Every year vendors and artists from all over the world flock to Jerusalem for the big international arts fair. Seeing that Saturday was the last day, and I really didn't want to miss out on such an exciting event, I decided to, yet again, make the journey to Jerusalem (I'm averaging 3 trips there a week! That is love). Upon arrival in Jerusalem, Dana and I walked from Ben Yehudah to the Old City (a walk which I have come to know so well), and met with Susanna. After we were all gathered we were on our way to the fair. Upon entering the fair you felt as if you were thrown directly in the middle of a three ring circus. Music filled the air and there were acrobats, street performers, and vendors that filled every crevice of the venue. There was even an elephant :-)
Before entering the "international" area of the fair, we explored what the Israelis had to offer in terms of artwork, performances, and activities. As we were browsing we came upon a Henna Tattoo vendor who was creating the most gorgeous pieces of skin art. She reminded me of someone straight out of Berkeley in the 60's: a very free spirited, hippy, artsy type, with a husband who actually looked like he lived in nature (very Berkeley). I have never gotten a Henna, and the other girls seemed really interested, so we all decided to get inked! Susanna and Dana both got a beautiful floral design on their forearms, and I decided to Henna my hand. I figure that one day I want Henna at my wedding (very Middle Eastern), and the hand is where it will go so I figured I would try it out :-)
After we were all beautifully painted, we were off to the International arena. As we were walking from the Israeli section to the international area a feel in the air changes, and I felt like I was thrust into Africa. We were so lucky to see a group of men from Ghana running through the road singing and banging their drums and instruments, and there were maybe 15 booths set up from all over the African Continent. Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia, and many others. The African booths were by far my favorite and they boasted the most incredible pieces of art in all forms; masks and drums lined the walls, dolls, and rugs, and clothing were displayed all over, Ethiopian women were braiding hair, and the men were dressed in traditional clothing playing instruments for the guests of the fair. It would make even the most timid of travelers want to venture out and explore Africa, so naturally you can guess how I felt! I could have been on a plane that night.
When we had finished with Africa, it was on to Asia and Central America. I naturally flocked to the India booths, and loved that I didn't actually need to be in India to experience all of its beauty. We saw beautiful paintings in the India and China booths, hand made fans, scarves, Saris, statues and pictures of many of the Indian gods (Shiva, Rama, Buddah, etc.), and so much more. It was so beautiful and fascinating.
After a few more minutes of wandering around we decided that it was time to say goodbye to the fair and continue with our evening. It was pushing 11pm and Susanna and I still hadn't eaten dinner (which is actually not so unusual in Israel). I planned on meeting my friend Joe at Jaffa Gate of the Old City, and once we met him, and got him all checked into his hostel (the beautiful cave hostel I talked about in a previous post), we decided to go out near Ben Yehudah for a nice sushi dinner. We went to one of Susanna and my favorite places, Osaka, had a fantastic dinner, and a great time with good friends. I met Joe in my Ulpan, and he is going to Jordan for 4 months to study abroad so I was very glad to get to spend a little more time with him before he leaves! Though I'm sure I will be seeing him in Amman sooner than later :-)
Stay tuned for an amazing post on my trip to Akko!
Shalom Chaverim Sheli <3,