July 4th, 2008

Willow

Jeweller comes through!

First things first, the jeweller very kindly met us at our hotel this morning at 8. I was worried about the payment for the Magen David but in the end he drove me to his shop, I paid with Visa and then he dropped me back at the hotel. He was a very nice man really.

So, nu? What did I buy? D says "Magen" means "shield" so technically I was looking for a Shield of David. But in the quest, I discovered what I actually prefer is the Seal of Solomon. A minor technicality on the construction of the star. Meanwhile, this is what I bought:

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And here it is on me (sorry, this was the best light I could get) and you can also see that yes, I have seen too much sun already (I promise I am wearing sunscreen):

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I had a little bit more money leftover from the gift my Grandmother left me. I bought these candlesticks in Jerusalem today because I wanted to start my own home and you need candlesticks to light candles on Friday night and I thought I might like my set to come from Jerusalem. It was only after I bought them that I realised they cost about the same as what I had leftover from the Magen David, and so I have decided that my Grandmother gifted me these too:

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Handmade - glass and silver. And yes, it's gonna be a pain getting them home without breaking. I love them.

Willow

Jerusalem

Yesterday P and I headed back to Jerusalem to do the "other" stuff. I woke to my mother's several emails worried that I had been in J the day before when some dude went crazy down Jaffa Road in a bulldozer killing 3 people and injuring like 40. Hmmmm... had to decide if we should still go. But, this is Israel and if you don't do stuff for that kind of reason, you'll never do stuff here. But I did like the way we thought it through ... well, it was just a crazy guy, not a terrorist (as though they aren't crazy) so we'll go. I liked the politicising of "crazy" for some reason.

We did well I think to navigate ourselves to the bus station, to the sherut and then from the sherut stop in Jerusalem to the Jaffa Gate in the Old City. Then we wandered a little and stopped for coffee just inside near the first of many Souks (markets).

My cappuccino:
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The day I think can only be explained either by the fact that I was wearing my Kabbalah red scrap of yarn on my left wrist, or my Grandmother came along and guided us. Because P and I had absolutely no idea - of what we wanted to see, of how to read the map, of how to get out of being lost inside the Souk. So... we found the nearest coffee shop we could for the above refreshments. Then we decided to find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which looked to be a bit of a walk to the other side of the block we were on - like a 10 min walk or something. We come out of the small square where we had coffee, turn left and walk three shops up and what do we see? The sign labelling the Holy Sepulchre. We've caffeinated in the shadows of:

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To be honest, it was a bit underawing. It is the place of worship for 6 different strands of Christianity and is overflowing with people speaking different languages and stopping to say quick prayers at different corners of the church. In every nook and cranny there is a different, ornate altar but you can't really see anything cause there are no lights on. So in between all the lavish little corners, there's like falling down building in darkness. I thought it was weird. Nonetheless, P found her appropriate location (will right up the photo when I get back tonight):

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And ... here is the stone upon which they prepared Jesus for burial:

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Obviously after this we needed coffee. Instead we decided to shop in the Souk for chachkas until lunch. Well ... we certainly covered a goodly amount of ground in the Souks. We figured out that what we thought were little alley or laneways were actually streets and eventually we got our bearings. This was when we did the shopping where I got the candlesticks, in the Cardno and in a sort of more upmarket little row of shops right before you get spit out into the Jewish Quarter. And then we were exhausted (a tour bus came through the shop just as we were trying to buy our candlesticks - P bought the set I originally fell in love with in green but I prefer the little blue stones in the set I bought).

So then we stopped for lunch - falafel. And then we tried to figure out our way to the Rock, Dome of the. We did get wincy bit lost but eventually found our way - people in the Souk are really very helpful directing you, the trouble is remembering that the laneways are *streets*! We finally found the Western Wall again, skirted it - it is still so very very beautiful to me - and then we stood in the line to go to the Temple Mount.

So ... I went up onto the Temple Mount. I debated it for a while - in the context that Jewish people are forbidden to go there by the Torah ... and then I went. My curiosity got the better of me and the Temple is not going to be rebuilt in my time and I kinda wanted to see the Dome.

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Me not looking my best, in front of the Dome - see how crap I look? Remember this for the next section of this tale:
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And some of the tiles which I got to see up close:
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I still have no idea why it is so hard to get into see the Mosque - queuing, it was only open for an hour and you have to go through security and bag scan to go in and then, you can just exit straight back out into the Souk with only 2 policemen just casually hanging about. Meanwhile, we were back in the Souk armed only with our chachka lists to fill. We did yet more shopping. This is when things started to go awry, I think. We found one little shop and were looking and the son decided to serve us and either took a shine to me (I am going to stop wearing pink I think) or thought being exceedingly flirty was a good way to sell stuff. It was so hot in their shop that I was sweating like a pig (in pink) and he is all sidling up to me ... for you, a special price because I love your eyes... and then he totally freaking touched my boob! Are you single? Are you married? ... It was ... horrible! And then he continued to call me "honey" in this coy manner. I wanted to be sick. I bought some stuff to make him go away and then waited as lowkeyed as I could for P to finish her purchases. It took like 10 minutes and I felt revolting the whole time.

So then I didn't feel nice and it was hot and I was tired and all the shops were looking the same and I just wanted to get out of the Souk and it's little streets and people calling out at you all the time. P was done too so we decided to high tail it down some of the Via Delorosa and out. Well we did like maybe one station of the Via Delorosa, bought some chachkas (hey, it was a good price!) and suddenly, for some unknown reason (and luckily cause I can read Hebrew) found ourselves spat out the New Gate and back into the New City.

Phew!

I think at that point, I started to shut down. I had been very alert cause of being extra careful in Jerusalem. We found a toilet stop and then decided to skip coffee and get back to Tel Aviv. Somewhere around this time, P describes it like a switch in my brain and I just froze and was basically nonfunctional. We got a taxi to get the sherut and I had no recollection of where it was and how we caught it last time and would have stood on the street waiting for a very long time. P saw that I was not there anymore and took over and got us on a sherut out. I even fell asleep on the way back to Tel Aviv and just felt rotten. We got back to TA, I skipped coffee and went back to the hotel to shower (off the gross man from the Souk) and had a 2 hour nap. I do not nap. Not ever. So I don't know what happened. Even P who has only known me this week was like: you switched off and it just doesn't seem to be like you.

I am supposed to drink 3 L of water a day according to my trainer and I didn't do it yesterday. I think that was part of the problem.

Today I am going to be drinking lots of water but we are also visiting relatives in Haifa which should require less energy.