Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Israel - Part 1 (English)

I'm finally getting around to translating my story from French to English. It's exhausting trying to choose the right words, equivalent in sense and mood. For example, "Officière isralienne" inherently gives you an image of a female israeli officer. How do you get across this same detail about her being a woman, without it sounding contrived? 

"The female israeli officer. The israeli officer lady." Hmmm.

In any case, here is what I came up with for installment #1. It's not great, but at least it's better than Google Translate (though less hilarious).


Next up was me. I readjusted my backpack, walked up to the immigration booth at Ben Gurion airport, and presented my passport.

"Travelling alone?"

The Israeli officer examined me through narrow eyes,  furrowing her brow with a suspicious gaze. Here I was, a good little 24-year-old Canadian girl. I did not look like a terrorist.

"And what is the reason for you visit?"
"Reaffirm my faith," I responded seriously.

She smiled and lowered her eyes, as if she was trying not to laugh. Me? I frowned. I should have guessed then that this pilgrimage was not going to go as planned...

After four days in Jerusalem, I had meditated in front of the Mount of Olives, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and visited Jesus' crucifixion site. I'd accumulated 13 post cards, 3 wooden camel figurines, and a pair of fake leather sandals. Unfortunately, I still remained the beholder of 0 divine interventions.

So I surfed the internet at the hostel, in search of inspiration. From the corner of my eye I noticed the red shirt of someone waiting.  I turned and looked up.

"Sorry to take so long eh," I said to the man beside me. There was only one computer for the whole hostel, and I was taking my sweet time.

"Oh no, no worries. I just noticed you were looking to go to Mitzpe Ramon, right?"
"Ah... yes, well I'd like to, at least." 

I glanced at the screen, where the rust-colored tones of the Negev desert, 3 hours south, displayed invitingly.

"Alright. I'm just gonna look up the bus schedule and I'll leave the computer to you, ok?" I continued. 

"Well that's the thing. I'll be heading down there tomorrow. Want a ride?"

I examined the source of this kind offer: tall American fellow about 27 years old, shirt the color of poppies, wavy, jet black hair,  hazel eyes, and a warm, benevolant gaze. I'd met Christopher the night before, but was still wary of this unexpected generosity.

Bang bang bang ! Outside in the bazaar, the metal doors of the merchant stalls interrupted our conversation, indicating the daily closing time. "Vultures," I muttered under my breath, remembering the insistant merchants. As much as I'd hoped for an extraordinary religious experience, the more this city seemed to be but an artificial tourist destination. I had to get out of there.

I turned back towards Christopher. 

"So. Shall we leave tomorrow morning?"

To be continued...

Jerusalem Hotel, computer in the background.


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