January 8, 2000
Imagine you are from outer space, traveling from galaxy to galaxy. You see a small blue-green planet, mostly covered in water. It is called "Earth," and it revolves around a star called the "Sun."
About six billion people, called "humans," live on this planet. Local time is the Year 2000.
A week ago, you noticed a lot going on in a place called "Jerusalem," and a lot of people talking about something called "Y2K." What is Y2K, you wondered?
You decided to see Jerusalem for yourself, in human disguise.
In Jerusalem, you meet a human named Monica, who calls herself an "Odyssey trekker." You follow her into the Old City, which is divided into quarters where people of all different religions--Christian, Jewish and Muslim-live.
This Old City is very small, but 20,000 people live here. You enter the Muslim Quarter, where men sell boiled corncobs and sweet drinks. Kids run through the streets, and slide down the steps on homemade sleds.
You walk along the Via Dolorosa, which Christians believe to be holy. Many of them walk this road, following the steps of Jesus Christ, whose birthday they just celebrated with something called "Christmas."
Suddenly, the loud "Pop! Pop!" of firecrackers surprises you. Some kids are letting off fireworks in front of a gate leading into the Old City. They are celebrating Y2K. What is Y2K, you wonder again?
You turn to ask Monica, but she has vanished-off to write a "Dispatch." Oh well.
You must return to your spaceship now, but you decide to come back soon and learn more about this strange city called "Jerusalem."
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