First time visit to Jerusalem

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February 12th 2010
Published: February 12th 2010
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Jerusalem hills ide from hotel room
Well here I am with a mixed heart, 2 days ago I heard my dad had been rushed into hospital for possible below knee amputation and in the midst of preparing for two work lesson observation as well as the excitment of going to a place I had always wanted to visit, I was just catapulted into making decisions I really didnt have the energy to do. I rang the hospital who said that there was no immediate view of theatre which gave me time to consider the chances of cancelling my weeklong trip or continuing the journey. After speaking to my family at length I decided to pack and continue the journey. It just wasnt my day! I drove into work on a cold, icy winters day to skid and slam the car into the pavement, narrowly avoiding mounting the curb and smashing into a travel sign. God was watching over me! One observation over, I could start thinking of my dad and how his day had been. Settled and being treated conservatively with more antibiotics. Starting off I flew from Tees Valley airport in the North of England having had a restless night , cancelled the second observation, went
Shabbat candles on friday night Shabbat candles on friday night Shabbat candles on friday night

Shabbat candles on Friday night
to work with not just butterflies but big knots and the anchors too, in my stomach. Leaving work at 215 I drove there, checked in with minimum fuss ( it being a small airport, it seemed so personal compared to the horrible impersonal attitudes I have met in the past) and rang the hospital to be told dad was being prepared for theatre! Those knots and anchors back again! My dad is 88years old, having gone through 2 major ops 2 years ago, a bypass & amputation of 2 toes , I worried about this time and being far away if he was to take a bad turn. My flight was called, I offered up prayers for his safekeeping in the Lord's hands, and I was off. First to Amsterdam, landing at 620pm (720 local time) where my second shock came. I had a connecting flight at 820pm, so went straight to check in - looking at the flight detail on the screens first. Got there to be greeted with a 'Gate closed' sign and no one in sight to ask for help! I started to panic -it was 730pm I couldnt see an information desk and the first 2 airport workers were not much help , first me with limited dutch was a big barrior,and the other told me to go find information!! Not much help, with time ticking on I stumbled upon a gate that was closing just a little further on from my original gate and the 3 personnel there were really helpful, checking my travel papers and using their walkie talkies to find out why the gate was closed - it was a 'Gate change' I was not to be at Gate 5 but Gate 41 -it would have been nice to put that info on the screen at Gate 5!!!! Rushing to Gate 41 I found a big queue and joined that to start my second journey. With one thing and another we were running half an hour late so I had time to reflect at how my dad would be back home. My family had no idea what time he would be going to theatre so it was just a matter of waiting and calling when I arrived in Israel. 4and a 1/2 hour flight 330am local time arrival, not knowing if someone would meet me ( had said I would travel to the accomodation myself) and the small matter of tiredness started to creep up on me. No one waiting with my name so I proceeded to get a Nesher shuttle bus just outside arrival. Joined a queue gave the drivers (who were strutting about being important , talking loudly and keeping on repeating the names of passengers addresses ) my address and after lots of what seemed like arguing between the drivers ( it turned out that the passengers were going to different parts of the city and they were arguing to see who would have which passengers to avoid having to double up on themselves,we were bundled into 2 buses and the grateful thanks of some returning locals who were starting to lose their tempers!!) We were on our way - it was of course 4am by now! After a short drive we arrived ( not being able to see much as it was dark) into Jerusalem & the driver started asking for numbers of addressess to drop people off - my address seemed to be a problem Of course it would be! - The lady next to me checked the address I had & gave it to the driver. He dropped me outside a house at 430am and guess what - altho it was Biet Ben Yehuda - it was the house of the founder whose name is the name of the accommodation but this certainly wasnt where I was going to be staying. I rang the number given on the webpage & explained to whoever it was that i was here & no lights were on and no one was answering a bell i had pushed - he says - well im here & i cant see you so where are you? AHHH i say explaining - his suggestion is that i get a taxi & give them the phone!!!! Ha ha - a lone female in some goodness knows what type of neighborhood at 430 am in the morning with a suitcase & bag believe me is not what i was wanting at the end of a LOOOOOOng tiring and stressful day. SO i knock on the door of the house next d oor as lights were on & a telly was on - it only happens to be a home i think - for mentally challenged males who i can see thru the window - i knock again & eventually a kindly elderly service user comes to the window and a nearly panic striven woman is frantically trying to get this mentally challenged elderly jewish gentleman to understand my predicament.well of course again this time the country is different but there is still a language barrior so He eventually walks away dismissing me as the mad one no doubt!!! I wait 10 minutes trying to see if there is anyone else in sight that i may approach - 2 people walking - obviously going to an early shift to work - try to help point me in another direction & walk away - I resort to knocking again on the home's window & the poor guy whom i chatted to earlier wanders to a door that i can see & chats to someone who from the look of him has just been abruptly woken up & isnt too happy. He come to the window screen i again try to tell my predicament & he points in a forwarding direction AHHHH - I take my chances & head off to find a taxi or some other form of help - God is good - a car comes down the otherwise deserted sleeping neighborhood & pulls into a driveway - its a woman driver - i boldly ask for help & she understands & says she will ring me a taxi - i get the hotel on the phone she speaks to them they explain taxi arrives in seconds and im on my way having asked the woman to get the price for me - she speaks to the driver laughs - OH YEAH IM GONNA BE TAKEN FOR A RIDE HERE _ MONETARY WISE - tells me how much & I say i will pay him at the hotel - no meter is started but hey do you know what i really didnt care - i had put myself into a stupid situation & really needed to get to a safe place asap. The young guards at the entrance to the Yehuda guest house actually known as the 'judean' guest house were sympathetic & friendly and the hotel receptionist an elderly gentleman - Yidal made me laugh with his tales of hollywood - he was related to Hitchcock - OOkaayyyy - the 39 steps where filmed near me when he found out from my address that I lived in the North East - wellnot strickly true - it was filmed in Scotland - but near enough for me at nearly 5am in the morning!!! He sorts out the booking to a continuous stream of the fiddler/violin sequence from the Movie Schindlers list - you couldnt write it im telling you! He makes me a cuppa as its not morning time yet & no one is in to check the room is ready - Half hour later 530am here 330 uk time - too late to ring & check on dad so try to get some shut eye before Shelly gets here from Canada - shes due in at 330pm. I sleep till 12 30 shower get a cuppa ring home =- dad went down at 8pm & is now resting - above knee amp.
Shelly arrives at 45 with her tales of Israel questioning & nearly not being let in as they were intrigued that she was here alone! We have a god laugh at her & my epics so far & go down to dinner - I light the shabbat candles & we go to the service in the synagogue on sight - what a different experience to the formal services at home i know. We go to dinner & what a wonderful feast of Israeli salad dishes and sweets - ummmm lovely xxx People are all around having a good time , soldiers, young girls ( 2 coach loads arrived at 2pm) apparently they come here at shabbat to do lectures , readings etc - all are having a good rest time - they take shabbat quite serously here - no work just play! Shells & I are beat, we chat about our kids, religion, life, and get ready for bed - Think we will watch the opening of the winter olympics - tomorrow we are off either to the local Noahs ark zoo or the old city if we can get there as for shabbat everthing grinds to a halt from 449 on friday night until 449 on saturday - see what tomorrow brings!


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