Friday, January 19, 2018

Oh, hail? No!

Just a short post before Shabbat begins in Jerusalem. After a couple of false starts (a small child was missing so we spread out to find him...he had gotten on the elevator and ended up in the parking garage) we headed out towards the shuk to go shopping. The wind was still extremely gusty and there was intermittent rain, but neither a cab nor light rail made fiscal sense. I realized that, were I to be in the U.S. with weather like this, the need to shop would not be enough to drag me out. I have left the apartment more times during this trip than I intend to leave my house all next week. Something about Jerusalem makes me want to be out and about, walking everywhere. Weird. Anyway, off to the shuk, Once in there I started listing all the things I don't like about Jerusalem, or at least the shuk (maybe it is a defense mechanism so that I'm not so sad when I leave):

First, the shuk on a Friday is an absolute madhouse of a zoo. It isn't just shopping for the weekend -- it is tourists, it is people eating and drinking. And it is the families of 6 who brought 8 strollers and like to stop wherever and whenever so that a thousand people behind them have to stop. There is no space to "pull over" so if I want to buy vegetable, it will be tough for others to keep moving. This is a prime reason not to buy vegetables.

Second, even in stores, there is no room to move. If you walk into a little market hole in the wall, there is precious little space. Between whatever is being sold and displayed everywhere, the proprietor and three peanuts, the place is jammed. Students, soldiers and soccer moms all carrying backpacks that stretch out to everywhere and guns that are taller than most children block and knock everything.

Third, everything is loud. Partially that's because of the layout, but it is also because every restaurant wants to blast its music and everything echoes.

Fourth, there really only a few types of stores (meat/fish, bakery, cellular, souvenirs, fruits, spices/nuts, candy, groceries, vegetables, paper goods, home goods and bars/restaurant) but there are fifty of each. Some do something a little different (one has a juice machine, another sells popcorn) but there is a lot of duplication and it is easy to get lost.

Recently, they have upgraded the roof in the covered sections and it was welcome because, soon after we got in to the shuk and while we were saying Hello to the millions of people we all knew (between schools, hometowns, camps, army, the three of us knew a lot of people) the hail started and it was deafening, smack into (and occasionally through) the plastic roofing. Wind whipped, rain rained and suddenly it all stopped. The sun came out and people were lulled into a false sense of security. Then, just as suddenly, more hail. Bam!

Once laden with bags and stuff we considered food (I was not especially hungry and was fidgety, wanting to get back and begin cooking but the young people need their sustenance) so we ended up at a place called Bardak. This place is apparently a pizza place. I say "apparently" because when I envision pizza, I don't think of slivered almonds, Roquefort cheese or sweet potatoes and pesto. And that was just what was on the one the kids ordered. I demurred. Yes, I'm always hungry but if I am going to eat pizza, it is going to be pizza, not some weirdly named bizarre combination of goat cheese with eggplant and burning tires.

We continued our walk through the wind and rain and dropped things off at Elijah's apartment. I started slicing potatoes because that's just the kind of thing I do. Maddie worked on trimming the chicken and preparing the broccoli, and then Elijah set up the chicken to cook. Now it is time to wind down for Shabbat. Dinner at Nomi and David tonight, then lunch at Elijah's tomorrow.

And even though I prefer emptier spaces, quieter experiences and a simpler life, (and house living without having to turn the hot water heater on 20 minutes before I want to shower, and then off right after), this is still a really great place to be.

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