Travel diary, day 6 of 14
Another day, another place, another mood! I guarantee that, despite objective geographic proximity, each of the towns and cities we’ve had the pleasure to get to know a little so far has its own very distinct personality that deserves to be acknowledged and portrayed as faithfully as possible. The question could then be, can I do that? Have I done justice to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron? Will I manage to paint an honest portrait of Ramallah after just a few hours of mutual acquaintance?
It’s not my place to say. But I have tried, and I’ll keep trying, even though every morning when I wake up I suddenly remember stuff that I forgot to write in my previous diary page… I guess I’ll just mix them all up in an awkward post at the end or something 😛
Ramallah to me is wind, history and an unexpected quantity (and quality!) of Christmas decorations. It is hills, like all the rest of Palestine. It is first and foremost not just the capital, but the heart of this nation, as beautifully shown and communicated by the stunning Yasser Arafat Museum through videos, photos and detailed descriptions of pretty much everything that happened to and in Palestine from the early 1900s to 2004 – which, in case you’re wondering, is a real whole lot.
Ramallah’s vibe is no doubt something to be talked about: smaller than my modest countryside hometown yet incredibly lively, its streets covered in footsteps and wheels and, yes! garbage too, because in every positive and not-so-positive way I feel that it is closer to Amman than any place else to the West of the Jordan river.
After a fairly adventurous bus experience that somewhat takes us through a nearby refugee camp, and a very pleasant surprise when we finally get to our supercute Hostel in Ramallah, Hannah and I properly start our day with what we’re very unoriginally best at: walking and eating. One changed variable is that for the first time the sky is decidedly grey and rain is in the air, but it just adds to the awareness that it’s an entirely new day. Such deep thoughts, I know… We just can’t help it- it must be all the chocolate.
So from Arafat Square and its superb Christmas tree we make our way through “Lion square” (actually called something else than escapes me right now), which marks the official centre of the town even on Google Maps, up to the busy vegetable market with its perfectly organised stands; and then from the interestingly elongated falafels sold shoulder to shoulder with the usual hot corn and some less usual chestnut and strawberry stands we go on and find the above-mentioned incredibly modern museum structure …etc etc etc (but seriously: the museum was The Answer to sooo many of our questions, a truly crucial step of both our literal and metaphorical journeys! And for five shekels only!!! Mystery to look into: who is it financed by?!).
Twilight highlights (hehe) include a considerably random and useless visit to the Modern University College, megacrowded with those youngsters we once used to be; a labyrinthic sequence of up&down diversions in search of the Old Ramallah which just proves that there are very self-confident people who give very bad directions in basically every corner of the world (and I can’t in all honesty decide if this is depressing or reassuring); tons of sugar to be further detailed later; a fruit & action movie moment that definitely makes the cut for my top moments of the day; and a fireplace moment the importance of which is likewise not to be underestimated.
Very touristy day, for sure, if you look at it from a certain angle (ooh, I also bought socks). But- not really: that museum… that museum. I sort of had studied at least part of those things before but… Yeah, I don’t know. I think we should actually study them a lot more, in school, because so much of what is going on in the planet now is somewhat linked to the conflict this land has already endured for so long. Because this, I believe, is the real cradle of humanity as we now conceive it. Because so many of our seven billion people care about this piece of the puzzle but at the same time the vast majority of us isn’t informed nor active enough to take a meaningful and potentially change-making stance on the matter. Palestine certainly keeps giving me delicious smells, delicious real food and large amounts of excellent food for thought…
Oh, you might wanna know- the title of this post is taken from what appears to be the town’s official slogan: it reads “we are Ramallah” and I saw it on the giant base of the superb Christmas tree 😉
Hugs and kisses from Stars & Bucks, which of course nobody could not love for its disarming creativity xx
Other much more boring pics (but also some cool ones) HERE! 😀
Food of the day: same breakfast as yesterday, elongated falafel sandwich with onions and fries, sahlab and chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice-cream, a green apple graciously sliced for me by the shop owner (and now I’m hungry again!! Oh, heavens)