Life is starting to settle into more or less of a routine, which is good, even though I know in a few weeks I’ll be screaming for an out. Classes are going well, and I’m getting my reading done, for a change. What else? I’m going to take some Krav Maga classes – there’s a place really close by – for all of two months. Wow. Two months. I want to go home, but I want to stay longer.
What else? Hmmm. I toyed with the idea of getting a nostril piercing, but I’m probably not going to. I’ve decided that I value my mother’s good opinion over cosmetic whims. My sister sent me a song some guy in her chemistry class wrote (about chemistry). Seriously, it’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in quite awhile. I also went to Jerusalem with a friend this Saturday night and Sunday. We bunked up (literally) with some friends of hers. Some pictures of Jerusalem and also some Hallowe’en craziness:
Julia and Aunt G, this pic is for y’all! There are tons of stray cats in Israel in general, and occasionally they’re cute. This kitten wanted attention.
Coke comes in cool glass bottles – sometimes. But always with a straw. Not macho.
Part of the wall of Jerusalem at night. This isn’t the wall of the Old City proper; that one’s buried under layers of the city.
We went to the shuk, which is the market, and engaged in that deceptive bargaining dance which goes: How much is this? Oh, I don’t want it. No, it’s really all right. Well, I’d pay _____. No more. No, that’s okay. Meh. Well, maybe _____ + 20. Nah. Well, thanks, have a good day. Oh … well, okay, ______ + 40. Sweet. Thanks! (or, no, really, I’ll just look somewhere else.) Afterwards we ended up in the Jewish quarter of the Old City. Slightly awkward…
As in, really Jewish quarter. This street sign is supposed to be in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Recess – haf’saka – and frisbee time at an Orthodox elementary school. I didn’t take many pictures. The kids may not have minded, but the adults certainly would have, I think.
The Garden of Gethsemane. The olive trees are millenia old.
There was a church on the site, of course. I think this one was… Franciscan? Maybe? Awesome mosaics nonetheless.
So… what did I do near (not on) Hallowe’en? Somehow ended up in the Mount of Olives graveyard, which is basically the entire side of the mountain. (Jews aren’t allowed to cremate.) We were trying to get to Hebrew University, which is at the top, from Gethsemane, which is near the bottom, and took a shortcut. We didn’t realize the path would eventually run out, leaving us in the middle of… this. There’s a nice view of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the picture. Yeah. Apparently Jewish tradition is to put rocks or pebbles on gravestones instead of burning candles on them. And at some points, to get to the stairs that were, erm, quite a distance away, we had to climb up walls. And try not to step on the graves, even though it’s quite tempting when you need a boost. All in all, it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So, yeah, some of them were open or caved in. I didn’t do it. I promise.
We checked out Hebrew University for a very little while, since we were hungry, grabbed lunch, and cafe-hopped. Ambreen met us and took us to a little cafe where the menu was divided into segments labeled: “Introduction”, “The Plot”, “The Plot Thickens”, and “Conclusion”. We talked for awhile and did some catching up and Rice-glorification – it was really good seeing her. I should have taken pictures, but it slipped my mind.
This is Ben Yehuda street, which is basically Disneyland. Sweet buildings, lots of people just walking around, and dozens of surprising/interesting/unusual shops and cafes. We met another friend and hung out for a bit, then headed back. And the adventure continues…