Since I first wrote the below post I went back to the market several times each time unable to take a picture that captures what I mean…But markets are something to behold, which is why I share now, from a couple of weeks ago…
As we begin to normalise life in our flat – having cooked three week’s of evening meals ourselves and enjoyed most of them, and realising that with only four months until we leave left, who needs a bin or a dustpan – we also started venturing out into the city.
We’ve got to know our local bus route, the 68, and how much quicker it is to walk the extra five minutes to the light rail station, headed to Mount Herzl and past Avner’s quickly established favourite spot, “the ‘Mascus Gate”.
The experience of Mahane Yehuda (The Jewish market of mainly fresh produce and some meat, bread and fish, as opposed to the Arabic Souk with its textiles, gold, ceramics and leather wear) stays nothing short of the cliche of any oriental market.
Smells, colours, shoves and sounds to make you feel you’re a jungle animal rather than a tourist. But a tourist you still are and all the wishing that you’d been here hundreds of times previously like the mummies, seniors and even hipsters who know where to get the best price for nuts and the nicest flat breads won’t help. You’ve got to experience it yourself. So I vow to come at least once a week, just so I can savour each individual wonder: Apple sized radishes, dried watermelons, cheesecake like New York City’s never seen, beetroot as big as a head, mountains of plump strawberries, flatbreads, rolls, bagels, giant bagels, oval bagels, pittas plain, dark, with onion and cheese or the evergreen za’atar. Why do I even bother doing price comparisons, I asked myself? To see and then take home treasures like these is a privilege and not a cost.
But price comparison is my second name and so I indulge the compulsion to wander the stalls. As exhaustion hits i give in to one of the luxury flatbreads with cheesy onion and paprika chilly. But my soft white onions, one for each evening meal, I’ve bought at good price and take them home as a token of a Jerusalem love at first sight that might never be rivalled regardless of what else we’ll do and see. I might sneak back tomorrow. It’s only 20 minutes on the tram.