Travels with Kindle

We've begun the year AD 2013 in the birthplace of the great myths of the West, the monotheism of the Jews and its offshoots in Christianity and Islam. This is also (according to Mayan astronomers) the beginning of the first Baktun of what must be the Fifth Creation (the Fourth Creation, as we all know, ended last December, but without dramatic consequences), an excellent time for new ventures.

Last week we were in Jordan: Madaba, Petra, and Wadi Rum. Then on Shabat we arrived in Jerusalem, where I am writing this from, of all places in this city of so many faiths, the Lutheran Guest House, quite comfortable and perfectly located in the Armenian Quarter of the old city, with a view of the Dome of the Rock Yesterday we took a tour with a Palestinian guide (not permitted to enter Jerusalem) to Jericho, Qumran and the edge of the Dead Sea, with stops at Greek monasteries precariously perched in the mountains, the spot on the Jordan River where Jesus is said to have been baptized, and got views of the Cave of Temptation (from below -- we didn't climb) and too many monstrous Jewish settlements that have taken Palestinian land and water. As we were the only tourists (our guide sometimes has as many as ten), the guide brought along his family, so we had plenty of opportunity to learn from them of life for the Palestinians in a fragmented territory with many restrictions and checkpoints. I'll be telling you more of this later; today I can't delay, because we have much more to see.

And, oh, my title: "Travels with Kindle". Inspired, of course, by Kapuscinski's "Travels with Herodotus" (you can read my review in the archives of this blog or on Goodreads). While in Jordan, I logged on and downloaded T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Wadi Rum is one of the places he stopped on his adventures, and was also the setting for a major part of the movie Lawrence of Arabia), and here I've been reading short stories by Palestinian women to help me understand the life and history here. More later.