Yet another surprise for Reagan this morning. She still believes that we’re leaving the house in the morning to “go exploring”. Oh, the innocence of a child. Jeeves (our nav system with a male British voice…and yes, we brought him on the trip with us. No need for our marriage to end on vacation is there?) led us right to the Holy Land Experience. I found out about it doing research for our trip. I’ve seen no signs for it, no advertisements for it in all the local ad mags, but it’s a GREAT place to visit.
The whole park is set up like the Holy Land centuries ago. From Moses to Jesus we saw the wilderness tabernacle, Herod’s Temple, market places, Golgotha and the Tomb. There are live plays and re-enactments, videos, stories for kids, artifacts, etc. It’s like you’ve stepped back in time to the Jerusalem (and surrounding areas) of Jesus’ time…except with all the 21st century conveniences like Doritos, sweet tea, flavored coffee (do you think Jesus would have needed caffeine?) and stores that take credit cards. I saw one thing today that reminded me of Leigh Anne. It was a little plaque that read “Shalom Y’all” (and they spelled y’all correctly). We Southerners can embrace our Jewishness, even if we’re only Jews by association from “Father Abraham.”
As soon as we walked in ladies from the open-air market started talking to Reagan and Ashlyn. Reagan was wearing a purple jacket and so they asked her if she was a princess because purple was the color of royalty. How cute. And they remembered both of their names too. As we were getting ready to leave the park hours later Layla called: “hello again Princess Reagan!”
We watched a play/re-enactment of the months after Moses’ birth when his parents had to make the heart-wrenching decision to “send him down the river” (my words not theirs or the Bible’s). When you read it in the Bible the emotion and danger just aren’t felt. In a re-enactment though you begin to understand how scared they must have been—soldiers were actively looking for male Hebrew babies. And for Moses’ mother to have to make the basket that she would place him in and pray and hope that God would come through to save her baby. And the awesomeness that Pharoah’s daughter found him and used his own mother as the nurse maid. It came alive and made it more real.
We then saw a re-enactment of Jesus talking to the public. It was a conglomeration of a couple different stories about Him and the parables that He told. To visually see Jesus (someone who looked very similar to what we’ve made Him to look like) doing miracles, calling people to him, saying powerful words. It was awesome. At one point he called all the children to him. No one in the audience realized what he was doing until one kid went up, then we all sent up our children. When the skit was over Reagan came back to us and said, “did you see Jesus touch me?” We had to make sure she realized this wasn’t the real Jesus. Of course she did, we’re not dealing with a dummy (unless it comes to “exploring the area”).
We saw an explanation and a lifesize replica of the tabernacle. Reagan and I just finished studying Solomon’s Temple in school (and had studied the tabernacle earlier this year) so this was neat to be able to bring everything full circle.
The neatest part for me, and I think Du would agree, was the walk through tour of the Scriptorium. It was a 55 minute tour that led us through various rooms in a building that houses the largest privately owned Scripture artifacts in the world (or something to that effect). AWESOME, awesome, awesome to see everything from cuniform fragments from ancient Mesopotamia, to a page from the first Gutenberg Bible off his press, to a Bible with blood on it from some poor chap in England that died for his reformist beliefs, to various language translations. Worth the admission price in and of itself.
Then we got to see the largest indoor scaled model of Jerusalem and were planning on getting a talk about the different areas of the city. But what we got was this:
Uh. Yeah. We didn’t stay for the talk.
NOW, after we got our fill of the Holy Land we turned to the consumerism of the West and headed on over to the mall! And what a great mall it is. We walked in and I felt like I was at home (shame on me for not feeling at home in Jerusalem, right?). Du’s so patient when we enter a mall, especially now that he’s got two girls that like to shop (it was, in fact, Reagan that saw the mall and said, “ooh, let’s go there, I want to look around.” And this was before we hit the Holy Land. We had to convince her that there were probably other things to “explore” in that area other than a mall.) So, Du is patient, and it’s a good thing. I got a lot of my pent up shopping needs out tonight.
