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Bethlehem Innkeepers Still Jerks

Travel in the Mideast

We arrived at Quo Vadis International at noon on a hot desert afternoon, waiting another hour for the rickety bus to the tiny village of Bethlehem. All round us stood Israeli soldiers geared up for who knew what. It was mid-week during the slow season and we had made no reservations. Besides at this early hour we should have the pick of hotel rooms. 

     Despite the legacy of rude innkeepers in Bethlehem on the horizon, we boarded the bus feeling secure that we would find lodging. In about 40 minutes the bus stopped in front of a nice enough adobe-looking inn on the outskirts of the little town. Several travelers debarked to inquire about prices and availability. The bus driver was more than happy to wait. She smirked, for they would be right back. Sure enough she was right. The innkeeper apologized saying he had no rooms due to some sort of census that was being conducted all over the country. We traveled on.

     The next decent place was right in the center of town. Convenient and welcoming it featured a no frills restaurant and a large shaded porch. It would have to do. Now as several of us departed, the driver giggled and pulled over to the side of the road. This time the innkeeper was downright rude. Ridiculing us for not having made reservations ahead he muttered something in contempt and slammed down the shutters. We were now back on the bus with the driver still laughing at us for what now clearly appeared to be poor planning. 

     One fellow traveler, a Frenchman from Marseille, lamented on the brisk behavior of the innkeepers here. He was certain that they had inherited their manners from Roman times when they first began this accommodation charade. He told us that on his last trip to Bethlehem he had asked at several inns before settling in for the night in a vacant stable on the west side of town. Despite the continued parade of visitors and the presence of livestock he slept well.

     Well that was enough. 

     “Let’s dispense with all this tomfoolery and proceed to that very spot,” we agreed.

     Unfortunately when we arrived it became apparent that someone else, a young family with a newborn child had beaten us to the punch. We then specified our search in spite of the irritation of it all.

For more please turn to Joseph Gets Screwed on Endorsements out in the hall