Friday, 28 October 2011

Jerusalem part 1.

Where was I?

On my way to Jerusalem. Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, one hour by bus. I was never so happy to take a bus.

During my trip I kept coming back to this magnificent, so unique city.

After just two days, I knew my way around the old city which still had plenty of secrets for me to discover, but at least I knew where to go.
This city... it just made me feel like no other city never had. The history behind it, the legends, the atmosphere, everything just attracted me like a very strong magnet.

The view from my hostel rooftop.
It felt so great.
I won't tell you about what there is to see in Jerusalem because that is what travel guides are for and they probably have a better idea, I'm just going to talk about my experience of Jerusalem.

A hello here, a hello there as I walked the hundreds of year old steps of the Old City, as sellers were trying to get my attention and eventually my money. I never stopped. I was not there to buy made in china souvenirs, I was there to feel because Jerusalem is a city you have to feel.
However once in a while I stopped and it was always for the best, I guess I'm lucky that way. First time I stopped when a shopkeeper called me, I met Zyad, a maybe 50 year old man who looked like he was 70 and whose back was in pain all the time.
Zyad made me tea that day. Chai u'nana. Then he shared his lunch with me. The whole time I was in Jerusalem Zyad made me food and tea from that dirty old kitchen of his at the back of his shop. It was hard but I managed not thinking about the cleanliness or more like the non-cleanliness at all of it.
He taught me how to make hummus (the real one!), taught me typical recipes, let me cut his newspapers and showed me an Egyptian TV show (his favourite) about a Bedouin and his wife and much drama I did not understand a thing about.


Another time I stopped and this guy was all like, hey I will show you Jerusalem, I know it by heart. I didn't really want to because it was Friday afternoon and my plan was to hang around at the Kotel waiting for Shabbat. First thing I told him, and it's really a reflex you have to get in Jerusalem, was that I did not carry any money on me, because guides are the best at tricking you into showing you the city and explaining things to you and then  when they're done they'll ask you for money and then you feel guilty if you don't give them anything. If you tell them you have no money, they'll just leave you because suddenly you're not that interesting anymore. But that guy was like "I'm not a guide, promise, I just love my city and I'd like to show it to you". So there I was, following him in the Old city. He had a hard time showing me stuff I didn't know about because I'm just that curious and I already knew the things and places he is used to show people but eventually I learnt something new.
I made him understand I didn't want to miss the beginning of Shabbat at the wall so when the horns went on he let me go and gave me his lighter cover decorated with a Chamsa.

I think I could fill a book of the very short amount of time I spent in Jerusalem. So much happened to me. This city is magical, it does things to you.

To be continued...

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