandel and Gino Cervi. It’s not seen much these days, but it can be assumed that the owner of a Don Camillo is at least literate and with a sense of humour, although that’s no guarantee of great food.
The food here was excellent.
A couple of generations ago, Israel waiters resembled Soviet waiters: “What do you want and why are you bothering me?” That is no longer the case, and nowadays your experience is closer to typical than to unique.
We Israelis never shut up. LOL. Part of our culture and we are very welcoming to guests.