Day 16, June 29 1998, Jerusalem
Woke up relatively early. I found out someone who also slept on the roof, had a small chick. No, not that kind of chick -a baby chicken! What a stupid animal. But still, very likable. Sunburn status: the itching has begun.
Today's mission: to explore Zedekiah's cave and to pay a visit to the Israel museum. First we went to the Old City entrance of Damascus Gate. A young man showed us the way, for which he expected a tip. This wouldn't have been so bad, if he just hadn't literally asked for it.
Exploring Zedekiah's cave is a very safe business, as long as one stays on the path, which is marked with electric torches. At some point, you can find signs above dark entrances to sub caves which say: "Do not enter". Undeterred by such unmotivated warnings, we bravely ventured forth and soon found ourselves exploring the depths of said sub cave. These caves can go on for miles. We descended a few steps and walked along a narrow way for a while until we came to a larger 'room'. We turned off our torches for a few minutes. I have never before experienced such utter darkness and silence.
Then came the real surprise: we couldn't find our way out anymore. We tried to retrace our steps, but we failed. We tried again, and while we knew that we were in the right cave, we just couldn't seem to find it. Damn! This really freaked me out after a while. While I knew that there was a way out and that we would find it, the feeling of being stuck was really just too much. And I had left my spare batteries in my backpack, too. What would happen if we ran out of batteries?
Luckily, Dennis did discover the way out. It was hidden by an overhanging rock, making it look like a single solid rock face. It was a good thing we went back when we still were able to find the way back. The cave is likely to go on for miles and miles. We sat outside the New Gate in the sun, and the sweat poured off me. Time to relax at the Israel Museum.
We decided to walk there as it was quite near. Of course, 'near' becomes a relative distance when you first take a wrong turn, before approaching the museum from the wrong side, forcing yourself to circle it all the way to reach the entrance.
Finally, we were left a meagre 2.5 hours to spend there. I went to the Rodin exhibition, where I took two photos before I was told I couldn't take pictures. Then I went to look at the Dada collection (love Man Ray) but I couldn't take pictures there, either. At that point, it began to dawn on me that I might not be allowed to take any pictures in the museum at all! The horror of it!
We concluded our visit by staring at the Dead Sea Scrolls for a while. But no matter how much I looked at them, I couldn't make any more sense out of them. But they looked ok to me. We took the bus to the city centre, and had dinner at KFC's, where we met a very shy and nervous cat, whom we treated to some chicken. I tried to declare it my unwavering friendship, when it suddenly turned nasty on me. I decided to do the same and yelled "Imshi! Imshi!" after it as it jumped the fence.
On our way back, we dropped into a shop where we got a couple of Hoegaardens (Hoegaarden is a white beer of unique taste) and some chocolate. Also, we bought some food for the sunrise tour tomorrow.
I turned in early, and, much to my surprise, the chick had been left to its own limited devices. Upon seeing me, it ran over and tried to climb my shoes. It was cold on the roof, and the chicken was probably freezing, being used to crawling under its mother's feathers. I took an old blanket that was lying around and put the chick in it. It's 22.00 and we have to get up at 3am for the sunrise tour, so I'll be going to sleep now.
c l i c k
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