Sunday, August 31, 2008

The highs and lows of Yom Rishon

Sunday -- Yom Rishon/יום ראשון, in Hebrew -- is, of course, not a day off in Israel; it is the first day of the working week. As you can see from the above picture, there was plenty of activity in the center of Jerusalem, today. This picture is of a busy corner not far from the Shuk. I walked to that colorful outdoor marketplace after walking Minna to Hebrew Union College where she had a meeting. I spent about 120 shekels (about $35) there, mostly on fruits and vegetables, and then I continued to walk -- with a heavy load! -- towards the Central Bus Station, where I was going to try and get a bus map. But it was a bit too hot for me, especially with all that food I was lugging, so I gave up a couple of hundred yards shy of the bus station and started walking home.

The station by the way is one of the higher points in this mountainous city at an elevation of about 820 meters. Later in the day, after doing some reading as part of my research for a while, I would return to this high point, again -- this time by bicycle -- and also go almost to one of the lowest points in the city, the Jerusalem Mall, which sits at an elevation of about 700 meters.

I started my afternoon bike ride -- by far my longest in Jerusalem so far -- around 6pm by entering the southern part of the Gan Sacher park. Here is a view of part of it:

I wish I had been in more of a picture-taking mood because I saw some really cool stuff. The park was really hopping with that incredible mixture of ultra-religious Jews and secular Israelis recreating in the same space.

I almost went all the way to the mall afterwords -- thinking it would be fun to stop at the Burger King and get a kosher Whopper there there before riding back -- but then I realized that I had forgotten my keys for my bike locks. So I turned around a couple of hundred yards shy of the mall.

I rode on bike paths and sidewalks most of the way, which is really against my general philosophy of bike riding -- which insists that it is safer and better for all concerned if cars are forced to share the road. I am really impressed, however, by the extent to which Jerusalem's adult bike-riding population seems to adhere to this road-centered philosophy. I really see very little bike-riding on sidewalks and very little riding against the direction of traffic. . . . I'm not sure why I'm not "claiming my lane" here too in my Jerusalem bike-riding so far. I'm just feeling a little bit timid . . . . But excited, too. It's really a blast riding here!

[X-posted to smamitayim]


PastorLimehouse said...

Thanks for the self-revelation and insights. I offer my encouragement. Pastor Limehouse--Hopsice Chaplain

abayye said...