Metal Door, Old City of Jerusalem

On Habad Street on the margin of the Jewish Quarter. An attractive door. It seemed to have been, at one time, painted blue to ward off the evil eye, as is the custom. Now the fading blue contrasted nicely with rust and a hodgepodge of other colors. A silvery metal lock and the attached corner of a reddish rug provided nice contrast.

As I set up my tripod and took a few snaps the owner of a nearby shop approached. He spoke to me in English, always a bad sign. Where was I from? Ah, American. A Christian? I must have been radiating a strong tourist vibe with my dangling camera equipment. He wanted me to visit his shop which offers only best-quality authentic tourist items and antiquities, none of that Chinese junk his competitors are selling. I demurred, with difficulty. As a rule these merchants are personable, persistent and extremely shrewd. A financial-center securities trader has nothing on them. Why would it be otherwise? These guys have a tremendous amount of experience in dealing with people from all over the world and are masters of persuasion. They know that a polite Anglo-American sort of person isn’t going to tell them to buzz off. Once they manipulate you into their shop it’s all over.

Fortunately, I remembered an urgent appointment, but promised to return soon. He looked so disappointed, I almost felt sorry for him.

Closeup view of a colorful, rusty, locked metal door on a shop front in the Old City of Jerusalem. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

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