Hannah and Je together

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!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Ninth Day – Bethlehem and Jericho

I was supposed to go the Negev desert Safari tour.  But when I was picked up from the hotel, I realised that the desert tour was cancelled and they tried to put me in the Dead Sea and Masada tour which I did two days ago.  So I refused and they finally put me to the Bethlehem and Jericho tour.

Church of the Shepherds' field

Church of the Shepherds’ field

We went to Beit Sahour, where I was last night to see Mara with George.  I thought the Shepherds’ field was in Bethlehem last January tour, but I now know that it is in Beit Sahour, the neighbouring town.

Star of Nativity

Star of Nativity

There was not much things to see because I’ve been already there before.  I just took this picture of shining star in one of the caves.  The guide said that it is believe that the three magi stayed in this cave and did not go to king Herod.  And this shepherds’ field is actual the field of Boaz, the grandfather of king David.

Milk Grotto Church

Milk Grotto Church

In Bethlehem, we went to the Milk Grotto Church before we went to the Church of Nativity.  It was nice because the Milk Grotto Church was not covered by last trip.  They believe that the holy family hid in this cave.  And when the Mother Mary was feeding baby Jesus, she slipped a few drops of her milk, and it changed the colour of the rock permanently into white.  So the rock down the cave church is all white.

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity

Last time, we went to the Church of Nativity, but we were not able to actually go down to the star spot where they believe Jesus was born.  Today, we were also supposed to wait at least two or three hours, but the tour guide divided our group to make it smaller than eight people in a group.  Then the controlling police officers let the small group go in through different entrance.  So we went in without waiting eve five minutes.

Christmas tree in July

Christmas tree in July

We also went to the Catholic Church, and out side of the Catholic church, they made the small tree or bonsai like a Christmas tree.

One thing I found out today is that Jewish tour guides are not allowed to lead the tourists in Palestinian area.  So our Jewish tour guide stayed in the mini bus, and we met local Palestinian tour guide for the entire Bethlehem tour.  Well, I think it is better to have Palestinian tour guide as the McCormick group did last January.  Having George Filmon was very good, I think, in many ways.  He can guide people in both Israel and Palestinian area.  We were able to hear the view-point from the Palestinian side, and he is not actually bias.

Bedouin

Bedouin has satellite dish

On the way to Jericho, we saw many Bedouin homes, much more than January.  If you see the picture above closely, you can see the house animals in the upper part of the photo, and most of them are staying in the shadow because the sunlight is more than even the animals can bear.

11000 year-old tower

11000 year-old tower

It is good to see again the 11,000 years old (the oldest) structure in the world ever found so far.  Those are the very first bricks that humans made.  Because of the invention of bricks, the town and city were made possible.  It is literally the revolutionary invention.

Jericho updated in April 2014

Jericho updated in April 2014

The Jewish guide said something shocking to me.  He said that by the recent excavation in Jericho, the Bible was proven to be truth.  Then I found the new explanation board which is newly updated – 2014 April, which is after McCormick group’s visit.  I need to research more about this.

Elisha's water

Elisha’s water

Then I drank some water at the Elisha’s water fountain.  I would not say more about this because I wrote about it already in the first trip to Jericho.

Mount of Temptation

Mount of Temptation

Then we went to closer to see the Mount of Temptation where Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights, then was temped by Satan.

Zacchaeus' Tree

Zacchaeus’ Tree

We also stopped at Zacchaeus’ tree.  As everybody knows, small Zacchaeus climbed up this tree to see Jesus, and Jesus called him down and stayed his house that night.

Taking Dove

Taking Dove

So I had not that bad day today even though the plan was completely ruined because my original tour was cancelled.  It is not bad to visit the same place again.

But when I came back to Jaffa gate, I saw something unusual.  I found a few people caught the doves, and they just took it.  And the weird thing was that the dove did not fly or flee, it looked quite easy to catch.  I do not know why they take it.  Do they eat it?

After supper, I heard the sirens a few times which means Jerusalem is under rocket attack.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Eighth Day – Valleys of Jerusalem

Western Wall

Western Wall

Early in the morning (7am) I went to the Western Wall, the only remained part of the second temple where all the faithful Jews pray.  So many people were praying there.  Suddenly I was curious what all these people are praying for?  Are they praying for the death of their enemies?  Are they praying for the peace and reconciliation?

Kidron Valley

Kidron Valley

Then I went down to the Kidron Valley, which is also called as King’s valley.  Because there are many famous tombs.

