Jerusalem Blue Sky, White Snow and More Ice

Stabbing attack, bomb on a bus, and a murder near the Gaza Border,

terror against Israelis is increasing.

But in Jerusalem this past week it was all about the weather.

photo String Bridge, Image Jerusalem bridge, picture top of new bridge

The sun is shining and sky is blue,

picture Palestinian abuse Israel, photo Palestinian women Israel, image Palestinian women Jerusalem

and people are walking again along Jaffa Road,

photo market Jerusalem, shuk photo, image Machana Yehuda, picture people eating in shuk

and eating and shopping in the Shuk, the Machane Yehuda Market.

For some in Jerusalem, Israel, the snow storm of December 2013 is history.

Meanwhile,

image snow blocking corner, photo storm in israel, picture snow in Israel, image clean up snow

 many street corners still look like this with heaps of ice and debris.

Nothing in Jerusalem is flat, so there are many steps,

snow in Israel photo, image Jerusalem steps, picture snow in Israel

 including this 99-step stairway that was icy this week. 

image large tree blocking steps, photo tree fallen on path, picture tree damage israel

But this fallen tree was blocking them at the top making them useless.

They are off one of the hardest hit streets,

where many were without power for a week because of the storm.

Now new wires are being buried underground.

I had to go around out of my way,

image two workmen, photo electric company workers.

but I had a chance to meet two of the hasmal electric company guys,

who wanted me to to take their their photo.

image snow clean up. picture snow on street, photo Jerusalem snow

It is a miracle that with blocked icy sidewalks and people walking

on dark slippery streets in traffic that no one was killed or seriously injured.

image snow Jerusalem, ice on streets Jerusalem, israel storm, picture cleanup Jerusalem

This week, a corner where many children cross

near a busy school was still covered with ice.

You cannot really understand Jerusalem streets from looking at a map

or even at photos, as it can rain on one street and be dry on the next.

This week you really feel and see the differences.

While some are out in the sun, 

image snow Jerusalem, picture snow, photo snow in Israel

others are still trying to get around the mess!

I almost fell today on an ice patch near the Windmill.

image clean up Jerualem, snow damage photo

The tree cutters are busy with lots more work to do.

People and buses are sharing same spaces,

image rose, photo rose bud, picture flower in snow.

but even with the snow in the background,

the last rose bud was still looking good.

First it was pretty, then it was clean-up time, 

now if they can just get the mess cleaned up before it rains…

Jerusalem Light Rail Rolls (Roils) On

Dear Angry Driver,

Please do not complain that you received a traffic ticket in Jerusalem

  because you were on the light rail tracks when the light turned red.

For too many years, too many Jerusalem streets looked like this.

It is a big deal for us in Jerusalem to finally be able to get anywhere…

even though it may take still a very long time.

Luckily only one man has been seriously injured, in this area of the tracks…so far.

As you sit in your private vehicle, we are standing on the train without room to move,

that is, assuming that we can elbow our way inside.

For the first few months of operation the Light Rail train ride was free of charge,

but as of December 1, 2011, we get to pay for the privilege.

One has to get through the crowd to swipe their Rav-Kav card on this machine

before a roving inspector arrives to scan your card to check for payment.

Dear Angry Driver, there is also a large fine for those who haven’t paid their fare.

At least CitiPass employed a small army to help educate the suffering public,

most are ignorant about how to put money on those Rav-Kav plastic cards.

You must  not remember the Jaffa Street of the last few years,

as the new Jaffa Street scene bears little resemblance to it.

But in constantly changing Jerusalem… this tranquil scene will not last for long.

This corner of King George and Jaffa Streets, which housed Sbarro before a

suicide bomber blew himself up murdering fifteen people, is slated for renovation.

The major construction mess of a multistory building will be upon us once again.

And Angry Driver…be happy you only got ONE ticket.

There are several locations in Jerusalem where teams of police

 regularly wait and pull over car after car and ticket the drivers.

You didn’t see the one white car that got through with the taxis,

while both police officers were busy writing up tickets on each side.

Wonder if he had any idea of just how lucky he was?

Dear Angry Driver, maybe you could tell him?

Mazel Tov

After almost ten years and countless delays, the Jerusalem light-rail system

opened to the public on Friday, August 19, 2011.

Since August 2008 Jaffa Street has been closed to traffic.

On Friday morning, Yehuda the shoemaker was smiling,

his greeting was not good morning, but “mazel tov!”

There were lines to get the RavKav fare cards, but all rides are free for two weeks.

 In the city center trains were often very crowded

and there were still more passengers who were ready to try to push in.

“Zeh lo New York”, this is not New York, said one woman,

but at times it felt like the New York City subway… only with air conditioning.

Special staff was busy trying to keep people off the tracks,

but accidents seem bound to happen in the open spaces.

Passing the walls of the Old City,

the train was not as crowded and you could hear the cell phone conversations.

On many of the trains children sat on the floor,

 for thousands of families the train ride was the day’s entertainment.

Cameras of all types were out to document the day.

Slowly the train went through the Shuafat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods,

some boys hopped on to ride for only one stop.

It took 45 minutes to reach the end of the line, then a long wait to come back.

The train ahead had trouble in the Pisgat Zev station,

providing  plenty of time to look over our driver’s shoulder.

Announcements had warned of possible delays,

people got on and then immediately got off, not sure how long the wait would be.

It was afternoon prayer time as the train passed the mosque on the return trip.

If you really had to be somewhere,

 the bus was the preferred way to go, as regular traffic was light.

Travel through the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, area seemed to take forever.

Then, the view from the bridge was impressive,

impressive enough to get some people up from their seats.

The ride over the bridge seemed very quick compared to the rest of the route.

Thousands of people came out Friday for the havaya, the experience…

like an amusement park ride.

More time was needed to complete the entire route,

but I was satisfied to get my shoes fixed and get home before Shabbat.

Mazel tov!

How many passengers will pay to use the light-rail?

Was it worth all the time and cost?

The saga of the Jerusalem light-rail continues…