Monday, February 27, 2023

Day 4

Day Four's first stop was on the border of Israel and Jordan. Literally, the water was the border and there were armed folks across the water so no one would swim across and try to enter Jordan.

That would be Jordan right there
On the past three trips, we have gone to a "fancy" Jordan River  . . .maybe John the Baptist baptized Jesus here kind of places. I liked this place so much better. There was a group of women from another country and one of them was speaking in tongues LOUDLY. Our tour guide reminded us that as U.S. Citizens . . .who evidently had enough money to fly around the world . . .our experience might not be the same as someone who never thought they would EVER be able to see and walk where Jesus had been.  He did NOT use those words and he was not shaming us. He was allowing us to think and maybe feel like someone else. 

We left the baptism site and drove to Bethlehem. We visited the Nissan Brothers wood shop. These Palestinian Christians have been in business a LONG time and we always go to their woodworking shop/tour/store. We also always pick up a Palestinian Christian tour guide for our time in Bethlehem. The Nissan family also owns a restaurant so we always eat lunch there.

After we ate, we headed to see the sights in Bethlehem with our sweet day tour guide. For some reason, everywhere we went was closed during the exact time we were there. It was actually quite bizarre and we ended up sitting by the Shepherd's fields for a while.

Finally our tour guide was able to get in touch with Hesem, our bus driver and he came back to get us. This day did not go as planned but we rolled with it. We all had plans to dine in different Palestinian Christian homes that night and our rides weren't coming for a while. Someone's friend was opening a new restaurant and he invited us to come in and have a beverage and wait on our rides. Look down at the end of the room - the guy is handpainting the mural on the wall.

We ended up having a fun time talking and laughing until our rides picked us up.

I have no pictures from the evening. I have NO idea why we didn't get a picture with our family. There were six of us who went to one home. We were self-divided into groups of four and six. Our couple was about our age with young adult children and grandchildren. It is so important to hear both sides of the story and that is one reason we always spend some time here. We ate with just the couple but since several generations live in each home (one family has one floor, etc.) we were able to meet a few other family members. A funny thing happened . . .they have some family that lives in the U.S. and we were asking how often they got to see them, etc. We asked if they sent "care packages" or "gifts" from the U.S. They actually didn't know what we were talking about so we tried to explain it. Mark asked the husband what he would like to receive from the U.S. thinking he might say something like Cheetos. The man said, "American women." We cracked up. His wife hit him on the shoulder and I said, "I bet y'all are going to talk about this after we leave." I think it is so funny that couples everywhere . . .are couples. I love being in the home of folks who live an entirely different lifestyle. He was a cabinet maker and we heard about his work.

Edit: We had all brought host/hostess gifts for our families. We hadn't checked into the hotel (see below) for the rest of the week and everyone's gifts were in their suitcases. I think every single person on the trip asked me, "are we going to be able to get our gifts from under the bus?" It actually became quite funny and those words were said to me throughout the rest of the trip as an "inside" joke.

After dinner, we headed to the David Citadel . . .one of my favorite hotels ever. It is in the perfect location in Jerusalem and it is a Five Star hotel . . .and it is lovely!!

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