Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 20, 2011
For the second consecutive year, the Jerusalem municipality sponsored a cultural festival, Balabasta, in the Mahane Yehuda shuk. It takes place on Mondays in July, so if you plan to go, next Monday is your last chance! There are bands playing on the roof, performance artists, acrobats, people in costume, people dancing, and the place is packed. There is so much to see, so please forgive me if this post gets a little long.
We went fairly early (around 6:30) because the fast day of 17 Tammuz starts at sundown. Although the fast doesn’t begin until the following morning, my husband thought it would be inappropriate to stay after dark on that particular day. The name Balabasta is a pun on different levels. A “basta” is a market stall, so “balabasta” sounds like “ba’ le-basta” (“Come to the market stall”) and like “balabusta” (Yiddish for housewife, ba’alat ha-bayit).
The band on the roof was a religious band, Acharit haYammim (English site with videos and photos). The open road of the shuk was so crowded that they were very difficult to photograph, especially with the high parapet. These were taken with 135mm zoom lens:
It was very crowded below, with some dancing and others watching and taking pictures.
The guy in the wheelchair with the “Will you marry me” sign is a regular. My officemate saw him last week with a “Will you talk to me” sign. He seemed quite popular!
This boy and his friend were totally absorbed by their phones. The parallelism of their positions caught my eye.
Two women stood on facing balconies, dressed in flowers.
Dancer in a tutu made of “Rami Levy” (discount supermarket) bags:
This woman was performing inside the covered shuk (Etz Chaim), in front of a boutique. My husband thought that maybe we should buy a knife at the kitchen store and set this poor girl free….
Blues band in an alley (going downhill, near the Iraqi shuk):
Chess tournament in the Iraqi shuk:
The break dancers were very difficult to photograph! They move so fast, but the sun was going down so I needed a longer exposure. I was also in a really bad position, stuck behind dancers who were getting ready to move onto the mat, so I didn’t have many clear shots.
This guy with the toilet plungers was hamming it up for me!
Juggler with music, props, and lots of balls.
I wish I could have gotten a better angle of the refraction in the ball in the last shot but I was behind two young girls and the crowd of spectators was tightly packed.