Then it was Saturday again, and again nothing was open. We slept in, for once, and headed to the Old City. I got us lost, like a moron, and a man gave us directions and then extorted us for “donations.” There is a culture in the crowded tourist sites of what I almost want to call harassment—aggressive deal-making or outright panhandling. This is not my favorite thing, and I’ll be happy to have a rest from it when we get home.
We finally arrived at the Tower of David, and wandered through the pretty unimpressive exhibit until we ran into Ken and Nori. Together we went back over the stations of the cross, which were hard to find. Ken bought a map of them and they were still hard to find. When we were done we tried to think of something else to do, but failed at it and went back to the hotel for a nap.
Mom decided to keep napping through the evening, so it was just me and Husband exploring the city. We started walking through the vibrant area near the hotel, but it was dead, even though the sun had set. It was almost fully dark, and as we walked, the stores and restaurants started to open up. We ended up being the first diners at a place in a little square. When we walked back toward the hotel everything was open again and there was a protest or rally in the square. We couldn’t tell what was being said, of course, but the speaker was angry. There was, again, a lot of security, and we knew that it might not be overkill. We tried to avoid the plaza, but would have gotten lost doing it.
Sunday was a day too many. We went back to the Old City again and ran into a Bedouin named Neil (or something like that). He took us up to the “roof,” which did have amazing views, and then into his shop where he brought us tea and let us try on strange garb and tried to sell us things. All we bought was one pendant.
Then we tried to visit City of David, but everything went wrong. We bought tickets and then found out that it was a long underground tunnel, so Mom didn’t want to go. We also couldn’t go, because you can’t go barefoot through the deep water, and didn’t have water shoes. After a long struggle we got our money back and gave up and went back to the hotel for a nap and to pack.
After dark we went out and ended up eating at a lovely restaurant that specialized in seafood—it was the first we’d seen! Shrimps in many sauces, and a lovely meze of sauces and hummus and focaccia bread. Delicious.
In the square, the protest or rally or memorial was happening again.
At four in the morning, our cab arrived to take us to the airport, and the long journey home began. Did I have a great time in Israel? I can’t entirely say that I did. But I did learn a lot, and I will never regret travelling to a new place, even when it’s too hot and the religion makes me squirm and our guide is a moron. I wonder whatever happened to Tomer?