Tuesday, May 13, 2008

9AM - I love fried potatoes!
Every day it seems, I am eating fried potatoes for my morning and supper meals. I don't know what it is, but lately I am crazy for these breaded & fried potatoes.

This morning while eating breakfast, Little Mavicito and I looked at our City of Jerusalem map to get a clue where to go search for today's adventure. We spotted a note on the Derech Hebron road pointing south. The note read, "To Bethlehem." Hmmmmm?

We have been cautioned about Bethelehem. But you know how Little Mavicito and I feel about caution! So, we are heading out this morning to find out just how close we are able to go to Bethlehem.
Breakfast with potatoes.

Little Mavicito has some pics that he wants you to see.
One pic was taken on an Egged Bus. Very often we see people on the bus reading the Torah [first five books of the Old Testament]. Jerusalem is a very religious city.
Man & woman reading the Torah.

Yesterday evening we went out for supper to a spaghetti place near Zion Square. This restaurant is called "Spaghettim" [pronounced: spa-ghet-team]. It costs a fortune to eat there. I will not even tell you how much, but it is more than I earn in one day! The food is great, but they even charge for a glass of water! Hmmmmm?

After supper, the waitress brought over the dessert tray for me to see. Oh, Man! There was one chocolate dessert that caught my eye. I had to have it!
I went to heaven with
this chocolate dessert!

Spaghettim in Jerusalem.

12 Noon - Crossing the border into Bethlehem.
We took Egged buses as close as we could ride to the City of Bethlehem. Did you know that Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinian Authority? We found out that it is as we approached the border!

This area has a menacing air about it. There are no homes here. It is like a no-man's land.
The sign reads, "Barrier."

A few hundred meters later we came to a place where Israeli citizens may not go.

In the background of the pic below, you may see "the wall", a separating barrier designed to keep suicide bombers from crossing into Israel.
Entrance to the checkpoint.

Little Mavicito is not permitted to take pics inside the checkpoint building. Here my United States passport was checked, and I was allowed to pass thru into Palestinian Territory.

On the other side of the checkpoint, we passed thru a gate and thru the separating wall to the other side.
Walking on the other side of "the wall."

The Arab guys.
We met a bunch of Arab guys, some driving taxi cabs who were selling taxi and tour service into the City of Bethlehem. They offered a taxi ride into Bethlehem and return to the border for $150 Israeli shekels. I countered with, "and that includes a tour of the Church of Nativity?" This counter offer was accepted.
Jawwad Suboh, my taxi guy.
Jawaad kept up a constant pitch to show me other sites besides the Church of Nativity. However I am only interested in the place where Jesus was born. We stopped so that Little Mavicito could capture our first look at Bethlehem.
First look at Bethlehem.

Church of the Nativity.

We drove thru the streets of Bethlehem, heading toward the Church of Nativity. Little Mavicito was capturing video as we drove, and we will publish that video later after editing.
Courtyard of the
Church of the Nativity.

Once inside, we see that there are three churches. Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic. We descend into a cave like area below the church which is where Jesus was born. A few feet away is where Mary laid her Baby Jesus in the manger.
Baby Jesus was born right here!

The Manger where Mary laid
her new born Baby Jesus.

Video of Bethlehem.
The video below begins at the Israeli border station north of Bethlehem. A man is shown going thru the separating wall into Palestinian Territory.

The last video clip shows my car ride thru Bethlehem. The streets are almost empty of people.

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