A Tourist in My Own Hometown

by MomGrind

It’s strange to visit your own country and feel like a tourist, but that has been my experience on our last family visit to Israel. It suddenly dawned on me that I have spent more of my adult life in California than in Israel, which might explain why California feels more and more like home, while Israel is becoming this exotic place that you visit once a year, armed with a camera and lots of patience – it’s an intense place and Israelis are generous and kind, but quite aggressive.

Being a tourist in your own country is not all bad though – you get to do the really fun stuff, the things that only tourists do and no self-respecting local would dream of doing, such as going to the Old City of Jerusalem, and to the colorful Mahane Yehuda Market, armed with a camera, taking photos while exclaiming “This is so amazing!” while the locals try to take advantage of you and charge inflated prices for their merchandise – until they realize you are fluent in Hebrew.

My husband says jokingly that next year, we will find ourselves riding camels in the Negev – the utmost touristy experience. Who knows, we just might.

Orthodox Jews In the Old City of Jerusalem

Orthodox Jews In the Old City

kaak vendor

Fresh kaak (an arabic bagel)

fresh spices

Fresh spices, including a mysterious 'Fish Spice'

old city of jerusalem

In the Old City of Jerusalem, religious and secular co-exist

Different religions co-exist here, too

One of the many colorful types we've encountered here

Levi Brothers falafel jerusalem

If you ever find yourself at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, go to the Levi Brothers falafel stand and get falafel in an 'Esh-Tanur' pita. It's the best falafel I ever had, and I had many.

falafel

One of the brothers prepares my falafel order

watermelon

The freshest, deepest-colored, most delicious watermelons I have ever tasted - this is not photoshopped

This beggar woman looks just like the women my late grandma used to help, back when I was a kid.

It's Friday afternoon in the market, and this man is celebrating the approaching Shabbat with music and songs

old jerusalem

The sun is setting over the Old City. It's time to go home and have a luxurious Shabbat dinner

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