Today I ventured over to the Jerusalem Mall. The taxi ride there was beautiful it was interesting to see a different part of the city. Israelis drive on the same side of the road we do in America. I'm not quite sure how that happened since the British were in control here for a while. The street signs are in three languages Hebrew, Arabic, and English so at least I could follow along. The Jerusalem Mall is one of the biggest in the Middle East. According to my guide book its 500,00 square feet not including the parking lots, there are around 200 stores. Several of the stores were American brands, and the clothes sold in the shops closely mirrored current fashions from back home. Several American eating establishments were there too Pizza Hut, KFC, and Burger King. Strangely no McDonald's was present I haven't seen the golden arches anywhere in the city since I got here.
Types of stores included in the mall varied from American malls. They had an almost wal-mart like grocery store, it had the groceries, small appliances and housewares but not the wide range of house hold items wal-mart carries. There was a CVS/Walgreens type of store here the over the counter medications are behind the pharmacy counter so you have to talk to the pharmacist. I also saw a store that looked similar to a Home Depot all I could see was a display of patio furniture and chandeliers but I didn't go inside to check. The iphone was being sold at cell phone kiosks but there was no Apple store in the mall. A bookstore did have a few shelves of books in English in its selection.
I went into Office Depot to get a few school supplies so I'll be ready when classes start. I made an amazing discovery while there. For those of you who don't know Hebrew is written right to left and I knew this before arriving. What I didn't think about was how that would effect me. I am left handed and all my life I've had to worry about getting ink on my hand and smearing it across the page. Over the years I've bought special left handed pens and left handed spirals. Today I went down the aisle to get some spirals and notebook paper. All of the spirals and notebook paper here is what we could call left handed but here it's normal. As a left handed person who has had to deal with being different my whole life this is huge. I won't have to go hunting around to find left handed spirals they will automatically be there with no special effort. I am now wondering if a higher percentage of Israelis are left handed because of the way Hebrew is written.
Security at the mall was top notch. They inspect the cars before they enter the parking lot. My purse was searched and I went through a metal detector before being let inside. There were some IDF (Israeli Defense Force) people walking through the mall. They had two handed rifles with them. I'm not sure if they were on duty or not because some of them had shopping bags, and appeared to be browsing through stores. I think it's going to take me a while to get used to the presence of guns around here. I feel safer knowing they are there it's just a little unnerving to have a guy walk past you in the writing utensil aisle of Office Depot with a rifle that big. I loved the mall and would recommend it to anyone visiting Jerusalem.