Our first store: Bloomingdale’s. We walk in and the smell of all the perfumes is almost overwhelming. I said almost. I was so happy to be in a mall (and Bloomingdale’s at that) that I actually enjoyed the overpowering aroma. A couple of deep breaths and I was ready. I was also transported back to the Bloomingdale’s in NYC (a trip with Heather to celebrate my 30th birthday), in which I bought two pair of shoes that I still love. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? (Sit down if you love bargains.)
An awesome pair of Miss Sixty shoes that were originally $145 that I got for $17.99…$19.16 with tax.
I KNOW!! And the deals didn’t stop there. I made my way to Ann Taylor Loft where the sale racks were speaking to me. They were saying: buy one pair of pants, get the second pair half off. OK. I must listen and obey. And since Du had just finished telling me he wanted to get my birthday present here since our current hometown is somewhat lacking in the shopping department, I had to comply, right?
I tried on two pair of pants, went back to the rack to replace them until Du could get back (Reagan needed to potty and they both needed dessert), when what should I spy? A pair of jeans for $3.88, normally $54. That’s three hundred and eighty-eight pennies! I took them to the sales clerk and asked her if this was the correct price, and if so, what was wrong with them. Yes, it’s the correct price. No, nothing wrong with them. They just have to get them off the rack to make way for newer items (none of the other jeans on the rack were that price btw). Tried them on too (I would have bought them even if they didn’t fit and sold them on ebay or something), but those didn’t leave my hot little hands. Once Du came back I showed him my awesome deal and explained to him how it was all going to go down.
Remember the BOGO deal on the pants? I wasn’t going to waste that second pair at half off deal on the $3.88 jeans. So, he bought the first two pants I looked at. I bought the $3.88 jeans and a top.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
Oh, I also looked in Betsey Johnson (who is finally producing clothes that aren’t butt ugly…sorry Betsey), but no deals to be found there. The dress I liked was $330. And it looked like something I could whip up with enough time.
While Reagan and I were shopping in the Hello Kitty store Du decided to let Ashlyn release some of her pent up energy. There’s a tall ledge underneath the escalator with potted plants and imbedded lights. Du puts Ashlyn up there, somehow thinking this would be ok. It was her stage. She proceeds to crawl arround the whole area weaving in between potted plants and stopping on the imbedded lights (were they warm? Did she want to blind herself? No one knows what that brain is thinking). Another set of kids starts to climb up there and the father tells them to get down. Du then realizes this isn’t the best model for other kids to follow so he tries to get Ashlyn down. “Ashlyn, come here.” This starts the chase. He reaches for her and pulls her to him. As soon as he lets go to get a better grip, she crawls away. And this time she’s crawling faster than ever before. She zooms between two pots and is peeking around at him to make sure she’s out of his reach. He ends up having to crawl up there himself to get her down. Oh, and she shoved her sister during dessert when Du fed Reagan a bite of ice cream that Ashlyn wanted. She watched the spoon go from the cone, over her head, right into Reagan’s mouth. I wonder if it was in slow motion for her.
Ahh yes, food. Not as exciting today. We didn’t step back in time with lunch, fortunately. Chicken salad on a croissant with a side of veggies and sweet tea for me. I’m sure Jesus would have enjoyed that if it were available during His time. For dinner…Chick Fil-A. Now, we could not claim to be Southern if we did not eat at Chick Fil-A once on vacation since we are starved of it in the midwest. And it was so good. And fast food is all the time I could allow for…’eating time’ cuts into ‘shopping time’.
Now, to say goodnight. Remember, I’m out on the patio because we don’t get internet inside. It’s actually cold tonight. Du’s trying to shut the glass doors and close me out. The only reason he can’t is because my computer cord would get squashed. One last picture to let you know how this trip has been on our bodies…well, Reagan’s feet at least: