Ina has reached her final destination!!!!

Trip Start Oct 02, 2011
Trip End Nov 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
At my own house!!
What I did
so far, working

Flag of Palestinian Territory  , West Bank,
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello there,

Ok, now everything is truly cool.

After a short visit to the beach in Tel Aviv (damn, should have taken bikini, it was sooooo hot) I started on the journey to Ramallah without major disruptions. Except the bus drivers in Jerusalem - one said take bus no. 6 to the Arab East Jerusalem, so I waited for bus no. 6. The driver of bus no. 6 said, no no no, you need to get bus no. 20. So I waited for bus no. 20. When it arrived the driver told me no no no, you need to get bus no. 6. AAAAARGH.

At this point, Ina decided to have a coffee.

Next attempt. Ina waited for bus no. 6. Bus no. 6 came and took her.

Unfortunately, I was so out of it that I didn't get off at the right stop....but at least now I've seen half of Jerusalem's suburbs. But bus driver told the next bus driver who really took care of me and made sure I got off at Damascus Gate (how I could have missed it I don't know, it's part of the huge old Jersusalem city wall). I will go back to see the old Jerusalem on one of my weekends, which, here, is Friday and Saturday.

After I took minibus no. 18 to Ramallah I found the flat I was supposed to move in to. Shannon wasn't at home and - I hail technology - my phone didn't have any reception - how typical. So I rang half of the doorbells in the house until - finally - someone knew Shannon!

So glad I arrived, but now Shannon told me she had already rented the room to someone staying longer - but I could stay that night, which I was really thankful for, I was so absolutely nacked (or how do you spell that??).

Today, I went to my first day's work at the Goethe, which was fine. So amazingly not busy - such a change from the frantic Ielts-team. I met all the people there (very interesting mix of Arabs, Germans and French) and got to work doing invitations, checking out places, etc. very relaxed. The Germans here have already adopted the Arab way. The Children's Cultural Week is supposed to start next week and they are thinking of who to invite to the podium discussions now!! That means that the people from Gaza won't make it because it takes forever for them to get a permit from Israel.

Which brings me to the Palestinian/Arab thing....It's quite shocking actually, the separation barrier on the way to Ramallah is about four to five metres high with an awful lot of wire on top of it. Its sooooooo suppressing - it runs for kilometres on the little bit of road I have seen!! The checkpoints are an absolute desaster - cars queuing for hours, everyone getting impatient - good god - people have to do that everyday! And the Israeli settlements on the other side of the wall are so incredibly huge and look so permanent - it feels to me so incredibly hopeless to try and change things...and that is supposed to be the easy-going area - Ramallah is an Area A city, which means that Palestians can move quite freely - compared to other places. There is Area B, which is under Israeli security, but Arabs can move ok, and there is area C under complete Isreali control, where Palestinians have a truly shitty live. I think I have to visit Hebron to believe it - appearently the city is divided by a road only Isaeli, or rather American-born, settlers are allowed to use. Palestinians have to drive 12 km instead of 1 to get to the other side of town.

Anyway, I don't want to get all too politcal right away, but believe me, the conflict springs in your face everywhere, you can't help but ponder on it. And its so sad; they're both such incredible people, and it could be such a colourful and varied culture and life here....

Anyhoo, found a place after work - now living with a French girl studying Arabic at Birzeit University just out of Ramallah of all places, and a Palestinian girl born in Mexico, raised in the US, studying in Chile and now being a racing car driver here in Palastine - how crazy is that!!!

Just unpacked my things, its a huge room, but Ramallah doesn't come cheap. Because of all the foreigners here, prices are pretty much like ours in Germany (except taxis). And, apparently, there's even a brewery in Palestine brewing according to the German Reinheitsgebot - Taybeh - they even had an Oktoberfest last week.

Right, I think that's it for now.

Hope you all enjoy the lovely Indian Summer!!!
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