Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Market

I woke up in Jerusalem! Drank Turkish coffee to get my blood moving, said goodbye to Zahara and trekked off in search of adventure. I decided to go to Mehane Yehuda, the open air market. Several wrong buses and finally a correct one later and I was there. It was colorful and loud and surprisingly manageable. I pretended I was a young Israeli woman sifting through produce and grain with expert eye and knowing hands. I breathed in the smells deeply and was mostly rewarded.

An old woman reached her grubby hands into a piled of olives piled high and shining with oil. I followed suit and may never be able to eat another lesser olive again. Bags of open spices, strawberries the size of a fist and delicious looking fish. I stopped at a crowded stall and ordered a falafel. Pita packed with fresh vegetables and the moistest falafel. Every few bites I would pause and think “stop it.” Too good. I walked around the market with my falafel wrapped in paper. I blend in very well in this city. People are surprised when I don’t speak Hebrew. It’s much more fun to be an anonymous tourist.

I walked down HaNevi’im street , a windy street through a neighborhood. I stopped into a historic and old jewish printing press and saw the huge old machines used to make papers . I went down Ethiopia street and into a deserted and comfortingly dark temple in the round. The altar at the center was built before Jesus.
At the end of the street I walked up some steps and could see Jerusalem. A bustling city with winding streets surrounded by hills, forest and desert. I could see the gold dome of the rock in the distance. It was magical.

I found my way back to Zahara (seriously an accomplishment) and we went to the Ethiopian jew compound. It was very poor and crowded. We played with the children. A young girl tagged alongside me the whole day and when I picked her up and twirled her around she kissed me on the cheek. I became a pool of estrogen. I decided it was time to leave when the little boys thought it would be fun to lift up my skirt (I had leggings underneath thank goodness.)

Z and I had a delicious dinner of wine, warm beet salad with fried houllami cheese and shakshooka (an Israeli dish with vegetables and tomato sauce served in a hot skilled with an egg cracked on top.)

After a night class, a bunch of people head to a café to drink Belgium hot chocolate. It was warm and the conversation was good.

I told someone about my life plan of working in international public health. His first reaction was that I would need to find a family willing to move around with me. That never occurred to me and is shaking me up a bit. Ok so if I go overseas for the next 5 years or so, and come back will all the good souls be taken? A weird, possessive way of putting it but kind of how I see it. I’m 22. Do I need to start thinking about a family? Lord I hope not. The thought makes me want to vomit.


  1. Chelsea, it's only been two days and I'm already addicted to your blog! Then again, you know this is a hobby of mine = )
    Jerusalem sounds beautiful and you sound beautiful as well. I'm glad you're in such a tranquil state right now. As for the family, no worries, there a plenty of other travellers/expats around who think just like you do =)
    Plus, if I was your kid, I'd love to travel around with you wherever you go =P
    Have fun traveling!


  2. Chel - Don't worry - I have a good idea...I will travel around with you and your family and help you and take care of your kids (my grand kids) ok deal?? :)mommy

  3. What about other people who work in int'l health? People take their families to another country for a year (or 2 or 3) or - travel on business - and the family comes to visit when they have vacation. Now - with Skype - it will be a piece of cake!