Monday, July 31, 2017

Brooklyn, or Mars

And thus my Crusade to the Holy Land has ended.  Salah ad-Din, the Knights Hospitallers and Templars, and I parted with an uneasy truce.  I returned yesterday afternoon.

I have very mixed feelings about my trip to Israel and Jordan this summer, not least because of the on-going geopolitical debacle.  Over the 23-ish years of my international traveling career I have evolved from places that evoked the developed West to places that were anything but.  Israel was firmly a return to the West, but unexpectedly.  

I thought "Middle East".  I thought "Israel-Arab" conflict.  I thought "Jews, Muslims, and Christians mingling/fighting in 2,000-2,500 year old cities".

I got Maseratis, wifi on city buses, and cost-of-living that met or exceeded that of the US.  I got Brooklyn.  

Literally Jaffa Street in Jerusalem could be the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn: a landscaped pedestrian mall were (Ultra-)Orthodox Jews buy trendy clothing and push baby-strollers, and conversations take place in Hebrew or Yiddish.  And that soured me because I travel to experience things I can't see at home.  

I told The Canadian: "To me this is Brooklyn.  To my friends this is Mars."  I looked around and kept getting yanked back to the US, which shredded the veil that I had traveled anywhere at all.  But many people miss the similarities to the US, and see it as foreign language, foreign money, foreign war - and have their little freak out about "holy shit I am totally out of my comfort zone".

I was way too much in my comfort zone.

That's not to say that I didn't see and experience unfamiliar things and culture.  I just had to dig past way more BMWs, espresso bars, and clothing boutiques than I anticipated.  

More to come as I resurrect my life.  Yuck yuck yuck.
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