Hannah and Je together

Monday, 1 September 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifty Seventh Day – Last Day

There was no class on the last day.  The school always told us that the last class is Thursday, but the day before, the secretary of the language centre told us that there would be no class on the last day.  But we just had small ceremony.

I left the house around 10:30 in the morning because the ceremony was at 11.  I asked the family to call a cab, and I paid 20 shekels from home to school.  Do you remember the cab driver on my first day in Bethlehem who yelled at us and dropped us in the middle of the way to the Siraj centre because we refused to give him 25 shekels?  Home-Bethlehem University is 3/4 longer than Siraj-Bethlehem University, and today’s driver charged me 20 shekels.

Classmates.  Lina from Germany, me, Cletos from Ghana, Mateo from Italy.  Anna from Switcherland is not here

Classmates. Lina from Germany, me, Cletos from Ghana, Mateo from Italy. Anna from Switzerland is not here

The ceremony was simple, and I’ve got a certificate.  Anna from Switzerland could not attend the ceremony because her airline emailed her that her flight is changed one day earlier, which is Thursday.  So she went to the airport.  And the Spoken Arabic Level 1 teacher did not show up too.  Anna is from Switzerland, but working in Germany.  She is very nice girl, but also very strong in her opinion and people must agree with her.  Once we were talking about the war, and she was demonising Israel with the number of death in Gaza.  I do not deny that many people were killed in Gaza by the Israeli attack.  I told her that Hamas also tried to attack, they just did not succeed.  Then she mentioned the number of deaths on both sides and said “how can it be the same!”  I also told her it is because Israel has defensive technology and successfully defended its citizens, not because Hamas was better in spirit and mind and refused to attack the other.  Then she became so mad.  I do not understand why so many people especially from Europe think Palestinians are good, but Israelis are pure evil?

A few days before the talk, our classmates, including Anna and I, were talking about airlines.  I said that I am flying with SWISS (Anna was happy), but I think Lufthansa is slightly better than SWISS.  At this point, she became so offended with that.  And yesterday, we were talking again in the class about the airlines.  I told her that SWISS is one of the top airlines.  Then she said with still little bit angry voice, “SWISS air is NOT one of the top airlines.  It is the ONLY TOP airline!  I am not saying this because I am from Switzerland.  It is just the FACT!”  I wanted to ask her to prove it with the numbers and evidences, but I just said, “OK” to avoid her anger.

Gemma from Spain

Gemma from Spain

After the ceremony, some of the students had lunch together.  And there were three people going to the airport including me.  Edward Fox, middle-aged guy from England wanted to join me but was not sure.  And Zoey from rural Illinois wanted to go to the airport with me and she asked me to wait for her in the bus stop for an hour.  Actually she came to the bus stop in two hours.  She is very spoiled daughter, and her father does everything for her even for now when she is in college, and consequently she does not know to do anything.

While I was standing next to the bus stop, the taxi drivers came to me to ask the taxi ride.  I told them that I am waiting for my friend, then they found that I speak Arabic, and became very curious about me.  So I was surrounded by them and talked two hours.  I found that Christians and Muslims have different greetings in Arabic.  Some of the people I talked have multiple wives (the maximum number is four).  Later, they began to shout “Fucking America” surrounding me as if they protest in front of the Embassy.  It was half joke and half serious.  They said no Palestinians like America and they hate it more than Israel.  Later, one of them advised me not to say I am from America but just say that I am a Korean because identifying oneself as an American is not wise in Palestine.

After waiting two hours, Zoey came to the bus stop, and I also found Edward too.  So we three journeyed to the airport together.  The bus was full of Students of Bethlehem University, Palestinians living in Jerusalem.  At the checkpoint, everybody got off the bus, and walked through the soldiers showing the permits and passports.  It was my first time getting off the bus for the checking.  Every time, the soldiers got on the bus.  And because of this, I lost my seat.

