Another volunteer at the Inn here for many months comes from the UK. For James, Nazareth’s location has given him an ideal proximity and time to finish his book, A Living Revolution, set to be published this summer. On top of that he works many hours on his dissertation with Manchester Metropolitan University.I’m continually impressed with the people I’m meeting. A published book and PhD in your mid-20′s is no small feat, on the often unspoken area of Israel/Palestine no less.
After many years of on the ground research of primary documents and interviews, “hopefully they’ll let me write about anything after this,” he says. Agreed. Until then, I’m trying to digest small bits of the research that he’s been sharing on his AllVoices Blog.
Returning from Jerusalem, I got off the Egged bus and started ascending the hill towards the Fauzi Inn. I met Dave on the road, coming to meet the camera and production crew from the Associated Press. For that evening and morning of the next day, we filmed throughout the trail, showcasing it’s story, sights and personal experiences. It will be put into a 4-min feature piece and distributed later this week. This TV bit came after an AP journalist walked and wrote of the trail weeks ago.
The production crew was great. Over meals and car-rides we heard another side of monumental news events. When asked of his most memorable, Enon quickly replied with filming the opening of the Berlin Wall by helicopter and having the only video camera rolling at Operation Solomon. Also unique were the firsthand accounts and opinions on the multiple conflicts and political struggles in the immediate area of Israel. It is a complex situation with many layers of ethnicity, history, religion, culture, and interests. In a way, coming away from the situation with a sense of confusion is quite healthy.
A brief photo-narration:
I took the weekend to visit my cousin Kim and her husband Jonathan who are living now in Jerusalem. After my somewhat regular afternoon siesta, I walked north a bit to the Old City. It’s still walled in and only minimally accessible to vehicles. I entered the Joffa Gate and meandered throught the market streets.
I found my way east to the wailing wall next to the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock in the background. Sundown was approaching along with the Sabath so there was much pride, tradition, prayer, singing, and dancing in the area. I stayed for about 2 hours, taking it all in.
Afterwards, I met Kim and Jonathan at an Armenian restaurant. The food and atmosphere was quality as we caught up on each other’s lives since the last mutual family reunion. The dining hall is thought to be from the time of the crusades due to it’s lower elevation in the Old City.
Lastly, Kim drove us up and over to East Jerusalem for a night-time view of the Old and New Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
The following morning I toured the Temple Mount area, amazed by the Dome of the Rock Mosque and it’s large paved plaza.
Often I’ve had to do a self-reality-check and ask myself if I’m really here.
I’m living at the Fauzi Azar Inn, a niche for independent travelers spending the night in Nazareth. It’s tucked away in an 1800′s Arab Mansion in the old city region defined occasional vacant properties and narrow steep streets impassable by even the smallest cars.
A trademark small door within a door provided security during the years of the Ottoman Empire, making you step over a threshold and duck simultaneously, a vulnerable position. Now standing in the center courtyard on the ground floor, you are surrounded by many stone arched storage rooms, now dorms and sitting areas. 40 steps takes you high to the main rooms where three large windows overlook the city downhill. No shortcuts were taken with the high ceilings ornately painted, solid marble floors, and crafted wood trim.
Moaz, the manager of the Inn, is a true collaborator. He has brought together many locals and expats, such as myself, who volunteer in exchange for a room and board. In an unfortunate era of air conditioned bus tours, the Fauzi has helped to revive business and small independent shops in the old city such as the Bride’s Market just down the street, a series of stores selling jewlery, dresses, etc. The old city is truly simple and elegant in this nature of portraying life, not a postcard.
If you’re still curious about the Fauzi Inn, check out their new site. I recommend taking a gander at the Fauzi Azar Story and/or the Gallery.
After walking for days, we were glad to hitch back from Caperneum towards Nazareth. The Israeli couple that picked us up along the highway 90 were returning from the Jacob’s Ladder Festival. It’s a popular weekend of country music at the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.
Before you assume you know what “country music” means, listen to the couple’s favorite artist from the festival, Utah Green. She lists her band members as “myself and anyone else who has a beat in the bottom of their feet.”
3 days ago I took with me 80 shekels of food from the market, 2 friends, and 9 hours of jet lag to hike and trek across over 40 miles of Israeli countryside. My feet, the right one which is now a little swollen, took me over roads, olive groves, field trails, roman road ruins, up hills and down cliffs. We saw and heard many towns and ways of life, whether it was the watermelon delivery pick-up announcing its arrival in a small town or the festive music into the night at a wedding in the Arab town of Wadi Hamam while camping at the base of the Arbel cliffs.
I found that the sweat and strain of hiking keeps your mind alert and senses high. I experienced more of the Israeli countryside and history than I ever thought I could during these 3 days.
As always, if you’d like to see more photos, click here
or on the link in the right sidebar.
Goodnight from Nazareth.
A short note to say that I’ve arrived safely with no trouble in the village of Binyamina, where I am being hosted graciously by Maoz and his family. David, Maoz, and I will travel to Nazareth tomorrow to settle in to the Fauzi Azar Inn where I’ll be living for the next two months.
It is beautiful and peaceful here, quite green and warm.
The SGTri ran its course this morning. Much of my time was spent watching the other 1,400 athletes to figure out what to do. One thing I noticed right away was that only 5 other people weren’t wearing wetsuits. Granted, we grouped together while waiting for the swim to start. After 30-min of waiting, the coast guard canceled the swim section due to the high winds making the lake into a large one of those endless swimming pools
That decision moved us on to a morning of bike-run. The midwest in no way prepared me for high winds and hill climbs, but the scenery was amazing. Stuart’s advice for me the night before was to smile and enjoy myself. Best advice ever. I’ll take bike-run in southern Utah over Indiana any day.
We found this coupon behind the cabinets when installing a dishwasher. Sadly, we won’t be able to cash in on Fun Posters and Magic Marker Liquid Crayons for this offer expired in 1977.
With my sleep debt getting paid, the transition week is getting easier. I now have my train line and station info for when I descend in Tel Aviv. On top of logistics, I’m comforted to have been able to connect with my host for the summer, Maoz, as well as come trail and community collaborators, Matt and Gary.
I fly out of Salt Lake this Monday, until then I’ll continue to enjoy jaunts the cool sunny canyons of the Wasatch range as well as city spots from summer ’07. Tonight I’ll finally fulfill my 10-month craving for The Pie.
Yes, spending a week in the wide-open-big-sky-west was a good idea.
Shortly into the trip, I realized that my drive west on I-80 is a valid segment on my summer. There has been a lot to think about, and sing along to for that matter.
-after filling up with biodiesel in IA, waiting to pay for my coffee refill. a stressed traveller asks if they can “talk me into buying them a cup of coffee.” “sure thing”
-eating sandwiches in the parkinglot with Mitch and Amber, a fellow traveler, Terry, strikes up conversation and tells/rambles us details of his life for 20-min, loosely connected around selling dollar burgers with the fixin’s for RAGBRAI
-snowed-in in Ogallala, Nebraska, I watch Bourne Ultimatum yet another time on my laptop and wait for the interstate to open back up
-Kent and Patty welcome me in Laramie Wyoming, along with their boys who challenge me to see how long and far one can hop around the house on one foot
-winding through the rocky mountain pass, snow from the previous storm is aesthetically still in the peaks. arriving in Salt Lake is familiar this time around, no directions needed
-Sarah, Greg and Evie-the-husky, host me for the upcoming week. Greg’s shared love for Bob Dylan inspires me to write and title this post, for coffee has brought me most of the past 1,500 miles.