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A night to remember in Nazareth

Attending mas presented in Italian

sunny 24 °C

==Attending== Catholic mas presented in Italian while in Nazareth was a shock to me. A few logistics made this ordeal shocking, firstly: I am not catholic and secondly: I do not speak a word of Italian. Apparently life is full of suprises and this evening was going to be one of those.

The ordeal started when I arrived in Nazareth from Tel aviv around 21:30, upon arrival I took out my lonely planet travel guide and started looking for a youth-hostel to spend the night. I choose a highly recommended youth-hostel 'sisters of Nazareth convent'. I wasn't in any way about to take the vow of celebecy but I figured it will be a nice place to spend an evening. Due to my inabilty to read a map, I attempted to no avail to locate the youth- hostel. I even tried to ask people for directions but since most people in Nazareth spoke Arrabic I soon realised: salam & shokran were not sufficient for asking directions nor for understanding directions when offered either. Each time I asked people they pointed me up towards a hill. As I hikked the the hill I met a group of Italian tourists who were going to the same direction as I was. I asked their tour guide for directions, he informed me that I should come along with them since they were going to the same place. I simply assumed he knew where the hostel was. After 30 minutes of hikking we finally reached our destination. Suprise- suprise our destination was a convent. The tour guide approached a nun & I saw them looking at me. For a second I thought shortly I will be taking a shower; locating a nice resturant and having a well deserved rest . The nun then appraoched the group and said something in Italian. Everyone started going inside the church and I followed as well ( I couldn't be left outside in the dark). As I entered the church everyone looked at me and they started smilling and nodding. A few people attempted saying something to me but I gues they figured out that my Italian was non- existing they resorted into nodding & smilling. To my suprise the nun returned and started presenting a sermon in Italian... what!!!! not only that she started reading from a book, Communion was served and then I saw people approaching the front of the church lighting candles & saying their 'hail Mary' prayers etc . After an hour of this experience I was speechless, I stood aside seriously confused and wondering how did I get myself in this dalema. Finaly the mas concluded horay!!!, excitedly I expected the nun to inform me where to go. Suprisingly the nun disapeared and the group approached the second church buliding, I followed the group again , as we entered the second church building everyone sat down and another nun started speaking in Italian again, at this moment I decided not again. I left the church bulidling and managed to locate the nun who conducted the initial mas service. She invited me into her office and she made a phone call. She spoke Arrabic on the phone, then she attempted speaking to me in Itailan and my confussed look gave her an idea that I can't speak Italian, she then attempted saying something in Arrabic of which I said 'nay Arrabic' either. She then proceded on her telephone conversation, durring which she then made a sign of numbers with her fingures , I then realised she is informing me of an amount. I decided to take out all the New Israeli Shekels from my wallet and placed them on the table. She picked the money she wanted and I realised how much the room was going to be, of which she made a point of showing an eating sign.. hoorray its a 'bed & breakfast' yeeyyyy I agreed. Finally I could visualise a clean nice room, clean shower & a comfy bed. She then hanged up the phone and she pointed down the road. I could see she was giving me directions but I couldn't hear what she was saying, all I knew is that I had to go back down the hill and from there I couldn't tell you where I was meant to go. I think she figured there was no hope of getting me to understand anything she was saying the next thing I heard was : yala- yala- yala ( that I understood she meant go-go-go)

Two hours later after arriving in Nazareth, with my rucksack firmly in place I started hikking down the hill again: shwai -shwai (slowly) I hikked back down. I had two options at this point to be stressed out about the fact that it was midnight and I still didn't have a place to sleep or to laugh out this experience . I opted to laugh at the experience and I reminded myself that these are the joys of backpacking. Its midnight : I am tired; I am in need of a nice hot meal ; I am in need of a shower and mostly I am in need of a clean comfy bed to lay my head on. It was midnight and I was roaming the streets of Nazareth without a clue of where I was going to spend the evening BUT I knew there was an empty bed in a hotel/hostel out there which had my name on it , I just needed to find it. Luckly I managed to find a nice youth-hostel just outside the ' Basilica of the Announciation' ( it is the largest church in the middle east and it stands at a proposed site where it is believed the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin mary that he will bear a son) . I checked into an 8 bed-sleeper dorm horray I had my long awaited shower, instead of a meal I settled for a falafel sandwich and finaly I had a bed to sleep, funny enough I did not hear any snoring in the dorm that evening but I gues that was because I was too exhausted. What a night indeed :)

Posted by Thuligal 01:22 Archived in Israel Tagged backpacking

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