I’m on my way back tonight and turned up at the airport a few hours early after being warned that because of unprecedented security measures, I should give it all plenty of time. So I did, only to discover that although by no means lax, the Israelis are far more relaxed about security than their British colleagues in Gatwick and Luton.
Unlike there, where you pretty much have to get undressed – take your belt off, take all the change out of your pockets, make sure all your shampoos, soaps, deodorants etc (and never more than 100ml) are all in the same transparent plastic bag (and a pretty small one at that if you use one of those supplied free by Her Majesty Comptroller of Airports and Sundry Modes of Transport (MCASMT) – all that needed to come out of my bag was my laptop and iPad.
Change stayed in my pocket, belt stayed around my waist and there was none of the British fake cheerfulness which makes perfectly clear that ‘if we have any trouble with you, sonny me lad, and I mean any, we’ll delay you for so long that not only will you miss your flight by several hours, but you’ll shit in your pants and be charged for clearing up the mess. So watch it!’
Mind, it is Saturday – shabbat – and there aren’t that many of us around, although when I mentioned this to one guy checking my passport (‘your friends who say security will take forever have got it wrong. Tell them that’), he said, no, it’s pretty normal today. What Terminal 3 here at Ben Gurion Airport most certainly has nothing in common with, at least not today, is the cattle market Gatwick is which makes any travel abroad so dispiriting.
. . .
Yesterday, I took off to have a look at Haifa up the coast from Tel Aviv, but when I got there, I realised that the nature of the city – it is strung along a hillside and did not appear to have a centre as such, although I’m sure there is one – meant I wasn’t really going to see much. So a quick look at Google Maps showed me that Acre (which you will have heard of from your dim recollections of the several crusades – it’s one of the many places where Christians gained years off purgatory and gained an awful lot of God’s ‘grace’ by slaughtering as many ‘heathens’ as they humanly could. And if you think I am making that up, head for your history books) was just up the road.
So I mosied off there and spent a few hours wandering around the Old City (which I have to say is pretty much like any other old city in the Med – 1,000-year old stone arches, extended by breeze blocks, with a satellite dish here and there and sitting between tumbled down ancient walls and modern wire fences. Still, I’ve been.
. . .
Finally, here are a few of the pictures I took in Jerusalem a few days ago.
and the one I like best (he’s in a world of his own)