Posts Tagged ‘heat’

pilgrimage day 7 – a change does us good

December 22, 2008

Everyone was really on their toes today almost literally falling over themselves to not upset V or Frank and not lag behind. We were all on the bus before Frank even got there, walking from home since he lives in Jerusalem and had gotten to spend some time at home after being away with us in Nazareth. We started off, as usual, with prayer on the bus while driving to Mount Zion on the outskirts of Jerusalem. We visited St. Peter in Gallicantu which roughly to translates to have something to do with St. Peter and chickens singing. The church commemorates Peter denying Jesus “three times before the cock crowed” and is built over Caiaphas’ house (proven by a rock found with his name on it). This was the first stop for Jesus after being arrested and here he was held in a dungeon and questioned before being handed to Pontius Pilate. We had the very creepy priviledge of walking down into one of the dungeons and reading a passage about what happened there. As we left H, one of the older, slower and most adorable members of the group, fell trying to be the first out. The effects of V’s Faster Faster decree was taking effect already, later he tells me that he got the impression that he one of the laggers in the group and was trying to step faster. We also get to see the steps that Jesus would have walked up from the house – this is one of those sites that has been proven and is not held by tradition only.

the view up from the sacred pit where Jesus was held

the view up from the sacred pit where Jesus was held

After a short break, we are all loaded onto the bus and driven ONE WHOLE meter to the next church and told to get out – this was very weird and confusing. We waited around for a while for a monk to open the doors to a Franciscan church dedicated to the Last Supper. During this time Frank tells us that we will be having the second half to the day free which was a very welcome surprise! At the church we have a Mass during which we remember the Last Supper. After this we, fittingly, visit the traditional site of the Last Supper – The Cenacle or Upper Room, it is also the place where the disciples are believed to have received the Holy Spirit for the first time so it’s kind of big deal place (see a picture of last Pope John Paul in prayer there here). This place was also a mosque at some stage and bears some mosaic evidence of this. Currently it is in the hands of the Jewish since they believe that David’s tomb is somewhere under it, but Christian pilgrims are allowed to visit it and also celebrate Pentecost there (which is awfully nice of them). The ceilings were really high and there was a lot of echo so people didn’t notice when Frank started talking. This led to Frank getting visibly annoyed that people weren’t listening and people prodding each other to get everyone to listen. It was kind of uncomfortable, especially with the Portuguese ladies pretending to listen very attentively to the explanations they couldn’t understand properly.

remembering the Last Supper

remembering the Last Supper

the ceiling from which the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of flame

the ceiling from which the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of flame

The last place on our list to visit for the day (only four sites in a day – woo hoo!) was Dormition Abbey, dedicated to the Assupmtion of Mary alive into the Heaven. As you enter, there is a large grand church, with many huge stained glass windows. Down some stairs there is a cavernous cyprt were you will find a statue of a sleeping Mary in, what looks like, a big well hole. Above the statue is a stunning gold-coloured mosaic  of Jesus surrounded with depictions of women from the Old Testament such as Rachel and Delilah. Another notable piece in the crypt is a big fresco showing Jesus holding Mary as a baby wrapped in white cloths in Heaven. This is the only place in the world where Jesus and Mary are depicted like this. Here we are given a decent amount of time to explore and visit the souvenir shop. Most of us sat around outside resting while Frank had an animated discussion with another guide. At one stage I walked past him right as he was flinging his arms out wildly and he accidentally punched me in the eye (honestly I wasn’t surprised,  this kind thing tends to happen to me). He spun round and grabbed me apologised up a storm, it was amusing.

a shout out to the OT ladies

a shout out to the OT ladies

the only place in the world where Jesus and Mary are portrayed like this

the only place in the world where Jesus and Mary are portrayed like this

After being driven back the hotel, a group of eight of us decided to spend the rest of our free day exploring the Old City together. Walking there we got rained on unexpectedly and we discovered that if Luisa, Isabel and I had just pushed past the construction that blocked our path the day before we would have found our way to the Old City. We walked through a labyrinth of alleys bloated with shops and people. There was touristy clothing, scarves, jewelry (ranging from wooden to pure gold), bags, fruits vegetables, butcheries with whole hanging pigs, colourful spice and incense shops.

spices, colours, freedom!

spices, colours, freedom!

Eventually we reached the centre of the Old City – the Holy Sepulcher. Of all the places we visited I’m chuffed that we got to see this one twice and explore it at our leisure – it is breathtaking and fascinating. I got to find quiet corners to pray and take photos to my heart’s content. Sepulcher is basically a fancy name for ‘tomb’, so it is believed that this Greek Orthodox church is built over the place where Jesus was crucified and laid to rest. The church is kind of contentius as a number of different Christian churches share it with the Greek Orthodox’s having the lion’s share. It so happened that on this day the Greek Orthodox’ were celebrating their Feast of the Cross and there was a long procession out of the church. Once inside we discovered that there were masses of tourists wondering around, it was a bit sad to see the priests trying to maintain an air of quiet and meditation in the midst of tourists clogging up the place with loud talking and cheesy photo ops (but then we were adding to the distracting mass I guess). As you enter the church there is a large stone slab under an amazing painting of Jesus being taken off the cross and carried to the tomb. This stone is believed to be where Jesus was embalmed and people kneel at it and place objects on it for blessing. Walking further you enter a large space with the biggest dome I had seen yet above a big round structure surrounded with many candles and multiple entrances. Inside this are the rocks believed to be from Jesus’ tomb so this is actually the Sepulcher itself, later in the tour we would have Mass right inside it. Up a flight of stairs is another significant rock – where Jesus’ cross is believed to have stood. Here there is a very intricate altar and a Greek Orthodox priest controls a queue of people who kneel under the altar to touch the rock. It was very crowded up there and, at one stage, the priest got flustered and hushed everyone reminding them that this was a holy place and they should be silent and meditative. But that didn’t help much.The rest of the church was filled with more upstairs parts, downstairs parts and a number of altars, caves and passages.

