Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hey all.
Been having a great time so far in Israel. It is so good to be back. There is something so wonderful about this place that I can't quite put my finger on- and each time I have been here I know that it will not be the last time that I will come. I am staying in hostel that is in the old city which is a walled in section of Jerusalem. The hostel is in this old cave like building with lots of little couches and people sleeping all over the place- as well as on the roof- which I thought about doing because it is cheaper- however the nights here are actually a bit cold. Apparently it is a pretty Israeli thing to do to sleep on the roof however.

Last night I went out for dinner with someone from the hostel and we got some over priced armenian food in the armenian quarter- which was interesting- and one of the only meals I have had in Israel that mixed milk and meat. However, afterwards we walked around the Jewish Quarter and we came accross an Orthodox Jewish wedding party that was right in the sort of lowered courtyard area of the Four Sepharidic Synagogues- so we were able to sort of look down and watch the party. They were partying hard- let me tell you- dancing away to the sort of modern Klezmer band that was playing. It was prettty areobic looking dancing too. There was a womens area and a mens area for dancing, which was generally respected- through not always. it was pretty cool watching them all. See picture below!

Today I slept way later than I meant to again- for some reason I am just exhausted- but I went out finally and got some shwarma and looked out over Jerusalem. I got sort of lost as I wandered through the quarters and I walked along the outer wall for some time. Later I wandered out of the Old City for the first time- looking for this modern art museum which is focused on political/social work- which I finally found after walking through the Muslim- and not so touristy- section of town. Thankfully today I wore a long skirt and loose sweater- making me blend in a little bit which has kept me from being hassled as much-- I have learned that the right clothes and a confident walk can go a long way. Finally I got to the museum- called Museum on the Seam- which I quite enjoyed, and headed back for a rest at the hostel.

Went out again after a rest and some rain with another guy from the hostel and got some dinner (more felafel- hey it is the right price what can I say?) and walked around the new part of the city- which I have to say is less exciting than the old for sightseeing. However when we got back we found a rooftop walk where we could see the city at night, and then we went to the Western wall- something I would have never thought of doing at night- but it turned out to be a great idea. It was less crowded and really beautiful. Definitley a different experience than last time.
It was still pretty crowded thought. It is open 24 hours aday apparently-I wonder if there are always people there.

When I have gone there it has been an intense experience for me- not so much because I believe the site to be all that holy in itself... but I find the way in which people pray there to be so special. That is what makes the place holy to me. And in touching the wall I really did feel that I had a physical sensation of sort of awe and calm- perhaps because of all the energy so many millions of people have poured into those stones. I really love it there.
Anyways. I really love israel. Just like last time I feel a part of it somehow even though I am very clearly a tourist. I also feel very proud of it- for better or for worse- since of course I am not proud of all the horrible things that have also happened here.
Only one negative experience so far where I got duped out of about 20 american dollars while changing money the other day. But..... life goes on... what can I say?

Oh!-- other photos:
This was a sign in a Jewelry shop I was in.

An attempted photo of myself of me in the holy city :)

Alright- good night all- more thoughts to come- Israel still tops my list as one of the most thought provoking destinations I have ever been to!

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