Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Pad

"Just go to the brown door," instructed Naim, my landlord, when I phoned him last week telling of my readiness to move into the main floor apartment in his home in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. I had been before, a few months ago, and, eventually, I did find the brown door.

Naim remembers coming to this now-150-year old home of his grandmother with his seven siblings and parents in 1948 - needing to vacate their own home a few miles away in what had become, by virtue of the war, territory that the new State of Israel controlled. The Old City, despite repeated attempts of Jewish forces to take it prior to and during the war, remained under Jordanian control. Now, it's status is as vague as Jerusalem is complicated. (More to come on that complexity)

There are three apartments in the home - the one I'm renting on the entry level, and two upstairs - Naim's, and another one waiting to be rented. All open on to a central, interior courtyard - small, but a lovely enclosure that is cool, relatively quiet, and beautiful, thanks to Naim's restorations down to the original stone.

This is the bench that I do my morning reading on (see Montefiore book on the bench). It's especially quiet in the early hours of the morning and til now the weather is perfect. The fountain has a couple of goldfish in it, but Naim says he's going to take them out - too much work caring for them. Windows to my apartment are behind the bench.

Then looking straight across from the bench is the narrow kitchen and bathroom on the right and the entry door (the "brown" one from the outside)and the entry hall.

Steps leading up to the upper floor (actually there is a roof top that could serve as a third floor - "just $35,000 to finish", says Naim with resignation.

Here another angle from the bench, to the upstairs apartment for rent and the corrugated "roof" sheets that protect from the rain but let the lovely light through. Not a bad spot to read from, eh?

So, here's the pad - yep, that dark without lights.

But, presto! Advantages are how temperate it stays beneath the stones, quieter than upstairs. Natural light is a problem, but it also encourages me to get out and explore.

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