More Jerusalem

It’s only just gone lunchtime and already this is one of those weird days you get when travelling. I’m sat in an archaic stone building, CSI is on TV with Arabic subtitles, the sound of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall is drifting through from a PC somewhere and earlier today I saw a man in Orthodox Jewish clothing playing If I Were a Rich Man on the clarinet on a street corner.

A quick catchup on the last couple of days. I’ve been back down to the West Wall twice until finally I got there at a time when the entrance to the nearby Temple Mount was open. This is the third most important Muslim site in the world, and also highly important to the Orthodox Jews. The Dome of the Rock atop it is very pretty indeed. Gold roof, intricate mosaic walls and guards everywhere. For more information on its significance to various religions, check out this Wikipedia article.

I’ve spent a lot of time lazing around talking to many people in the hostel. I think I’ve encountered more Americans in this one location than I have in the rest of my travels over the last 14 months. Not all are religiously inclined, just curious regarding this fascinating country.

I went out with two of these guys and another Englishman for dinner and drinkies last night. We chowed down at the wonderfully named Meat Burger which was delicious. I don’t think they charged me for my beer either. Bonus. Next, we stopped at a bar called Stardust where – as with just about everywhere – people were watching a Tel Aviv derby match on the TV.

As we ordered beers, one of the staff noticed my shirt and told me that the guy who runs the bar is a Newcastle fan. He pointed out a Newcastle bar sign and shortly the manager introduced himself and bought me a beer. He knew his stuff as well, and we had a great conversation for half an hour or so. Any bar which has Blaydon Races on the jukebox is OK by me!

We moved on to Mike’s Place, am American hangout, afterwards. An Israeli guy was downstairs playing some pretty darned good blues on the acoustic guitar in the basement and we got talking to one of the staff and two German women who pretty much made up the entire populace of the bar. It’s the quiet season, it seems.

I think we staggered back to the hostel at 3am where I loaned my laptop to James so that he could Skype home. The next thing I knew, I woke up at 6am in the lobby. Whoops. And here’s me paying £3.50 for a mattress on the roof.

Due to lack of sleep, my planned trip to Bethlehem just wasn’t going to be worthwhile, so I wandered the streets and did some more netsurfing and reading instead. As I sat here typing this up, explosions erupted in the street – fireworks, we assume as part of the 40th Anniversary of Reunification celebrations. Some people aren’t quite so happy about this, but sadly it’s that kind of country. Still, it was a nice display for the neutral viewers amongst us.

I’m off out for a late dinner with Noa in a bit, but I’ll leave you with a word of warning: if a cat doesn’t want to be picked up, let the thing go. Those back claws are pretty mean. Ow. Mind, the same cat was wrapping itself around my legs and purring today.

Oh, and I’ve chucked a handful more pics up on Fotopic.

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