Hannah and Je together

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.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fourth Day – Museums

Today is my Museum day.  I wanted use the public transportation in Jerusalem.  I looked for the way in Google Maps.  I went to the Light rail station and bought two tickets at the vending machine.  But I was not able to find the bus stop for 66, so I came back to the Jaffa Gate for the Tourist Information Centre, and they taught me different road from the Google Maps.

Jerusalem Bus

Jerusalem Bus

So I got on the bus.  I gave the ticket to the bus driver, but he did not let me go back of the bus.  He said something, and I guessed he was saying to pay.  So I explained him that I bought the ticket this morning and never used yet.  But he was kept saying “Ofaam! Ofaam!”  And he did not understand me nor speak English.  We were not able to communicate each other because of language barrier.

Then a few people from behind came to help me.  They were all young and wearing kipa, so I guess they are Jewish.  One of them said to the bus driver that he would pay for me.  I was so moved.  It is not about the money.  The bus fare is less than $2.  It is not much, but just that he offered the small kindness to stranger was big thing to me.  But I refused because I had money.  The other guy translated for me and I found out that I must use the ticket within hour and half after purchase.  That is kind of stupid I think.  So I’d better use cash on the bus.

I was surrounded by several Jews who offered me kindness competitively.  I paid the fare by cash, and everything was settled.  God bless them!  But I had one more problem.  The bus announcement was only in Hebrew, never in English.  I had no idea where to get off.  So I asked another guy next to me (middle-aged man wearing kipa).  I was not asked the driver because he does not speak English.  The middle-aged guy brought me to the bus driver, and asked him for me in Hebrew.  Then he asked me where I am from, and I said that I am from Chicago.  Then he and I had pleasant conversation about Chicago until he got off the bus.

Last night I was insulted twice by Palestinians, and this morning I received kindness from the Jews.  If you had exactly same experience as I, then whose friend would you be?  McCormick people and I know about the Israeli government’s ill-treatment over Palestinians, but how many people do you think know all about that?  Even the people who know, they would be pro-Jewish and anti-Palestinian having such experience.

Signet Ring

Signet Ring

I went to the Bible Land Museum first.  The picture above is a signet ring.  This is the combination of passport, credit card and property certificate in the ancient world.  Judah may have been wearing and handed something like this when he went into his daughter-in-law.

Sumerian Mythology

Sumerian Mythology

This is the Sumerian mythology about the creation of humankind.  The gods were so busy, stressed and tired of taking care of the world after creation.  Even they expressed their frustration to each other.  Then they created human so that they can get relieve of the work.  So according to the Sumerian mythology, we are just free labours for them.

Family Idols

Family Idols

And the museum also said that this is what Rachel might have hidden from her father.  And if so, I guess she was desperate to be pregnant, because they are all emphasizing woman’s sexuality, which is fertility.

Riding Man

Riding Man

This is a man riding.  And we can see his sexual organ clearly.  And look at the picture below too.

Ancient Women

Ancient Women

I think they were not ashamed of sex and they did not try to hide it in the ancient world.  Then why we came to bashing the sex?  Because we oppress the sex, it grows in the weird way, and we have a whole lot of porn industry, and even Hollywood depicts sex in the wrong way.

Lachish Battle

Lachish Battle

Then I went to the Israel Museum.  I did not take much photo here.  In both museums, I borrowed the audio guide device, and I literally listened to the explanation one by one, not even missing one.  I focused on learning rather than photo.  The above one is the Lachish battle, where I am going to dig from next week.

Shrine of the Book

Shrine of the Book

I also went to the Shrine of the Book.  By the January trip, the McCormick group all know what the shape means.  But today, I notice that the four corners of the shrine set is exactly look like the four corners of the altar.

I had so good time in the museum.  When the museum announced for its closing, I was surprised because I thought I just spent a few hours (I thought it was around 1pm).  And then I realised that I was not wearing my sunglasses any longer.  I had no idea what happened to my sunglasses.

Yaffo Street

Yaffo Street

Then I got on a bus, not the 66 but 7.  I was supposed to get off at Jaffa street.  I thought I would get the word Jaffa in Hebrew, but I missed.  Someone next to me poked and told me to get off.  Why did I miss it?  Because the announcement said “Yaffo,” not “Jaffa.”  On the map issued by the Israeli government (tourism), it clearly says Jaffa, but the street sign says Yaffo.

Light Rail

Light Rail

This is the light rail in Jerusalem New City.  Jerusalem New City just looks like any other American or European city.

And I also realised that even in the Old City, Jewish quarter is much more clean and modern than the other quarters such as Muslim or Armenian.  And it also has more sunlight while the other parts of the old city is quite covered and lacks sunlight.

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