April 30, 2009

Tel Aviv Pocket Watch Purchase
Giv'atayim, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

It's infrequently discussed, but certainly no secret that I love pocket watches. I first started carrying one back in Guatemala in June 2006, after the LCD screen on my point-and-shoot camera broke (which I'd also been using to tell the time).

Visible displays of wealth and the micromanagement of time aren't something I typically endorse while traveling, and for me, those two principles basically converged and manifested themselves in me purchasing an $8 pocket watch in Quetzaltenango.

"Classy but discreet—just like me…" —I use to love saying this with a wry smile to the lady that'd noticed and taken an interest in the uncommon sight pulled from my pocket.

So, after nearly three years of use, several battery replacements and a hinge repaired on the streets of Colombia, you can imagine my utter heartbreak when the little fellow got crushed by a taxi's wheel in Damascus about month ago.

I don't own very many things, and when something gets broken or misplaced (especially an object with a long history of travel alongside me), it can be emotionally disturbing.

Thankfully, Tel Aviv has proven to be a location where pocket watches (both antique and mass-produced) are surprisingly abundant—second only to Buenos Aires for such things—and am lucky enough to have a provocative Peruvian lady in tow to negotiate with the male Israeli shopkeepers. I spotted the watch a few weeks prior, got their opening price, and sent Tatiana back in (solo) to do her magic.

My new pocket watch cost me 80 shekels—about US$21.

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