Absalom's tomb

Absalom’s tomb

This is Absalom’s tomb, but the explanation says it has nothing to do with Absalom.  It was built 1,000 years after Absalom.  But when I read his name in Hebrew, it looks like “Father of Peace.”

Zechariah's tomb

Zechariah’s tomb

The Zechariah’s tomb was near the Absalom’s tomb, but I did not know this is the one.  So I was keep looking for it, using Google Maps and the GPS on my cell phone.

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church was just above the Kidron valley, the other side of Jerusalem Old City wall.  This is also the Mount of Olives.  If you know the geography there, you would know that the Mount of Olives is in the between the Temple and the Judean wilderness.  If Jesus wanted, He could have run away into the wilderness, which is unsearchable.  This means that Jesus willingly gave His life up.

Mary's Tomb Church

Mary’s Tomb Church

Mary’s tomb church is next to the Gethsemane church.  I do not know if this is genuine or not.  The church goes underground a lot.

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

As I wrote above, I was still looking for the Zechariah’s tomb using the GPS, and the GPS and Google Maps led me into the Jewish cemetery.  I did not doubt anything because Zechariah is a Jew.  One weird thing is that there are a lot of books of Torah in one entrance of the Jewish cemetery.

Women in Cemetery

Women in Cemetery

One of the entrances of the Jewish cemetery has this sign, meaning “Women.”  I do not know whether it is the Women’s entrance or the women’s burial section.  Why Orthodox Judaism and Islam discriminates women that much?  Well, Christian was the same and some Christian denominations are still the same, so what can I say against them?

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

The Google Maps led me into the middle of the cemetery, but there was nothing around but hundreds of normal modern tombs.  Then I gave up searching, and just decided to explore the Kidron valley more.  While I was walking, I saw a sign with the name of Zechariah’s tomb and its picture.  That was the one I saw in the beginning.  And the location is very different from Google Maps.  Near the Zechariah’s tomb, there was Tomb of the sons of Hezir.  I do not know who is Hezir, but it looks like his sons died before him.

Jehoshaphat's cave

Jehoshaphat’s cave

Then Next to the Absalom’s tomb, there was Jehoshaphat’s cave.  I wanted to explore in there, but it was blocked.  So I finished exploring the Kidron Valley

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Then I walked back to hotel through the Jewish quarter (Jewish shops) and also Christian quarter (Palestinian shops).  As I wrote the other day, even when there is not many people, the two streets look different even the amount of sunlight too.  There are many reasons, but one of them is that Palestinians put the tents above their shop so that they put out their merchants on the streets which makes the street narrower while Jews keep their merchants only inside their shops consequently they do not need the tents and the road is wider.

Hinnom Valley

Hinnom Valley

I rested a little in the hotel, and went out to the other direction for the Hinnom Valley which comes out many times in the Bible.  Kidron Valley is east of the Temple (and city of David), while the Hinnom Valley is south side of the City of David.  This is where the ancient Israelites burnt their sons as the sacrifice to the other gods.  Hinnom Valley is very steep.

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

This is where the two famous valleys meet, south-eastern side of the Old City.

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Unlike the bad fame of the Hinnom Valley, this is renovated as cultural centres and parks these days.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

This is national park at the place of Hinnom Valley, and some people and kids were playing a game, which we have the same game in Korea.  It is nice to see that people are playing with the kids instead of burning them for gods.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

The object in the centre of the picture, I thought we have similar thing in Chicago millennium park – the bean.  But when I went there, it was actually a metal globe.

Music in Mamilla

Music in Mamilla

Mamilla is next to the park, so I went there and found these young kids playing music.  And I went to a pharmacy to buy sunscreen.  My wife gave me SPF 70 sunscreen, so I wanted to buy the same one. But on the shelves, there were only SPF 30 and 50.  I asked a girl working at the sunscreen corner, she told me to ask the pharmacist.  So I asked the pharmacist, and she said that 50 is the highest.  So I took one, and on the way to the counter, I found SPF 70 sunscreen on the other aisle.

Mamilla Street

Mamilla Street

Walking on Mamilla street, I felt like I am in Chicago or other cities in America.  Then I thought king Herod built Caesarea and other romanised cities so that the romans feel like they are in Rome (or somewhere in Italy) to ease their home sick.  I do not have a home sick because I am here for tour, but the ancient Romans would have had bad one.

