Sunday, August 09, 2009

Baha'i Gardens in Haifa

Beautiful views of the city and lush, tropical plantings (and cacti) amid marble fountains and gated entrances have made the Baha'i Gardens the outstanding tourist attraction in Haifa. I visited the Baha'i Gardens a few years ago in Kampala and was anxious to see these.  The African gardens had been peaceful and holy. I remember sharing a lunch there with a friend who'd taken me, a janitor and his friend, all of us squatting and sitting on the porch outside the main temple.

Here was different. Workers were everywhere with mowers and clippers, but they didn't stop to talk to tourists. One guy gave us a list of rules -- which we didn't understand -- such as don't touch the water in the fountains and don't put your feet in the gaps in the marble. The three of us leaned over a marble railing stepping up on it for a better view down and discussed what gaps he could be talking about and why would anyone want to stick their feet into a marble gap. He came running up flapping his arms and pointing at our feet.

Ah, the gaps in the marble railing where we were standing. 

I violated another rule in the picture above posing with Sally before one of the fountains. "Keep yourself covered," the guard growled menacingly at me. My discrete shawl had slipped down my arms. 

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