A Beer for Jesus
This weekend, Prince and I jumped in the car, which had newly fixed air conditioning. AC, my friends, can save the world, or at least save a hot summer drive in Palestine. The AC was good for our marriage, and we actually enjoyed the drive to the tiny village of Taybeh, getting lost only a few times.
We arrived and drove almost straight into the microbrewery. It is tiny. No one seemed to be around. We left and came back. It looked like a garage with the door open. Should we wander around alone, we wondered?
Prince Charming thought not. We weren't even sure we were in the right place.
"You're right. This is weird." I said.
Finally, out of curiosity we wandered in, and we saw someone we had missed before: the daughter of the owner of the microbrewery, Ms. Koury. I'm sorry I can't remember her first name. Her family established the brewery in 1994. She very kindly gave us a tour. It was wonderful to see a successful enterprise where the owners obviously cared a great deal about the pristine quality of the product. We didn't get the free taste of beer at the end of the ten minute tour that the brochures promise, but it was rather early in the day and we also forgot to ask about it. We left with a box of beer and a couple photos of the brewery:
Taybeh changed it's name from Ephraim (of biblical fame) to Taybeh when Sultan Saladin passed through in 1187 and thought the folks in the village were hospitable and generous. Apparently, that's what Taybeh means, although we also heard that it means "delicious" so maybe the people tasted good too.
Jesus stopped by this village for a rest before his crucifixion. It's too bad the Taybeh Micro Brewery wasn't around in his day; I think he would've enjoyed the beer quite a bit, especially considering the series of really bad days coming up for him. Today, Taybeh is the only "Christian Village" left in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, although there are many towns with Christians in them.
After our tour of the microbrewery, we endured 2.5 miles of spiritual and physical testing out in the desert outside of Taybeh on a lovely hike under the blazing noon sun. In the middle of our death march, we took refuge under a large olive tree. Much to our delight, the tree did not shrivel and die, but provided shade for our half hour rest and consumption of water, dates, peaches, and almonds.
We took the tree, and the spray-painted rock markers, to be a sign that we were on the right path, both spiritually and geographically, and continued a short ways to gaze at the dark mouths of caves in the hills surrounding Taybeh.
When we got back into the village, we found Peter's Place, a brand new restaurant that was "soft open," meaning that is was so new it hadn't had it's official grand opening yet. Ms. Koury recommended it, and we are so glad she did and that we climbed up the hill to the middle of the old part of the village to find such an oasis.
It was also so new that the menu had just a couple options: salad, seasoned bread, and/or hot meal:
We decided to sit outside where the patio offered cool breezes and nice views. To finish up this post, I'll add this video which captures my general fatigue and joy at sitting down with a cold beer after a hike on a hot and dusty day.