Pesach holidays and cycling

Because of Pesach, I had half of Monday and the whole of Tuesday off work.

Got to go to two gatherings over this week to celebrate Pesach, as we eat foods like herbs and Matzah bread as a symbolic way to celebrate the Jewish people escaping from Egypt.  Both were good, one from my church ended up having 20 odd people crammed into someone’s flat, one was with my work at the food bank at Talpiyot.

Tuesday I went and bought a bike, I settled on the first one I saw a week previously, as I visited about 4 bike shops in total, and this one was 450 shekels, although after getting helmet, lights and lock, the shop made a deal on 550 all in.  I haven’t really owned a bike since I was a child, I am actually very happy getting about now.  Its ok to ride on the pavement as long as you are sensible, I only go on the road that are very quiet.  I think in my first day I did about 20kms around the city and back home.  Anyway I am still concerned about getting sources of sponsorship but this tool is kind of an investment, as it saves me the 49 shekels a week on bus (and that’s just for work, not any social trips)  I don’t see many cyclists here, and therefore there was plenty of new bikes for sale but extremely few used ones.  Even when looking in my church’s newsletter which has a columns with things for sale, houses to rent and jobs, there were a couple of bikes at least 1000+ shekels.   As like any new hobby there doesn’t seem much point in paying more than necessary.

Now getting used to making sure the brakes are used in the right sequence so not to throw me over the handlebars, and this thing has about 16 gears, er, I can just about get used to 5 on a car, I am not sure how they work!

On the Wednesday, I was going to the park with meet up with some friends to play some games, but I first went to Mamilla shopping centre to call for another friend, whilst waiting outside the coffee shop, I got approached by four young Arab teenagers who one of them appeared to threaten me, it was hard to make out, I just tried to mention I am a foreigner working here.   Two of the other lads were very apologetic and seemed embarrassed by their friend’s actions to me.  Anyway I didn’t manage to find my good friend K, (who is also an Arab) as after calling him realised I was at the wrong coffee shop, after a quick ride over to Ben Yehuda Street I met up and went down to the park, and learned a new card game, ate some nuts and dried fruit and got some time to relax out in the park with six of us, then did a bit of frisbee whilst the weather was still warm.

After then decided to do a bit of riding around town, entering on the edges of Meir Shareem, the Ultra Orthodox neighbourhood with the folk there in there familiar hats and black coats, there were barriers put up across the street to stop people driving, as  this is always done on Shabbat or on holidays.  I didnt want to upset anyone so did a U-turn here.

Today after being back at work, I went to the Shuk to go food shopping, and a Arab lady came up to me begging.  I see quite a lot of beggars but this one was different.   After giving her about 2 1/2 shekels which was all I had in my pocket, she ask me to pray for her, I felt a bit bad as I was trying to stuff a large bag of oranges into my rucksack.   I asked her name, she was called Luce or Luis I think, I told her I was pray for her later, she mentioned her brother was going blind and she was trying to provide for her children, the poor lady seemed genuine.   Made a note on my phone of her name there.

Found some shorter ways to ride home.  Plus I get a chance to ride across the Peace Park Promenade on my way to work which is stunning.  I will put some pictures of this location here soon.   Why does God bless me with some unexpected things like this.   At the moment life is good.

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