Driving on Road 443

Friday morning, May 28, 2010

The sky was totally overcast as we left Jerusalem on Road 443.

There was no traffic on this busy commuter route to the Tel Aviv area.

 For kilometers there were no green Palestinian license plates in sight

and not many yellow Israeli ones either,

but there was kilometer after kilometer of newly-strung barbed wire.

The skies began to clear as we neared the new checkpoint.

 Not many people or cars were near the checkpoint area.

There was much controversy about  reopening this road to PA vehicles,

 but at least day one was quiet.

Along the road to Modi’in there are numerous Arab villages and houses

and vast stretches of empty land.

Approaching the checkpoint returning to Jerusalem at midday,

 there were more vehicles on the road,

but no long lines of cars.

 The old checkpoint was deserted.

Road 443 has become a popular alternative route to old Highway One

that twists up the hills to Jerusalem.

Off of Road 443, minutes away from Jerusalem,

the road to Ramallah is still off limits to almost everyone.

Festivals to Festivals

The tons of dairy products prepared in honor of the festival of Shavuot

including  a lot of blintzes and cheese cake are all gone.

Thousands of holiday visitors from all over the world have returned home.

The extra chairs for the festival ctrowds in the plaza near the Kotel, the Western Wall are stored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the temporary emergency locations closed.

The variety of clothing, religions and languages was fascinating as always.

 

Many of  the visitors for the  festivals wrote a note to leave in the Wall.

The white between the stones are paper notes,

 

usually written on little pieces of paper that fill every crack,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 written standing or

sitting.

 

 

Reaching for a good spot

 

to find a safe place, high above the crowd.

 And what happens to these notes?

Warning: The following is not for the sentimental or weak-hearted.

Cleaners sweep up

and unceremoniously

remove the precious notes to a special yellow plastic bag.

 

Almost three months of various celebrations came to an end and

this week a new festival season begins, with International Sports Week,

 

 the Israel Festival,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                       and many more.

 

 

The fine print says,

Something good is happening in Jerusalem!