Archive for May, 2008

Architectural Inspiration

Thursday, May 29th, 2008


I love looking at buildings and the architectural details. Israel did not disappoint. Most of the housing in Israeli cities is high density and high rise. Land for agriculture is a premium and so is land for housing in general, so most live in high rise apartments. I think this was my first glimpse of housing on the hillsides of Galilee. Remember, most of these photos were taken from a moving bus! All photos are clickable.

The hillside housing of Jerusalem was just amazing.

Most of the buildings were made of concrete or sandstone and were earthy colors so when I saw a colorful house, I just had to snap a photo.

Here are a couple of purple abodes.

Usually color was introduced in an architectural detail such as windows or doors. Turquoise was the predominant accent color.

In the West Bank rural areas, single family homes are more common. The Bedouins now live in these sort of hobbled together dwellings and tend their sheep on the surrounding land.

This is an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. It almost looks like a California housing development.

Some of the photos that I lost were of the typical Palestinian home which is one story and fits very nicely into the landscape of the desert.

I really enjoy going back through my photos and reliving the visit to the Holy Land. We have been home almost a week (just short a few hours). I got quite a bit of work done today, and I did not need a nap so I think I am back to normal. I have to have my 12 X 12 water challenge ready to post this week-end. I am almost ready to quilt it. I spent the morning reorganizing stuff from the linen closet which will become part of my new walk-in closet. I have all of my clothes moved to the guest bedroom, but we are still sleeping in the master so I have to remember that my clothes are next door. The demo has been put off until next Wednesday so as to coordinate with the plumber’s schedule. I was happy to have some extra time.

Remainders

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Our bodies are slowly readjusting to the Portland time zone. I felt fairly normal and didn’t feel as if I was going to fall asleep until 6 pm. After dinner, I had a bit of a revival and so I thought I would post some more photos and thoughts about our trip. Here are some photos that Steve took with our other camera to prove that I really was there.

Can you find me in this group shot?

My regular blog readers know that I am a bit of a foodie, and I often post photos of food when we travel. But alas, the food in Israel was not very photogenic. Our breakfasts and dinners were in the two hotels which also housed other large groups of tourists. All of the meals were buffet style and kosher. There was always a big table of salads and cheeses — even at breakfast. The kibbutz hotel had the best food, especially for breakfast. The hot dishes were really overcooked and sitting in those big metal pans for who know how long? Our lunches were often similar fare — plates of salad, hummus, baba ganoush, etc with pita bread, followed by a meat and vegetable course. The best lunches were in Palestine — shawarma was my favorite — lamb which was cooked on a rotary spit, thinly sliced and served in pita with condiments and a yogurt sauce.

One of the most fun finds was a litter of puppies in one of the ruins near out kibbutz. Look how cute they are. Click on the photos for a better view.

I promised to show some of my purchases. The necklace on the left is a version of The Hand of Fatima. It has the hand, the Star of David and two birds. Next to it is a cross which was a gift from the owner of the tour company, Guiding Star. It has the loaves and fishes from the feeding of the 5000. Next is another hand of Fatima, a gift from the Center for Spirituality which sponsored the trip.

These items are made of Olive Wood — a small nativity scene, and some crosses. The two Jerusalem crosses were also gifts from the Center.

I bought two scarfs in the old city. Both have peacock imagery. The first is Pashmina and silk:

This one is cut velvet.

This is a small pillow cover made from dupioni silk with satin stitched applique with the very popular pomegranate motif.

I also bought one of the Palestinian quilts. I think this might be a prayer mat.

And to bring everything home, I found this bag which is made by the Druze, a religious sect that lives in Galilee.

I am setting up a Yahoo group for the members of the tour group. It is somewhat of a challenge because many of them are not as internet savvy as I am. Tomorrow was the day that the demolition of our bathroom was to take place, but thank goodness the contractor needs more time because I have to reorganize all my stuff from the bathroom and the closets into the guest bedroom and bathroom. I have not had the energy to tackle that — maybe tomorrow.

Thirty-one Hours

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

…that was our travel time from Jerusalem to Portland. We awoke at 3:30 am in Jerusalem and arrived home at 11:00 pm last night — the longest Thursday I have ever spent. After a hot shower and snuggling in my own bed, I slept for about 7 hours. And yet, I am totally brain dead today. I managed to get the laundry done, shop for food for a couple of days, sort the mail, take a nap and take Maggie for a walk.

My internet service ran out on Wednesday morning and I opted not to sign up again. On our last day in Jerusalem, we went to the Bible Lands Museum and the Israel Museum. At the Bible Lands Museum, we saw a fantastic model of Jerusalem before the temple was destroyed.

For a perspective, this man was making a repair on the model.

At the Israel museum, we saw the recovered Dead Sea Scrolls. I was amazed at the condition of the writing. The Hebrew scholars in our group were able to read the scripture, which was from Isaiah.

Here are some photos I took from the bus on the last day — just an idea of the sights and sounds of Jerusalem.

We had an early end to our activities so Mr C and I had lunch at the hotel and then headed to the Old City for some serious shopping. I will share my purchases another time. We got lost in the Old City and we were rescued by a Muslim boy, about 9 or 10 years of age. We were trying to find our way to the Damascus gate and were headed for the closed Muslim gate. He was happy to guide us for some money, which we happily gave him. We were often warned about going to the old city and getting our pockets picked, etc, but we never felt threatened and found most of the vendors to be helpful, honest and very friendly.

