The Bristol Hotel
December 1, 1954
A thousand times today I exclaimed, "Oh Em, . . " and how much I really meant it. No one should ever have such experiences alone, especially if there is someone to see thru the same eyes. With just a driver, I took a car to Bilylos, 30 miles along the Mediterranean, thru such country as you never dreamed of. Only if you can place yourself back in the land of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, or Jesus, John & Paul, can you picture anything like this. The same mud and stone houses with grape covered patios, the same shepherd huts on the hills, the same sheep; people sitting on their house walls, or on roofs, & eating in patios and at dusk, women carrying jugs of water, just as Rachel when she met Jacob, or the woman of Samaria with Jesus. I won't touch on the mixture of the modern just on the old that I witnessed. Clothing and costumes varied from the modern today to what they actually wore in the old Hebrew days. The older men wear fez & the older women cover their faces with veils, but the younger generation are as modern as TV ----- The hill, Oh, Em, those hills right by the Mediterranean. Hills just as they were when our old Hebrews walked there. Stone steps bridges arches just as they were. The hills finally got me as if I were at home on them. Grapes, oranges, lemon, grapefruit, melon all over the place. And men and women on donkeys!
At Bilylos, a French professor, archeologist, is excavating the oldest continually inhabited town in the world. A village of probably 2000 people occupying a town that has continually existed since the Stone Age 4000 BC. This town has had inhabitants during the Stone Age, Phoenician, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, & Crusade Ages. Seven civilizations have gone on generation after generation. They have found coins and stones from every age, walls, churches, temples, houses, and even a cannon from 800 years ago! And the village itself is still in ancient times- candle lighted houses & stores such sights as I cannot describe. . . .Then the drive back just at sun down and the only equal of it is from the Halekulani Coral Lanai Em, such a sight over the Mediterranean with desert hills right there like that stretch between Kailua and Waikiki, only these had the old houses of stone, brick & clay. ~ Tomorrow I go to Damascus and follow Paul On my return to Cairo will go to Jerusalem but have to stay overnight so cannot go now. Will take Jerusalem trip before leaving for India. I really don't want to leave here not for a long time.
Have sent out a lot of cards from here. Will probably find a lot of mail in Cairo. Well, you surely must have felt me today. I wanted to share every ah & oh with you.
Am to full to eat!
And so Aloha, Joel