I spent last night in a rural area outside bethlehem called Beit Sahur (sounds like Bait (as in fishing bait) Saw-hooor). The landscape was lovely and i was just about as far as possible from actually civilization. It was really nice.
I stayed in what seemed to me to be a strange hippy squat. It's a permaculture farm where the people living there were trying to demonstrate sustainable living practices when it comes to food, water, waste, recycling, etc. It's a nice goal. But a hostel/hotel it is not.
I imagine that walking into this place is what it must feel like for a parent to walk into their child's college housing after they've gotten into smoking pot. There were animals that walked in and out of the house, which at times seemed really quaint and cool, and at other times seemed to be a comment on the mindset of the people who lived there. The dog slept on the couch, it even used a pillow. There was a box full of baby chicks near the window. Bowls of cat food sat on the desk next to a wireless router and a phone/fax machine.
My bank froze my accounts assuming that my card had been stolen and somehow popped up in israel. I suppose im grateful for the security, but it always comes a week after i travel. On top of that it means that i'm suppose to inform my bank of my every move. I dont like that so much. i'm not going to go into my frustrations with automated systems, but i assume everyone has some experience with that.
I paid my night's stay at the squat, which left me with 40 shekels with which to find my way back to jerusalem, and eventually to nazareth. i got a bus which bypasses the "security wall" (which as you can tell is extremely efficient due to the fact that i can bypass it with a bus) and arrived back in jerusalem. On the bus ride i met a couple from newcastle who works with a charity to help the impoverished youth of Israel/Palestine to get educations. He was very nice. I wanted to ask for a job, but it was obviously wasn't that kind of organization (the kind that has jobs for people). My favorite line from the conversations was "We help any poor child: Christian, Jew, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, anyone. There just aren't any poor Israeli Jews. So we help Palestinians."
I went back to the cave hostel and used the internet to sort out my banking issue and الحمد للله everything is back to normal. I then came to the bus station to get my bus to nazareth. I was here at roughly 12 i think, and my bus doesn't leave until 4. I could easily have gone out and walked jerusalem, but i have my every possession on my back. So walking around like a turtle with my home on my back didn't seem like the most appealing option. Add to that the fact that i would have to pass through security to get into the bus station again, and i decided that chilling in the bus terminal for a few hours was doable. So hear i am. Writing a blog over a back drop of Fergie, Amy Winehouse, and the guttural sounds of Hebrew. From where i am sitting i can count 8 m-16 (or some equivalent) machine guns, and am fully aware that there are countless others in this building. The soldiers here tote them around as if they were born with them. They treat them like if you were to ask them about their gun the response you would get would be "what gun? oh you mean this ol' thing? shux" The occupation of Palestine is very real, and worse than i had imagined. And i had imagined things being pretty bad.
anyway, there's an update. Tonite: Arsenal vs. Villareal in the champions league quarter finals. Come on you Reds. Up the Arsenal.