Feast of the Cross procession at the Holy Sepulchre

Feast of the Cross procession at the Holy Sepulchre

Holy Sepulchre dome

Holy Sepulchre dome

praying around the Holy Sepulchre

praying around the Holy Sepulchre

cavernous

cavernous

inside the Holy Sepulchre

inside the Holy Sepulchre

After leaving the church we explored the markets again in search of food and found to sweet yummy pancakes prepared by these young boys and their father. We also entered an alley that had only butcheries and the smell eek’ed out some people.  Luisa found hand stitched pillow covers she loved; she and I managed to haggle the seller down from $80 for two to $50. Though I must admit I didn’t really realise we were haggling, Luisa is the one with the 1ee7 haggling skillz. We also tracked down a Franciscan bookstore in search of Jerusalem Bibles, but sadly they were out of stock and suggested a different store near the Jaffa Gate. I did manage to find a great book about the Holy Sites and their accompanying Gospels for only $4. We rounded off our exploration in a charming coffee shop were we drank local beers and coffee and chatted to the owner about the hardships of living in multi-religious Jerusalem. The independent exploring was totally fun and soul restoring. Back at the hotel we reunited with Mae and Tia for a fun dinner at which V was mysteriously M.I.A.

sweet pancake stall

sweet pancake stall

coffee is good

coffee is good

Tally for the day: 4 churches, 1 upper room, 1 soul restoring exploration with new friends

last night a large glass bowl exploded in my hands

September 9, 2008

Some messed up stuff has happened to me in kitchens. There was the time I stuck my finger into a hand blender to get out some cake mixture and then accidentally pressed the ‘blend’ button *faint*. Then there was the time I was cooking with some innocent looking baby peppers that turned out to be habanero chillies, which caused my hands to burn for a whole night. There have been countless spillages – an upturned bowl of clam pasta on our rug, a large tub of yogurt on my sneakers, the list goes on. And then there was last night when a large glass bowl exploded spectacularly in my hands as I was peering at it with great interest.

See our kitchen is very small and there isn’t much work surface, so sometimes we use the parts of our stove that aren’t hot as work surface. Last night one plate in the front had a pot full of beautiful bolognaise sauce, which had been cooking for two hours, simmering away. What needed to happen next was the making of a large salad and cooking of spaghetti. So I took out a large, heavy glass bowl for the salad, but there was no space for it, so I put it on one of the back plates of the stove which was off. Then I ‘turned on’ the second front plate for making the spaghetti. Now, here is were the so-called complicating event (I’ve been reading my interactive narrative linguistics!) happened: the pictures/icons on our stove panel which tell you which knob turns on which hot plate are kind of ambiguous (see the picture below) and after over two years of using this stove we still sometimes turn on the wrong plate. This has led some minor incidents of melting spoons and uncooked pasta wallowing in room temperature water for ages before we realise that its plate’s not on. But not last night ooooh noooo, last night was special.

can you tell which knob goes with which hot plate?

can you tell which knob goes with which hot plate?

I put on the kettle to boil water for the spaghetti and started washing lettuce, all the while, unbeknownst to me, the spaghetti pot remained unheated while that glass bowl perched on the back plate was getting hot hot hot. I turned back to the stove pour the now boiled water into the spaghetti pot, looked over at the glass bowl, picked it up and thought ‘mmm there seems to be a brown ring on the bottom of this bowl’. And then I put it *back* on the hot hot plate and went off to do something else. When I came back, I thought to myself ‘Sheesh! Why  isn’t this water boiling yet?!’. This is when the little lights in my pinball brain started to bling faintly, I picked up the glass bowl again and looked at it real closely. I started remarking to Dave, who was standing behind me, how I must have put the glass bowl on a hot plate by accident and it now had a brown *PLOOOWWW* – that there bowl just exploded in my hands, I mean really exploded, loudly, spewing chunks of glass into every concievable corner of our tiny kitchen. There were no pieces in my fingers, it was all over the floor, on top of the fridge, in the coffee machine, all over the counters. But like so many of my disasterous stories there was some mercy (see this is how I know God assigned me a Special Forces Klutz Control angel) – that pot with the beautiful bolognaise sauce was closed and the only injury sustained was a teeny scratch on my wrist. The only real consequence was that we had to stage a complete kitchen clean before Luisa, Dave and I could get down to to the business of eating. As always when this kind of thing happens I was pretty much stunned for an hour after that repeating alternately ‘I can’t believe that happened’ and ‘Why do things like that seem to happen to me?’. So kids – hot glass cools down a lot faster than it heats up and this leads to big *KER PLOW*, don’t try this at home.