And so to Bethlehem. I didn’t really want to go to Bethlehem. It was Saturday (Shabat) and on Shabat you’re not suppose to do anything. But I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I didn’t go to Bethlehem. If not for me, for my grandmother.
My (Catholic) grandmother is going to LOVE me
The journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is about 20minutes and costs 6NIS one way and the bus passes a check point as you enter Palestinian territory where soldiers get on and check passports and ID cards. I’d like to describe Bethlehem as a holy sacred city – quiet and peaceful where people sit and pray all day. But I can’t. I honestly didn’t expect it to be an Arabic city, with market stalls and crowded streets, it is really not what I expected. Yes, during my visit to the city where Jesus was born I entered one of the oldest churches in the world; the Church of Nativity, I discovered the Milk Grotto and learned of its history and origins, strolled through the Shepherd’s fields and walked through the old city of Bethlehem. Oh and I even snuck into the cemetery on the top of the town, it gives a beautiful view of Bethlehem. I was totally alone, with these beautifully laid out graves and tombstones. It was strangely the most beautiful moment I’d had that day – being in a cemetery… though I was a bit scared that I’d get locked in and left after 20minutes.
Well, that’s pretty much it I’m afraid. I had another walk around the market before I returned back to Jerusalem and went drinking with German and Australian tourists I met. We met up in the streets of Jerusalem and drank on the inactive (electricity doesnt run on Shabat) fountains, we even came up with a phrase for vaginal piercings ‘perfect pierced pussy’ a.k.a. Tripple P. Used in a sentence it would be ‘Hey, you know I have a tripple P? or I want to change my Tripple P soon’
For me, the sacred town of Bethlehem is just a small crowded Arabic town. Yeah, it’s nice, its pretty, it has churches, it has an old city… I can think of one word to describe Bethlehem it would be humdrum, which means boring. Typical Arabic attitudes, people and atmosphere. It is not at all the Bethlehem that my Catholic grandmother raves about when she recites stories about Jesus. She’d be shocked if she came with me and I’m certainly glad she didn’t, she’d be disappointed – worse of all, loose a bit of faith.