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.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Israel Trip Sixth Day: Mount Olive, City of David, Gethsemane, Shepherds Field and Home Demolition

Today we went to Mount Olive first time.

View from Mount Olive

View from Mount Olive

In the picture above, you can recognise the dome, and probably the temple wall. In front of the temple wall, you can see the Kidron Valley, and on the left side, you can see that famous Hinnom Valley.

Another View from Mount Olive

Another View from Mount Olive

This is a nice view with the Golden Dome from the Mount Olive. Jesus probably saw the similar things, except the Golden Dome and the houses in the north and west. He saw and wept. I was awed at this sight. Living in Seoul and Chicago, I am very much accustomed to the skyscrapers and giant buildings, and still awed at this. I cannot imagine how much the ancient people would have been awed at this. It is said that the Herod’s temple is the largest temple in the history (as a single platform temple). This view from Mount Olive is amazing. On the Palm Sunday, Jesus went into the city riding on a donkey. Mount Olive is on the east of Jerusalem. Shouting crowd, Palm branches, East, Sun on the back… everything indicates Messiah.

Gethsemane from Mount Olive

Gethsemane from Mount Olive

This is the Gethsemane from afar. It is very close to the city.

Necropolis, the city of the dead

Necropolis, the city of the dead

This is necropolis. In Israel’s burial custom, they put the dead body in the tomb and wait until it is totally decayed leaving bones only. Then they collect the bones and put them in a stone box with the name. In the necropolis, you can see all the bone boxes. And they put some perfume on the dead body so that it does not smell too much when the family comes to collect the bone. That is why Jesus said the lady was preparing for his funeral when she put the perfume on him.

Solomon's Wall

Solomon’s Wall

Then we went to the south side of the temple wall, just under the Al Aqsa Mosque. And this is the Solomon’s temple wall remains.

City of David

City of David

City of David was our next destination.

Royal Toilet Bowl

Royal Toilet Bowl

This is the toilet bowl from the Palace of David. It must be personal rest room for very important person, probably a king. You cannot say that David did not use it. It also has running water.

City of David, Image

City of David, Image

This is nice picture showing the City of David and the Temple in the OT times. The bottom half is the picture of modern-day at the same place. The white big thing in the middle is David’s Palace, and I can understand how and why David saw the bathing scene.

Water System

Water System

And we went to the water system, kind of secret one. They went to this passage to carry the water.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we saw the Canaanite Wall next to it. David and his commanders saw this wall. And the Canaanites stood a blind man and a lame man to mock David. That means not only ancient Canaanites had crude sense of humour, but also they were so confident about their wall.

Hezekiah Wall Image

Hezekiah Wall Image

At the drawing above, the left side is Canaanite Wall. And the right is Hezekiah’s protection of the spring. And the Hezekiah’s tunnel (for water) is underground from the spring into the city.

Canaanite Tunnel

Canaanite Tunnel

David must went through this tunnel.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Not all, but some of McCormick group went through the Hezekiah’s tunnel. It is actually water way. Hezekiah knew that the Assyrians coming, and the people inside the wall needed water, so he dug the water way so that they can get fresh water without going out of the city.

Water in the Tunnel

Water in the Tunnel

You can see the water is still flowing, and I actually tasted – surprisingly it was good.

Siloam

Siloam

At the end of the tunnel, we met the Siloam where Jesus healed the blind man.

Gethsemane Basilica

Gethsemane Basilica

Then we went to Gethsemane. It is the Basilica (or Church) of Agony.

Olive Trees

Olive Trees

Next to the Basilica, there is still a garden, and the biologists say those olive trees are more than 2,000 years old which means, Jesus must have seen them.

Jesus was arrested while he was praying here. Standing here, I realised that this Gethsemane is the middle point between the city and Judean wilderness. If he wanted, it is 100% possible for him to flee to where David fled. But he did NOT which means he meant his death and sacrifice.

Inside the Basilica

Inside the Basilica

Inside the Church is so beautiful. The ceilings, windows, front patterns, drawings… and everything.

View from Gethsemane

View from Gethsemane

This is the view of the temple mount and the golden dome from the Gethsemane. It was not zoomed. It just shows how close it is to the temple. Until now, I had no idea when I was reading the Bible without any knowledge of geography even though I read the maps. When Jesus was taken from the Gethsemane to the temple, and to the Pontius Pilate, and to Herod, it sounded to me like from Kansas city, to Chicago, and to Washington D.C. How can they travel in ONE day? But now I experienced and knew the distance and everything, it makes sense.

Mango Juice

Mango Juice

We went to Bethlehem and had lunch at Palestinian restaurant. See the bottle that it is filled up to the top. In America, the bottles always has some room in case of freezing. And here, this means that there is no chance to freeze.

Chicken Pita

Chicken Pita

This is chicken pita, and it was super delicious but pricier than that I expected – 40 NIS. I may skip the lunch tomorrow.

Shepherds' Field

Shepherds’ Field

Then we went to Shepherds’ Field where the angels came and told the shepherds about the birth of the Saviour. There are three places recognised as shepherds’ field, but this is Catholic one. This is the rock where the shepherds rested and probably saw the angels.

Shepherds Field Church Inside

Shepherds Field Church Inside

Inside the Church is quite beautiful and small. The acoustic is very good, but I think it was better at the St. Anne’s Church.

Shepherds Field Church Outside

Shepherds Field Church Outside

In the shepherds’ Field Church, anything down is shepherd and anything up is angel.

Terrace Agriculture

Terrace Agriculture

While we were moving on the bus, our local guide George explained us about the oldest way of agriculture. It was making a terrace as seen on the picture above. Here, the land is chalk. They dig the chalk in a row shape, and put good soil on it, and plant. And the chalk does not absorb the water, so the water flows down to the next terrace. Then you can just water only the top row. On the sites like this, it is easy to find some good soil, some chalk and bad soil, the rocks, some thorns. And this is perfectly fit with the parable of Jesus.

Palestinian Area

Palestinian Area

Then we met Chaska(?) from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions. She is very passionate and energetic Jewish woman who works and fights for the human rights of Palestinians. The photo above shows the ghetto Palestinian area without any trees. I actually drove through there, and it was so crappy, dirty, and all infrastructure was so bad, and not maintained by the government at all.

Jewish Area

Jewish Area

This is Jewish area. There are lots of trees, and high buildings. And above all, she said, Jewish area anywhere is identified by the landmark of cranes which means continuous development.

Jewish and Palestinian Resident

Jewish and Palestinian Resident

Israel government builds Jewish settlement in the heart of the Palestinian area. Here the front row is Jewish apartment which is nice and does not have any black water tank. They get enough water. Far back of the photo, you can see  the small black dots which are the water tanks. Because the government does not work on the infrastructure, they have to connect the water by themselves while they pay the same amount of water bills. And mostly they connect too many on one pipe and the water pressure drops down. That is why they must install water tanks.

Separation Wall

Separation Wall

Many, actually most of the Palestine communities are separated by the giant walls and disconnected from the neighbouring community. And they don’t have the freedom to move. This is the separation wall in Jerusalem.

House Demolition Site

House Demolition Site

This is the scene of home demolition. Israel government does not allow the Palestinians new house building permit. But they have to build. And later Israeli government give them warning of demolition. And then later suddenly they come around 1-3am and destroy the house. It is total operation with the demolition team, military, and police.

In my opinion, Israel government simply want them just disappear.

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