EPOC : with Kevin Richberg in Israel for the 30 Postcards Project – Bethlehem
From our hotel we had scheduled a taxi driver for going to Bethlehem and visit the West Bank. That is more expensive, but as only Israeli-Arabs taxi drivers are allowed to enter the territory and that by employing one of them you can avoid to pass the check point, that seemed to be the best option.
Arriving to Bethlehem is nothing one can expect. There is an actual town, not just a cave near a Church with goats and camels.
I’d also see Bethlehem as an interesting shopping destination for tourists.
We have visited the Center and the Nativity Museum and Church. A pleasant experience, except that at every step you’re asked by a taxi driver if you need to be taken somewhere. Annoying though understandable as for them it’s their only possibility for making some money. Palestinians taxi drivers are not allowed to enter Israel.
As we already had our car and driver we had to decline all offers.
Oh yes, I have forgotten (not really…), when we arrived we left our driver near the car, with the promise that we’d find him as soon as we’d be back, or he’d see us anyway.
Except that he forgot to see us. We have found the taxi but not the driver. You see the problem: without the driver, the taxi becomes useless…
After waiting 15 or 20 minutes we decided that we had to do something.
So Kevin went back to all those drivers we had just left behind to pick one up. A Palestinian driver.
If you have paid attention to what I have written before, you should already have understood the problem we were facing: we couldn’t just go back to Jerusalem with that driver, he was not allowed to cross the check point, but we had to.
One of the reason for asking to the hotel to take care of our car and paying more for it, was to be able to go and come back without difficulties. But it ended with us going through the procedure we wanted to avoid.
Not only our way back had become more difficult, but also the taxi driver was proposing lot of extras for more money. He wanted to drive us here and there once for 100 shekels then for 200 shekels.
In the end after we had seen all we wanted to see and finally arrived to the check point, we couldn’t hear talking about 100 or 200 shekels anymore. We rushed out of the car into the check point, very happy, in the end, to actually be there.
And after the check point? Well, no more taxi drivers! We had to take the bus back to Jerusalem and walk to our hotel ready to drive to our new destination near the Dead Sea: A Villa with view on the Dead Sea and spend the night there… Except that there was no… OK spoilers!!!! That’s a the story for next time!