Daily Archives: April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

Posted by on April 5, 2009

Church of the Holy Seplechure Entrance

Church of the Holy Seplechure Entrance

I’m in Jerusalem now having spent three days near the Dead Sea. I was able to visit Masada and finally got my chance to float in the waters of the Dead Sea. Let me just say that a Dead Sea float is one of the most overrated things I’ve done on my trip.

You float. On your back. That’s it. That is all you really can do. You can’t swim in any normal sense of the word. You can’t splash around. If you have any sort of cut or sore on your body, it is going to really sting. I cut my toe nails a few days before and I could really feel it. I had to walk for three hours the previous day with all my gear and had some sore spots on my feet. The spots were the sandals were chafing on my skin hurt as well. To top it off, I picked up a hunk of salt from the bottom and accidentally dropped it back into the water. A drop of water hit my left eye and my vision was blurry for about five minutes.

Getting to the water is difficult because there is no real beach. The water line keeps dropping so you have to climb down to get to the water. The water is so salty, it has an oily feel to it. I could literally see swirls in the water like you would see if there was oil. I filled up an empty Diet Coke bottle full of Dead Sea water and it is noticeably heavier than a bottle of normal water.

The bus ride from Ein Gedi to Jerusalem took 2 hours even though it is only a 70km trip. We went through the West Bank and must have stopped at six Jewish settlements. Granted, I was in a bus in the dark, but the West Bank seemed like the rest of Israel. I saw no evidence of Palestinians at all.

Today is Palm Sunday. I woke up and walked around and found the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where is believed Christ died and was buried. The church is jointly controlled by the Latin Patriarch (Catholics, in particular the Franciscans), Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox. The Latin service was ending as I went in and the Armenian service was starting. I couldn’t have picked a better week to be in Jerusalem. It is Holy Week and Passover is in a few days. Lots of pilgrims are here.

There is a lot to see in Jerusalem. All the small streets and alleys have a feel like nothing I’ve experiences so far. You see Jews and Arabs and monks and orthodox priests all walking around. Somehow, it sort of works.

Once again, I’m stuck without cash because the Wells Fargo system is down for several hours. Any system which requires several hours of downtime a week, isn’t a very good system.

Also, the previous contest is closed. I’ll be picking a winner today and I hope to find something interesting in Jerusalem to give away. I’m taking suggestions on prizes.