Monday, May 30, 2011

It has been a while...

So between catching up on sleep from the Turkey trip and trying to learn the material for three midterms (Old Testament, Hebrew, and Judaism) it has been a fantastic but crazy week.

Yesterday, a group of us went to Tel Aviv (which is a modern city-skyscrapers and all....that is on the coast) to the beach.  This beach was beautiful.  It is on the Mediterranean Sea so the water wasn't too bad, and the sand was not rocky at all.   I planned this excursion to celebrate me officially turning 20 years old.  Woot woot!  I'm officially out of the teen years.  So I thought to start a whole new decade properly a beach trip sounded perfect:)  All of the girls and I set up in a gazebo on the beach and stayed there all day.  For dinner, we met up with others from the JC (Jerusalem Center) for hamburgers at a place called "Moses."  I've seriously been craving a cheeseburger which you can't find in Jerusalem really because it goes against Jewish Kosher rules!  It was worth it even though it cost about 20 bucks (around 54 shekels)!  I didn't get too sun burnt but I know lots of people are hurting today.  Yeah for sunscreen and aloe.

I'm in the process of writing about the Turkey trip which is taking forever, but I'll post it soon.  Don't be too excited because it might end up being a novel in length.

Here are some pics though from the trip!

Sara (my roomie for this trip) and I by the Trojan horse from the movie "Troy"..maybe Brad Pitt touched it haha:)

Aegean Sea

In the Blue Mosque

At a Sultan's Palace

Mosques everywhere!

The Bridge that connects Asia to Europe

Cruise on the Bosphorus 

At that is not the real horse from the story...

At Assos in the temple of Athena

Flowers at Pergamum...known in the scriptures as the "throne of Satan"

This theater was cool because it was vertical instead of horizontal across the hill

Caught in his PJs

Ephesus!...probably one of my favorite spots that we went to

Ephesus:  with the Library facade in the background

Hagia Sofia

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In case you haven't seen CNN.....

So basically I'm in the middle of a war here, which is no new news.  However, since Friday the 13th here the Palestinians have been doing 1.)explosions...I just tell myself they are doing fireworks. 2.)tear gas and rock throwing.  aka the 17 year old boy who was killed, that happened like a 1/2 mile away from us. 3.)LOTS of yelling in Arabic.  This is all due to the "Catastrophe"-which to them is the creation of the Israel state.
Old Israelite man looking at the Western Wall

I was laying in bed last night listening to all this, but I was so tired I had no problem falling asleep.  The center is on lock down for us.  We can't go outside (even on our balcony) and going to the city is totally off-limits.  So we have been confined inside for the past 2 jealous:)

What is interesting though, is that I was at the Israeli Celebration, where the Jews were celebrating the creation of the state of Israel earlier this week.  It was so funny, because I think the BYU students brought the party there. There were tons of outside concerts, but nobody was dancing.  So we pulled out our best dance moves and went crazy.  It was so funny because a crowd started forming around us just watching us dance.  All these tourists were taking pictures/filming of us dancing (fyi.  we are not amazing dancers by any means!).

The Crowd behind us:)....okay so they were probably listening to the concert also.

Sorry pic is sideways....but a hotel shot off fireworks

Silly stringed Bro. Chadwick

But no fear!  We are leaving Jerusalem tomorrow morning.  Our entire group is headed..........drum roll..........TURKEY!!!

Start singing:  "Istanbul was once Constantinople"

I'm so excited.  Some things that we will be doing are:  Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, tons of ruins, etc.

So no internet during the week, so I will update in a week!

Here are a couple random pics:

 A shop keeper put all of us in authentic clothing

Another historical place according to Wikipedia:
The main north-south thoroughfare, the Cardo Maximus, was originally a paved avenue approximately 22.5 meters wide (roughly the width of a six lane highway) which ran southward from the site of the Damascus gate, terminating at an unknown point. The southern addition to the Cardo, constructed under Justinian in the 6th century CE, extended the road further south to connect the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the newly-built Zion Gate.[3] Along its length, the roadway was divided into three parts: two colonnaded covered walks flanking a 12 meter wide road.[4] The shaded porticoes provided separation of pedestrian traffic from wheeled carts, shelter from the elements, space for small-scale commerce, as well as opportunities for residents and visitors to gather and interact.[5] The central open pavement provided commercial access as well as ritual space. The Cardo’s most striking visual feature was its colonnade, clearly depicted on the Madaba Map.

So basically this was a main road from ancient Jerusalem:
This structure was from one of the temple periods (don't remember haha)

Ancient main street aka "Cardo"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jericho, Jericho, Jericho

Joshua fit the battle of Jericho
Jericho Jericho
Joshua fit the battle of Jericho
And the walls come tumbling down


Herods palace ruins

First spot on the way to Jericho was Herod’s palace.  This is the palace where Herod died when Joseph, Mary, and Christ were in Egypt.  One trivia fact that I learned was Herod wanted to kill 100 Jews when he died, just to make people lament that he died...aka he was not favored by his people!  

Where the kids live!
These two kids were part of this family that was living right by the ruins to Herod’s palace.  I’m guessing not much happens in their part of the woods, because their whole family was basically watching us for an hour plus just standing in the ruins.  How would you like a Biblical palace as your backyard playground?!?  When I was leaving this site, I tried to give the little boy a hi-five and he had no idea what I was trying to do haha.

