“Stars and Bucks” in Bethlehem

1 Jul

Mark (the photographer) and I (the priest) decided to walk from the Church of the Nativity to our Sancta Maria Hotel. We left the flow of the pilgrims, as they headed toward the bus for the ride home. I told Mark that I wanted to stop at Stars and Bucks. Always anxious to get a shot that other eyes might not see, he eagerly tagged along.  

Our first stop along the way was for twelve pictures (he couldn’t take just one) of a man making falafel at his street-side open restaurant. Amazing how a vat of hot grease and balls of seasoned, crushed garbanzo beans becoming falafel brings joy to a photographer.

Shortly after we rounded the corner Mark shouted out, “Oh no, it is Stars and Bucks.” He saw the sign hanging over the café down the street a bit. He thought I was going to Starbucks, and was teasing him with the name. Would I tease about such a serious matter? 

The shop is on the main road in Bethlehem that leads right to Manger Square and the Nativity Church, the site of the birth of Jesus.

Most tourists and pilgrims zip right past the café in a taxi, or walk up the inclined hill on the opposite side of the street because of the location of the garage where all the giant tour busses have to park. But it was the goal of the walk Mark and I were taking … Stars and Bucks.

As I walked into the café and saw that they had coffee mugs for sale, I gave out my own acclamation in the little town of Bethlehem, “Yes!” I had joy like the shepherds and the angels on Christmas eve in the fields of sheep and shepherds. Well, that may be a bit overdone.

My buddy Paul has a collection of Starbucks mugs (see yesterday’s post), but he does not have, and not many people in the whole world have a coffee mug from Stars and Bucks in Bethlehem, Palestine.

Mark bought two mugs, one for his daughter and her husband. I bought one for Paul, and one for myself. Mark was enjoying the moment so much he agreed to get into a picture, and gave his camera to one of the keepers of the café, who seemed a bit puzzled by the performance being played out in his sleepy shop.

My regrets are that I didn’t sit down for coffee and conversation with the locals, and that I didn’t buy a whole case of the mugs. I could have left a lot of clothes behind to have room for them in my return suitcase. I have something to add to my itinerary the next time.

Photos 2, 3 by Mark Bowen/HOPE. Photos 4, 5, 6 by Waseim/Beit Jala. Photos 1, 8 by Father Rob/Milford. Phot0 7 by Stars and Bucks Café Keeper/Bethlehem, using camera of Mark Bowen/HOPE. Phew! Everybody gets due credit.

5 Responses to ““Stars and Bucks” in Bethlehem”

  1. hopevoices July 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    And I got one mug for myself! Thanks for the adventure in Bethlehem, Fr. Rob!

    • Kermit Netteburg April 2, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      I’d love to get one of the coffee mugs. Can you help me know how, without making the trip to Bethlehem?

  2. Michael Vanderburgh July 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Great imagery — from both of you!

  3. Windsor July 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    we saw the same store when we were in Bethlem in Nov 2014. Friends at home could not believe it

  4. Margo January 25, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    I was in Bethlehem in 2014 an had a big laugh when I saw the Stars and Bucks Cafe! I recently met Steven Kauhery, from Bethlehem, who wrote a great book, “In The Backyard of Jesus”. He told me about the mugs. My husband and I will be in Bethlehem soon and I plan to buy several several!

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