Today I left Bethlehem about 8:15 am and caught a Palestinian bus from there to Joppa Gate in Jerusalem. I walked down (with my suitcase and backpack) to Christian Quarter road to see some of my old friends only to discover that because of Ramadan (Muslim month-long festival) no one got to their shops very early!
|9 am and only the bread man is about. My luggage is in front of Ali Baba Souvenir Shop owned by Shabaan.|
Close by to where I was waiting was a small food shop so I had a tea and Turkish Delight with nuts. The owner is recently from California so we had a good talk. He insisted I sit in his chair and with my suitcase beside me I had a relaxed hour and a half before things began to come alive in this part of the city. Although it is the "Christian Quarter" many shopkeepers are Arab Muslims. It is called the Christian Quarter because it is where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (traditional place of Christ's crucifixion and burial) is located (today there are other churches and pilgrim rest places etc. in this part of the Old City).
|Glad this shop was open for some "breakfast" of Turkish Delight with nuts!|
During the month of Ramadan every good Muslim is to fast from sunup to sundown. This fast is not only to include food but water and cigarettes! (I think I noticed that some were especially grumpy by the afternoon!) After sunset they celebrate with eating and drinking and then get up early to have a big breakfast. Apparently, after eating breakfast my shopkeeper friends took another sleep! I was invited to a home tonight which is planning for 100 guests but I had to leave for the airport. I was really disappointed because it would have been quite a honor to be a guest in a home during Ramadan.