Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sunday 10th March 1940

Dawn 1940

(Concluding the account of a trip to Jerusalem: extracts from the journal of Gunner RWH Andrews)

“… We again turned through the bazaars and markets… very narrow streets with stone archways overhead in numerous places, also strips of cloth are suspended across the streets from shop to shop, which further helps to cut out the light and make it very gloomy. The streets are stone cobbled and the shops are very much like dark caves, with the various wares arranged… and dark-skinned Arabs sitting in the doorways.

People throng the narrow streets and all the women use black veils to cover their faces completely so that you cannot see them at all. Donkeys and horses loaded with goods come down the streets amongst the people and add to the general crowd. The streets are criss-crossed and are very winding and confusing; I thought to myself that I shouldn’t want to be chased down them at night by a crowd of Arabs and try to find my way out. The whole scene was exactly like and reminded me of, Eastern films I had seen at the cinema. The stench too was rather heavy; it was not quite so hot today as some days we have had and for this I was rather glad as the smell would have been worse…“

(Phew! I agree! I smoked a cigarette or two here and wished I’d my old pipe instead. And my sense of smell is rather poor!)

”… We came to the famous “Wailing Wall” where the Jews pray for the return of Israel and here were several Jews with their prayer-books resting on crevasses in the wall, holding themselves and rocking to and fro, at the same time chanting their prayers…“

(A ‘lollering and a carryin’ on they was! Really I felt ashamed to be standing watching the poor old fellers doing their stuff. A very serious matter for them)

”… This ended our trip for the day as far as sightseeing was concerned… On the way back over the hills we ran into a rainstorm and the clouds came through the valleys between the mountains as we ran into them - it was just like an English fog and combined with the rain it made it quite dark, and it remained so until we came out of the mountain range, when suddenly we left the clouds and emerged into light again”


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