Edward’s flight was 9pm, Zoey’s 11pm, and mine was 5am next morning.  From Jerusalem, there are two ways to go to the airport.  Getting a sherut (or shared taxi), and using the public transportation.  The best and fastest way is to use the sherut.  I explained them about both ways, and I recommended the sherut.  But somehow, Edward insisted on the public transportation.  It was about 5pm, and I was kind of worried about his flight, but he insisted.  From the Damascus gate, we used light railway to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.  ANd we waited an hour and got on the bus to the Haifa, and got off at the airport city.  There we were supposed to get on the free shuttle, or any public bus to the airport terminals, but we did not see anything.  And finally we got on a cab all together.  It was about 8pm when we got to the airport terminal.  He ran as fast as he can.  Zoey went through the security check right away  because the security check begins three hours prior to the flight.  Later I met Edward again.  He told me that he missed the flight.  We spent three hours on the public transportation system when we could have just spent 45 minutes on sherut.

Ilaria from Italy

Ilaria from Italy

Here comes small stories from the trip.

My hosting family in Bethlehem has a Hyundai Tucson.  I do not know how they got this, but it must be from Korea.  The owner’s manual is in Korea.  The car speaks Korean (voice activated features and instructions).  The navigation systems also shows and speaks Korean.  And they cannot use any of the advanced features of the car including Bluetooth, multimedia features and navigation.  They just drive.  And they said that they suffer from Korean language.

The family has a daughter, and two sons.  And I stayed in the daughter’s room, and every night she slept on the couch in the living room (she graduated college).  I did not feel happy and comfortable about that.  Except, the hosting family was very good.  They are super nice people.

In Palestine (and probably all the Arab world), mother does everything.  Father cannot do anything about house chores, and children are the same.  once I wanted to do my laundry and asked the daughter where the washing machine is, and she asked me back if they have one.  Five minutes later I found it in front of her room.  The family do not even gather the laundry for their mother.  She goes everywhere to collect the laundry.  When I told another lady that men do half (or more) of the house chores in Canada and America, she was shocked.  And she said complaining about the house chore is not possible and if one does, then she is considered as an evil mother and evil woman.

In Palestine, people live in peace between them, not like in other areas of middle east where they kill each other.  Even Christians and Muslims have no problem living together in Bethlehem.  But in my perception, it is just because they face bigger problem of Israel.

As I wrote above, Palestinians hate America.  Then how about Israelis?  I was told many times from the Israelis that “Do you know we hate Obama?  All Israelis hate Obama”  when I told them that I am from Chicago.  America is fool, spends a lot of money and effort on both sides and being hated from both.

On the trip to Hebron together, the so-called tour guide was talking about Hamas. I was not actually listening because he has no logic in his speech. But Lina, the girl from Germany, told him that it is not 100% that she agrees. Then the guy began to yell at her. She was freaked out, and she stopped talking with him. I think that attitude will never work to make friends. And they need friends.

Yesterday when I was sitting on a bench in the school yard, an old gentleman (he is a professor at Bethlehem University) came to me and asked if I am a Korean.  I said that I am a Korea but I am from Chicago.  He told me that they have two exchange students from Korea every year, and he thought I am one of them.  We talked a bit more.  Suddenly he asked me if I fell in love with a Palestinian girl.  I said no.  He, then, pointing two girls sitting beside me, asked me again “Don’t you think the Palestinians girls are beautiful?”  I told him that I am married.  Well, this is third time that people tried to connect me with someone.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifty Third Day – Baraka Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem

The first day I came here, I found the sign of Presbyterian Church in front of the house where I am staying.  But my hosting family told me that they have not seen them worship on Sundays.

Church Entrance

Church Entrance

My hosting family told me that they heard of bigger Presbyterian church in Bethlehem, not do not know the exact location.  As a favour to me, the father of the family called his neighbour this morning who is in the Beit Sahour Presbyterian Church (the official name is Shepherds’ Field Presbyterian Church), and asked the location.  It was on the Hebron street, and he gave me ride there.

Church Building

Church Building

The church was on the down-side of the road (everywhere here is hill).  So the ground floor from my side (west) is underground level 1 from the other side (east).

