2009-11-08 8:15 AM
guns and roses in Israel
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Since my last post, my (mis)adventures have included:
riding another camel, this time in Petra. (Not as nice as Shlomit, but the guide threw the rein to me, so thumbs up for a different thrill.)
rode a horse up a steep, rocky hill, also in Jordan. During a seriously stupid attempt to gallop two-up, fell off horse. Got back on.
getting stung by a sea urchin while losing (and re-finding) my "mechaieh" ring in the Red Sea
enjoying the bus ride from Eilat back to Jerusalem, in part because the Dead Sea Magnesium Factory is a spectacularly pretty sight at night, and partly because the bus driver kept playing classic Israeli tunes that had the older passengers around me happily singing along
returned to the Western Wall, this time an hour or so before sundown. Only a couple dozen women there. None of them paying attention to the men. The woman next to me fervently, repeatedly, rapid-fire kissing the wall. The hundreds of prayer-scraps crammed into nooks and littering the ground, some of them resembling discarded chewing gum and discolored grout more than hearts' pleas, depending on one's distance and focus. Pressing my left and then my right hand to the wall, and looking up to see a leafy pair of saplings growing horizontally out of the wall, directly over my head, like a personal canopy.
walking back from the Mount of Olives with a German pediatric nurse as he held forth on magical thinking and deeds vs. creeds
taking a counter-terrorism class in Gush Etzion. The owner, who picked me up in Efrat, is a lieutenant colonel in the IDF who also teaches at the LAPD every two years. The class included reaction drills and introductions to firing an M16, an Uzi, and a Glock.
I liked both the M16 and the Uzi. I hit three bulls-eyes during my round with the latter:
Returned to Chakra for Saturday lunch. This time I had calimari and kebabs. I admit part of the reason I went back was out of sheer curiosity - I wanted to see what was printed on the November menu. The featured food was avocados (and highly entertaining, since it talked about natural vs. human propagation - i.e., super-large animals eating them whole and excreting the seeds vs. human cultivation, i.e. avocados are a freak of nature helped along by human determination. Upon reflection, I'm not actually sure I buy this, but at the time, it had me snickering into my beer). The quote of the month was from Guns and Roses: It's hard to hold a candle / In the cold November rain ...
The Mayer Museum of Islamic Art, whose treasures include three glorious specimens of Turkish firmans (royal edicts) as well as other calligraphic wonders, including a pair of elaborately-wrought scissors, and also a Syrian or Iraqi codex from the 13th century by Ibn Butlan railing against "medical charlatans." And the clock/watch/timepiece exhibit is jaw-dropping.
Afterwards, I went to a gan (garden) a few blocks to the east. It's known for its roses, but I guess it's the wrong season - there wasn't much in the way of blooms yesterday:
There were, however, small groups of people picnicking, kicking around soccer balls, playing on the seesaw, running around with their dogs, and enjoying the other pleasures to be savored on a sunny Saturday. It was good to see, and to sit.
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