Today was my first full day in Israel for this trip. Steph had meetings to go to for most of the morning, so I walked with her across Jerusalem to drop her off at her office, then went up Jaffa Road to hang out in a coffee shop for a while and catch up.
After that and a quick falafel, I walked back down to the wall of the old city of Jerusalem, and east along the wall in to Palestinian controlled East Jerusalem to the Damascus Gate of the old city. While in Turkey, we read in the car an article in National Geographic about the sale of illegal and stolen antiquities in the arab quarter of the old city, and I wanted to see if for myself. I winded my way down through the arab quarter, and asked a bunch of shop owners where these dealers were. After a bit of searching, I fount one shop that had artifacts from 100 bc, all the way through the roman period. Pottery, bronze age tools and weapons, and coins were all there – it was quite amazing to see such relics for sale in the open. The guy I talked to in the shop said that they did have a license, and every piece had an individual catalog number, but I’m still not sure whether not that was the truth.
After the antiques dealer, I met up with Steph, and we went back up to Ben Yehuda street to do some shopping. We also stopped in a great comic book store/record store/coffee shop called Uganda to see some friends and get some hummus, pita and Nana tea. Also, remarkably, the record shop was playing the latest Matmos album, a welcome change from the usual coffee shop listening.
After returning home and showering and changing, we left to go over to a friend’s house, and then out to party for new years, Israel style. We took the Sherut bus to Tel Aviv and walked in an anti war march that was organized by one of Steph’s friends. I generally walked outside and ahead of the marching group, and managed to take a few good pictures of the situation. The whole time we were flanked by a large group of police, and when we finally ended in a plaza, a few police in riot gear showed up. Luckily nothing too dramatic happened.
After that interesting experience in Tel Aviv, we got back on the sherut and went back to Jerusalem to meet up with a friend who was DJing at a local bar.
What a crazy new years eve!