Sunday is always our free day since we observe Sabbath on Saturday. So, since we have midterms this week we were all planning on just studying and stuff.... naaaaahhhhh. Instead of being responsible students, we just went out on the town all day long. I went out with Whitney, Michael Sean, Melissa, Matty, Izak, and Nick in the city. Let me tell you, the day started off with quite the experience. I've mentioned before that the men here are very forward, especially to foreigners, but other then Turkey, I really hadn't experienced it. Well, now I have. Whit and I walked into this shop that the three boys were in, and the shopkeeper (Charlie, as we found out) was very excited to meet us! He wrapped us both up in a big hug and gave us smacks on the cheek. No joke. Then, he showed us his magic silk Persian rugs, which were actually pretty cool. As we were leaving, the boys joked with Charlie about how they didn't get any kisses, to which he responded that it didn't profit him anything to kiss them, but we ladies were gold and diamonds! We opened his heart. So, naturally, he gave us both kisses again, but then kept me under his arm and proclaimed his love for me. By this time, I was getting a little uncomfortable. I mean, I love Armenian men, they're great, but maybe not when I'm stuck under their arm and being taken out into the street with my group trailing behind. Just saying, not exactly what I had in mind for my morning. Charlie just kept going on and on about how we were gonna get married and he was gonna give me his shop and his heart and his family, it was all sounding pretty great. But, I was still stuck in his armpit. Being the nice American girl that I am, I tried to politely play along with his fantasies, but secretly I was hoping one of the sturdy boys I was with would do something to get me out of there! Finally Nick discreetly slid his arm in between me and Charlie and was able to pry me out of the dear Armenian man's daydream, for which I will forever be grateful.
And that was just on the way to our first event! We headed to the Tower of David Museum after this lovely happening, which is located in the old Citadel of the City of David. It was actually quite fascinating. We were feeling a little guilty for skipping out on studying, but our guide Henry Israel (yes, that is his real last name) was more than thorough enough in his three hour guided tour of the museum to make us feel that this activity was an adequate substitution for reading notes and meeting with study groups. It was a great tour, and extremely educational, and it lasted three whole hours. We were expecting just an hour and a half, but no, the museum gives you all the bang for your buck! In all honesty though, we all really enjoyed it, and Henry was a very interesting and informed fellow. After the tour we ate our little sack lunches (we always pack lunches on Sundays) and planned out the other stuff we wanted to do. Unfortunately, many of those things didn't happen, but we still had fun! One of the coolest things (I think) that we did was see the Armenian Patriarchate Church during one of their services. First of all, the church, St. James, was incredible. It was really dark, the only light coming from the windows in the drum of the dome and the small candles on the altar. There were also three huge, beautiful, crystal chandeliers and tons of small incense burners/lamps that were strung across all of the open spaces between the columns. It looked like an orthodox wonderland. The priests then started to chant and sing and perform the ceremony, which was really interesting to watch. It lasted about half an hour, then we wandered around the Armenian and Jewish quarters of the Old City. We found a lovely bakery with cookies and treats, and also found Oskar Schindler's grave, but we couldn't visit because it was closed. It was getting dark by this time (we just had daylight savings) so we needed to rush back to the center. However, we were on the complete opposite side of the city! So it was an adventure trying to get back in time, including witnessing a few car crashes, flagging down taxis, and jogging through the Kidron. But have no fear, we made it back.