Well actually, I take that back- this picture was actually taken in Israel at a place called Advat, there are ruins here of a village along the spice route... super cool. Oh and ps uploading photos onto blogger from the latest version of picasa is the easiest thing known to mankind- I posted all these photos in less than 10 seconds.
If my necks looks strained in this picture, don't worry it is. Plus my friend Vanessa wasn't taking it fast enough so I got to hold this pose and I still couldn't even see the top. If you couldn't guess I am at the one, the only, great pyramid in Giza. I went inside the 2nd pyramid and almost suffocated- but it is all good because there was a sarcophagus at the end. It was a pretty cool moment to walk in under a pyramid and actually see that there was a tomb at the end of the tunnel. All of my elementary school teachers weren't lying.
I am at the Sphinx right next door to the last pyramid. Apparently the villagers living here many hundreds of years ago were really scared of the sphinx, so the priest went up and cut the nose in front of everyone to prove that it held no power. For some reason Sarah Jane and I thought hey, maybe we should shove our nose down too, to make the sphinx feel better... turned out it just looked awkward.

My attempts to be Egyptian: I told everyone I was trying to look like a pharoh with the big headress- but in reality I was worried that my newly applied sunscreen wouldn't be enough for the hour I was on the camel- even though I put it on so thick that my friend Brittney was literally removing white chunks of sunscreen from my face. Anywho- I decided to wear a light long sleeve blouse so it would be cool but my arms wouldn't burn- the pants because no way am I riding a camel in a skirt.. ugh. Then the shawl would go on first to protect my neck, then my wide brimmed hat to shade my face, and my sunglasses. I realized right as I was getting off that all my pictures on a camel would be more like a joke because I look like a crazy lady that doesn't know how to match- luckily I accepted this trend for the entirety of the trip and just be warned that the pictures to come only get worse- I usually always have on mis-matchy baggy clothes with shiny face thanks to the sunscreen I reapplied 3 times a day- and you may want to play "where's the shawl?" game. Sometimes it is on my neck, around my arms if I am cold, around my swimsuit at the pool, as a pillow on the bus... but most usually wrapped atop my head like the Arabs taught me in the bazar. So thanks Melissa for my little piece of home that gets to soak up all my sweat. Lots of love from the desert!



So guess who hung out with the Dead Sea scrolls today? Oh yeah that would be me. The second longest scroll is the Great Isaiah Scroll and it was on display at the Israel Museum in the exhibit "book of the shrine." The exhibit is in that dome thing above underground. The shape of the dome is the same shape as the lid of the pot they found the first scroll in- pretty cool. I tried to look for a photo of the pot but google is just bringing up other people's blogs and their trips to the Holy Land. Anyway it was pretty awesome and I finally spent money on souvenirs I would love- postcards! I got about 15 at the museum gift shop- so Melissa you'll want to see them and Em- you should be proud that I am spending money. Time to eat! Lots of love to the US of A.


Lock Down

Preview for the folks at home of the slideshow to come... This is my friend/ room mate Lindy. We are in front of Damascus Gate (one of the safe gates we are allowed to go through). Love my hat from Lake Powell and even though my family has made fun... (well Melissa has), I have received plenty of compliments for this darling wire delight, plus I can just stick my entire head of hair in it and I am sweat-free on my neck. Lindy opts not to wear a hat or sunscreen- I am sure she will learn soon... Ok now for the real blog post.

In case I didn’t know how stupid I am- just sign me up for Ancient Near East studies and Old Testament. Now I knew my knowledge was lacking in the Egyptian history department, but if I had a dollar for the number of times I have made those little paper necklaces with the hieroglyphs, I would be rich. Which is why I was excited when we started covering the Middle Kingdom and the role of Pharaoh’s and etc. But apparently my professors don’t care that I can make a real crafty cartouche. Today I only had 2 classes but they were 2 hours each with a 10 minute break in between. I really do enjoy the Ancient Near East class, but when you have a professor who worked on the Dead Sea scrolls (and has arranged for you to see them on Sunday)- he tends to cover more info than I can even comprehend.

