Our destination today was my office in Ramallah. We had to take a Jerusalem licensed taxi, because it’s too much headache for a PA licensed vehicle to come get us. We drove a few miles along the wall, which was a sad sight. It’s amazing how viscerally one feels the oppression of a physical barrier like that when near it. Mentally, it doesn’t have the same effect. Ya godda be there I guess. We saw the Arafat Mausoleum and the Presidential compound on our drive. Ramallah doesn’t have much to offer the tourist.
Ramallah is beat-up, but lively. Most of the PAT economy is foreign aid from other nations, so the international community is huge. So much signage is in english. It’s also a pretty hip place. The nightlife is very good they say. Downtown Ramallah had the highest density of fashion burkas that I have ever seen. One I remember was a structured, slim, button front, in grey wool with a Chanell scarf. It looked great.
I mostly had work meetings in the morning and the girls and Trish amused themselves or worked. We went for a huge lunch with Levant-style food. Lots of salads, fresh bread and mixed grill followed by a whole watermelon. The chicken had flavor, real chicken flavor. We had some ice cream in the center of the town.
Back at the hotel, I took the kids to a playground down the street. It only took Emma about 10 minutes to find a gaggle of arab girls to play with. They spoke no english, but what do playground girls need to discuss? Most of the time she was surrounded by kids yelling ‘Yellah Emma, Yellah Emma’ (Come on, Emma). She handled her celebrity with grace. Lily had a blast but then got a sharp poke from something on the ground and we had to go home. We ate well again at the hotel and Trisha had a late work call. This was a completely different day for us, and worth it.
[Photos by Trisha Creekmore]