Hannah and Je together

Friday, 8 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Fifth Day – Walking to School

Since I had bad experience with the Palestinian taxi driver, I avoid taxi ride as much as possible.  And from the hosting house to Bethlehem University, it takes 50 minutes to walk.  And from Beit Sahour to Bethlehem is always uphill, sometimes very steep.  And I am walking twice everyday.

Sheep? Goat? on the street

Sheep on the street

On the way to school, I encounter the herds of sheep and goats a couple of times.

Sidewalk in Beit Sahour

Sidewalk in Beit Sahour

The overall walking experience is not good.  First, the sidewalk is very narrow.  And even many cars blocked the sidewalk by parking on it.  The sidewalk discontinues several times.  Some places, the trees are planted on the sidewalk which take all the room on the sidewalk.  The streets in Palestine is not the cleanest but it is much better than in Cairo, Egypt.

Peaceful Protest

Peaceful Protest

While walking in Beit Sahour, I found my favourite wall painting.  I believe, hope, and pray that peaceful protest would work eventually.

Bethlehem Peace Centre in Manger Square

Bethlehem Peace Centre in Manger Square

This is manger square where the Nativity church is.  Many of the McCormick travel group may remember this building, and there is “Stars & Bucks” nearby.

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

From the manger square, I walk up to the market, and there is small plaza with the star of Bethlehem.

Then I need to make a right turn and then left to go to the Bethlehem University, but I was a bit confused at first day walking.  So I asked a Tourist Police on the street, where the Bethlehem University is.  And he said, “What?  Do we have a university in Bethlehem?  Really?”  Well, I walked straight another minute, and found very small sign of Bethlehem University with arrow mark.

View from classroom

View from classroom

This is the view from my classroom.

Korean-Palestinian Friendship Street

Korean-Palestinian Friendship Street

I walked the same road on the way back home.  My hosting family lives on “Korean – Palestinian Friendship Street.”  How nice the street name is.  I heard that this road is sponsored by Korean embassy.

Korean Cultural Centre

Korean Cultural Centre

And down on the street, the Korean Cultural Centre is under construction.  This building is located on the lowest corner of the street.  In Israel/Palestine, good buildings and rich people live on the mountain top and high places.  In Korea, poor people live on the mountain top and high places.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Second Day – First Day in Class

I left SunCity hotel at 5:10 in the morning for Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv.  There I got on a but to Jerusalem at 5:50.  Then I went to Damascus gate by the light railway in Jerusalem.  And this time also, I got help from a Jewish guy.  He was very caring and concerning about me, and try to give me as much tips as possible such as to buy bus ticket to travel cheaper in Jerusalem.

I got two school for this summer: Hebrew University in Israel and Bethlehem University in Palestine.  They both gave me instructions how to get there.  The Hebrew University emailed me with a map attached with has pin points on the map where I can get a bus and where we would gather and meet.  From Bethlehem University, I also got a text email just saying “Take Arab bus number 21 in Jerusalem to Bethlehem.  And walk to school or taxi if you like.”  But I don’t know where to get on the Arab bus.  I googled many times, and asked many people, but I failed to get an answer.  It took me more than three weeks to figure out what is Arab bus and where is the station.  And even in Bethlehem, quite many people do not know what and where is Bethlehem University, including a police officer.

Anyway, I got on the Arab bus 21 at Damascus gate.  I was the only passenger in the bus.  The bus from Bethlehem to Jerusalem was packed like sardine, but the bus from Jerusalem to Bethlehem was empty.

Bethlehem University

Bethlehem University

I went to the University directly by taxi.  And I learned some Arabic beginning with pronunciation.  McCormick travel group may remember this building.

There is another difference between Hebrew University and Bethlehem University, and it is about money.  Hebrew University has much flexibility.  I can pay in US dollar, Euro, or Israel Shekel.  They told me I can pay anytime or any day I want.  And I also can pay in cash, credit card, or cheque.  But Bethlehem university emphasized many time through several emails that the students MUST pay at the FIRST DAY in US Dollar ONLY and in CASH ONLY.

My room for one month

My room for one month

After the class, I met a gentleman from England who also stay at a family in Beit Sahour, the same town of my hosting family.  We were supposed to go to the Siraj centre.  So we shared a cab.  The teacher and staff at the University told us that it is about 15 shekel and do NOT pay more than 20.  We said that to the taxi driver.  He did not say anything at first, but be suddenly said that we need to pay 50 shekel because we are two people, so it must be double price.  We argued about the price, and he began to yelled at us.  We said that 20 is maximum we can pay.  Then the taxi driver dropped us on a street.  We thought we were at Siraj centre.  After we got off he asked again 5 more shekels from us which we did not give.  And we found out that we were not there.  We walked ten minutes to the centre.  I had another very bad experience with Palestinians.  I don’t really know why I keep having bad experiences with the Palestinians.

The centre called the hosting family, and they came to the centre to pick me up.  The family is Palestinian Christian.  They are very nice.  And the photo above is my room for one month.

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