A city under Snow – Winter in Jerusalem

“When it starts snowing here, don’t come into the office. You know, here in the Middle East they can’t handle it” one of my colleagues told me last week. The day after it rained and stormed heavily and my boss came to the office telling us that they had canceled all exams at Al Quds University because of the weather.  Odd, I thought, a little rain and already now the city stops working in some parts. Not that is was fun toIMG_0445 walk through rain and storm to work but when you live in Sweden or Germany this is nothing. On that day I decided to buy a warmer coat and boots as my Converse shoes are more hole than shoe and the other shoes I brought here are either summery or have too high heels to walk 40 min to the office. Only two weeks ago we had about 28 degrees and wonderful sunshine. The winter came fast.

Turns out that was one of the wisest decision I made here so far. The next day it started snowing. Just a little in the beginning but quickly it turned into a proper snow storm with tree branches falling on the streets , lots of snow causing the traffic to almost stop completely.  I stayed home that day as the office was closed, of course. That day we had to finish a big proposal for the UN , thanks to Emails and google docs we managed to turn it in on time anyway. Around afternoon the city basically stopped to “work.” No traffic was going anymore apart from some ambulances and IMG_0455some brave people who gave it a try which ended in sliding and giving up pretty quickly. You could see cars standing on random spots around the streets where people probably had noticed that with their summer tires they won’t get far. Brian, our roommate, told us that pretty much no one owns winter tyres here and are not capable of driving in the snow either.

Before it got really bad I managed to actually catch one of the last taxis driving around to bring my birthday cake for Giulia safe to Jens place, where we were going to celebrate her birthday. I payed 40 shekels for the drive (normally it would be half) because the taxi driver told me I should be happy that anyone risks right now to even drive me a couple of meters. I accepted as I did not want to see myself falling into the snow with the cake I had made under a lot of hassle…. Our kitchen is IMG_0481definitely not made for baking and the stuff for baking you get here in the supermarket acts not at all like the German or Swedish stuff…. That night it got a lot worse, it did not stop snowing anymore and it stormed a lot. I was slowly reminded about one of the snowiest winters I experienced in Sweden.
Unfortunately I had underestimated an upcoming cold my body was hosting. The flats here have hardly any isolation and in our case the heating system does not work , therefore a small electric heater has to do the job in the bedroom but the rest of the flat is pretty icy. Not a big surprise since this winter weather is nothing what occurs often around here.

After a liberate amount of alcohol and partying I started feeling really sick. It was around 01.00 am and it kept on snowing. All taxi lines I IMG_0484called were closed , one even called me crazy for calling. Well, the result was I walked 30 min through this terrible snowstorm developing a  nice fever which kept me fairly warm (one has to see the positive side as well, right?!).

The last two days I haven’t been outside  apart from a 25 meters walk last night to have a look at the snow. The newspapers are full of articles about the snow and how the city basically gave up working. The airport in Tel Aviv got closed , highways between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were closed and many parts of Jerusalem had no electricity and people were stuck in their cars up to 12 hours because no one came to rescue them.  The conditions are even worse in the West Bank where 60 % of the area has no electricity  and as Maan News (a big Palestinian news agency) wrote : “The majority of the power line malfunctions are located inside Israel on lines leading to the West Bank, but Israeli authorities are not fixing the malfunctions while also prohibiting the access of Palestinian crews to the areas.” Currently 1488911_10152141632428690_1154804897_nthey try their best to restore the electricity again.

However, this snow brings some good things with it as well; as the Jerusalem Post wrote yesterday about scenes in front of the wailing wall in the Old City :”….. A few feet away, two young ultra-Orthodox boys joined the Palestinian girls in making snowballs, laughing together as their respective parents smiled at each other while the children delighted in the first snowfall of the year. “

Today the snowing is supposed to stop and the bigger streets are open for traffic again. The melting process slowly starts and you find huge puddles everywhere around the streets, and sadly also in our room as the snow on the IMG_20131213_212304window ledge melts letting the water in through the poor isolation. However, thanks to lots of towels stuffed around the window its stoppable. My cold is better since today and I might even go outside to meet friends later. Life here is interesting every day and it was quite the entertainment  to see how the Middle East can’t handle its snow 😛 Next week its supposed to be between 8 and 10 degrees again.

10 days to go to Christmas and our room looks thanks to some self made decorationIMG_0452 somewhat Christmassy and I still have not given up hope to find a real Christmas tree around here. My mother comes on the 23 th of December for a visit , I look much forward to it !!!!

Lastly, as most of you know my cat Jimmy was pretty ill the last month but at the moment he is quite okey, the last blood test was good and the last ultrasound showed that the shade over the spleen is at least not a bad tumor. He probably needs surgery next year but for now he is fine. If he needs surgery I will travel to Germany at that time and help Jimmy and my Mum with it. I am certain he will be fine again, my little brother. ❤

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you and thank you for reading! I have gotten lots of positive feedback about my blog and want to say thank you all for following me and  my adventures ! 🙂