December 27th, 2004

hat

We arrive in Jerusalem

Hello from Jerusalem. We got into the Old City at 5AM, rainy night... since then the sun's come out and everything is so fine. So fine. This city is astonishing,so beautiful, so mysterious-- imagine Venice, except it's not this artificial tourist mecca-- people are heavily invested here, heavily armed,heavily hasidic, arabic, 1000 armenians left from the genocide, christians coming to via dolorosa, muslims headed to al aqsa... it means so much to everybody. filled with emotions. i'm a voyeur taking it in, but it rubs off, a little... I'mnot being articulate but this keyboard sucks and I need pictures & time to really explain. The city is a cobblestone maze; the people watching is at a whole notherlevel ; this guy at the souq sewed my frayed pants and sold me a good pair of dress shoes for $9. another man near the gate we couldn't enter (to western wall, muslims only, we hadto go through the jewish gate) made us heavy strong coffee with sweet goop at the bottom, a kiln to keep us warm... I'm reading "To Life" and would read the torah, but we're staying at the Lutheran hostel which only has the new testament... we played boggle in their lobby, you have to bring boggle.

There's loads of artists here,my fave is this guy Motke Blum-- he was so friendly & funny & his shop was crammed with art that should be scattered across the playa or SFMOMA... he has a website, www.motke.com, haven't seenit yet and I think 30 mins are up? but note to self,buy his stuff if i ever get some money.

Shallow observation: there's something very sexy about hot 21 yr old israeli women with big rifles initiating legions of 18 year olds from tel aviv,haifa etc... they all came to jerusalem for some kind of swearing in , field trip or something-- on the rooftops... Robert Pelton says "israel is essentially a country-sized barracks" and apparently he's right.


allthe street signs are in 3 languages but a lot of them have the arabic names blacked out by vandals, or they put stickers over the arabic names saying "ha'eretz shelanu" (israel is ours).


in a way it's sad-- there should be so many more people here, it's really like nothing else-- but on the other hand, it's nice to be free from crowds, no lines, less hassles. We walked through west jerusalem today and got some falafel and yes, it was 2000% better than US falafel. truly mediterranean on 16th in the mission has SOME EXPLAINING to do.


we head to ein gedi tomorrow, i think, dead sea then onwards. Hope your holidays are going well and for kicks here's some characters from this crazy-ass keyboard that supports hebrew, arabic AND english. GTE#YT#$ um actually i can'tseem to make it switch to theother languages. Our ace computer expert fails once again. but you have to believe me, this keyboard is crammed to the gills with symbols. shalom, l'hitrahot!