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J-Town: Beautifully F*cked Up

After a few days in the city of sun, sea, great food and gorgeous people we left for the Holy Capital; el-Quds/ Jerushalaim. We arrived just before the start of the sabbath which is an interesting and rather peculiar time to arrive. Interesting to see the gathering of (orthodox) jews at the Wailing Wall and people (jews) rushing to their houses to observe a day of rest. Moina with a good sense for meeting interesting people met a guy in front of our hostel while Lou and I were having our much needed beauty sleep. After she came back and we had woken up he gave us a tour through parts of the city. He is an Arab Israeli born and raised in J-Town and had some very interesting and very f*cked up stories to tell us. During our tour in the jewish quarter we came across a group of Jewish Americans on a spiritual trip to the Holy Land singing songs and being guarded by a girl with dreadlocks in civvies carrying a machine gun, which I found rather peculiar. During the sabbath, which lasts from Friday dusk until Saturday dusk the Old City is absolutely deserted and apparently, not that we checked it, there is not much action going on in the rest of town either. The next day we visited the holy Sepulchre which supposedly is the place where Jesus was crucified, laid to rest and from which he resurrected. To continue with the beginning of this holy tale we went to Bethlehem in the West Bank to visit the Nativity Church. This house of worship was build to mark the assumed place of birth of the man in question. To go to the West Bank one needs to take a bus from the Arab bus station, which is far less fancy than J-Town’s main bus station and one has to cross the ‘security’ wall. Bethlehem is a cute but rather sleepy town and is the centre of the Palestinian christian community. As all three of us like to eat we immediately went for lunch after arrival and noticed a sharp difference in prices with those of establishments in (West) Jerusalem. On our way back from the West Bank we went through the checkpoint again- this time another one- where we went out of the bus and had to show our passports/ ID’s. We were quite surprised that they didn’t check our luggage. Back in Jerusalem we found more people on the streets and shops had reopened although the sabbath finishes at 10 o’clock on Saturday. Even as a tourist you feel that J-Town is far less care free than Tel-Aviv, people are far more on edge and even on the sabbath orthodox jews always seem to be in a hurry and the outside world does not seem to exist to them. El Quds/ Jerushalaim is beautiful and o so troublesome. What a deadly combination.

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About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

One response »

  1. Lucky for getting into Beit La7em! 😛 I never got in last time. The IDF take one look at my passport and see Khalil and spend an eternity questioning me why I’m going, what is my religion, do I know anyone there, where will I be staying etc. Then in the end they tell me I can’t go!

    Did you see the eyesore that is the separation wall? The grafitti there is quite fun to look at – some of the people, on either side, are really quite creative with their slogans and art, don’t you think? I guess we can just hope that it’ll be only a temporary canvas for expression and that it’ll be torn down one day. xxx

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