Almost two weeks ago, I flew from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Barcelona, Spain, and have been staying in the St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel here. Christmas passed quietly and I’m looking forward to the same sort of New Year’s holiday, where I’m enjoying the balmy, sunny weather and getting some of my neglected writing work accomplished.
The nine Christian sects controlling the church can’t agree to move the ladder some ancient workman left. The tiny Coptic group insists that it stay there because “nothing can be changed!” But, I’m sure that they simply enjoy exercising that kind of control over the more powerful churches of Christianity. The ladder is wooden and has been replaced over time, but it’s always there. History Rules!
Last night, for the second time on this solo, around-the-world jaunt, I taught some fellow-hostelers how to Jitterbug! That’s the fast, Rock & Roll Dance that I used to do in The Fifties, when I was in high school. Unfortunately, our favorite teen dance has practically disappeared from the planet these days and nobody has even heard about it. I discovered this fact at the Hostel Euphoria in Tallinn, Estonia, when I heard their band playing all of my old favorites. The only way I could conjure up some dance partners was to teach them the steps. We all loved the results and I vowed to find other teaching opportunities.
That was last August and I didn’t pursue it until the chance happened, almost accidentally, here at the lovely Abraham Hostel in Tel Aviv, just before I fly to Barcelona, Spain, tomorrow morning. I must get my videotaping act going, though. I came completely prepared to film this class; but got so wound up in selecting the music and setting up my computer, I didn’t even get the cameras out. When will I start recording this trip?
This dance was the last fast-dancing, Ballroom Touch Dance where the man leads the woman. In 1960, Chubbie Checkers introduced The Twist, where the partners faced each other and wiggled to the music, with no spins or even steps. Kaboom! That was that!
Dance Liberation! No more touching or Leading!
Much less fun, though the same amount of exercise! Boogie-Woogie is coming back in style, but it’s a strange conglomeration of the Lindy and some athletic show pieces, with women being thrown overhead and underfoot for the international competitions. You’ll find it all on YouTube. At least, I’ll do my part to bring a little authenticity to this modern-day interpretation of dancing. No problem that mycontemporaries who also danced this in high school, are pushing eighty. Let’s get out there all you 1950s graduates and set the record right! It’s great exercise!
It’s a bit daunting to be a lone explorer through the warren of shops within the walls of Old Jerusalem because it’s easy to get lost and when you ask directions of the shopkeepers, all they hear is “SELL ME SOMETHING!” They tell you that they are Bedouin and that it is customary to have a cup of tea with them before settling into any mundane topic like how to find your hostel’s address. Guess what other polite routines are also necessary before they will divulge the direction you need to head. I leave them bargaining with themselves and calling after me….”Okay 100 shekels! 50! 25!”
I’ve just moved a mile or so down the road, but it’s like traveling back in time through many Millennia. My new Old Town, Jerusalem Hostel is called The Citadel and is just inside the Jaffa Gate, one of the few entrances to this ancient walled city. These pictures are not exactly in the order I would have liked them to appear. But, you will get the idea. It feels slightly like being in prison. But, everyone is very, very nice.