We did not get of at Tantur as it was raining and there were no people except those walking on the pavements. Opposite to the entrance the lights of the kiosk were the only comforting ( to some extent) elements of a rainy, windy and cold winter morning. Other than that Bethlehem was even more grim and bitter than usual. On a personal note I would like to have had Charles Dickens write this report. Bruce went to photograph those brave few who were praying on the mud in the rain on the questionable protection of cardboard.
It was surprising in view of the weather to see the amount of workers coming through the checkpoint but it did not take long before a steady stream of men were seen coming back in a steady dripping stream. One can only be happy for those who stayed warm in their beds and did not have the disappointment of rising in the early hours of the morning to go through the rain to the checkpoint, wait to get through , come out at the entrance and realize that there was no point in continuing and then to make their cold and wet way home.
I was again approached by the security to whom I as usual said that we have been at the checkpoint for many years. He was polite and after a phone call I had no problems. Only the usual remarks of how we need the checkpoints because of terrorists but when I pointed out that they knew the ways through the wadi and paths better than we did, he agreed.
Because of the rain there was a tendency to cluster at the entrance to the terminal where there is still shelter especially when one heard the rain came down on the zinc roof. I took a very hazy picture of those trying to shelter in a corner / The guards hurried to send them on their way but did so without being aggressive and so did those coming through to work who shouted to them to move on. Everyone in a hurry to get to their destination .
I left at 6.45. As there were no free taxis, Bruce helped me to get on the bus (134?) at the terminal. As a matter of interest I was sitting behind the driver and saw a sign which I have never seen before. I could not photograph it but it advised anyone who had been sexually harassed on the bus to complain to the driver.