Monday, August 30, 2004

Little House In Bakah
The girls and I said our goodbyes to the summer vacation on a little overnight excursion to Jerusalem. What vacation? I ask. I worked all summer! But the girls start school again on Wednesday.

We stayed here, a friendly little B & B hotel. The girls loved it, because they said it felt ‘beitee’ (homelike). I liked it too. It had this lovely smell, for one thing, and I suppose because it really was beitee. I know the guy there, which is always nice. I’ve been meaning to go and stay there for a long time, but never seemed to get round to it.

The location proved very convenient for us, and there was no problem with parking. Next time we’ll take Bish, but that means Shabbat, which is less fun in Jerusalem, I think, when you’re secular.

One thing that struck me was that, because all the restaurants are kosher in Jerusalem, there are plenty of dairy places, which meant lots of choice for me, being a vegetarian. The restaurants all seemed to be full, by the way, and people sitting next to the windows. Nice.

Actually, talking about location, I managed to get lost with every turn. I do have a good sense of smell in Jerusalem, as I was there during my army service. What this meant was that every time I took a wrong turning I knew it immediately, but it was too late. We began the holiday with an unplanned tour (okay okay, we were lost) of Mea She’arim, no less.

To say we were not suitably dressed would be the understatement of the year, so it’s lucky we were in the car. I'm told that the residents can get rather unpleasant, when presented with the challenge of a bare female shoulder, or thigh. In our case it was mainly Eldest's unabashed Tel Aviv-style display of her midriff that worried me.

It was worth it though. The girls were fascinated. We do have quite a lot of religious people living in our area, even ultra-religious - it is possible to see bearded men sporting fur hats, shiny kaftans and knickerbockers passing our building on their way to shul on a Shabbat... er... Shabbus - but the girls had never seen anything like Mea She'arim.

Afterthought explanation: Our visit to Mea She’arim was not just a quick whip-through. We were actually stuck in a traffic jam in a narrow winding alley for about twenty minutes, long enough to read most of the pashkevils (ultra-Orthodox-style street posters) along the way. The interesting ones were dire warnings to women about the wig thing.

After twenty minutes stuck behind that nasty truck, I was convinced. No Indian wigs for me!