Common Room in the church with pingpong table

Common Room in the church with ping-pong table

When you go in, you get to the back of the sanctuary.  And on the right, there is a door to the common room for after service refreshments.  There is a ping-pong table for the youth activities.

Simultaneous Translator Receiver

Simultaneous Translator Receiver

From the common room, you can enter the tech room where they control the overhead projector and computer, sound mixer and everything.  Even they have simultaneous translator equipment.  Today, a guy was translating in the tech room only for me.

Christmas Year Round

Christmas Year Round

In Bethlehem, it is Christmas year round.

Childrens' Story Time

Children’s Story Time

The service was much like ours in Canada or America (I mean PCC or PCUSA).  And there were about or little more than fifty people including children.  There was a Children’s story time, and then they went for Sunday School.  Though the service was much like ours, the demographic was quite different.  They are mostly young parents, probably around 20s and 30s.  I think that is good sign because even here, the church goers are mostly seniors for Greek Orthodox.  And the service was about hour and half (thank God it is not three hours like Greek Orthodox).

Back to School Gift

Back to School Gift

All the children were given a gift package at the Sunday school because the school begins tomorrow.

Playground at Church

Playground at Church

I know the churches in North America usually have yards and some rich Churches (like my church which is Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville) have even its own playground.  That is not true for churches in Korea.  I also haven’t seen any playground at Greek Orthodox Churches.  But this Presbyterian church has its own small playground.  I love it!

Olive Everywhere

Olive Everywhere

And it is kind of law in Palestine and Israel that where there is yard, there are olive trees.

I found that the Presbyterian church in Beit Sahour comes here to join the Sunday service because they do not have a lot of people, and it is the daughter church of Baraka Bethlehem Presbyterian Church.  They also have a day-care and education centre in Beit Sahour.  So instead of walking back hour and twenty minutes, I got a ride back home.  And thank God that the Beit Sahour Presbyterian church is literally right next door!

In the refreshments, people asked me a few questions such as if I am alone.  I guess they meant if I am single because they also told me that they have good Christian girls.  So I told them “Ana mit-jawiz,” which means I am married.  Another lady asked me how long I’ve been here.  I asked her back, “in Palestine?”  Then she said, “Thank you for saying Palestine.”  To give you an advice who wants to travel West Bank later, it is not safe to call there “Israel,” and they do not really like to be called “West Bank” either.  They are happy when they hear “Palestine.”

Who knows this?

Who remembers this?

They sell some souvenirs in the church along with some Christian music.  Some of them are in cassette tape.  I cannot really remember when was the last time that I listened to the cassette tape.  And I don’t have a cassette tape player, so I could not buy this one even though it was cheaper.  But does not the sales mean people actually listens to it?

Arabic Gospel CD

Arabic Gospel CD

Instead of the cassette tape, I bought a gospel music CD in Arabic.  I can borrow this CD if you are my neighbour and you want it.  The church was selling it for 30 shekels.  And I found later that it is cheaper if you buy it at Amazon.  But that is OK, it is just 5 shekels (which is about $2), and I may think I helped the church.

It is not related to today’s topic, but: the father of this hosting family installed an alarm app from the Israeli government that warns the location and sounds the siren when the missile launch was detected from Gaza so that people can run to the shelter. And it sounds the siren twice every minute, literally.  But the location is mostly southern Israel, so we don’t have to run.  Well, actually we don’t have a shelter to run in Beit Sahour or any Palestinian area in West Bank.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Forty Fifth Day – Food for Gazans

Today I went to a supermarket in Beit Sahour.

Palestinian Supermarket

Palestinian Supermarket

And it looks like the picture above, with huge Coke sign on it.

Food for Gazans

Food for Gazans

Then I found this shopping cart with a picture and an arabic writings on it which I could not read.  So I asked a girl working there.

Je: Marhaba (Hello)
She: Marhaba (Hello)
Je: Bihki Inglize? (Do you speak English?)
She: Yes.

This is my current Arabic level.  And then I asked her what the shopping cart is for.  She told me that it is for the food donation which will go to the people in Gaza.

