Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day One: Greetings from the Holy Land

So we made it!

After a 5.15am start, we got to Heathrow, onto the plane and to Tel Aviv without much to comment on.

Now we are in Bethlehem, and experiencing amazing hospitality. We were met at the hotel by Malwan, a Palestinian man, who came out with one of the best little mantras I've ever heard. He said 'Smile at life, and life smiles at you. When you get down, then you lose all hope.' What an amazing view on life.

We had an amazing dinner of salad, olives and pitta bread, followed by lamb, fish and rice. This was followed by a brief introduction, by Sammy, to what the Holy Land Trust is all about. They work for non-violence and community building , working towards a workable Two-State solution. Sammy was quick to add that they aren't anti-Israeli, but they are pro-peace. He didn't want us to feel pity for the Palestinians, or anger at the Israeli government, but to just feel a passion for justice.

We then headed to Manger Square, the site of both the Church and the mosque 'on the site' Jesus was born. However these are on different sites... They were shut (it was 8 o'clockish) and hopefully we'll get to see them in the light in the next few days. After a wonderful mint lemonade at a little cafe, we headed back to the hotel via the back streets, the best way to get a feel for a city I think. Everyone says hello, welcomes us, asks us where we are from. It's a little strange, but lovely.

But now bed calls, it's been a long day, and we have a very busy one tomorrow. Night night, and God bless.

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