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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Into Jerusalem

I sneakily took this shot. Not supposed to take any pictures at the borders. We put up in Bethlehem which is under the Palestine's and everyday to visit the sites in Jerusalem,we've to cross this border. I should have snuck another picture of the graffiti on the walls on one side. It's artistically done speaking of the politics between the 2 nations.
Taken outside their embassy. But this does not mean any disrespect. Just got bored of doing the usual sexy poses. Hah.

This is apparantly Israel's equivalent to our Merlion.
The Western Wall, also known as the Weeping Wall is one interesting sight. The Orthodox Jews, are very religious Jews who follow the Old Testament rigidly. Only thing was they do not believe that the Messiah, Jesus Christ has come whereas the Christians do. Therefore, they come to this wall (where the Temple used to stand) and wail. They rock back and forth to wail for the coming of the Messiah. The Orthodox Jewish males wear black hats and long black coats, leaving their side burns un cut forever. It really is quite an eye opener to see another culture.

Took a walk on the Ramparts, saw the Armenian as well as Jewish quarters.

The only shopping we got to do. But so disappointed we couldn't leisurely shop. It was more of window shopping at a super fast pace. The dark tunnel reminded me Aladdin somehow.
This belt was the ONLY thing i got. Haggled from 25USD to 10USD.
They are ridiculously young yet very manly (because of the strict discipline)
I think i want to get invovled with the UN. I want to spread some love. I want to do more for the world.

Camels can be seen parked in car lots for rides.

Caesarea Maritima. A visit to this city is one of the 'musts' in any visit to Israel. Its a combination of ancient and modern cities. I can’t really see the difference because modern then were also rocks.
Herod the Great’s Promontory Palace, battered for centuries by the Mediterranean Sea, has been partially restored, as also the ancient stadium, bordered by ancient government buildings, including Paul’s prison (speculated) (to my right in the background).
How glamour-ess. An umbrella in between my legs. The wind was blowing lah! I WAS NOT posing.This is the ancient harbour where the Apostle Paul returned from his missionary journeys and where he set off on a merchant shit for Rome on his final shipwreck journey. Where we witnessed Herod's great invention of underwater cement. He managed to stop the waves from crashing into this serene pool right behind me.
The spot that Passion of the Christ made popular. This street was believed to be the street Jesus carried His Cross to His death by Crucification. Soldiers littered the street, keeping peace. Israelis are just hot. Uniformed men, even hotter.

I thought i would see rituals like this at the Via Dolorosa. But i think it only happens in Philipines, which i saw on TV. Christians don't adopt this ritual actually. We do not believe that we need to go through what Jesus did to atone for our sins. Nonetheless this group was doing some sort of a mild version of carrying the Cross.

Outside the walls of Jeruselem was the garden tomb.

Where Jesus was said to have laid and then resurrected.
My father looks kinda shocked emerging the tomb. I wonder if he's acting..

This is a 200 or is it 2000 year old olive tree that my mum insisted i took 30 pictures of it.
This must be the Dung gate, the walled city.
Mum being very frugal with her USD. It's 3USD for a cup of juice! Things are not cheap in Middle East i tell ya.
City of David! I like this museum. That's King David's tower. Pity we couldn't spend more time here. It closes at 2pm, we reached at 1.30pm. We toured in record time, 30 minutes.
I tell you, there're so many types of denominations of the faith in Israel that i'm even more confused after the visit. But all the more intrigued. There was the Church of Beautitudes, Church of Multiplication of the Loaves (one long name), the Greek Orthodox Church and many more.
And at each church we went, we sang hymns within. To hear the repercussions, and boy are they powerful .
My heart ached for the people living in Bethelehem. Because of the political issues, they are not allowed to enter Jerusalem. It's like they're confined, quarantined even. Therefore unemployment rate in Bethelehem is sky high. Everyday you see street hawkers ranging from as young as 6 to as old as 40. You look at the youngsters and feel such pity for them, because is being a street hawker all they can do? Besides, this was the birth place of Jesus. So the place holds some significance you know, and its bad to see it so sorrowful.

Sadly, yes. Got to give them credit though, at least they're not turning to crimes. So if you do go to Bethelehem, please do buy from the street hawkers. They're not out to cheat your money, they really need your purchase to make a living.
No guns at holy sites. Riiiight.....we carry guns all the time. Haha, actually they probably do. I noticed that almost every boy on the street carried a toy gun. Weapons are probably glamourised in this somewhat war torn country.
Fierce loh, i tell you these boys. Reminds me of this movie i watched, where all these young boys stoned backpackers to death. Hostel 2 i think. This is a Jewish cemetry. One very interesting difference is instead of bringing flowers to a grave, they bring...
Stones!! I can't really remember the reason but i think its something like flowers can't be found all year round (the country is somewhat a desert, a very dry land).

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