Friday, March 4, 2011

Having Money in Jerusalem

After well over a month of being broke in Jerusalem, it sure was a glorious day when I woke up to a bank account full of money. For weeks I had been surviving off pita bread, flatmates' generosity and the generosity of my family and of some particularly adorable friends. So, the first thing I wanted to do was pay one of these darlings back.

I strolled out into a sunny spring-like day only to stumble across these cuties blowing giant bubbles in Zion square, the site of a pro-Israel rally of some variety a few days earlier. I watched for ages and stuffed some of my new-found cash in their hat.

First priority: meet with beautiful Miri and give her a handful of owed cash. Not that Miri is the kind of person to care, but I sure did. Miri is from Germany but speaks English with a decidedly Southern American accent, after living in Texas for some time. She is a performance artist on exchange in Israel and tells the most detailed and surreal stories. True ones. Her company is absolutely never anything short of charmed.

We met in the cafe/ bookstore Tmol Shilshom. My lovely friend Bart had given me the 'mission' of going there and talking to a stranger. Instead, I forgot and spent the whole time talking to Miri. I did talk to a stranger at the next cafe though.

Almost overwhelmed with excitement, I ordered Shakshouka with goats cheese and eggplant, with bread and dips, and a coconut coffee. Am I over the top? Definitely yes.

I absolutely loved it all. The bread tasted just baked, the pesto was fresh and strong and the Shakshouka was perfect; full of cheese and giant. Thanks for the advice cute Bart.

After this we strolled to the Mahane Yehuda (market) where we sat in our favourite cafe and I drank mint tea. We started chatting to a charming older man, who turned out to be the owner and who gave us amazing coffee tequila shots, for free, at three in the afternoon. Then my friend, or rather - a local bartender, turned up and turned out to be the old man's son. Jerusalem really is that small.

On a different day, today actually, I strolled down to Damascus gate with my neighbour Matan who studies classical music and plays Bach on his piano so loudly I can hear it from my kitchen. He speaks beautiful German and says everything with such a straight face it's impossible to gauge how serious he is, or not. In any case, he is fantastic company and took me to this amazing - and cheap - diner where we got everything you see here for less than 60 shekelim ($20nz).

Vegetarians, look away.

Everyone else, just look at that chicken! Delicious!

Now: lying in bed trying to rest-up for HaCassetta's (one of my favourite bars) birthday party tonight, listening to piano sounds from downstairs and waiting for a Mad Men episode to load.

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