Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's a matter of customs

In a few weeks I will celebrate the 2nd anniversary of my new life in the US. Some people might find this to be sappy and foolish, but having lived for 35 years in Israel, and then moving here, makes you appreciate a lot of things that many Americans take for granted and never think about. For example, when you go to the mall, or a restaurant, you can go into one of the many doors, so it’s reasonably close by no matter where you parked. In Israel, though, things are quite different. Because of the terrorist threat, most businesses have to have tight security, and that’s usually in the form of a security guard. Every shopping mall employs guards who open every car’s trunk to look for bombs, and when you walk into the mall itself, another guard sweeps you with a metal detector. The hassle is not too bad, but guards cost money, so a typical mall would try to save some by employing as few guards as possible. This means that a typical mall would have only one or two entrances to the parking lot, and one or two doors open at any time. The “grand canyon” in Haifa, for example, which I frequented, has a huge garage with many doors into the large mall, but all are locked except two. This means that if you arrive at the mall more than 30 minutes past opening time, you’ll be walking all the way from the end of the parking lot to the entrance, steering clear of cars, breathing in the car’s emission gasses and generally having a hard time. Yup…that’s just ONE of the downfalls of living with terrorism. For me, going to a mall like Bellevue square, and being able to walk in from any of a dozen entrances is a blessing!

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