Same with my Old Testament teacher- I have never taken more notes in my life than I did today. I even had a pounding headache after class. I guess this is just the first time that a religion teacher has stressed the geography of the scriptures this much. Which truly is great, but there is just so much information, especially when we analyze the Hebrew root of every word we discuss and go over the reasons they would have moved into certain areas based on the water flow or where the gospel needed to be preached. And without fail, every class we have something that refers to the temple mount and my professor will point out the window and say see just right of the dome there, that is where he had his altar of sacrifice… etc.
Oh some fun insights of the lesson today. We have been discussing the Apocrypha a lot. It is the “secret or hidden Bible” that the Jews use in addition to our Old Testament. When Joseph Smith asked whether it should be translated, he was told that it contained some truth and some “interpolations of men”… and said it is not needful at this time. But of course my Old Testament teacher has read it and he said it goes into great detail about Noah. He said there are traditions which could be true as likely as untrue but just for fun, I will list a few because they were new to me and it is kind of interesting to think about, even if it didn’t happen, So take this with a large grain of salt:
-Noah had 120 yrs of knowing about the flood and so he planted the trees he would use to build the ark.
-He was a farmer so he harvested his plantation for the animals.
-Noah’s wife burned it down at one point because she was mad that all her family would die in the flood.
-It started raining one week after Methuselah (a righteous man--Noah’s grandfather, son of Enoch) died.
- It didn’t just rain from the sky, geysers came from the ground with water hot enough that it burned flesh.
-It was really cold on the ark and everyone got sick.
- An elephant stepped on Noah’s leg and broke it during the flood.

Kind of random- but I don’t have much to do right now. We were supposed to go to the Western Wall, which is the most holy site in Judaism- and the Orthodox Jews go there to pray on Friday nights as the beginning of Shabaot. We were going to be in groups with 4 professors to pray there and watch the Jews,

but once again, the Israeli police are in the blimp above the city, indicating they expect violence- so we are on lock-down again today. Hopefully we will get to go next month!

My Balcony! This is me standing inside my room, which is why I left the door open a little bit, so I could prove that I was really inside and I am that close to the Old City! Yay!
Oh and in case you think I am breaking the rules... the director here said that we actually could post pictures as long as were careful and didn't do too many. This is the first I have done, even though I just heard someone in the hall say they added 29. So I am certainly ok to do 3.

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Dudes and dudettes! The announcement of the lifetime... I have finally arrived in Jerusalem! I thought it was pretty in the pictures- but little did I know that the chairs and cushy, the pillows are perfect, the shower water is hot and oh wait I have a balcony outside of my room with a view of the city. I wish I could show pictures of my room and the balcony, but alas the internet is connection slow so we are encourgaed not to do so... I may break that rule later if I see other people doing that, but since it is the first week I really don't want to go home before I even have the chance to go into the city without a tour guide- which by the way I am allowed to do at least 3 times a week when we have a big chunk of free time.
So anyway, Sept. 1 marked the first day of Ramadan. Don't worry I didn't know what this was before I made friends in Provo that just happen to major in Near East studies. (p.s. I learned today it is called Near East when you are studying the Ancient civilizations because today it the modern Middle East- to it is the same but I think we refer to it here as Near East most the time.) So Ramadan is a Muslim holiday when they fast during daylight hours and eat at night... but oh wait, they do this for an entire month! I think fast sundays are killer esp when my mom makes us wait until 4:00 pm to eat, but they do it longer everyday. Talk about devotion. Anyway, since it has just started and they worship on Fridays, it is crazy on the Eastern side of the city today. So we have our first lock down at the center- aka "not allowed to leave campus." There has been a blimp in the air all day and we just learned that it is the Israeli police with cameras so they can patrol the area. Everytime the blimp is out that means they predict violence or contention, so we are automatically on lock down on those days.
But back to the celebrations of Ramadan. It is so pretty with all their lights everywhere and their prayer calls are even longer in the middle of the night (the speakers from the mosques are loud enough that it sounds like it is right next door) so last night my room mate and I couldn't sleep for the half hour when the prayer was being sung, so we just went out on the balcony and watched all the traffic and listnened to the prayers. In the morning I said, "Wow we should have just slept -we are going to be sleepy today." She said, "Well when is the next time that we get to stand on a balcony and listen to Muslim prayers?" I said, "well tonight and tomorrow and the next day..." But I understand what she meant because even though it has only been a few days, everyone is trying soak up everything (or Melissa reminded me of Bro Halverson's analogy of being like a sponge). During free time everyone is outside writing in their journals and trying to save everything we have already learned and we have only been here 2 days! Well I should probably go be social before everyone makes friends. Later!