Kosher McDonald's

Kosher McDonald’s

Then I walked to the New City of Jerusalem through Jaffa street, King George street, Ben Yehuda street and so on.  And I found Kosher McDonald’s.  There are lots of Coffiz where you can get many kinds of drinks in 5 shekels, which is very cheap!

Bikes in City Hall

Bikes in City Hall

I also went to the City Hall of Jerusalem, and found these funny bikes.  These bikes do not move but operate something.  First one would operate the fan, the second one shows the speed, and the other one makes sounds.

Multi Effect Cinema

Multi Effect Cinema

I spent quite a time in the New City, then I went back all the way to the Jewish quarter.  There was a small cinema named “Multi Effect Cinema” playing “The story of Jerusalem.”  As the conclusion, it was waste of money, but I think it is worth trying once, not twice, because I found what this actually is.  They have wind, smoke, and 3D glasses.  But the chair moves too much unnecessarily which cause a little bit of sickness.

Empty Mamilla

Empty Mamilla

I had an appointment with George Filmon, the local tour guide for McCormick January tour.  We were supposed to meet at the Aroma in Mamilla.  When I went there, there was no one because it is Friday evening when the Shabbat begins, and all the stores are owned and operated by Jews.  It feels weird that the street is empty.  I could have lied with the picture above that all the people fled by the siren. 🙂

George and the Bible

George and the Bible, and me

George and I used to correspond through facebook, but before I left Chicago, I found that his facebook account was deactivated.  There was no way for me to contact him.  So when I came to Jerusalem, I called the tour company which the McCormick group used and asked his phone number.  And he answered.  So we made an appointment.  George and I went to Beit Sahour where Mara stays and studies, near Bethlehem.  Mara is doing well.  And I handed the CEB bible which Ted and Paula wanted me to deliver.

Moon over Jaffa Wall

Moon over Jaffa Wall

George gave me ride back to Jerusalem, and the temperature in Jerusalem at night is so nice.  This is actually nicest time of the day in Jerusalem.  And the moon was so bright and beautiful.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifth Day – Second Walk

As I wrote earlier, I bought the postcards and stamps the first night in Jerusalem.  I was going to buy only cards but the Palestinian seller told me that the post office is far and hard to find.  I just thought he would not lie such thing.  Then I asked him that I am going to send many different countries.

He: Tell me the countries.
Je: USA, Canada, Korea and Japan.
He: No problem.  This stamps go anywhere in the world.

So I bought the stamps too.  And this morning, before I stepped out of the hotel, I asked the lady in the front desk to send my postcards to the post office.  The lady looked at my cards and said that I have wrong stamps.  I told her what happened.

She: No, these stamps only go to Europe.  If you cannot believe me, go to the post office and ask them.
Je: OK, then tell me how to get to the post office.  I heard that it is hard to find, so tell me in detail as much as possible.
She: Just right over there.

And I realised that the post office is less than one minute walking and even it is seen from the store where I bought the stamps.  So I went to the post office to confirm that she is absolutely correct.  I bought extra stamps.

I am so angry and mad not because I spent more money on stamps, but because he lied.  I felt so stupid and dumb that I trusted people.  If I just put the cards into the post box, none of them would be delivered! This is fourth bad experience with the Palestinians, and I am so frustrated and now desperately trying not to hate them.

Narrow Road in the Old City

Narrow Road in the Old City

This is the road next to the post office, and is so narrow but the truck passed through.  It is sometimes amazing how they drive in such small narrow roads in the Old City.

Model of the Tower of David

Model of the Tower of David

Then I went to the Tower of David Museum, right next to the Jaffa gate.  And as some people already know, this tower has nothing to do with King David.  People in the past misunderstood and named it Tower of David.

View from the Tower of David

View from the Tower of David

But the view on the tower is awesome, and worth paying.  And it looks like that this building was used as the hospital and medicine under Islamic rule.

Jaffa Gate from North Route of Ramparts Walk

Jaffa Gate from North Route of Ramparts Walk

After the Tower of David, I went to another Rampart Walk.  The other day, I walked the south route of Rampart from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate.  Today I walked the north route from Jaffa Gate to Lion’s Gate via Damascus Gate.

Selfie above the Damascus Gate

Selfie above the Damascus Gate

I have to say that the south route has better view because it is higher for both sides, but the north route is almost ground level for the inner side of the wall for most part.