My food donation

My food donation

So I bought two cans of food, and put them in the cart.

When I came back home and told the hosting family about that, they told me that every single supermarket in West Bank now has the food donation basket for Gazans.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread, Image from Google Image Search

And the father of the house has a close friend in Gaza, and yesterday he talked to him over the phone.  According to his friend in Gaza, there are food distributions there, but it is just almost nothing.  He waited eleven hours (actually he did six hours, and his wife did another five hours) in line, and all he got is one pita bread for whole his family.  NOT one STACK, but one PITA (the Palestinians do not call it pita, but I forgot the Arabic name of this bread).

A lady posted on Google+ that Gazans may freeze to death this winter because Israeli destroyed the houses.  But what is really urgent is not the cold weather in another four months, but the food to eat right today.  And as far as I know, Gaza is not that cold so that people would freeze to death.  I commented there asking how cold it is in Gaza, and she answered me after three days, “It is cold in Gaza.”  Well, that is not a real answer.  It is OK to blame Israel or others, but blame them with true facts, not fake lies.  There are thousands other true factors to blame them.

Anyway, I think we seriously need to help the Gazans with foods (not with money).  Why not with money?  Because the Hamas and political leaders use the money to buy weapons, to build tunnels, and to make themselves millionnaire.  And consequently the people stay hungry.  We need to help them with foods.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Seventh Day – To Eilat and People of Megiddo

I’ve got my hosting family arranged through the Siraj centre, and I also applied for some activities.  And the centre emailed me that the activities were cancelled due to lack of people, and also to come to the centre on Friday to get the refund.  I went to the Siraj centre because today is the Friday.  They sent the email a week ago, and when I went to the centre, they said that the money is not ready.

So I just wasted an hour.  From the centre, I took a taxi to the bus stop in Bethlehem.  The bus goes to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.  There I took the light railway to the central bus station.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

When I went to the ticket office in the central bus station, a guy approached to me asking where I am going.

He: Hey my friend, where are you going?
Je: To Eilat.
He: All the tickets to Eilat are sold out.
Je: What? The whole day ticket?
He: Yes.  How about private transportation?
Je: How much?
He: 200.
Je: In Shekel or Dollar?  Wait, let me ask the ticket office first.

When a stranger call you a friend, that means you need to watch out and be careful.  I asked the ticket office, and it was true that the ticket was sold out, but there were lots of seats left for the following bus at 2pm.  I was more than OK to wait 2 hours rather than paying stupid amount of money.

So I went to Eilat again and stayed at the same Hostel.

I did not have a chance to write about my excavation team at Megiddo.  The Lachish excavation did not have much people because most volunteers left Israel right after the war began due to the proximity of the location to Gaza.  And finally the site was shut down.  Actually most sites in southern Israel were closed.  And more than half of them left Israel, but some people like me joined the northern sites such as Megiddo.  The UCLA students were digging at Jaffa, but they also joined Megiddo.

My team, digging the same square were mostly from UCLA.  There was a girl named Sarah, Iranian American, and 18 years old.  She is the youngest in the whole Megiddo excavation people.  She will study in George Washington University for Archaeology, and she began her expedition since 10 years old.

Another girl who I would not reveal her name was quite lazy, but extremely talkative.  Other team members told me that she works only two days a week, and that was true.  She actually worked two days a week, and she reported herself sick for the other days while she looked healthier than any other people.  She told me that recently she came out as LGBT, but is not seeing anyone yet.

Two girls from UCLA, named Vanessa and Jennah told me that they are a team and their name is Va-Jennah whose pronunciation is very similar to the lady’s sexual organ.  So I asked them if that implies that, and they said yes.  They are the very best workers at my team.

Canadians mostly left Israel or cancelled their trip to Israel, but quite many American students remained.  I guess Americans are more brave or they are used to the gun violence.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Third Day – Rocket from Hamas

This is my first morning in the house in Beit Sahour, neighbouring city of Bethlehem.  I was having breakfast with the hosting family when the house shook and heard the huge explosion sound.

