Last night after having my battle with technology to make a blog post I went on a hunt for shwarma. It was sundown so Shabbat was over and I let my fearless send of direction take me. I was able to locate pizza and slushies without fail in the direction that I walked. I was being stubborn and didn’t want anything other then shwarma so I turned around and headed off in another direction and found copious pastry stands/stores open (who goes pastry shopping at 7pm Saturday night?), but no shwarma. I then saw a crowd of people sitting out side a ways up on a side street and thought that it had to be s shwarma stand, no it was a $6 pizza shop, but right across the way was a shwarma stand with even more people outside and a line out the door. Little did I know that I had found the Primanti Brothers of shwarma. I got to the front of the line and there is the awkward moment (at least for me) where they know I don’t speak Hebrew and I am 98% sure they speak English, but I am in a foreign country and don’t want to assume everyone knows English and I saw I want a shwarma and he says in a laffa and I say yes (thankfully I have been to Garbanzos before and know what a laffa is). He then says “spicy” and I am not sure if this is a comment/command or a question and then he piles on the paste (spicy?), hummus, pickles, salad, the meat, and lastly a good amount of french fries. I had a laffa that would make a Qdoba burrito look like an appetizer and it was a flavor explosion in my mouth.
With my tummy full I then went back to the hostel and ordered a beer and started being social. One interesting thing about hostel socializing is you really don’t ask the persons name unless you run into them multiple times.
This morning I went and did a couple hour “free” tour which was a nice group of 6 people to get the sights of the city. I think that tomorrow I am going to do a Holy City tour that will probably be lead by an Israeli, but covers the main 3 religions and what supposedly happened. I normally am not the biggest fan of guided tours, but I think that I will get the most out of the city by doing couple of them. I know that just about everyone made fun of me for reading “An Idiots Guide to the Bible” before I left to refresh my religious history from growing up, but I can actually relate and things make sense. I did have the sense to leave it at the Toronto airport, before I got to my gate.
The hardest thing for me to relate to is all the history and sights literally on top of each other. It isn’t like buildings were leveled everything and built something on top of it, there are actual multistory structures that have been excavated from under the streets. I went to one museum that was over 20 feet under the current street and there were buildings from right around year 0 that have been dug up with full mosaic tiling in the bathrooms.
Other things I did today was go to the City of David and into the water tunnels that used to bring water into the city, the Tower of David (which actually Herod the Great built 1000 years after David died), wander around the streets, Mount Zion, and the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. I actually did go into one church at the end of the day.
Wondering around the city I often feel like I am trespassing. It seems like everything is open to wander into and there aren’t really any signs for anything. I was confused about how to get into the church and a guy said just walk in after asking where I was from. I feel like one of these times I am going to end up in someones living room (I have already ended up on roofs, but there was a women with a stroller on the roof too so I feel it was ok). Another thing about the city is around ever corner is something interesting around one is a monk, then you see a man and a women with machine guns (I am confused about the low rise women’s army pants that many women in the military seem to be sporting. I am not complaining, they even might be boot cut), then a tourist with shorts and shin high socks under their sandals, then CCTV cameras, and then a gaggle of Jewish boys playing soccer in the street. Interspersed among these sights are a bagillion 60 year old white people.
Well I am off to the market to eat some yummy goodness since it seems like I managed to skip lunch today. I also seem to be failing at being able to post pictures and I refuse to proof read this.