5 days in palestine, so far.
1st: entry, discussion
2nd: neighboring villages around ramallah
3rd: trip to jerusalem
4th: trip to hebron
5th: trip to deir ghassanah.
quick. it's been quick, and startling, the speed at which space and place becomes here. I am looking out windows of a bus going places. my eyes are squinting at this harsh sun. I am on the top of buildings, looking out onto valleys, seeing green-lit minaret towers and hearing the adhan, the call to prayer echo out onto the valley at sundown. orange suns, orange moons.
but does this sound too exotic? worry not, because it isn't. everything suddenly has swooped into the realm of the mundane, as in mundus, as in earthy: earthy and normal and natural. it's not what I expected, but being here is not so much a travel experience as it is a rapid acclimation to the quiet rhythm and timbre of living; there are walks at night, there are cell phone calls, the necessity of coffee in the morning, someone's trip to the dentist, drunken rooftop revelry. there is the image of an empty room with a ticking clock, the sun shining in sideways into a car, heads leaning away to sleep in unison, quietude and exhaustion as the day reaches an end.
infrastructure? of course, details of infrastructure poke out, punctum-esque, create little moments of displacement -- except that that too has disappeared, and here we are, on a street. I am crossing the street as if I were in Bangalore. I am talking to people as if I were in Russia. people are enthusiastic and welcoming and I am trying to gobble up arabic words and pronunciation and numbers. words we make. people we meet.
and then there's the politics of this all, the what-do-I-think-is-right, the how-do-I-decide question, and it is hard because everything is political. I mean - everything was already political beforehand, but in this case everything is even more so political, laden, understood. there are nuances and undercurrents. in the midst of this I keep on asking: what do I think? what would I do if I were the leader of this country? how would I feel if I were in this position, or that position?
and I think of a nationalistic Korean thirteen-year-old-boy. he walks around kicking foreign cars because they're foreign. where did he come from and where did he go.