Swimming in the ancient pool ruins
Also part of the palace was the remains of an ancient swimming pool.  This is the supposed site of where Herod had his brother-in-law who was appointed a high priest “accidiently” drowned due to people starting to favor him more than Herod.  Basically, Herod had many people killed out of fear of losing his position, which is seen by him also fearing the birth of Jesus Christ.  
A Neolithic tower dating back to 7000 BCE

The retaining wall of Jericho

Before this trip I always associated the “Veggie Tales” depiction of the story where the city was pretty small and Joshua and his people could quickly walk around it 7 times.  This town was big at its time.  I love visiting these spots because I now know that walking around such a great distance would have taken a lot of time and faith.  We went to the Tel of Jericho.  This hill has been excavated by a couple groups over the years.  As a class we went to the south side where you can see the “glacis” or retaining wall and then the rubble of the bricks that have fallen belonging to the wall that was on top of the glacis.  This middle bronze age wall, must have fallen during the late bronze age which is when the Joshua account happened.  It was interesting to imagine what it must have been like for the troops to witness this great wall to collapse before them!
Joshua 6: 20...”so the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets...”  The trumpets they would have used were likely like the one I’m trying to blow in, in this picture.  Ya I pretty much failed at making a noise blowing into one of the ram’s horns.
Where the spring is

So Elisha became the prophet after Elijah ascended into heaven.  And as the account goes, Elisha was in Jericho and blessed a spring so it would water the area.  I was able to see that spring that is now covered by a shelter, and drink of the water.  It’s interesting because when you are driving to Jericho it is complete waste land.  This kind of desert is called “yeshimon” because nothing grows.  Then you descend into this beautiful oasis of palm trees and agricultural land.  This spring is the life line to this area, because as I learned in Bro. Chadwicks’ class the number one thing for a settlement to survive in this area is a water source! 

I petted my first camel, whose name is Sabi.  Check those teeth out!
Guys trying to sell us a ride on a donkey

St. George monastery 

Desert land

Wadi Qelt

The last place that we visited was the Wadi Qelt.  This is the valley like area that runs between all the hills going between Jericho and Jerusalem.  First off this is where the parable of the Good Samaritan would have taken place.  I can easily see how someone could be robbed in this terrain and their desperation they must have felt being stuck in this winding gorge.  This would have also been Jesus Christ’s route He would have walked for the last time going into Jerusalem to fulfill and perform the Atonement.  Our professor pointed out for us to think what Jesus must have been thinking as He left Jericho ascending into Jerusalem knowing that in about a weeks time He would be a resurrected Being, but also what would have to take place to get to that point.  I have really come to know already Jesus Christ as both my Savior and also as a citizen in this area of the world.  I’m so thankful that I get to see what He saw and to more fully appreciate what He went through for me. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dome of the Rock!

When I first saw Jerusalem the first thing I noticed was the Dome of the Rock.  You can't miss it, even if you try to avoid it.  The whole city is basically made out of white and gray materials, and then BANG this huge gold dome pops out of nowhere.  Today was an entire free day, to do whatever my heart desired.  So a group of us planned a day-o-fun in the city which included getting close and personal with this beautiful mosque.  
Historical note according to Wikipedia:
According to Sunni Islamic tradition, the rock is the spot from which Muhammad ascended to Heaven accompanied by the angel Gabriel. Further, Muhammad was taken here by Gabriel to pray with AbrahamMoses, and Jesus.

Ya we had to get a jumping picture..don't judge:)

It's huge!!!!

This is what happens when you hand off your camera...

The tile work is incredible.  There are so many colors and patterns that for some reason all work together.

It's an interesting building because so many religions have ties to it, and view it as holy.  Some highlights of that temple courtyard was of course people watching, the girls in my group taking these Arabic kids on in soccer, and being able to touch the tiles and columns of this amazing building!
So this one guy in the BYU-Jerusalem group has been taking portraits of very distinct/unique people that he meets in the city, so I decided to take my own spin on that idea.  So I will be posting excerpts on some of the people that I meet in my adventures in the old city.
First contestant is this guy who was sitting by the Dome of the Rock.  He was surprisingly happy for me to take his picture.  I wish I knew his life story..just look at that smile:)

Next was a guy that met us on the stairs leaving the Dome.  He wanted us to kiss the top of his cane stick thing...sanitary I think not haha.  But he ended up trying to talk to us, which I had a hard time understanding his english (not sure if he was speaking english actually).

We were lost which is a frequent happening, and this group of jewish men walked by, and basically I liked his beard so I took a picture.

 Okay so this was while we were still lost in this intersection area...these two men were playing that board game (forgot the name of that game) and being the curious person I am, I asked if I could take a picture of their game..but actually I just wanted to take a picture of them! I know I'm just so sneaky...not.
 The kids here are the cutest by far!  This boy was just chillin' eatting a pita.  I introduced myself and told him my name, and he was more than willing to pose for the camera.
 This girl was on the same street as the boy.  She was so cute.  I think she was actually advertising (she had her hair in a updo and henna on her arm) for her mom who was a hairdresser and a henna artist.  We were talking with the girl and then her mom came asking if we wanted henna done....maybe another time?!?
You will not find a more loving and caring people then here in the streets of Jerusalem.  First of all, they put up with me and all the other students wanting to take their pictures.  But also they are always willing to help (aka when you're lost) and a smile here really goes a long way.