This morning, I woke up at quarter to seven… and got back into bed. Small joys! It felt amazing! I got down to breakfast at eight – we’re usually well gone by eight!
Most of the others were going out in groups, either for shopping or to sight-see in the Old City. Some were planning to climb the Temple Mount. I’m still waiting to see how that went. Women in skinny-jeans… that’ll go down well outside a mosque.
I couldn’t face the idea of getting wet again, so I hung around in the hotel. Which quickly descended into the sort of chaos which ensues when the guests aren’t present:
I checked e-mails and caught up on some Gaelic work, before making my leisurely way down to the lobby a little before midday, primarily to people-watch.
There was quite a group of Israeli children left in the lobby by themselves; their parents didn’t start arriving until about two.
There are lots of children running around the hotel, apparently by themselves; children as young as four or five taking the lift by themselves.
Then I played a dice game with two other group members who similarly didn’t want to get wet.
I won the second one.
At about half-past-one, I headed to the supermarket to find something to eat for lunch.
Never has crossing the road felt like such an undertaking. Paranoid about getting cold and wet, I wore two pairs of socks, two pairs of leggings, a skivvy, a petticoat, two dresses, a scarf and a coat. Much too hot for indoors, and as soon as I got back, I peeled off quite a few of those layers.
Shopping was much as shopping is, except I couldn’t read a lot of the lables. But still, I could recognise quite a lot. I was stopped at one point by an American man who was rather relieved to find I could speak English; he wanted to know which of the deli-meats was turkey, because “you can’t go wrong with turkey”; eventually I had to tell him that although I spoke English, I barely had any Hebrew, and on top of that, I came from a country where we rarely ate turkey, so I really couldn’t pick the difference between packaged chicken and packaged turkey.
I ended up with beef. I’m pretty sure it was beef, because I recognised the word “BQR”, which means “cow”. It was sort of spiced and tasted a bit like salami, although it looked like plain beef.
I also found pareveh (“harmless”) cheese.
The herbs aside, it tasted like bio. It also came “with olive” and “with tomato”.
40 shekels (about $12) all up. It was probably a third too large for what I needed, but a smaller roll was 7 shekels more expensive. I’ve got some meat and cheese still left in the fridge (but don’t worry, kosher hotel, it’s pareveh cheese!). I was a little worried as I was eating in the lobby that someone would come up and tell me off for eating meat and cheese together.
I hung around in the lobby for a bit, before two other group members got back from the laundromat. It was one where you paid by weight and they washed it for you; they’d taken my stuff with theirs last night.
I’m a little worried because apparently today was meant for buying souvenirs. I’ve been procrastinating most of the souvenir-buying when we went into souvenir shops for all the sites in the last week, because a lot of it was Jerusalem-based and I just thought, “I’ll get it when we get to Jerusalem”. But the sites we’ve been to so far in Jerusalem don’t have their own souvenir shops, so I’m a little worried I won’t get the chance to buy any.
My room is much, much colder than the lobby, but when I came back, it seemed to thermostat had turned itself off again. I think I might head off now to the souvenir street as I can see some patches of blue sky, so it might hold for a while.