Monday, May 31, 2010

Jerusalem music

Jerusalem music concert
This afternoon and evening I'll be attending a music concert in downtown Jerusalem. My friends Shimon and his wife Noga have invited me to go with them. We will be going to the concert by Egged Bus.

Since I often need a nap during the afternoons, my plan is to stay at home at the apartment until around 4pm. Then meet up with Shimon and Noga and go to the concert.

Pretty neat, huh?

4PM - Meeting Shimon in Jerusalem
The plan was for me to meet Shimon at the corner of King George & Jaffa Streets. But I got lost! After getting off the bus, I cell phoned Shimon. We both began walking in opposite directions along Jaffa Street. In only about five minutes, we found each other!

We walked some interesting neighborhoods while talking and joking around as you may see in the pics below.
I love curving streets!

Shimon loves beer, wine and whiskey!

5PM - Meeting up with Noga
Shimon and I kept walking and seemingly wandering around Jerusalem. But we were actually heading toward where his wife Noga was waiting.

After meeting up with Noga, we all went to a very nice photography exhibition. That was where Little Mavicita's backup batteries gave out! So, we only have one more pic to show you!
Noga looks at photos

7PM - The concert
After we left the photo exhibition, the three of us walked toward the concert. I recognized where we walked as being close to the Old City and the Jaffa Gate! I had walked here myself in 2008.

We came to a gorgeous modern shopping mall. By now I was starving and more interested in food than a music concert. We got an outside table in a lovely restaurant. I ordered a fried tuna steak. Maybe Shimon will email me some pics of me eating this tuna steak?
Noga & I on way to concert
Shimon took pic while making us laugh!

Gilo Israel

Gilo, Israel
During my 2008 trip to Jerusalem I went on an Egged bus to the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo. At that time I wanted to go to see what Gilo looked like. Gilo is considered an illegal settlement by the European Union and the United Nations. I wondered just what is an illegal settlement? Is a settlement sparsely populated land with temporary shacks?

I got lost during that 2008 trip and never found Gilo. I mentioned my wanting to go to Gilo to my friend Shimon, and today he is going to drive me there!

Wandering Gilo
When we arrived in Gilo, I was happy to see that this neighborhood is made up of wide and well paved streets. The homes here are constructed of Jerusalem stone, not temporary structures as the word "settlement" implies.
Shimon in Gilo

We visited a shopping mall located in Gilo. This mall is well built, not a temporary structure. It is clear that this mall has been here for many years.
Gilo's Uptown Mall

Gilo's bullet barrier walls
Shimon being a professional photographer, was interested in taking pics of the concrete bullet barrier walls of Gilo. These are located on hilltops at the edge of Gilo and protect against rifle fire from the Arab neighborhoods across the valley. A school guard in Gilo told us about rifle fire entering his home a few years ago.

The Arab neighborhoods in the pic below are located on the other side of the fence at the top of the hill across the valley.
Painted Gilo bullet walls

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Old City

9AM - A day in the Old City
This is going to be a day spent in the Old City of Jerusalem. We will travel to the Old City by Egged Bus. Most of the buses travel along Jaffa Road and lead us to the Jaffa Gate. However, we may enter at the Damascus Gate. Depends on which Egged Bus we catch.

We do not feel like tourists in Jerusalem. Because this trip is for two months, we may take our time. There is no rush. And this is the way we like to travel while searching for adventure. Slowly. Letting the feeling of a place flow into us

Central Bus Station
On the way to the Old City, we stopped at Egged's Central Bus Station to get a list of Jerusalem's bus routes. While in the bus station, Little Mavicita captured a scene of soldiers. In sharing with you our trip to Jerusalem, we would be remiss if we did not let you know that everywhere in Israel there are scenes like this one with soldiers.

These soldiers are here in order to insure that there is peace inside Israel. This is an enforced peace. But it is peace. A peace much better than any alternative for the Jewish people who live here.
Soldiers in the bus station

Tower of David
The Egged Bus takes us close to the Jaffa Gate. The first thing that we see on leaving the bus is the Tower of David! This is not the original tower built by King David. This tower was built several hundred years later to reinforce a weak point in the city's defenses.
Tower of David
From the bus stop

The Western Wall
Long ago the place where the Western Wall stands was called Mount Moriah. Abraham came here to sacrifice his son Isaac. Jacob slept here, dreaming of a ladder to heaven. Salomon built the Temple here on land which his father King David bought from Aravnah, the Jebusite, 3,000 years ago.

Jewish history tells that the Western Wall was built by King David. The wall we see today in the pic below, was built on his foundations. Thus the base of the Western Wall dates from the time of the First Temple built 2,967 years ago. For centuries Jews scattered all over the World have prayed to be Next year in Jerusalem. Next year at the Western Wall.

