My bus came. I boarded the bus via the rear doors, and, to my delight, found that the bus was fairly empty, and that both sets of my favorite seats were available. I chose which set I wanted. I plopped Shlomo down in one of them, with my backpack on the other. (I use a backpack instead of a diaper bag, nowadays.) I folded the stroller. Since there was such a long line of people, I decided to wait until they had boarded before going up to pay. I then reconsidered, but it was too late – the bus had started moving.
So, I waited until the next bus stop, when I placed my backpack on top of Shlomo (keeps him occupied, seated, weights him down a bit more, and provides something soft that he can lean into in case the bus moves slightly), and went up to pay. True, I cut in front of the passengers who were just getting on, but what can I do? It’s not like anyone offered to take my fare up, I don’t want to take Shlomo up to pay with me, and I have to get back to my seat – and my toddler – before the bus starts moving again. In my own defense, though, I don’t think anyone minded – what I did is fairly common, almost expected. It could be that I felt rude because I’m American. The truth is, I actually don’t think that Israelis consider it rude at all for a mother to come up to pay when everyone else is getting on.
After that stop, our next stop was the Central Bus Station. Note the security guards (yes, they are armed) and the metal detectors – typical of all Israeli buildings, establishments, and offices.
This is still the Central Bus Station, just a bit further down the street. The plastic “triangular” “building” sticking out of the sidewalk is an underground public bomb shelter.
Passengers boarding the bus – and the inside of the bus itself. I am sitting right behind the rear doors. There is a set of two seats, one on each side of the bus, just behind the rear doors (with an aisle in between, of course). These are my favorites – easy to board, fold the stroller, unload bags, and keep an eye (and a hand) on Shlomo at all times. My set of seats has a clear plastic “wall” in front of it, presumably so that in case of a sudden stop, passengers do not bang into the doors.
A bus stop just past ours at the Central Bus Station.
The string bridge itself. While I don’t think it fits the character of the city, it is still impressive.
Notice the contrast between the building and the walls erected for the light rail train.
At a red light, I was able to photograph these plants, that are growing right beside an apartment building.
We turn onto a side street, to continue our journey home. The light rail train, Herzl (the main street, where the string bridge is) is one-way only for a few blocks. The other way is diverted to a neighboring street. We are “the other way” right now. This is a view of the corner, at a red light.
Construction across the valley, while driving on the “other” street (Ish Shalom, if you must know). There is a bus stop at the beginning of the street and at the end. The good part – one of the only good parts of this whole train business – is that the bus goes faster now.
Here, we did a U-turn and went to the joint light rail/bus stop at Yad Sarah. This picture is of the school across the street. Notice the fence: all schools here, or at least all Jewish schools, have fences (often high fences) and security guards. (The schools pay the guards, I think.) There is a metal booth on the left; this is for the security guard to sit in, while he watches. Once an hour, the guard locks the gate and walks around the campus to make sure that no one has jumped the fence or thrown any suspicious objects into the school grounds. The security guards, just like the ones at the Central Bus Station, and everywhere else, are armed. I’ll leave it to you to guess why. (Hint: It’s not because of kidnappers or mentally ill people who have guns.)
That’s the end of this series. I didn’t continue taking pictures for two reasons: 1) I’d rather keep some semblance of anonymity. 2) Shlomo was getting cranky, and my camera was slowly using up its battery.