Building Attacked by a rocket

Building Attacked by a rocket

Everybody was very surprised and stunned, and we went out of the house.  All the neighbours also came out.  We saw black smoke was rising up from the downtown of Beit Sahour.  Because of the lady in this house went to downtown earlier, the host family and I went to the spot right away.  She was not there.  She was safe in other place.  And thank God that no one was killed.

Broken Building Pieces

Broken Building Pieces

There were lots of people and they were a bit angry, and about to be outrageous.  People were asking each other where the rockets are from – Israel or Hamas.  The Palestinian authority took the remain of the rockets, and later I was told from the Palestinian police officer that the rocket is Arabic, and most probably from Hamas.  Then everybody became calm, and they were not angry any longer.  People kept quiet about it, and no one was talking about it.  I saw a Palestinian guy who writes online about the Palestinian life and Israeli oppression on them.  He took a lot of photos, and after he heard that it is from Hamas, he deleted the photos on the street.

It is cease-fire from today which Israel announced one-way.  And I guess Hamas does not want toe cease-fire even though more than 1,800 people of their own were killed.

Palestinian authority officially said it is Arabic rocket, and all the news say the same thing.  And I found that some people began to say that the rocket is Israeli in the evening.  Personally it does not make sense to me because Israel wants to finish the war with Gaza, and why would they want another brand new war with West Bank?  And there is no terrorist organisation in West Bank such as Hamas, consequently Israel has no excuse making war in West Bank.

Last night, I talked with some Palestinians.  They said many Palestinians were killed by Israeli attack, but only a few were killed in Israel.  And also they said it is OK for Gazans to fire rocket because it is not powerful and home-made.  I think that does not make sense as well.  It is not OK for both sides to attack each other no matter how weak the weapons are.  I do not know the owner of the building where it got rocket, but if possible I want to talk to him to ask if it is really OK to get rocket because the rocket is weak and did not kill any.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Sixth Day – Eilat and Red Sea

Not like the other day, I got up at five (one more hour sleep!).  And reported to the excavation office so that they know I will not be here any more and also they called a cab.

Double Deck Israel Railway Train

Double Deck Israel Railway Train

I went to the Pades-Hannah railway station.  And on the way while in the cab, I saw two girls sitting on the bench of a bus stop.  One girl is a Muslim because she was wearing and covering top to toe except small part of her face.  The other girl was in IDF (Israel army) uniform.  They were talking and laughing together.  I do not know whether they just met at the bus stop or have been friends for long.  But the scene was very emotional to me, especially at this time of war between Israel and Gaza, killing each other.  I saw hope, and I saw a bright future from them.

This is my first time to get on the Israel train.  And to my surprise, it is double-deck!  My train trip was from Hannah to Tel Aviv.

Are these founders of Tel Aviv?

Are these founders of Tel Aviv?

And I came to Tel Aviv, the economic capital of Israel.  One thing I do not like about Israel is that they do not announce in English at all, not in a bus nor in a railway trains.  Korean buses and subways always announce in English.

I had some problem finding where to get on the bus number 25 so that I can go to Egyptian Embassy.  I asked a girl on the street, and she was with a lady.  The lady called bus company and asked how to go to Egyptian embassy.  She spoke in Hebrew but I understood one word – Mitzraim, which is Egypt.

Again, the bus driver does not speak English, but also again, I got help from a passenger.  When I went to the Egyptian embassy, it was closed without any notice.  There was no notice in their website too.  The guard their just said, “tomorrow” whatever I asked.  So I asked:

Je: Is “tomorrow” the only word you know?
He: Yes, yes. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

I guess it is some kind of Egyptian holiday.  So I went to the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, and bought the ticket to Eilat.  I bought the ticket at 9:33 and was told that the bus left three minutes ago.  Next bus is 11am.  Well, what can I do?

Highway Stop before Beersheva

Highway Stop before Beersheba

McCormick Group, do you remember here?  We stopped here last January when we were going to Beersheba.  Today we also stopped here before we hit Beersheba.  This was the first Aroma that I tasted, and was good.