Today I went myself to the Western Wall and prayed. And I wrote my prayer on a note and placed this note in the cracks of the wall. My prayer now resides there in the wall with the millions of other prayers placed by Jews over the ages.
Western Wall

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday is Friday

Saturday is Friday!
Israel is a country where most people work five days a week. The two days off work are the Sabbath and the day before the Sabbath. In other words, Friday and Saturday are the days people don't work here.

However, I did not understand what I saw happening here in Jerusalem on Fridays. Not until yesterday while talking to Shimon and I questioned why things slowed down so much on Friday afternoons? Shimon explained that here in Israel, Fridays are like Saturdays in the United States!

It still did not dawn on me what this meant until we went for lunch Friday at the Hillel Coffee Shop. We arrived there about 1pm, and the tables were all filled. When we were here yesterday [which was Thursday] for lunch, there were plenty of tables. However, since people had the day off on Friday, many were out shopping and at lunch time they were eating.

Saturday in the United States is Friday in Israel. Now, I understand!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wohl Rose Garden

Wohl Rose Garden
My get together with Shimon today is in the Wohl Rose Garden [Hebrew: גן הוורדים, Gan HaVradim]. This garden is located not too far from my Kiryat Moshe [קרית משה] apartment. After finding the garden's location in Google Maps, Little Mavicita and I walked over there.

We entered the garden at the Israel Supreme Court site. There is a monument in the garden next to the court. Little Mavicita captured a pano view of the monument with the court building behind.
Monument & Israel Supreme Court

Shimon drove to the garden. He gave me a cell phone call and we met each other close to the Knesset building. The Knesset is Israel's parliament. We walked thru the garden to a place Shimon loves. There is a gorgeous lake here where Shimon often sat and talked with his Father.

Shimon and I found a nice shaded bench near the lake and spent the morning talking together.
Shimon taking pics of the lake

Gershon reads Hebrew!
Do you see the Hebrew words in the above post? It may surprise some Readers that I am able to read Hebrew. For seven years, from my 6th year to my 13th birthday, I was schooled in the Hebrew language.

According to Jewish law, when a Jewish child reaches 13 years they they are Bar Mitzvah and become responsible for their own actions. Included in Bar Mitzvah is a calling to read from the Torah [the Five Books of Moses]. When I read from the Torah scroll, my Hebrew skill was phenomenal. However, although I read Hebrew like lightning, my comprehension of Hebrew was terrible. Now at the age of 72 years, my Hebrew reading is slow. But still there! Very useful to be able to read Hebrew here in Jerusalem

Note: My Hebrew name is Gershon. In Mexico I am Jorge. And in the USA, George.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shuk Mahane Yehuda

Shuk Mahane Yehuda
This morning we are taking an Egged Bus to the Mahane Yehuda Market. In Hebrew, shuk means outdoor market. There is no way to know for sure all of the bus routes that go to the Shuk from the bus stop near my apartment. There is no Egged bus route map available. However there is a WikiPedia list of Egged routes [link].

I've written down all of the bus route numbers that go passed my apartment. So this means that I know how to get back home! Very important thing to know. These are #6, 9, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 26, 28.

Prices: Look for prices/kilo on chalk boards in the produce bins. Prices often change during the day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Theodor Herzl

Theodor Herzl
Our apartment in Jerusalem is on Sderot Herzl [Herzl Boulevard]. A couple miles from here is Mount Herzl [pronounced hěrt'səl] and the Israel National Cemetery. This morning my friend Shimon and I are going to Mount Herzl to visit the resting place of some of Israel's great leaders.

It is a treat to go places like this with Shimon who thru his education and story telling, enhances such a visit for me.
Herzl's tomb
Herzl is founder of modern Zionism

Lea & Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin: Fifth Prime Minister of Israel. Assasinated in 1995.

One of the many student groups
visiting the National Cemetery

Soldiers at cemetery entrance

Everywhere in Jerusalem, including here at the National Cemetery, armed soldiers are present. The army must always be alert. Enemies are close whose wish is the destruction of the State of Israel. At 11am this morning sirens went off for the beginning of a military drill to test preparedness for attack.

Hillel Coffee Shop
As we left the National Cemetery, Shimon asked me what I would like to do next. My wish was to go to a coffee shop and drink a moca latte!

We drove to the nearby Hillel Coffee Shop. They did not have a moca latte on the menu. When I described a moca latte, they made one special for me to drink!
A special moca latte

8PM - Out on the town!
When I was in Jerusalem in 2008, I spotted a Chinese restaurant in the same building with the Mister Cheap grocery. Lately I've been asking about that Chinese place and receiving good reviews. This evening I went out on the town and ate at Yo-Si Peking.

I ordered chicken almond, white rice with veggies and egg rolls. There is a minimum charge of 80 shekels. My dinner came to 85 shekels plus 15 shekel tip [100 shekels=$27US]. The food is very good. I have enough takeout for perhaps two more meals.
Supper at Yo-Si Peking