The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Out and About: Jerusalem

Dana returned from 9 weeks in Israel last month, helping manage U.S. aid programs for Palestinians. We flew my mom out to join us for a week and, despite flare-ups between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza, we managed to see a good swath of both Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The most surreal experience was driving mom to Bethlehem...after missing the turn-off for a border checkpoint, the road abruptly ended at what looked like a maximum-security prison. We sat there for a few seconds wondering where we had gone wrong when it hit us that the imposing wall and guard tower weren't part of a prison per se, but the new border wall that has caused such controversy in the region. We backed up to the border crossing, passed the sign saying "Israeli's not allowed" and spent the afternoon exploring the town where Jesus was born.

History in Old Jerusalem stares at you from every alley and corner. With some help from Dana, we joined an embassy-only tour of the Dome of the Rock (above) and Al-Aqsa Mosque, right near the Western Wall, peered in at the living quarters of Ethiopian priests living on top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and then gorged on hummos and falafel in the Armenian Quarter.

Photos of our trip are attached to the link at the right. Patagonia shots on the way next.