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Transportation in the Holy City

August 5, 2008
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That was the beginning of my journey to discovering that most of my (and the world’s) preconceived notions about everyday life in the Holy Land were somewhat naive and a bit fairy tale-ish. I mean, who would have guessed that 9 out of 10 Israelis prefer wearing brightly colored Crocs rather than leather sandals that look like they were made in Bible times? And I confess that I, too, expected to see a lot more camels than I actually do. Usually, one only sees them at the occasional roadside photo-op for tourists who have a desperate need to be able to say, “I rode a camel in Israel.”

In actuality, day-to-day transportation is very modern, with plenty of buses, taxis, and private autos—and, of course, tour buses on every corner and four in between. During my first two years here, I lived in the heart of Jerusalem’s city center and had little need for transport other than my own two feet

Now that I have moved to a residential neighborhood south of the Old City, I have had the opportunity to experience Jerusalem from a street view rather than a sidewalk view. For the first five months, this was the view out of a city bus window, and I must say, I didn’t like it very much. I am prone to motion sickness and my neighborhood is full of traffic circles, sharp curves, hills, and what I like to call “speed mountains” rather than speed bumps. Let’s face it, a bump is small and somewhat inconsequential; these are not. Israeli bus drivers aren’t well known for their sensitive driving; they just want to get there regardless of passengers who are holding on for dear life.

Every morning as I climbed the 113 steps up to my bus stop, I would pray for God to give me a car. I tried to be very thankful for the bus, but 24 stops make for a very long trip most days. Then it happened; God answered my prayer! It isn’t exactly the sporty little red thing I had back in America; it is more of a little silver French thing with lots of scrapes and dents, pink cow-spotted fabric over the front seats, and a fake BMW hood ornament. But, I cannot tell you how thankful I am!

There are some downsides to having a car here, like finding a parking space in a 3,000-

There are some downsides to having a car here, like finding a parking space in a 3,000-year-old city. Thankfully, I have parking at home and at work, but most drivers have to find parking on whatever sidewalk, curb, or wide space in the street they can. And despite crazy high fuel prices and extremely impatient drivers blasting their horns all day, I am still so thankful.

I think Jerusalem must really be closer to Heaven. After all, it took me seven years of praying to be able to come here, but it only took me five months of praying for a car once I finally got here.


Photo Credit: Photosby m'lis

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