Monday, October 02, 2006

"Let's Go This Way!"

If you have ever been out with M, you know those are the words that lead to exhaustion!

We decided this morning to take advantage of Yom Kippur's lack of cars to walk to the Old City. Of course, you walk in the middle of the street, not because it is easier than the sidewalks but because you can. We opted to head up the hill and around to the back side of the city and entered by the gate that takes you to the Western (Wailing) Wall and Al Aqsa Mosque. We didn't take any pictures there though since the use of cameras is prohibited on Jewish holy days, and Jewish days run sundown to sundown, so Yom Kippur doesn't end for another few hours.

Once we entered the Old City, we just explored. I don't know why we don't go in there more often, but today was particularly nice because there were fewer people in there than usual. There were comparatively few Israelis and even fewer tourists (though that made us the only target for the merchants who were open), so most of the people in there were Palestinians who likely lived there.

We made our way through the maze of streets, stopping by the photography shop of the father of one of our co-workers. His father, our co-worker's grandfather, was a photographer in Jerusalem in the 1920s, and the pictures in the shop are prints of the pictures his father took. They are amazing. He has even put a bunch of them together in a book that I keep planning to buy before we leave here.

We did see more cars ignoring the law this year than last. Last year, we saw only two, an ambulance and a car full of Palestinian youths blasting Arabic music. There are certainly far worse forms of protest, so I didn't complain. This year, we saw a fair number of cars (maybe 10 or so), all driven by Palestinians and only a few in close enough proximity to an ambulance that they could have been following them. We saw our first two violators of the law at one intersection last night on the walk home from our friend's house. One was Israeli and was allowed to pass. The other, a truck full of Palestinians, was surrounded by at least four police cars with police screaming at the driver that driving on Yom Kippur was against the law. Given that the other driver was allowed to pass (and in fact got out and moved a barricade to do down the street he wanted to), I suspect part of the Palestinian's crime was DWA - Driving While Arab.

By the time we got home from our walk this afternoon, we had walked for well over two hours straight, and let's just say my feet are still protesting. Did I mention Jerusalem is built on several mountains, so walks here are more like hikes?

M taking pictures near the Old City on Yom Kippur

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