Then I went to the Rockefeller Museum because it is close from the Lion’s gate, but I just found that they do not open today.  Their website says open every day of the week, but when I actually went there, the sign says different thing that they close Tuesday and Friday.  So do not believe their website.  Actually not many things are trustworthy in the Holy Land.

Mamilla Street Arts

Mamilla Street Arts

Then I came near the Jaffa Gate and went to the Mamilla street.  Mamilla street is from Jaffa Gate to Mamilla Hotel and David Citadel Hotel.  This looks almost exactly Premium Outlet.  It has full of modern arts and American stores such as American Eagle and Crocs, etc.  Oh, and all the arts displayed on the street are also available for sale.

Aroma - best coffee shop in Israel

Aroma – best coffee shop in Israel

Then I found this Aroma.  McCormick Group went to the Aroma on the highway rest stop.  Some says this is Israel’s own Starbucks.  I ate Jerusalem Salad for lunch.  It is good to find new place, but it is also good to find the same place that I’ve been to.

King David's Tomb

King David’s Tomb

Then I went to Mount Zion – T.H.E. F.A.M.O.U.S. Mount Zion.  But it is quite small than that I expected.  There are lots of centres related to Torah, Talmud, studying and education.  And unexpectedly I found the tomb of the King David.  Admission is free unlike other tombs in Hebron.

The Cenacle

The Cenacle

This is what I was actually looking for.  The room where Jesus had the Last Supper for passover, and the room where the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples.  I have no idea if it is actual room or not, but if so, how could Jesus, the poor teacher with poor followers, get this room next to the tomb of the David?

Excavation on the City of David

Excavation on the City of David

Then I walked down to the City of David and I found that the new digging is ongoing.  I will do the same labour from next week.

And when I bought the ticket, something unexpected happened.  The Jewish girl working at the booth selling the ticket asked me if I’ve been there couple of months ago.  I was so surprised, and this is very nice surprise.

Je: Yes, I came here January.  How do you know?
She: Well, I just kind of remember you.

I looked around refreshing my memories.  Then I also went to the Hezekiah’s tunnel of course.  But this time, I was alone.  And I decided not to turn the lamp on.  I did not use any kind of light source – no lamp, no flash light, and no cellphone.  In the middle, I used only once my watch’s light.  My watch has so dim light that you cannot even tell if it is on in the day light.  And I was stunned that the watch’s light can be that bright.  In the complete dark, I walked so slow, and my eyes were useless, so I tried to feel the wall with my stretched out fingers.  I bumped like million times.  But thank God that I was wearing a farmer’s hat so that the hat touches the wall before my head bumps into it.

Step Walk to the Temple

Step Walk to the Temple

I came out to the Siloam pool.  But I did not get on the shuttle because the girl who remembered me told me that they found and opened another tunnel since January.  It is not actually a tunnel but the 2000 year old road from the pool to the temple.  Any way, it is underground for now.  So I walked back to the City of David visitor centre through the new tunnel.

Harp Player on Jaffa Gate

Harp Player on Jaffa Gate

When I came back to the Jaffa Gate, I found a woman in white was playing harp on the Gate window.

I walked a lot today, and am so tired.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Third Day – Jerusalem Walking Tour

Before I begin today, I want to add some of yesterday.  I sat next to a mother-daughter family from Switzerland in the sharing taxi to Jerusalem.  I thought that they were speaking German, so I asked them a few questions.  I confirmed that Switzerland has four official languages.  I learned that majority speaks German though.  The mother told me that their German is different from the German in Germany.  They both said that they can understand what Germans say, but Germans do not understand well what they say.  They learn German German at school.  The mother said that Switzerland has four different German dialects, and the daughter said that her teacher in the class taught that they have twelve different German dialects in their country.

So, I got up early in the morning.  I asked the lady in the hotel counter where the Lutheran church is.  She looked up the map a bit but could not find.  She just pointed the Christian quarter and said, “it should be somewhere around here.”  I found that Church in the map from the book which theology professor Dr. Cathey borrowed me.  The map was not the best detail, so I asked people on the street.

Empty Road in Old City Jerusalem

Empty Road in Old City Jerusalem

In the early in the morning, there was almost no one on the street.  The same street feels so different without people.  It is people that makes a place lively or dead, holy or defiled, peaceful or turmoil.

Sunday Service at Holy Sepulchre

Sunday Service at Holy Sepulchre

I went to the Holy Sepulchre first.  There was some Sunday service was on going.  I went inside the tomb place, and tried to stay a little while praying because there were not many people.  But clergyman in charge of there tapped the door and asked us to come out quickly.  I found the line got so long in just a few seconds.

