The American Beach Bum Embassy in Israel
Giv'atayim, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
I'd passed by it at least twice before I even realized what it was—and even that took breaking out a tourist map to make sure I was in the right spot. I laughed a bit and said to myself, This is the American embassy?
For those that have seen what an American embassy or consulate looks like abroad, you're familiar with the commonalities that most have shared between them—chiefly, an imposing building that looks more like bunker or a modern-day fortress than anything else.
The footprint of an American embassy or consulate in a city is not a small one—it's presence is felt—and can easily be a topic of conversation depending on the temperament of the country it's located in.
So, given my experiences with these buildings in the past, you'll understand my disbelief when I discovered that the embassy building that I was looking at—here, in the middle of all this Middle Eastern drama—looked like it was built to staff a bunch of surfers who come in after a few sets on the morning breaks, not security-minded desk jockeys.
In the photos below, you'll see that this thing is right on the beach (next to the main boardwalk!), and totally flavorless. Next to it there's a MASSIVE hotel peering down onto the structure, perfect vantage points for those who'd rather snipe or blow things up than go on living.
And of course, what's American soil without a massive flag to signify it? But at this location, just a tiny little fellow was flying that you pretty much can't even see.