With me on this bus: gorgeous Ethiopean women with regal postures and medallioned sandals, their thumbs flicking across the screens of their smartphones. Swarthy men probably from countries like Yemen and Morocco beside beige men probably from Europe... all of them sleepy in the slightly air-conditioned heat, most of them in yarmulkes. Sudanese, Polish-looking and Sabra (native Israeli-born) young adults in IDF uniforms, each one a calm and focused young adult.
I am a little afraid to be on this bus. I remember seeing the charred metal skeletons of Israeli buses that were blown up years ago, before protective measures were in place. I wouldn't be surprised to hear a terrible bang even now... But all I hear is rapidly spoken Hebrew, a baby croons, something emits a Tinkerbell "ting."
Rocks litter the hillsides, scattered among scrubby pines, palms and patches of parched, dun-colored weeds. Soon there are off-white cement structures on hilltops.
Someone told me that underlying much of Israel are large quantities of crystalline rock, mostly quartz. I wonder if this is true. I wonder if these crystals have some kind of faint influence, something esoteric, some variant of gravity.
We reach Jerusalem and disembark. I pass a cluster of Catholic nuns with their hair tucked into black cloth and wearing black dresses, black tights, black shoes. A lovely Muslim woman with her hair just as modestly tucked inside a chic headscarf. Orthodox Jewish women with their hair covered as well, clear eyed and with passels of kids. Teens in shorts. Sarah Silvermans everywhere.
This city is one big sweat lodge, but people go to sweat lodges to detox, to rinse clear, so maybe there's some of that going on. Everyone's getting along today. Things seem so peaceful. If it weren't for the metal detectors and tense guards at the entrance of every single building, I'd think I was in some kind of idyll.