Friday, 25 November 2011

National Interfaith Week.

Very busy interesting week it has been and still not over yet.

Saturday - I was at a charity ball (I danced with 70-year-olds, there was an old man dancing like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction and I just wanted to take my heeels off and dance with him but I did not). I met Amy who told me about this week's events.

Sunday - I accompany a friend to Church. We get to see an architecture exhibition then we run away during the service because it was just not cool. People there weren't friendly like a congregation usually is and they let their toddlers run around - there must have been at least 13 children under the age of ten,

Monday - nothing.

Tuesday - I visited a Buddhist temple, the Central Methodist Church and a Hindu temple where there was a giant picture of the Sun God Surya (it's my name - yay) then attended an intro to the Bahai Faith. Then got free curry. Father John who is an Italian missionary dropped me at University.
Father John made me recite his address by heart so I can drop by for a chat and a cup of tea (I think he misses talking Italian because Priests usually prefer little boys).

Wednesday - I visited a Mosque. I had never been to a Mosque. I received dates, Holy Water from Zamzam in Mecca, samosas and a Qur'an after watching the last prayer of the day. I saw Father John again.

It was all so interesting, I have learnt a lot and I wish I could do it all the time (I love learning awesome new things, if my brain could take it I would be learning 24/7).

Tomorrow I will be in Crown Court (no I did not kill anyone, I'm reporting there) and attending a few other events with my new Muslim friends.

P.S. I'll soon write more about Israel and other stuff but I haven't had the time to do so, Uni work has kept me busy

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Jerusalem final part.

I am probably getting boring going on about Jerusalem in every single post... I shall change the subject soon. This shall be my last post about Jerusalem before I go on to other places such as Masada, Ein Gedi, Yam HaMelakh (The Sea of Salt aka the Dead Sea), Haifa, etc.


somewhere near the tomb of King David.

Near King David's tomb, I met an old guide, and again, I told him I had no money but he still wanted to show me around eventhough he was a real guide. It was a little late and I already had plans so he told me to meet him at Sha'ar Zion at 10am the next morning. So I went back the next morning and he was late so I sat waiting. Some people obviously working there started asking me who I was waiting for so I described the man. They got all worried when they identified him. "Are you sure?", "did he bother you?" "did he do anything to you?" and so on... I got a little worried when I finally saw him arrive but I made sure we stayed in crowded places. He showed me the tomb, the building around it, a small museum and Schindler's grave. I am glad he did because in the whole time I was in Jerusalem, I had completely forgotten about him (shame on me, I know, especially when I have seen the movie several times and when they show his grave at the end).



Oskar Schindler is in the Christian cemetery near Sha'ar Zion. It was very moving for me to see this grave. May he rest in peace.

If you get out of the Old Jerusalem by the Zion Gate, you can follow the ramparts and get to Dung Gate, one of the entrance to the Kotel and a way to get to the Golden Menorah, Chabad Street and the Jewish Quarter very easily.

Mafia and lost kippa at Dung Gate.

On an other occasion, I decided to walk to the separation wall from my hostel. I got on the hostel roof which had a 360 degrees view and made a note in my mind of the directions, yes it was a very approximate science. I walked to Sha'ar Zion, got out of the Old City and started walking down towards the West Bank. It was something like 8am so there weren't many people in the streets apart from a few workers drinking tea. They stopped me, asked where I was going so I explained and they told me I was crazy and that on my way back I should come by and have tea with them, I agreed but in my mind I knew I wouldn't find the place on my way back. One or two cars stopped to ask where I was going and everyone told me I was crazy, they also told me I should take the bus but I really wanted to walk. I walked around in trash, between derelict buildings, small shacks and houses, in filthy streets and eventually I found a way to the wall. I had to climb around a house, get past what looked like a construction site where a kew children in rags were playing next to a busy tractor/machine. They laughed at me and followed me for a bit before leaving me on my own to climb a hill. I climbed through filth, abandoned cars and plastic bags and I finally got as close as I could be to that giant grey wall.



I stopped, out of breath. I had walked for more than an hour in the sun. I took a few pictures and came a car. I imagine there is a road alongside the wall but I could not go further nor see it. I could see the police car though. It stopped at my level, 10 meters away from me.
I continued taking pictures pretending I had seen nothing, I took my diary out and started drawing.
On my right, 100 meters or so away from me higher on the hill, was a control tower. Out of the tower came a man who started shouting at me. "Who are you?" "Where are you from?" "What are you doing?" to which I shouted back that I was just a tourist from Belgium taking pictures and drawing. Not finding my answers very satisfying and understanding I would probably not move, he shouted that I shouldn't be there and that it was very dangerous. If the man considered the children playing in dirt dangerous, than yes, the place is dangerous. I went on, did my thing and only when I left did the car move back to were it came from.

I walked down the hill and started going towards Jerusalem. I rejoined the street and I must admit I was glad when a car stopped and proposed to give me a lift back to Jerusalem. Yes I am crazy, I took the lift. The guy did put his hand on my thigh to which point I told him to let me out and he did. He dropped me at Damascus Gate. He asked me if we could meet again for tea (Yeah right...) I said I was leaving Jerusalem first thing next morning. And I rushed back to the hostel.

Somewhere in the Muslim Quarter near Damascus Gate.

 So all in all I did meet some creeps (and I met more than I actually told you on here) in Jerusalem, there were some times when I did not feel very safe but if you never take risks, life can get boring. It doesn't mean I don't love Jerusalem, because I actually do and hope I will go back rather sooner than later.

Have a very nice day/night/whatever!