I was scheduled to be the Foreign Relations NCO on duty until noon today and my options were to get there at 22:00 the night before and actually get some sleep or wake up at 05:00 this morning and fumble my way to the Central Bus Station, bleary eyed, and attempt to pretend to maybe think about being productive. I choose the 22:00 option, and made my way to base last night. This turned out to be a fantastic idea, since it let me catch up on paperwork that night, sleep well, and then finish some missions this morning).
At the bus station the night before, a couple ran into me and as most tourists do when seeing my foreign relations name tag (bright white, with my name and rank in English), asked me for some help getting oriented. In this case, they needed internet access so they could see if they got a response from Couch Surfing .
Unfortunately for them, they were in Jerusalem just as Shabbat was letting out which meant that everything was closed (and would remain that way for a couple of hours). Fortunately, after I sent them on their way to the bathroom, with general directions of where they could find an internet cafe, I remembered that I had my laptop in my bag (give me a break, I had just gotten up from a nap) and I found them in front of the bathrooms and let them use my laptop, gave them some hints about Jerusalem, what hostel and sites I recommend and left them to their fate as travelers.
Anyway, short story long, they’re an interesting couple and fellow travelers so I recommend their blogs to you for your reading pleasure (and I’ve added it to my blog roll for your future and continued enjoyment):
Work & Easter
This morning I managed to clear as many missions as one can possibly do with more than 90% of the country on vacation (the second holiday of Passover, Easter, spring break, etc. all happening at the same time) and so I made my way back to Jerusalem.
Having arrived in the Early afternoon I decided to make my way to the Old City of Jerusalem (after changing out of my uniform at the Soldiers House) and made my way through the Arab Market…
To the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
To see what was going on for Easter. The bells were ringing and the energy was palpable.
While there I took the time to light a bunch of candles for all of my Christian friends (mine’s the big bushel of candles in the center)
Afterward, I made my way to a rooftop that I know which is situated at the crossroads of all the quarters…it’s literally where all of the quarters meet in the Old City.
As I was making my way to the stairs, a man approached me and started asking me for directions to the Dome of the Rock (which you can see in the background of the above picture) in English (…so I suppose I don’t have to be in uniform to be spotted as a guide…). He was in Jerusalem with his wife for Easter so I took the ten minute detour and walked them to where they could get to the entrance and then made my way back home.
In all, a productive day, a beautiful day, and one that gives me just another taste of what I have to look forward to when I’m once again a civilian.