A Wooster Geologist in Jerusalem

May 21st, 2009

I arrived this afternoon in Jerusalem to begin the latest round of geological study of the Jurassic System in Israel. It was a tedious ten-hour flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv (although not nearly as long in the air as our Wooster colleagues spent on the Hales Fund China Trip, which is still in progress and has a great blog), followed by an hour’s ride in a mini bus up into the Judean Hills to Jerusalem. The weather is perfect in all respects — sunny, warm and dry with a light breeze. I love geology in climates like this.

I’m staying in the Three Arches Hotel outside the Old City. It is a convenient location for walking to the Geological Survey of Israel headquarters and for seeing the fascinating cultural and historic sites inside those old city walls.

The Three Arches Hotel in Jerusalem

The Three Arches Hotel in Jerusalem

The first thing I did this afternoon to fight jet lag and try to stay awake was to walk into the Old City and visit the place with the most diverse collection of humanity on Earth: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The mix of people and tongues is extraordinary in this dark, rambling stone building filled with shrines. In all the chaos I could immediately recognize my people (the Americans) with their baseball caps and tour group name badges.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. Through the doorway are hundreds of people packed into dark passageways and rooms.

Note the small ladder on the ledge below the upper window on the right. It has been in that exact position since at least 1852 because none of the competing Christian clergy who maintain the church have the authority to move it!

Today is Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), an Israeli national celebration of the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. I’ll be watching the light shows and listening to the street music this evening (if I can stay awake).

5 Responses to “A Wooster Geologist in Jerusalem”

  1. mpollockon 21 May 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Looks like a beautiful day! What does the street music sound like?

  2. Ruby Landison 22 May 2009 at 9:51 am

    Thank you for the great pictures and amazing dialog. I feel like I’m going there with you.

  3. sclaytonon 23 May 2009 at 10:42 am

    I like the comment about recognizing the Americans. Our group has also been noticing since we got to Xi’an and especially in Beijing. (Before that we saw very few Western faces.) I want them all to be on their best behavior so they can represent our country well. It’s so easy for people to make inaccurate generalizations about the whole country based on the behavior of a few — something that we also find ourselves doing, of course, as we try to deduce “what Chinese people think.”

  4. Mícheál O'Duffyon 24 May 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Stunningly beautiful and atmospheric!

  5. Rob Lydellon 04 Jun 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Wow, that ladder amazes me! It’s been in the same spot for over 150 years and it can not be removed because the clergy do not have the authority. I’m suprised a gust of wind hasn’t knocked it. Beautiful pictures though, sounds like perfect weather to do some geology.

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