Friday, November 26, 2004

Friday Ramblings

I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving in Jerusalem last night. My mother always celebrated Thanksgiving - but never on a Thursday. She would wait until Friday and serve us our Turkey with stuffing then for our extravagant Sabbath meal. In Canada no one gave two hoots about American Thanksgiving. Canadians had their own, although I haven't a clue as to why they picked October and their historical significance for Thanksgiving. We never celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving either. But being surrounded by American ex-pats made me long for some of the nostalgia of a cozy Thanksgiving dinner. Whole turkeys are difficult to find here. Mostly they sell Turkey breasts - skinless - for making schwarmas and stews. Not the same.

I walked into some of the joints heavily frequented by Americans and Normans on Emek Refaim was crowded and noisy with, well, loud Americans. The waiters and waitresses were all dressed in warpaint and Indian headresses which I thought was funny. The food seemed too mass-produced and it didn't seem like a good place to eat in if you weren't sitting with at least 10 other people. Too noisy for a couple date. I decided our best bet was not having to stick with turkey but just going out to eat is celebration enough for me. The next big soiree for us will probably be New Years.

There is an old inn across from the defunct train station in Jerusalem, called the Khan. We'd never been there in all the years we've lived here - that's 10 years. I am amazed that there is always something to discover here. Especially so after one of the people I work for came back after a long stint in the US, extolling the praises of America the beautiful. "Life is so much easier there, people have everything, everyone travels, everyone is buying ipods in all different colors, look at all of you (we were 4 women sitting around her). You all look tired, simply exhausted." Well, gee, thanks. What was going on here? Of course I didn't move here to become rich and acquire "stuff". My diamond-loving friend from Toronto who spent $1,200 on a necklace in a new age shop selling mostly rocks and candles frightened me and now Ms. Boss is frightening me. What is everyone turning into here???

But getting back to the Khan. My mind always drifts - sorry. The place was amazing. There's a large courtyard with huge olive trees and ancient olive-press wheels, surrounded by buildings that house a theatre that looks like a cave - featuring alternative music on some nights, a pub and a restaurant upstairs. The restaurant was a good find, the food original - vegetarian fare as well as unique pomegrante or tamarhind sauces to smother on meat and fish and anise flavored beets, etc. Looking out the picture window from the restaurant my mind wandered back a century and I could see where the old stables used to be and I could imagine all the Jews and Arabs playing backgammon together and smoking water pipes on their way to or from somewhere.


timx said...

That's a cool picture - maybe you could set it up again?!

Andrea said...

We celebrate Thanksgiving in October because our harvest time is earlier. We are that little bit cooler. Thanksgiving is a celebration and a giving of thanks for a plentiful harvest. Dinner involved everyone eating the freshly harvested food, sooooo we celebrate a little earlier. Personally ours is a better time as it is that little farther away from Christmas. Then we can celebrate both with our family in full and not have to choose which one to travel to.