Today didn’t get going until around 7:30 this morning. We went directly to the Temple Mount that opened at 8:00. The line was long, very long as one tour bus after another emptied it’s cattle into the line outside the Dung gate. Of course we cut the line at the half way point (The halfway point was on the other side of the Dung Gate in the background in the picture to the left) in an attempt to save some time so we could pick up our rental car at 9:00 and head out for our day outside Jerusalem. After about 30 minutes in line we realized we needed our passports and I made the 20 minute hike pack to our hotel. What is wrong with this picture, Jake is in line and I rushed to and from the hotel? When I returned to the line, I found Jake had only moved a few feet. As we approached the 2 hour mark knowing the entrance closed at 11:00 and seeing the line not moving we realized we might not make it in and would have lost the entire morning. With this in mind, I once again set off to our hotel to pick up all the things we would need for our day of exploring and to get the rental car. The hope was I would meet Jake at the front of the line or at least he would get in. With another 30 minutes passing and the line not moving, I hired a driver off the street and picked Jake up for our trip through the West Bank to the Dead Sea and Masada the famous rock fortress.
Side note: The Temple Mount is currently under control of the Temple Mount). In recent years, the Waqf has forbidden non-Moslems from entering both the Dome of the Rock and its Mosque (Al Aqas) hence why we needed our passports. They have also cut the time and access for visitors like us to a few hours each morning 4 or 5 days a week and cut off any access to the Mosque altogether. To quote Rodney King “Why can’t we all just get along?” It really annoyed me that we missed this because of a pissing match that has been going on for 2,000+ years. We did get a good view from the Mount of Olives and David’s tower but it is not the same. I thought Obama as going to fill all this?