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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jaffa

I like the Israeli breakfast - bread with a selection of cream cheeses. One would think that cheeses at breakfast would sit heavy on the stomachs but not these cheeses. They're low in fat content and very digestible. A little sour and a little salty, it's a refreshing way to start the day.




Jaffa Old Town is in Tel Aviv. The story goes that on an outcrop of sea rocks off the coast of Jaffa Old Town, a beautiful princess named Andromeda was chained and left to be eaten by sea monsters sent by the angry God of the Sea, Poseidon. Andromeda's mother, Queen Cassiopeia had boasted that her daughter was of beauty surpassing that of Poseidon's daughters, the Nereides (sea nymphs). I stood upon Jaffa Hill looking down at the outcrop of rocks, imagining in my mind's eye a princess chained. Then my guide continued his story. A young demi-god, Perseus came with Medusa' head, and turned the sea monster into stone... whereupon, a pair of intense Mediterranean eyes held my gaze and delivered the punchline... "You, Madame, stand upon the legendary sea monster that turned to stone."

I assure you that every little hair on my arm stood straight up right there and then. Boy... not only was I in Israel, breathing the air of Israel, soaking in the sun in Israel... the same sun that Jesus gazed upon... I was actually standing on the head of an ancient sea monster. I wonder if there's any chance that one might get a glimpse of Medusa's head.

For those who know the Bible, Jaffa also figured large in the story of Jonah and the Whale. Jonah didn't like the people of Nineveh. When God asked him to bring a message to Nineveh, Jonah took off in the opposite direction. He came to Jaffa, and took a boat to Tarshish. Eventually, his fellow sailors tossed him overboard and a whale swallowed him whole and vomited him out again near Jaffa. Oh well... I suppose Jonah figured that if he tried to sail again, another whale would just as happily swallow him up and spit him out again near Jaffa. So, it would be like Sisyphus all over again - running away from God is futile. So Jonah went to Nineveh and delivered a message he didn't want to deliver. He saved a city that he didn't want to save. Then he sulked at God.

The nerve! What nerve had Jonah!!

An alleyway amongst the streets of Old Jaffa Town. Streets were all positioned in ways that would allow the sea winds to blow right through them, creating ventilation for all who walked there and lived there.

Would you believe it? There was a time where Jaffa was ruled by the Egyptian Pharaohs. An archeaological dig is ongoing, attempting to recover the remains of an ancient Egyptian structure.

We passed in front of a construction site for a new condominium. Before construction is allowed, the builder must arrange for archeaological digs to first be done to recover any artifacts that might be affected. There is nowhere one can dig in Israel and not find anything.

Here is an ancient winepress. Grapes were placed here for feet to stomp upon. The grape juice flowed from here into a separate cistern.

Isn't this so amazing? There is an orange tree (think Jaffa oranges) growing in a huge pot suspended in the middle of a courtyard by steel cables. It just hangs there 3m off the ground, with a full-sized tree in it!!

Here is a water bag made of goat skin. You can still see the goat's 4 legs.


I loved this glass sculpture. Water spashing and breaking into droplets, frozen into glass.

4 comments:

Malar said...

This place must be amazing!
Creative man to have water pot made of goat! Must be evry chill water! wow!

Blur Ting said...

How lucky to be in Jaffa!

petunialee said...

Ting - I thought so too. I hadn't expected Jaffa to be quite so meaningful. The story about Andromeda really thrilled me.

petunialee said...

Malar - Yeah! I was very amused by the 4 legs!