Negev Desert

Negev Desert

The bus ride was almost five hours.  And the scene of the Negev desert was just wow.

Fish on  the Road

Fish on the Road

When I got to Eilat, the heat from the ground was great.  And there were many fish marks on the road.

Fish Statue in Eilat

Fish Statue in Eilat

And also many fish statues.  Eilat is the southmost city of Israel, and just before Eilat, we passed the checkpoint.  And McCormick group already experienced, two soldiers with semi-auto rifle came on board.  Maybe because of war, almost half of the bus passengers were in IDF uniform, and half of them were with semi-auto rifles.

Eilat Youth Hostel and Guest House

Eilat Youth Hostel and Guest House

I walked to the hostel and it was just 10 minutes but I was sweating like Niagara Falls.  The Eilat Youth Hostel and Guest House has very nice view.  You can see the Red Sea from the picture above.  This room is shared by five people and breakfast is served.  I booked via Booking.com and paid $30, and I got to know if you book directly, the cost is 120 NIS which is $40.

Red Sea is blue

Red Sea is blue

There is a sea and who can endure the temptation of the sea in this piping hot weather?  This is the Red Sea which Moses cut in half (but of course not at this spot).  I do not understand why the name is Red Sea.  It looks like Blue Sea to my eyes.

Because I could not go to the Egyptian Embassy or Consulate General, I will go to the border early in the morning.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifteenth Day – Back to Jerusalem

In the morning, we got on the mini-bus from the Kedma Village to Jerusalem.  I got off at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

People were talking about the cloud, which is very weird to have the sky covered with clouds in this dry season.  I had a brunch with Dr. Choi at Aroma.

Gloria Hotel's View

Gloria Hotel’s View

Finally I came back to Gloria Hotel in the Old City Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate.  This is the view from my new room 151.  I stayed at 178 last week.  Then I turned on the TV set to update myself with the news of Israel-Gaza conflict because I spent a week without TV and with very limited internet.  But the more terrible and shocking news welcomed me – the airplane crash in Ukraine.  They did not really say almost anything about Israel-Gaza war.

After taking some rest, I went to the Tour Information to ask about the transportation to Tel Aviv tomorrow which is Shabbat.  But the information booth was closed at 1:30 because Shabbat begins this evening.

Empty Western Wall

Empty Western Wall

I wanted to the church of ascension, and went by the Western Wall.  While I was approaching the Western Wall, there were series of gun shooting sounds, and almost every was backed up.  And there were so many police cars and vans there.  You can notice that almost no body was at the wall praying, in comparison how it is packed with people especially Friday.  I asked someone what was happening, and was told that the muslims in the mosque are praying with shooting the guns with blank bullets.  But I’ve been in Western Wall a few Fridays, and heard nothing so far.  The orthodox Jew told me that they do not usually but when there is high tension, they do.

While the war is going on, and there are gun shooting noises, I found an airship in the sky.  And the city was as usual.

Pater Noster

Pater Noster

Before I went to the church of ascension, I went to the Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.  There are Lord’s Prayer in a few different languages.  This one looks like Hebrew, but it is Chaldean.  There was small admission fee of 8 NIS.

Church of Ascension

Church of Ascension

Then I went to the church of ascension, and was very disappointed.  Not like the title on the map, it was not a church but a mosque, very small mosque.  You have to pay 5 NIS, but almost nothing to see.  It is said that the foot print of Jesus when he ascended into heaven.

Tomb of the Prophets

Tomb of the Prophets

Then I went to the Tomb of the prophets, but was not able to enter because it was locked.  According to the Jewish tradition, it is the tomb of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Then I went to the Dominus Flevit.  It is Latin means “The Lord wept.”  And they found Second Temple Period and Byzantine tombs.  The above picture is the church of Mary Magdalene viewed from the Dominus Flevit.

