Are you enjoying Jerusalem old town? Of course. I walk around and meet a lot of good people. Patricia who is working for Save the Children in Gaza tells me about her mission as we stroll along on the defense walls. We have a delicious lunch together, and exchange contacts, than she does the free tour and I get lost in the narrow market streets. I stop at one stand to talk to the shopowner because he asks me to translate “final sales” in German. He has to give up his shop because he needs cash to buy an 8000 dollar hearing aid for his child, his story runs. He sells crafted blankets, the profit of which would go directly to the women weaving them. I tell him that sounds like a good cause, and can I take some pictures of those women? No, they are very shy, comes the anser. Just give what your heart tells you. The money is not important. I understand, but I can’t justify a larger donation to my sponsors, I counter. I can give 100 shekels (about 25 dollar). He looks puzzled. They are worth 900 dollar, he cries out. Are you bargaining aid? he goes. Suddenly, I am a bad man. Praised just a few minutes ago, and now despised because I am being rational about the aid I give. He pushes the blanket in my hands. Here, take it for free. You don’t know how to help people. I put the blanket back and nod my head. Sorry sir, this is getting too tense. I want my card back because you are insulting me. I walk on, saddened by the misunderstanding of the shopowner. I can’t rule out the possibility that he had been lying to me from the beginning.
I ask for Al Aqsa, and they send me in the right direction. A child who helps wants a coin and it makes me angry. You are a friendly human being goddammit, not a vile coin begging machine. I walk off and my temper is not good. So I enter the compound where the Wailing Wall is, checking the decency of my clothing and smiling at the guards. I put a little carboard hat and fix it with a dogbone shaped paperclip I have in my pocket, then I gaze at the religious jews and their gentle movements as they proclaim the Torah. One man resembles Dostojewski, with an old cloak over his shoulders, and he is shouting loud and trembling as he says his prayers. I hear him exalting “Abra-haaam, Isa-aaac, Jaaa-kooob” and observe this strident religious extacy. More formally dressed jews look at him. I decide to stick a note in the Wailing Wall myself. So I take a Charity Travel card and write on the back
“If there is a God let it be a God of goodness”
in several languages and then stick it as fast as I can into the wall. I pat the stones like a pal, and feel a lot better so. I walk back to modern downtown Jerusalem, have a good meal, and look for some coffee place to work for the night. I meet some Israeli girls on the street, and they offer me a place on a balcony that later, probably as a result of my social skills, transformed into a comfortable couch. Good night.