I traveled to Jerusalem today to pick up my government issued press card. I haven't needed it since I returned to Holy Land Central last Fall but then again, I haven't been to Gaza or the West Bank nor have I attended official press conferences, interviewed key government figures and I wasn't here for last summer's war in Lebanon. But the card looks kinda nice dangling off my living room light fixture.
A word about Jerusalem: Who needs a European vacation? I can head on out of Tel Aviv and mosey on up to J-Town when I'm feeling a bit antsy and Voila! I've tarried galaxies afar. The two cities differ radically in style of dress, mannerisms, lay of the land and religious inclinations.
First: It's probably reasonably safe to assert that NO fashion statements will be surging out of the Holy City anytime soon. While the ultra-orthodox have some semblance of coolness with black and white color motifs, what can you expect from a city whose key historical figures ran around in hooded gunny sacks and beige flats?
Second: Hills, views, Jerusalem stone, olive trees...We have the beach but they've got architectural & historical candy.
Third: People speak Yiddish. Young people. Who are ultra-orthodox. Because they consider Hebrew to be a holy language not to be soiled by the mere trifle of common, everyday conversation. It was a shocker hearing someone behind me speak it today. I thought it was German for a few seconds.
Finally: Meeting up with religion is surprising in itself because Tel Aviv is soooo secular. Yeah I know, it sounds crazy coming from Holy Land Central and all. But trust me on this one: When in Jerusalem the sudden exposure to religious majority can be overwhelming and eye-opening.
Good to know I don't have to go far to keep things fresh