One afternoon when I was about 7 my favorite babysitter picked me and my best friend up from school. I couldn't have been more excited. We were going to play all afternoon and have so much fun talking to spirits on my Ouija board. Everything was going well until this babysitter unlocked the door to my house. The alarm started to go off in terrifyingly loud screeches. Problem: My babysitter didn't know the alarm code. There went my lovely afternoon right out the door. I never forgave her for this incident until she came and visited Jerusalem a couple weeks ago. Now I can safely say that I have gotten over the incredible disappointment.
I can't even believe how much we did with Ruthie Ellenson while she was here. It wasn't even two days, and yet we packed in a ton of sites and hummus. Let's start with the hummus.
Ruthie, her sister Hannah (the friend I should have hung out with that day in 1993), Dafna and I went to Abu Ghosh to eat many things at the Lebanese Restaurant. I would describe the hummus as lemony and earthy. It had a very rich taste and texture. We also ate turkish salad, arab/israeli salad, labane, falafel and other great, great things. Also, our food literally arrived 30 seconds after we ordered it. Here's to hummus!
After dinner we went over to the cellar bar at the American colony hotel (a 19th century former palace near the old city of Jerusalem) and had some fancy drinks. Mine was a hot chocolate plus something else. I think it was called a hot baby. It was definitely a hot drink, baby.
The next morning we woke up bright and early to meet the only mummy in Jerusalem. He lives at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. This institute is totally hidden away. We never would have noticed it had Ruthie not heard a rumor about it. We couldn't stop staring at this mummy. It was amazing. A real Jerusalem secret.
We then visited the Italian Jewish Synagogue, the Underground Prisoner's Museum, the Old City and the Museum on the Seam. Can you even believe that? And we even found time to eat hummus at Abu Shukri's in the Muslim quarter.
The synagogue was beautiful. Very decorative. The man with the programs outside warned us that we are not allowed to take any pictures. One member of our group thought she could bypass the rule and sneak a little photo. Little did she know that this man not only has a hidden camera in the synagogue but was also carrying a gun! Luckily it all turned out okay, but we were nervous for a second.
At the underground prisoner's museum we talked like British people (mumbling snootily a lot) since the British controlled the prison during mandated Palestine. The inmates were Jews and Arabs who engaged in anti-British activity, mostly violent stuff like blowing up bridges. Two Jews were supposed to be executed there in 1946, but they blew themselves up instead. As disturbing (and inspiring?) as this was to hear about, we were still having fun. Ruthie likes taking silly pictures.
Lunch time. Aruchat Tzohorayim. Abu Shukri's hummus was super flavorful. It had a lot of spices in it. It's a stand-out place, very famous. Another highlight of the Muslim quarter: lots of children playing with fake guns that look shockingly real.
Outside the awesome Museum on the Seam--features artists from all over the world whose pieces deal with conflict and coexistence.
A relaxing end to a super beautiful day. Thanks, Ruthie, for more than making up for the alarm thing and taking us to awesome places! We miss you!