Byzantine Cardo

Byzantine Cardo

I went to the Lutheran church of our Redeemer to find out that the service is at 9.  I had little more than an hour, so I walked to Jewish quarter.  The picture above is Cardo, Byzantine market place, and is market now too.

Jewish and Learning, the same word

Jewish and Learning, the same word

Across the Cardo, there is a centre (there are so many centres in the Jewish quarter), “Arie and Eva Halpern Centre for Jewish Life and Learning.”  One thing I like about Jewish is that they value the learning.  It looks like being Jewish means continuous lifetime learning.

LUtheran Church of our Redeemer

Lutheran Church of our Redeemer

Then I went to the Lutheran church.  About 25 people gathered.  This is the church that Ted and Paula Hiebert and their children attended for a year while they were living in Jerusalem.  The service was OK, not that different from Presbyterians.

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

After the service, I went back to the Jewish quarter right away since nobody talked to me at the church.  This is the view of the Dome of the Rock, and we can see the Western wall below.

Ancient Wasabi Bowl?

Ancient Wasabi Bowl?

I went to the Burnt House Museum.  It is the excavated ruin of the house belong to Kathros family.  It is considered that the family is the priests.  The picture above is one of the founding in the house, and it looks like wasabi bowl in Japanese sushi restaurant.

Burnt House

Burnt House

Many things were found in the ruin including the cut bone of a girl’s arm and arrow-head.  I can just guess how the battle was when the city was destroyed.

In the burnt house I met two Korean girls.  One of them are working on M.Div at a full-gospel seminary (I forgot the school name).

Back on the street, I was looking at the street map, and a Palestinian old man came and he would show me things (he means guide, I guess).  I said, it is OK, and he said ‘just a few shekels, I will show you good things.’  I had only 16 shekels at that time.  So I showed it and he took it, then he said, “twenty-dollar more.”  And I realised that he is just a cheater, and said that I did not have any money.  Then he just left with my money, and I asked him my money back because he was not doing anything worth for the money.  He heard me and he ran so fast, disappeared.

About the money, I was not lying.  I actually had no money with me.  So I went to the nearby ATM.

Ritual Bath at Archaeological Museum

Ritual Bath at Archaeological Museum

I went to archaeological Museum, named “Herodia Quarter.”  It is very close to the burnt house, and this museum contains several houses all rich upper class Jewish people 2,000 years ago.

One thing unique about Jewish archaeology is that we find ritual bath wherever we go.  Some house has even multiple ritual bathrooms.  It looks like that ancient Jews only bathed without doing any other things.

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

Then I came out of the underground Museum (both Burnt house and Archaeological Museum are underground, and over the ground are normal building and shops), and ate lunch at Hallelujah, where the McCormick group also ate when we were visiting Jewish Quarter.  The burger was so huge!

Actually almost where I go, I can  recall my memory.  There are not many place that I have not yet been to.  The local tour guide George Filmon and the Guiding Star literally covered the most out of it.

Rampart Walk

Rampart Walk

Then I went to the Jaffa gate again, and began to walk down toward the south.  My plan was walk through the city wall.  Then I found the Ramparts Walk, and paid to enter.  The Ramparts walk led me on to the wall.  So I walked on the city wall.  It was so nice, and had great view.  I wondered why Guiding Star did not provide us this one.  But soon I realised that it is quite dangerous.  Unlike the picture above, most part of the walk is open one side, and the floor stones are worn and very slippery.  Even I did not run at all and walked as carefully as possible.  People who travelled with me would know what that means.  It is very high on the wall, and anyone who fears the height cannot walk there.  So I walked on the wall from near the Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate.

Geopolitical location of Jerusalem - Archaeological Park

Geopolitical location of Jerusalem – Archaeological Park

Then I went to the Archaeological Park.  It is the down the wall near the dung gate.  It is said that it was the royal court and house of Muslim empires.  I found one good thing which shows the location of Jerusalem geographically and politically.  Israel and Jerusalem has been actually the connecting hub of the three continents.

Muslim Cemetary

Muslim cemetery

After the archaeological park, I kept walking through the streets, and I went to the Muslim cemetery right below the wall.  It was quite a walk, and then I met Lion’s Gate where McCormick group used to go to the Haram or Temple Mount.

