Jerusalem On Our Own

October 20, 2018

Yehuda Mahane Market

YehudaToday is our first day without a guide.  It was great to sleep in for the first time in a week.  By late morning we set off on foot for the yehuda market.  This was giant mix of Dragon fruitcultures, foods and crafts.  We sat at a corner coffee shop and took in the atmosphere.   We taste tested a few things including aslightly grainy dessert, most similar to fudge. In the end, our only purchase was some exotic looking dragon fruit.  Turns out it only looks exotic.  The texture is like a kiwi, but it has even less flavor than a lychee.  And the pink with it’s beet color inside has less taste than the yellow.  


Panhandling With Attitude

In the market, an old gentleman asked for money.  Apparently the coins we gave him were too small, because he threw them back at us.  Not a gentleman after all.

Language Fun

We needed to catch the light rail to the old city.  Our friend Jim was tring to decipher the ticket machine. So he turned to the person next to him and asked for help.  Then Jim noticed from hid clothes that he was an ultraorthodox Hasidic Jew.  He said yes and turned to another Hasidic next to him and spoke a couple of sentences.. that man spoke to a modern orthodox man next to him (identified by a yarmulka),  who spoke to woman next to him, who spoke to another woman, who turned out to not be from Jerusalem, but spoke enough English to help out.  It was like the old game of telephone with an Israeli twist.

Old City Jerusalem

Once Jim managed to get our train tickets, we were quickly at the Damascus gate.  We walked though the crowded bustling Arab quarter.  Of course Linda managed to find a shop with 21 karat gold jewelry.  This more pure than you can buy in the US and to the American eye appears to be too “gold”.  Unfortunately for me Linda has some of this jewelry from Malaysia, so of course, I bought her a necklace to match.  I talked the price down quite a bit, but really had no concept of a good ptice.  I am guessing there is a very happy Arab shop owner in Jerusalem.  But then, I have happy wife.  Which leads to a happy life.  

Jewish Quarter

There is striking contrast in appearance and culture when you cross the invisible line into the Jewish quarter.  It is more upsacale and less crowded.  The arabs tend to have more children than Jews, so the percentage is slowly shifting.  Those  who live with the hassles in the old city, are almost all religously  motivated.  Our guide Avi told us that the smallest apartment in the old city is over one million dollars!  For some reason I got the tourist bug for few minutes and bought a shofar made from an ibex horn and a crazy glass ornamental teapot

Negotiation Equals Relationship

Ok, so this is an interesting concept I will try to explain.  I think it was originally in the book “finding Jesus in Israel” but I also discussed with Leah, our guide.  Negotiating price in the middle easr is not only  about price.  It is also about a human to human relationship in the transaction.  Jim and I both saw this play out multiple times in Israel and in Jordan.  We made persaonal connections through the international language known as haggling.

Portion Size in Israel

After one week I am ready  to say that portion sizes in Israel are uniformly ….. huge   For dinner tonight.  Friend Mary and I share a mixed grill platter for two. The portion of chicken kebab, steak kebab, lamb chops,  lamb kofta, chicken wings, and chicken schnitzel could have fed all five of us.  This was one of the least tasty of our meals here and it was still quite good.  Others had spaghetti bolognese which was actually very good.  Bottom Line: when in doubt share.  You will have plenty

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