On our last night, we went back to Bethlehem, through the gates and the check-points, to have dinner at the same restaurant, as the guest of the owner of the tour group. On our trip back, we had to show our passports again, this time on the bus, to a machine gun toting Israeli security guard. I will never take my freedom for granted, again.

Israel is well-known for the security of their airport. Here is how it works. When you arrive at the airport, you are first questioned about the nature of your flight. If you are not an Israeli citizen, you are questioned about the nature of your visit, where you have been, etc. You show your passport and tickets. Then your luggage is sent through an x-ray machine. You pick up your luggage and check in at the ticket counter. After that, you go through a couple more passport checks and hand luggage x-ray. You can take huge bottles of water and other liquids. You do not have to remove your shoes. This says to me that in the US, we are subjected to some useless precautions just to make us think that we are being protected.

I just realized that it is wake-up time in Israel. My days are turned upside down, and it may take me some time to get back to normal. When you find yourself in a new time zone at the beginning of a trip, you have that nice adrenaline rush to keep you going, but coming home is a whole different story.

Jerusalem Gates and Walls

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

We spent another restless night as Mr C had a relapse during the night, but after a several doses of something called “Stop It” and a dose of Cipro, he enjoyed the day of activities with me. We continue to have members of the group coming down with the virus. So, I know I am not out of the woods, yet. My hope is that I don’t come down with it when I have to head to the airport at 4 am.

I have to get something off my chest. When we used to travel abroad, you could always rely on getting up to date news from CNN. But, here in Israel, at least at the two hotels where we have stayed, the only US TV is Fox  News. It makes me gag to have to watch the garbage they spew. I am offended that this Fake news station is the only source of what is happening in the USA.

The good news is that I created enough disk space on my computer so that I am downloading photos without problems again.

Today was day spent learning and viewing the Jerusalem wall with all its different gates and architectural styles. I think there are 7 gates in all — the ones I can name are Damascus, Jaffa, Sheep’s, Dung and St. Stephens. To view the city from one of the hills is just mind boggling. To walk within the walls is a thrilling experience, at least for me. Today, we were in the Jewish quarter. It was very quiet and orderly, some in the group commented on how much they enjoyed that. Not me, I love the messiness, smells, sights and excitement of the Muslim quarter.

How cute is this little girl on her way to school!

Here are Mr C and I in front of some of the huge stones that once made up part of the wall before it was destroyed by some invading army. By the way, the Walking Store in Portland fitted me with some orthotics that have made my Plantar Fasciitis practically disappear, despite all the walking that I am doing here.

We also went to the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. This was quite an experience. There are separate sides for men and women. There were many more women. There are bookshelves of Jewish scripture which anyone can select and read. Many of the women sit in chairs and rock as they read. Others stand with their heads on the wall, praying. There are people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds. It is a very spiritual place and I feel honored that I could touch the wall and say a prayer for my loved ones.

This group of young people were in a circle, singing and then they burst into a rousing, jumping dance. Suddenly the Israeli security was there to stop them. I was really enjoying their enthusiasm.

On our way to the bus and lunch, I took some more photos in the shops. This is for Terry, who is enjoying my photos.

For lunch, we went back through the ugly wall to Bethlehem. This time, we got a pass. This is on the Israeli side.

The lunch was the best food we have had so far. We had grilled lamb and chicken and the typical Mediterranean salads and hummus and pita bread. The dessert was a divine baklava. We are going back there tomorrow night for our farewell dinner.

I guess that when I wake up tomorrow, I will be able to see how well Obama has done in today’s primaries. I sure do want to get this wrapped up!

Walking in Jerusalem

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Mr C is recovering. He is now eating small amounts of food, and trooper that he is, he came along on the Jerusalem trek today.

Today, we started on the Mount of Olives and followed the path that Jesus took to his death. I am sure that I put more than 10,000 steps on my pedometer.

We stopped at many sites along the way — including the Garden of Gethsemane. My favorite was at the St. Ann’s church which is named for the mother of Mary. Each group that comes into the church can sing a hymn or anthem. When we arrived, there was an African-American group from Georgia singing up a storm. Just loved it. Mr C and I both had tears in our eyes. To come to this place with so many folks from all over the globe is very enriching.

Our trek took us into the old city through the Sheep’s gate and into the Muslim quarter of the old city and along the Via Dolorosa.

We saw some beautiful items in the shops, but we could not stop today. I want to pick up one of these quilty pieces.

One of the vendors asked if we were American. We replied, yes. He then asked if we were with Bush – did we agree with Bush. I said, No, Obama! He said, “I like you!!”

I have been intrigued by the amount of graffiti that I have seen here.

I loved the Crocs on this Priest. I took some wonderful photos of some Muslim boys on a field trip with a couple of moms and their teacher, but they got corrupted with my ongoing problem with my camera and laptop. I have just about used up my memory on the I-book so I have been deleting old photos from my files that I know are on my blog or on Flickr. I hope that will alleviate the problem.

You can see how the narrow streets are lined with shop after shop. I am not sure how anyone makes a living, but I enjoy looking at all of the goods.

Jerusalem is such a rich and enriching place. You have the presence of the three major religions. You have ancient architecture and very modern high rises. You have people who have chosen to show there identity in very unique ways of dress and hair styles. It is almost sensory overload on steroids. I am loving it and am in no hurry to leave, but we only have two more days. Tomorrow, the Wailing Wall among other things. Be sure to check out the photos I could download on my Flickr site. If you click on any of the photos in this post, you can see a larger view.

Thanks to those who are commenting and e-mailing. I just do not have time to reply. I can barely get my photos done and a post written.