Heveinu Shalom Alacheim! I had my first Hebrew language class Tuesday, so I’m now on my way to ordering a bagel in West Jerusalem. Because, unquestionably, learning to do that is my first priority. Is bagel a Hebrew word? I’ll give you all updates as this project develops. I really do love being mistaken for a native Israeli, but it’s hard when I travel with my fanny pack-wearing peers. Might as well just throw on their Hawaiian shirts and socks with sandals while they’re at it! Stupid Americans (said with a French accent, or else it doesn't count)!
We watched the first Indiana Jones movie last week. Special effects from the 80’s + Harrison Ford’s hairy chest + some seriously bad writing = my kind of Friday night! The man has some serious whip skills and when there’s a whip, there’s a way! (for those of you who haven’t watched the animated version of The Hobbit, get on that. Most critics wouldn't call it a "classic," but I have to disagree.)
|Lizzi & me at the DOME|
Following some shopping, we went on a walk around the ramparts of the Old City. The first 20 minutes were cool, but there's a limit to how long one can reenact fight scenes/pretend to duel (hint: it's more than 2 minutes and less than 4). After the rampart walk, we headed over to West Jerusalem. Somehow, we got sidetracked and ended up staying in the Jewish Quarter for a few hours. The fact that it's a meeting place for the army may have been a factor. Another reason I need to learn Hebrew- there are some fiiiiine Israeli soldiers here. I'm sure I'll learn a lot of Hebrew in a 100 level language class. At least enough things to say on a first date (fingers crossed)!
|Back when we liked the ramparts|
|Hey, look! It's the JC (Jerusalem Center)!|
Our second stop was at Beersheba. Sure, Abraham lived there, but more importantly, we got to wear hard hats. I don't mean to sound conceited, but highlighter yellow and my pasty white skin is a match made in heaven. We wore the hard hats to walk through an abandoned underground water system. Can you imagine drinking out of an enclosed water system that collects water infrequently? And I thought I would die without my Brita water filter! (Insert “Princess Tess” comments here.)
|Into the depths of Beersheba's water system|
|Ruins at Beersheba|
|Tel Arad- a major fortress and small Israelite temple have been excavated here|
One more sports story- I was shooting hoops the other night (no, that is not a typo. This one time in 5th grade someone told me he wasn't the worst athlete he'd ever seen, and I’ve been riding that wave of confidence ever since.), and a boy gave me tips on how to shoot better. Thanks so much- unsolicited advice is my favorite! Good thing he coached me, since I'm really working hard to make it to the WNBA. In fact, I just found out you don't shoot the ball with both hands, so I'd say I'm practically there!
Yesterday, we went to different sites near Jericho. We saw the tower in Jericho (from 9000 BC), the Spring of Elisha, the Mount of Temptation, and the road where Jesus walked from Jericho to Jerusalem. Jericho is the lowest city (and possibly oldest) in the world! When our teacher asked which superlatives Jericho is known for, somebody said it has the best bananas in the world. Yeah, that's definitely not true and my teacher had never heard that. But now, I'll always associate Jericho with the best bananas in the world! While there, we sang “Under the Sea” (in four-part harmony, natch) and saw the excavated Tower of Jericho from 9000 B.C.
|"Joshua fought the battle of Jericho"|
|That's how you play a trumpet, right?|
Later, we stopped at Herod’s Palace. You can’t go to the actual site, so we stood on an higher and extremely windy hill- pretty sure rat's could've live in my hair afterward- to look at the site further away.
|Those two towers in the distance are Jerusalem!|
|Pretending to walk from Jericho to Jerusalem...posers|