Trip Start May 19, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Today was all about getting us oriented.  Started the morning with the workout at 6:15 "as promised", and I suppose it was good.  My experience traveling so far says that if you can keep your body thinking it's in its groove while making sure your mind knows it isn't, things will go well.  So as indicated by the attractions seen column, we saw a lot today in our general walking tour of Jerusalem.  Went in all the gates, went to all the quarters, saw all the important things from a distance.  Over the next several days we are going to see them in more detail, and once I do that I'll let whoever cares to know what I think what I think.
My favorite place of the day was definitely the Muslim quarter.  A couple of the guys and I had this conversation:  it's really neat to see the city alive.  Several of the people on the trip were apparently complaining that they weren't getting the holy glimmers, the profound moments, one might expect to be getting while in the Holy City.  My analysis/thoughts/disposition goes something like this:  the Jerusalem that Jesus walked around in, that David walked in, would not have been populated "for the most part" by super religious people constantly having profound experiences.  It would have been a city bustling to buy food and necessities for their lives.  While in the Muslim quarter I got the feeling that this was more the case than in the other places; they sold shampoo and pringles along with dresses and candy--stuff people buy for their everyday lives.
I think I'm over the jet lag, which is nice.  When people tell you that you have to force yourself to stay awake the first day, stay hydrated, take your vitamins, workout, and all that stuff, I did it and I feel like it was the smart thing to do.  Just for future travelers.
Tomorrow's agenda is another walking tour, this time aimed at sites that hold a special place in the Old Testament.  Hezekiah's tunnel, the Western Wall, the City of David "which, for the record, is deuced tiny", stuff of that nature.  How's that for a teaser in the middle of the blog?
Another extremely interesting thing we saw today was the Mt of Olives "probably referred to henceforth as Olivet because it's shorter and sounds boss".  Something they don't tell you or show you in the pictures of Olivet is that the whole south-east slope "I think that's it" is absolutely covered in graves.  It looks like the mountain is made of limestone.  I believe it was Ezra who saw the Lord departing East from Jerusalem over Olivet, and the theology goes that he will return the same way.  Personally I think this was fulfilled with Jesus "see Triumphant Entry, the", but apparently a lot of people who know the Bible a lot better than I do think that this doesn't count.  It is a holy site for people of all the major religions in the city to be buried, because each group thinks that when God does eventually return to judge the dead over that hill they will be the one's found righteous, and thus will be the first to join in his return.
I think I'll call today a success.  I was well enough oriented to lead an expedition this evening back to spend a little more time in the Muslim quarter to get some Baclava "baklawa" and Turkish delight.  So good.  But yes I was well enough oriented that when one of our girls was told to come back to a shop keeper's "sexy shop-apparently he has a thing for red-heads" I was able to navigate us to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher then get us back a different way.  Now I'm uploading this from a coffee shop in the Jaffa Gate mall area we went to yesterday.  I was planning on this being written in a coffee shop in the Muslim quarter, but then darkness came and stores started closing, so yah know.
I think that's it for me.  Over and out.
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My Review Of The Place I've Seen

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