Saturday, July 15, 2006

Damascus Gate

We decided to stay in Jerusalem for the rest of our time here, and it has been very fun. Yesterday we went to the old city and walked all around the outside of it. It was a big walk, and very hot. We had taken water with us, and it was a life saver. We had planned to walk through Hezakia's Tunnel... but we didn't really know how to find it. Under the political circumstances, I wasn't sure how safe it would be to walk through there anyway. We have taken lots of pictures--there are lots of good photo opportunities here!
Yesterday, we saw the Church of All Nations, and it's right next to the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Mount of Olives. It was the Arab Sabbath, and there were lots of police at all the Gates to the old city. We walked back to our hotel through the Arab section and a lady warned me to watch my bag because it wasn't completely safe where we were. She said some people in that section were drug addicts, so please watch my bag. I had bought a little T-shirt for Ryker and it was just hanging on my arm.

When we came to the Damascus Gate there was some interesting "goings on". There were huge crowds of Arabs trying to enter the old city about 1 p.m. to go to church. I was told that anyone entering must show ID and no one under 45 years old is allowed to enter on Friday unless they live inside. There was a bit of confrontation across the street of Damascus gate... there were loads of police and two police riding large horses and the horses had helmets to protect their eyes and faces. Some people were shouting insults to the police and there were lots of news media people taking photos. I wanted to but just didn't feel comfortable doing so. Now I wish I would have. Dad was very curious and wanted to stay and watch up close, but I was anxious to put some distance between me and the friction.

We have been enjoying all the food here in Israel. There are lots of fancy restaurants, and we have been trying a few of them.

We have also had a really pleasant time walking everywhere here.Today we went to the Museum of Israel. It is Saturday, and it is the Jewish Sabbath. Practically everything shuts down on the Sabbath. We walked there. It was about a 40 minute walk, and although it was hot, there was a nice breeze. And you take in so much more when you walk rather than taking taxis. We have only the best to say about the museum. It is huge. There were so many things to look at, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, a huge part of the museum had Peruvian artifacts. There was too much to even remember. We forgot to visit the "Bread" Display, and we were planning to see it for sure. By the time we left the museum, we were beat and we were very happy to pay a high price for a taxi and get home!

We're really enjoying ourselves... the news today is that Tiberias was bombed. That's very unsettling. Makes me wonder if Jerusalem will be next! Hopefully everything will be okay till Sunday when we fly out at 10:40 a.m. on EL AL (Delta).

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