When I came out of the Dominus Flevit, I saw a Palestinian old man begging.  He said, “I am poor.  Give me some shekels.”  So I gave him 14 NIS which was all the money I had then.  Then he said, “Give me more, give me more!”  And I told him that I do not have more.  Then he angrily said, “20 dollar more! I am poor! 20 dollar!”  I lost my words, and just walked down the hill.

Focaccia Salad

Focaccia Salad

I got some more rest, and went to Kikkar Zion (Zion Plaza) on Jaffa Street and Ben Yehudah Street to meet some people dug together at Tel Lachish.  I was worried because the Shabbat already begun and I see the whole city is stopped without any visible restaurants open.  They brought me to Focaccia Bar in the back street, and wow! The whole city is like divided into two, either synagogue or here.  We met Professor Yossi there too!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Tenth Day – First digging

Today is the first day of excavation.  I checked out the Gloria hotel, and I found their dinner was 60 NIS, which I think is too high in comparison to the quality.  For the breakfast and dinner, I think the White Sisters’ Guesthouse was better.

Light Rail in Jerusalem

Light Rail in Jerusalem

I walked to the city hall Light Rail station, and purchased a ticket.  Soon the Light Rail train came.  This was my first time to be in the Light rail.  The central bus station is five stations away.  I was a bit early so I waited about an hour for the bus.  I actually expected the bus to come about twenty to thirty minutes late because the tour bus always came that much late.  But actually the bus came about twenty minutes earlier than the appointed time of 10 am.  Originally only two people got in the bus including me.  And the mini bus driver wanted to drive even ten minutes before ten.  I said no and asked him to wait ten past ten.  Well, I was right.  Bunch of people came at 10:05 and filled the mini bus.

Kedma Yough Village

Kedma Youth Village

We came to Kedma Youth Village where we will stay for the weekdays.  Kedma in Hebrew means eastward, and this is not just a youth village, but actually kind of boarding school for the kids who are challenged mentally so that they cannot stay in the classroom setting.  They stay here and learn some practical skills.  So, this is some kind of vocational school.  They are in vacation, so we can use this facility, and this is their first time to rent the facility to outside organisation.

Then I heard something bad.  Because of the Gazan’s rocket attack, and this area is not too far from gaza, the Hebrew University decided to shut down this site for the safety reason.  As you know, the Iron Dome first calculates where the missile or rocket would fall, and if it goes to open field where they would not be people, they just let it fall.  The thing is that the archaeological excavation site is considered as an open field, because there is no one usually.  So the many people in the excavation team already left Tel Lachish, and many groups supposed to join this week cancelled including huge Canadian team.  So this is the last week before the closing.  I was scheduled to work for three weeks, and they close this week which means the other two weeks are up in the air.  So I asked Professor Yossi, and he may put me in the Hazor excavation team for the two weeks.

Stone brick upon Mud brick

Stone brick upon Mud brick

They have many squares of digging.  They expected to see the early iron age, but most of them revealed the late bronze age first which is unexpected.  In the higher digging place, they found the Iron age.  The picture above shows the stone wall on top and the mud brick wall on the bottom.

Rocket trace

Rocket trace

We had a coffee break (we had water melon, coffee, and melon) around 3 or 4.  And we called it a day at 8 pm.  It was a very tiring day.  I was in the Professor Yossi’s car on the way back to the Kedma.  And in the middle of the way, we saw four or five lights flying which are rockets from Gaza.  And there was a loud siren.  All the cars on the road including ours stopped immediately, and everybody got off the car, and ran a bit, and lied down.  Then I saw the rockets were intercepted.  I also took the picture right after they were intercepted, this shows three spots, but there were two more in the upper side of the picture.

Dirty Kedma

Dirty Kedma

I was actually assigned to a room, but when I went into the room in the evening, I found there were four people in the room including me, and there were only three beds in the room.  So I asked again, and assigned to a new room.  But it was so dirty with a lot of garbage.  I could not believe that they charged me $400 for five weeks with this unpleasant facility.

I was so tired, and I was supposed to get up at 4:30 next morning, so I was not able to blog the same day.  I am writing this the next day.

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