Christmas Lights – Bethlehem

To get to Bethlehem we had to first take a bus to Jerusalem from Rehovot and switch to a different bus with Arab plates and make the short trip south. We arrived in Bethlehem around 6pm on Christmas Eve. The first thing I noticed was how decorated and lit up everything was. It wasn’t really – the city was no where as near as saturated with lights as some of the American or Europeans cities I’ve seen, but in comparison to Israel (which doesn’t celebrate Christmas or New Year’s at all), the humble decorations made it feel a little more familiar. But walking through the town I couldn’t quite get over the fact that I was in the Middle East and in a desert (not a bad thing – it can be refreshing). It may have been the architecture, the fact that merchants lined the streets well past midnight, or that Palestinian soldiers were on patrol (4), but no amount of decorations or attempts at Westernization (6) could convince me I wasn’t half way around the world. As we slowly made our way to Manger Square to join in the fun the amount of decorations began to intensify, the sound of singing and shouting grew louder, and the amount of personal space between people (locals and tourists alike), began to shrink like a frightened turtle.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on December 28, 2010.

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