Israel chronicles - Day 2 - 8 August (from the blogphone)

Up early and on the 11am bus, no 444 from Eilat with the intention of stopping at Masada and Ein Gedi. Manage somehow to sleep through Masada and ended up in Jerusalem. Doh. Shacked up with Sam and Grainne and booked into the Hebron hostel for 3 nights. Went out to look for food and ended up in one of the most holy temples in Christendom, apparently the site of Calvary, the hill where Jesus was crucufied. Not a bad series of mistakes if i must say so myself. Continued walking and ended up at the Dome of the rock, the most photographed monument in the world, sacred to christians, jews and muslims as it was the place where Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice to God before God said he was only joking about the whole sacrifice thing. For the muslims it was the place where Mohamed said Beam me up Goddy and the Big Man turned him into Superman and he ascended to Heaven. Pretty mental stuff huh!

After this and chatting to a pretty autistic American jew (alright correct that to read 'being talked AT by a pretty autistic American Jew') we made our way down to the Wailing wall where we saw loads and loads of jews praying and being really communal. That was really humbling.

But by that time i was ravenous and couldn't hang around being humble, so the three of us went looking for food, but the Sabbath had started.

In judaism, the Sabbath means total rest. This means in the more orthodox cases that you can't even break bread cos that would constitute doing work!

So getting someone to cook us food was going to prove a little difficult in a country populated by Jews.

Luckily for us the archenemy was close at hand and we made a beeline for the Palestinian quarter of town where we picked up a pizza and sat on the terrace doing some of the most interesting people-watching i've ever done.

As the prayer time ended, streams of orthodox jews came streaming out of the square and made their way home past our restaurant. Armed soldiers and police lined the streets and me and Sam watched fascinated as the most beautiful Israeli girls (yes Israeli girls are absolutely stunning. ALL of them.) strolled past with these really strange looking guys with long sideburns and black suits and hats.

As they went past our restaurant we noticed a very odd thing. On the opposite side of the road was a Palestinian guy and he appeared to be shouting at the owner of the place we were eating at.

The owner appeared to shout back. Then we noticed that one or two of the jews would look at him and smile condescendingly.

It would seem that the Palestinian was taking the opportunity of the Sabbath to slag the Jews off straight to their faces! As it was the Sabbath i guess that jew-baiting was fair game as punching a mouthy Palestinian in the face probably constituted doing work so they knew they were safe!

After a short spot of night shooting with the Canon i rambled through the alleyways back to the Hebron hostel and wondered what this fascinating city still held in store.
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