September 2, 2009
[Madonna’s ending her current World tour with 2 shows in Israel. The first was last night in front of 50,000 in Hayarkon Park. You ALL know that park well by now, don’t you? The second and last is tonight. Esther’s (that’s her adopted Hebrew name) boyfriend is with her. He’s named Jesus. Please don’t ask me…]
Aviva and I decided to see the ‘Sound and Light Show’ at David’s Tower in the Old City. Well, you can’t just go and return; you have to make a day of it…
We went straight to the new Karta parking lot, right next to Jaffa Gate (not near religious Jewish areas, yet the scene for violent protests for many Sabbaths now).
We first walked along the magnificent new Mamilla Shopping Arcade and Mall…
….which as you see is the location for Gap’s first store in Israel. (I’ve lost weight, and I had the strange pleasure of paying over the top for a pair of much-needed jeans THAT FIT ME!!).
We had a coffee and cake in one of the many places that has a view over the Old City. (Jerusalem has to be one of the most photogenic cities in the World – from any angle, in any light, at any time of day).
Then we crossed the bridge and were in the Old City itself. We used to come here regularly when Aviva’s parents lived nearby. But since their passing, and since the increase in problems (including the expanding traffic problems), we have reduced the visits, and certainly it was many years since we freely walked through the alleys of the Arab markets…..
In one place, we were drawn into conversation with a shop owner who
A) Cursed the locals, any of them, as they would buy little and bargain much
B) With great pride produced his US passport – he studied in Chicago – did not quite catch how he managed the citizenship
C) Showed us the ‘secret’ back room, which displayed his ‘special collection’ of carpets, jewellery, ceramics etc. – and, when he removed the cushion that covered what appeared to be a seat, revealed to us a well that went down perhaps 50-60 feet (see below).
He claimed that his family had been living there for over 300 years – and that Condoleezza Rice had bought something from him.
We passed a hidden mosque, in among the stalls, and if you look closely, you can see what appears to be a dead body on the right and a chopped-off head on the left. (‘Appears’, I said).
We found out what Sweden’s reaction was to the recent argument with Israel….One woman complained bitterly about the fact that she had bought all of Abba’s records…the shopkeeper opposite was bored with the whole subject.
I almost lost Aviva down one of the Roman pillars on Prado’s Way…
…but we were able to walk on to see more of the way to the Temple Mount….
Afterwards, we took the car and drove around to the Sherover Promenade, which gives us a magnificent view over the Old City, with the setting sun almost directly behind us. In the early morning, the 5 kms. of tracks and pathways are full of walkers and joggers. Do they still appreciate the views they have?
Finally, we went back to the same parking lot, across the same bridge next to King David’s Tower. By then it was dusk, and this was the view that greeted us – Inside David’s Tower, we were surrounded by the famous Jerusalem stone, that with which most buildings in the city are constructed, till today….
There we were entertained by a most beautiful ‘son et lumiere’ show, displayed against this backdrop, going through the thousands of years of Jerusalem’s history: Canaanites to the Israelites, Babyloniana and Persian, Hellenistic to Roman, Byzantine and Muslilm, Crusaders, Mamelukes and Ottoman. Then came the British and the came the State.
No photography allowed.