Day 11: Angels and Demons

Trip Start May 19, 2009
Trip End Jun 16, 2009

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Friday, May 29, 2009

(Day 11, Jerusalem, Friday 5/29) On Shabbat (Sabbath: sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), Jerusalem, steeped in religion, pretty much shuts down. No public transportation (although there are taxis), traffic is extremely light, and you'll be lucky to find a few restaurants open, let alone any museums or other sights in Jewish West Jerusalem. So we had already planned our escape to an Arab suburb for Shabbat (tomorrow). But it only occurred to me belatedly that the Shavuot (Pentecost) holiday that started at sundown Thursday would bring a double dose of closures to the city (Friday AND Saturday) and interfere with sightseeing plans. Holidays here are not for mattress sales and barbecues, at least not in Jerusalem. They are serious business. Or non-business, actually.

So we decided to make Friday (Shavuot) an "off day," that is, sleep in, relax, catch up on email, write blogs, and in Kevin's case, get some work done. Sleeping in--no problem. Finding an open cafe--oops, didn't really think that through... Carrying our laptops, we walked down nearby Bethlehem Rd in the increasingly warm day, past all the shuttered businesses. Luckily, after lots of walking and a little asking around, we did find one, which was perfectly adequate: table in the shade and wi-fi. But after lunch, we realized there was no plug for Kevin's laptop, so we pressed on, ending up not far away at the Lev Smadar (arthouse theatre), which had a nice cafe and wi-fi. We set up shop and probably spent a good three hours there, snacking and typing.

In the evening, we thought it would be fun to see "Angels and Demons," which stars Ayelet Zurer (oh, and Tom Hanks), who is an Israeli actress we know and like from an Israeli "Friends"-like TV series from the late '90s that we both enjoyed watching recently. We thought it might be interesting to see the reaction of an Israeli audience to one of their own in a big-budget movie. We decided to walk to the movie theatre, which turned out to be quite a distance. The streets were deserted--we could have walked down the center of the road, basically. Cats patrolled the roads. Finally, we reached the movie house, in a quiet mall, and got our tickets. Not too different from theaters back home, but the concessions were scantier, and the seats were assigned. As it turned out, there were only maybe a dozen people at the showing (we moved from our assigned seats closer to the front). So no audience murmur when Ayelet showed up. (She did a nice job in the movie, though.)

After the movie, it was no longer Shavuot, but it was now Shabbat. We were lucky to find a cab just then, and we took it to the pedestrian mall in the heart of the city in the hope of finding some open restaurants. It was also deserted and quiet. We did find a bar/performance space on a quiet side street that we had read about, which was kind of busy but didn't serve food. After some wandering, we happened on Rivlin St., which was downright hopping. Half a dozen restaurants and dance bars burst with activity, music blaring, and many dozens of young people eating, drinking, and smoking hookas outdoors. So this is where the action is in the Jewish part of Jerusalem on Sabbath. We had our late-night hamburgers (a little spicy is the standard here) and beers (Kevin's gotten to like one of the local brands) and called it a night.
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weekilter on

Local beer
What was the local beer that Kevin likes? the majors I know of are Macabbi and Goldstar. Was it either of those or something else?

hkcigar on

I'm liking Goldstar. Maccabi is a little light for me. Though the other day I tried a Palestinian beer (brewed in Ramallah): Taybeh. They have three shades, something pale, amber, and a dark beer. I tried the dark one. Yum.

hkcigar on

Re: Local beer
Hmmm. I'll figure out this interface one of these days. I mostly am drinking Goldstar. Though Taybeh Dark (Palestinian from Ramallah) is also good if you can find it.

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