I have landed!

September 2, 2023 • 8:15 am

Yes, I made it to Jerusalem with very little trouble. It took about five minutes to get through Israeli customs at Ben Gurion airport outside of Tel Aviv, I got shekels from an ATM, and I managed to get a cheap shared bus that dropped me right at my modest hotel in Jerusalem for 66 shekels (a shekel is worth almost exactly 25¢ U.S. It was about an hour’s ride.

I’m staying in “center city” of Jerusalem, not too far from the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.  I will probably rest up for the remainder of the day since I was up at 3:30 on Friday and watched movies on the plane instead of sleeping last night.

My first impressions are without much value, but one thing is clear: the country is very quiet on shabbos, without public transportation, and most of the stores closed.  Orthodox Jews can be seen all over the place, and I’m told that there are more of them here than in Tel Aviv, as this is a far holier city.

Tomorrow, after a full night’s sleep, I’ll begin touring, with several people having offred to guide me around. And, of course, I’ll look for hummus.

Stay tuned.

12 thoughts on “I have landed!

  1. One thing I am sure younger travelers don’t appreciate is the wonder of being able to go to an ATM in a foreign country and being able to draw out money in the local currency.

    1. I suspect that younger travellers are much more likely to use contactless payment cards, or even payment apps on their cellphone or smart watch, rather than cash.

      Anyhow, I’m old enough to remember when getting cash from a machine at any time of day or night in my own country was pretty amazing, especially as here in Britain, bank counters were only open 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

      1. I expect quite a few including me. According to Wikipedia, atm type cash dispensing machines did not come about until the late 1960’s to mid 70’s. I still recall cashing $5 checks in college which would provide me with enough cash for several nights of burgers or sub sandwiches at the local deli or dorm snack shop. In the 80’s and 90’s when on business trips to the UK, i still recall the tedium of exchanging my US travellers cheques in dollars to get British pounds (minus the vig of course). ATM direct currency exchange? Contactless pay and automatic apps? Sign me up. What a great world my grandchildren live in!

  2. > My first impressions are without much value, but one thing is clear: the country is very quiet on shabbos, without public transportation, and most of the stores closed.

    Not all of the the country is quiet on shabbos, but Jerusalem definitely is. Go to Tel Aviv or Eilat or any other mostly secular area and you’d be hard pressed to tell it’s shabbos.

    Hope you have a great trip! One thing I recommend is to take a slow walk through the Machne Yehuda shuk on Yaffo Street. And bring along lots of small bills and change so you can buy small amounts of items to taste and try out.

  3. Israeli security is most intense before flights, both coming and departing, rather than at immigration.

  4. You have tainted your blog by including fellow traveler/useful idiot John Mearsheimer, as if he had credibility or honesty.He does not. The recent news from Ukraine clearly shows the resilience as well as progress (even if slow) of the Ukrainian soldiers, and the clumsiness and poor training of the Russians. Like other leftist apologists for Russia’s war crimes, Mearsheimer has set his sights high enough for just about any country to be called a failure. The war dogs like him (Chomsky, Jeffrey Sachs, Gil Doctorow, Stephen Gardner and other beard stroking Marxists) might as well be on the Kremlin p.r. payroll,, in their eagerness to support Russia and their determination to lie about Ukraine’s progress….and nary a word about the Russian war crimes and atrocities of Stalin et all (how about 30 million Russians killed by Stalin?) Curiously their hatred for the US is based on the past war crimes of the US (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.) but those of the Soviet Union and Russia today, with its murderous Stalinist history, present-day assassinations, suppression of media and dissent, and unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country, go unmentioned. This is called a double standard, just like the one used to judge Israel and let the Arabs and fanatic Islamists off the hook. For honesty and knowledgeability, consult Mark Galeotti, Tim Snyder, Anne Applebaum, Jake Broe, Vlad Vexler, Bill Browder. Stay away from the academic “historians” who are ideologues and Russian mouthpieces. Mearsheimer is arguably the worst but Chomsky gives him a run for his money. Question: who starts the rumors about how Ukraine was losing?

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