Friday, October 21, 2011

A land flowing with hummus

SO lets see. I have to write this out because I'm super lost as to what day I am in. I left Wednesday morning for JFK. My NYC cab driver was Moroccan (we're now friends on facebook of course). That was a pretty cool little exchange. Then I flew to Moscow..altogether not a bad flight-I slept surprisingly well (yay for late nights before traveling!) and my Chinese rowmate was super friendly. Then I again fell asleep in the Moscow airport waiting for my connecting flight to Tel Aviv during which I also slept (this coming from the girl who "can't sleep on planes trains and automobiles"). Again, the airport experience at Tel Aviv also went surprisingly quickly and smoothly. I did get taken aside and questioned since I wasn't sure how long I would be staying, and planned to volunteer in the West Bank, but the woman was nice and just told me to go to the ministry of the interior near Nablus and get my visa changed. AND best of all I got ALL my luggage!!!

I took a shared cab from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem...which was long as the cab driver got lost dropping a couple of people off at specific places. I was dropped off at the Damascus gate (or near it rather) and then set off for the hostel I found online. Walking the narrow, incredibly crowded, cobblestone streets of Jerusalem's old city with about 140 pounds distributed between two rolling duffles and a backpack was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I finally arrived at what I thought was the hostel...but turned out to be a different one. Thank was about 50 meters closer, had free wifi and a complimentary breakfast and was only a few dollars more than the other which had neither of these things. The hotel owner was very nice too. He had lived in America for years and we chatted for a few minutes. I went to my room, got on the internet and took pictures on the roof. Then, I set out to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is apparently the site of Calvary/ Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. It was hard to imagine since it has been since turned into a church in the middle of the Old City, but it was still very cool to see. Then I walked around and was stopped by a very friendly shopkeeper. We started chatting and when I told him why I was here he told me to sit down and came back with a delicious hummus filled pita and lemonade. I stayed and talked for about an hour and then he closed down the shop. He gave me his number in case I ever got into trouble.

Back at the hostel I took an ice cold shower and took some more night photos on the roof. The air was cool and fresh. I absolutely love it here. During the day the sun is warm, but the air is dry and soft. There is practically zero humidity and a cool breeze sweeps by every so often. 

This morning I woke up to more hummus, pita and fresh veges (a perfect breakfast I might say). Then I walked to Mt. Zion and got to sit in the room said to be the Last Supper and Pentecost room. It has since become both a church and a mosque at different points I believe. I managed to get the room to myself right before it was attacked by two tour groups, and then again once they left. As I was just studying Acts a few weeks ago, it was very meaningful to put an image with a name. I imagined the room thousands of years ago, a pretty unique experience (I'm not usually very moved by historical sites even if I deeply appreciate them).

There were a few other sites I hit up in the area (David's tomb and Mary's crypt), and after again being offered a friendly elder's number in case I ever need anything, I  returned to my hostel, where I am now. In a few minutes I will depart to the bus station. Thank God the owner offered one of his helpers to help me with alllllll my stuff to the bus station, as its QUITE a hike (yesterday was mostly down hill). I don't usually like accepting such help, BUT my body is not in the mood for complete destruction, and since I still have a bus and shared cab ride before I get to Nablus...I'll take all the help I can get...

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