Ecce Homo

Ecce Homo

I walked through the road and visited the points of Via Dolorosa again.  This is the Ecce Homo point.  People thought that Pontius Pilate said “Ecce Homo (Behold the man)” there.

I had two unpleasant experiences in the Muslim Quarter.  I guess they are Palestinian muslims because they were at the Muslim quarter.

The first thing:  Three young Palestinians were sitting side of the road, and when they saw me they asked if I am from Japan.  I said I am from Chicago, then a guy said with mocking voice “Ayy Am from Shee-Kay-go.”  Another guy also shouted at me, “Welcome to China!”  I did not respond further but kept walking.

The second thing:  A Palestinian young guy asked me, “Hey my friend, come to my shop.”  I gently said, “No thank you.”  Then he shouted “Chinese” twice and mimicked monkey sounds.  I also did not respond at all.

So I had three unpleasant experiences today with the Palestinians including the old man in the morning who ran with my 16 shekels, which is about $5.  There are many things to say about Jewish – Palestinian relationship, and I believe that the Palestinians must make (international) friends desperately, but they are turning possible friends into enemies.

Let me just do some simple calculation.  I met two groups (ignoring the old man because he did not do anything about racism), and let me suppose the two group meet so many Asians daily but mock them racially ten Asians.  And the two groups 3 in common everyday.  Then they together make seventeen Asians unpleasant and turn against them.  Seventeen a day is 6,205 a year.

They may have short fun time mocking others, but they are actually making more than six thousand Anti-Palestinians annually.  They should think what situation they have been in, and are in right now.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Another Half of Second Day – Arrival

The flight from Zürich to Tel Aviv was good.  I still had emergency exit seat with enough legroom.  I had playful and delightful twin babies.  There were a few babies crying in the plane, but everybody around me was normal – no kissing, no drinking, no loud talking.

Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel

Finally I landed at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport.  The immigration lines were long.  I guess this is because of recent violences in Jerusalem.  The officers were asking so many questions to people, including when and where they are planned to stay.  After long wait, I went to the officer.  I told him that I am taking summer course at Hebrew University and I am from America.  He just checked my passport and flight ticket, and let me go without asking any other questions.

Bathroom Sign in Ben Gurion Airport

Bathroom Sign in Ben Gurion Airport

This is bathroom sign in Ben Gurion airport.  It looks normal, but I think the Hebrew writing is funny.  Women in Hebrew is Women, but Men in Hebrew language says Warrior.

There are two ATMs in the airport, and one of them was broken, which caused huge line formed.  But six people in a row failed to draw money, and they said, “it’s not working.”  Instantly the line disappeared, but I decided to try, and it worked.  I’ve got my money.  And again, the huge line formed instantly after me.

Shuttle or Shared Taxi

Shuttle or Shared Taxi

My actual plan was to ride a taxi to Jerusalem.  I have to ride taxi when I come back to this airport because that would be around midnight.  But now, it is bright daylight, not even 4pm.  I thought there must be cheaper transportation to Jerusalem.  And I found a shuttle or shared taxi.  It costed me 64 NIS (New Israeli Shekel), roughly less than $25.

City Wall near Jaffa Gate

City Wall near Jaffa Gate

This is the city wall near the Jaffa Gate.  But I could not find my hotel easily, so I asked the security soldier with machine guns.  They pointed with fingers, “there.”  And they pointed another place, “or maybe there.”  Nice.  Thank you for being playful with a tourist.  You guys are very entertaining.  Then I found an information booth, so I went in and was guided.  It was really close.  Oh I miss Google Maps. And my wife more.

Glorious Gloria Hotel

Glorious Gloria Hotel

My original booking was Knights’ Palace around New Gate (still in Old City), but they emailed me two weeks ago, saying they will maintenance shut down the Knights’ Palace, and would like to move me to Gloria Hotel since they have same staff, same service and same owner.

After I unpacked, I just walked in the old city.  Today is Sabbath, so when I was in the Taxi, the West Jerusalem looked like a dead city with nobody on the streets.  But in the city market, so many people walking and living.  I just walked without any plan, destination.  I just walked just to be lost in the market.  But I was not lost.  When I looked around after a walk for a while, I found myself outside the Damascus gate where the White Sister’s Guest house is.  My McCormick travel group stayed there, and we walked always through this gate to go back to the guesthouse.  I think I just remembered the way to the guesthouse.

Then I bought some postcards with international stamps.  They are not cheap at all!  After supper at the Gloria Hotel, now I am dying of fatigue or Jet lag.

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