Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ron Arad at the Israel Museum, and really cool Jerusalem


That's the Wailing Wall, ever-present symbol of Jerusalem

Music played while we saw
the different artists projected onto the plastic tubing
This morning, I woke up at 330 AM in Amman, Jordan and took the 25-minute flight from Amman to Tel Aviv, Israel. The flight is so short that I barely had time for a few sips of orange juice and one article in the FT Weekend, and then we were landing in Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.

This may be among the shortest international flights in the world, but it certainly is among the most expensive I've ever paid for. I looked online and checked with travel agencies in Manila and Amman, and the prices were all the same for that very short flight. Including taxes and surcharges, economy comes up to about US$620 and business class to about US$1000. Yes, all that for a 25-minute flight.



OTHER OPTIONS TO JERUSALEM

As you can imagine, the flight wasn't too full. The other option from Amman to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, you see, is over land; and that's pretty near, except that border procedures may take time. From Amman to the Israel border is only about 45 minutes, and then from there to Jerusalem, it's just over an hour.

But depending on who you talk to, border procedures can take quite a while. So, because of this uncertainty, and the fact that the most of the people I was traveling with in Israel were also roughly landing in Tel Aviv directly from Asia on other airlines at about the same time, I decided to go on the plane instead.



SHOPPING AS A FIRST STOP

After checking into my hotel in Jerusalem, I walked around the local shopping center and bought a whole bag of Dead Sea skin care products. I really like the Dead Sea products and they work for me, so I thought I'd take advantage and stock up, especially as they're quite hard to get abroad. With the exception of the Ahava skin care line, most Israeli skin care companies using Dead Sea minerals are not available outside of Israel.



A HEAVY AFTERNOON

In the afternoon, I visited the Holocaust Museum in the hills of Jerusalem. The last time I was in Jerusalem, I didn't go to this museum, and I've really been wanting to see it.




I spent the whole afternoon here. It was superbly done and so touching that I broke down in tears halfway through, and had a heavy heart for the rest of the afternoon. It's very sad but it's a must-visit place in Istrael. Don't ever miss this if you find yourself in Jerusalem.

More on this experience in a later blog entry, as this deserves its own entry.



COOL ART ON A COOL EVENING

Scenes from daily life in Israel

The heaviness didn't go away for the rest of the day so I didn't even have an appetite for dinner. Fortunately at 8 PM, we went over to the Israel Museum to see the installation exhibition/ performance of the internationally-famous Israeli artist/ designer/ architect Ron Arad in the museum gardens. Called 720 Degrees, it's currently the talk of art circles in Israel. I love all kinds of art, so this really lifted my spirits back to its usual place.



We're so lucky it's on here in Jerusalem during our two-day stay as it really was quite an experience. And even if we are lucky enough to catch this somewhere in the world in the future, I think the experience of seeing it in Israel is really somethinge else because of the location itself.



It's so cutting edge and it was so surreal to have experienced this ultra-modern and high-tech installation only several hundred meters away from the remains of one of the oldest and most controversial cities in the world.

MORE AN AL FRESCO LOUNGE
THAN AN EXHIBIT


Food and drinks in the gardens of the Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is simply beautiful, and tonight it was so crowded with people who had flocked to see Ron Arad's temporary exhibit.

The gang's all here to literally enjoy an evening out.


Everyone walked around the gardens in a happy mood, and tables were set up to sell drinks and snacks to people watching the show. The weather was fine and the entire atmosphere was not unlike a very cool lounge set-up.



In one corner was a temporary installation made of plastic that was circular in shape and the size of a small building. People could go inside this and watch the show by separating the plastic tubes, or they could stay outside -- but whether they stay in or out, they will see beautiful images being displayed onto the plastic tubes for a pretty visual and surreal experience.

High-tech installations in an old city


I sat for the next 90 minutes mesmerized by the interplay of light, color and form in this makeshift arena  that changed mood and feel by the minute. This is a temporary installation made with plastic tubing, that videos are projected onto. They can be seen and enjoyed from almost anywhere in the vast gardens.



"THIS IS HOW WE KEEP SANE."

Later on, I said to my Israeli friend, who had accompanied us that evening: "Gosh, Israel is so cool. It's hard to believe I saw such a cutting-edge exhibit in one of the oldest cities in the world."



He said to me: "Yes, Israel is alive and going on with life in spite of everything. This is how we live, this is how we celebrate life, and this is one of the ways we are able to keep sane."

A STUDY OF CONTRASTS



What a wonderful art experience in Jerusalem, one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in the world. I sat on the garden for rest of the evening, contemplating my luck and the perspective of problems in one's world.



I being in the middle of grandeur in the middle of nowhere in Petra just the other night, and then today face-face with a full blown experience of the Holocaust, followed by a most enjoyable and mind-blowing exhibition in the gardens of the hills of Jerusalem.



The world truly is so wonderful and there is so much to discover and experience. Don't put off for another day your never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.



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