Yes, I’m starting from one again. Partially because I didn’t think this through when I started and I don’t like ordinal numbers above twelve, and partially because it works out to match up with the actual days – it’s Sunday.
Anyway, I’m in Jerusalem!!! Yuval told us to put aside any preconceptions of Jerusalem and let the city speak for itself, but so far, it’s been exactly what I’d expect of an ancient major city: tall, old buildings and very noisy. We’re within about five minutes’ walking distance from the eastern wall (outside it).
When we arrived last night, the lobby was filled to the brim with Conservative and Orthodox Jews just sort of sitting around (or, in the case of the children, running around like crazy). This is because it’s popular for the wealthier religious Jews to spend Sabbath in a hotel, where they don’t have to work or cook or do anything. They all started leaving after Sabbath ended and they could travel again.
At dinner, it was fairly empty: us, and three or four families of American Jews. I can only assume they’re also here as tourists. It was weird to hear Jews (dressed as Jews) speaking English to each other, since in Tel Aviv and Tiberia mostly they speak Hebrew and they speak English with Hebrew accents.
After dinner, I went out with some of the others to the ATM (across the road) and the supermarket (down the road), where I bought two thermal undershirts for 30 shekels (about $10). I guessed the size, and they’re a little too big, but that’s all right. We then went looking for a rain poncho, and found ourselves at the Kanyon (Shopping Centre – from “kanah”, “to buy”) down the road a little further, right by the eastern wall. It’s a really upmarket area, and I didn’t want to spend hundreds of shekels on a brand-name raincoat, so we made our away around and back up towards the supermarket, where I bought an umbrella for 14 shekels (about $5) – better than nothing, right?
There’s a bath in our bathroom, and I tried to have one, but it’s the narrowest bath I’ve ever encountered, so I ended up just having a shower instead. In the interest of having a (warm) soak, I might head down to the hotel spa-thing tomorrow.
I’ve been getting really cold at night recently (I think because I was ill on Wednesday and haven’t had time to adequately recover) and was sleeping with two doonas at Ein Gev. We don’t have spare doonas here (although I could probably ask at reception) and I ended up taking both of the blankets in the cupboard (so I hope my roommate doesn’t want one).
Our wake-up was half an hour later, but I ended up getting up at about quarter past 6, because my roommate was up and about and it was getting so noisy there was just no point. I think part of the noise through the night was the wind howling around (which can’t be helped), but like any big city, there was traffic going all night. It’s going to take some getting used to again after four nights in a kibbutz in the middle of nowhere.
A couple of us need to ask Yuval about laundromats for tomorrow, since washing in the hotel is charged by the item. Some members of the group are washing in the bath and drying in the room, but last time I tried to dry in the room, all that happened was that my clothes stayed damp and smelt bad.
So now I’m really hungry, so I’ll head down to breakfast now.