Hannah and Je together

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.

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