Project Peace from Palestine: In the Old City, JerusalemWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
From Linda Haas of Project Peace:
In the Old City, Jerusalem
Tuesday April 2, 2012
We landed in TelAviv a little bit early at 9:33 even though we left late. It was easy getting through security, just passport control, where they asked a couple of routine questions. Then we picked up our bags, some people exchanged money, and we walked right out to get the taxi to Jerusalem. It was about an hour’s drive. On the way we saw some evidence of the walls that separate the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Paulette said we could tell the Palestinian homes because they have water tanks on the roofs. All of the houses are made of cement blocks and stone. There are very few trees here. You could tell it is spring and that there has been some rain as there were several kinds of trees and flowers blooming along the side of the road. Eventually we came to terraced hills covered with olive trees.
When we got near the Old City by the Damascus gate we left our taxi (a big van) and then walked into the Old City
. It is surrounded by walls that were built long ago. Paulette said it would be just a little walk to the Golden Gate Inn and Hostel. Well it was quite a ways, down stairs and ramps of stone once we were inside the walls. As you enter the gate you are assaulted by the shops selling everything from souvenirs to produce and meat hanging in the wind. I think one of the pieces was half a goat or something. There is candy everywhere, sold by the pound. There were clothing shops, kitchen wares, and groceries. We checked in and then went to eat at a little restaurant real close to the Golden Gate. Luckily they had menus in English. I ordered a felafal and humus peta. It had cucumber, pimento, pickle, cabbage and a creamy dressing. It was very good. A lot of us ordered pomegranate juice.
After lunch some people decided to have a rest. Larry, Alice and I headed to the ATM outside the Damascus Gate. When Larry and I stopped at the hostel to get a map of the Old City, we lost Alice. She had been taking a picture when we left. So we walked out of the Damascus Gate and got 200 NRI (sheckels) at the ATM. Right now a dollar is 3.67 sheckels. We decided to walk outside the walls to the New Gate. It was uphill all the way. When we got there we decided to go back into the city. We found we were in the Christian Quarter. The city is divided into the Christian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter
. We stop at Alfredo’s Christian shop and he asked us to bring our group there to shop. It was very small and had some beautiful icons. Not many tour groups make their way to the Christian Quarter and he was asking our help.
We kept walking and found ourselves in the Armenian Quarter and then back on our street. We ran into Phung and then a lady helped us find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We went inside but didn’t really know what we were looking at. It will be better when we take the tour on our return to Jerusalem next week. Next we tried to get to the Dome of the Rock but soldiers blocked our way saying it was closed. So we headed back to the hostel. On the way back we finally found Alice and she had had quite a time getting lost and finding her way again. We went back to the hostel and I blogged our first and started our second when Phung came and said she was going to the Hashimi Hotel and Hostel just down the street for a 360* view of the Old City. We went along and went up to the roof top garden for a wonderful view of the Dome of the Rock and other Domes and Minarets. When we got back I blogged some more and Larry and I sat on the terrace of the hostel and looked at the resident birds. Paulette and Josie went to get the phone we will use while we are here and to scope out the route to the bus we take to Bethlehem tomorrow. Phung decided to go find the other five gates of the Old City
. Alice and Ted have crashed and Matt is AWOL.
When we gathered to meet for supper we heard loud booms coming from the direction of the Damascus Gate. Paulette thought it was just fireworks but then we learned that a demonstration was taking place. We shared for a while about our day and what we had all done. We decided to go to the 4 Seasons which we had seen across from the Damascus Gate. Paulette said the food was good. So we headed toward the Damascus Gate as there was no more noise coming from that direction. When we came out of the gate we were met by a crowd of people, soldiers, and police. Some of them were mounted on horses and they had a bomb sniffing dog. There was a news team interviewing someone and a little shrine with a picture of a man behind them. Paulette went over and talked to a young woman who was near the shrine and found out that an Palestinian man had died in custody because he had cancer and they didn’t give him the medication he needed. This was a Palestinian protest in answer to that event. We were told it would not be safe to go to Hebron for two days which is okay as we weren’t planning to go until Saturday anyway. We walked through the crowd and by the soldiers and police and crossed the street to the restaurant. When we got inside it was not as Paulette remembered it. There was no restaurant on the ground floor but a bakery. But we did find a new restaurant upstairs so we went there.
We checked out the menu and decided to try it. Inside they were playing Western music loud enough that we couldn’t hear what was going on outside. The menu was quite varied. Matt got a Chinese dish, Larry got Chicken Schnitzel, Ted got a big hamburger, Paulette and Alice got Jerusalem salads, I got a grilled chicken salad, Phung had shrak kbab, and Josie grilled eggplant and humus. Everything was good.
When we got back we went to bed.