So today I was arrested for photographing a sacred tree whose branches are believed (by some) to have supplied Jacob with the wood to build his ladder. I was taken to the torture chamber in the dungeon of the Mossad secret police, whereupon I was beaten with a lash until I confessed that I had indeed bought a Guns 'n Moses t-shirt. I tried to explain that it was only because my friend Roger had requested one, but they weren't buying it, so the beatings continued until proof of my Bar Mitzvah could be obtained. Which wasn't easy since the synagogue is now a Syrian church.* Thanks Roger; now not only do I have weird blisters on my hands as a Dead Sea souvenir, but my back looks like the guy from The Da Vinci Code. And he's at least married to Jennifer Connelly.
Do they celebrate April Fool's Day in Israel? I haven't been able to discern any particular merriment, but all fooling aside, today was a very nice day with no significant hassles.
I awoke early and took a 1-1/2 hour train north to Acre (aka Akko), an ancient port city with an Old City leftover from 2 different eras (1200's & 1800's). After 3 hours there, I took an hour+ bus to Safed (aka Zefat), an old holy city that also sports an Artist's Colony. I enjoyed seeing both places, although both took about an hour of meandering through labyrinthian passageways until I seemingly reached what I was supposed to see. And I'm still pretty sure I missed some important things in each place, as there kept seeming to be ambiguous signs pointing in directions that were hard to follow. Obviously it was a long day, with about 6 hours of public transport, but no major headaches or snafus. Just that when I got back to my hotel at about 9:00pm, the door was locked for security purposes and no one responded to my buzzing. So I went off to eat, had a nice meal (tilapia, fries, salad, bread & diet Pepsi for about $12) and was able to get in when I got back.
Out of context, but have I mentioned that police and soldiers walk through cities and ride trains with machine guns on their back? It's quite lovely.
OK, one more day in Israel, then my 1:10am flight to Cairo on Friday morning. I hope to see the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora and the Old Jaffa Port tomorrow.
*This part is true. The temple I attended as a kid, B'Nai Emunah in Skokie, sold its building to a Syrian church a few years ago. And yes, Roger did request a Guns 'n Moses t-shirt. And Paul Bettany, who played Silas in the bad Da Vinci Code movie, is married to Jennifer Connelly. And speaking of the Da Vinci Code, or perhaps this was from Angels & Demons (I get them confused), in Acre I walked through a Templar Tunnel, all the way around & through the Old City. I guess Old Acre was the Knights Templars home base.
And Springsteen fans, check out Backstreets.com for their annual April Fool's hijinks. It's also a great place to check setlists, as the tour starts tonight.
OK, now this came into my head; feel free to play along. "Fool" songs. Fool for the City (Foghat); What a Fool Believes (Doobie Bros.); Foolin' (Def Leppard); Fool in the Rain (Zeppelin); Nobody's Fool (Cinderella; ashamed to admit that one). OK, I think I'm out.