Hannah and Je together

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Forty First Day – Failed to get Videos

My hosting family told and suggested me to watch some videos about Palestinian lives under Israeli oppression, and they told me that I can get such videos from Siraj centre.  So I emailed the Siraj centre probably seven days ago, and they answered me right away to come and get those video yesterday.  So I went there yesterday.

Je: Hi, my name is Je and I want to borrow some videos.
He: Hi. What video?
Je: The video we talked about on email.
He: What email?
Je: Is George here?  I corresponded with him through email.
He: I am George.
Je: Can you look up your email?  About six days ago You wrote me to come Monday, which is today.
He: (After reading email). Ah, yes.  But we don’t have such videos.
Je: What?  You wrote me to come and borrow!
He: Yes, but we don’t have such videos.  But if you go to AI Centre, you can borrow from there.

AI Centre or AIC is Alternative Information Centre, and is an organisation whose focus is to inform the other worlds about the Palestinian reality.  It was not far from the Siraj centre but I had hard time finding it because it was kind of hidden in the back street.

Alternative Information Centre

Alternative Information Centre

Anyway, I found it, and went in there.  I asked them if they have such videos, and they said yes.  They have 174 DVDs about Palestinian realities and lives under Israeli oppression and occupation.  I asked them if I can borrow those DVDs, and they said NO.  They cannot borrow the videos but they can make a DVD copy.  Whoever had Israeli airport security experience would know that it is not good idea to have such videos or books.  So I asked them if it is possible to copy those videos onto my computer.  They said it is OK, but I did not bring my laptop.

I asked them when they close the office.  They close the office at 2pm.  And my class ends at 1pm, so if I walk after the class, it would be 1:30pm.  I asked them again if it is OK to come around 1:30pm the next day (which is today).  They said it is OK and they would happily wait for me.

My laptop is so heavy because it is almost ten years old.  I walked 50 minutes this morning carrying this heavy laptop, and then I walked again to the AI centre, and I got there 1:30pm.  But no one was there.  I found a cleaning guy and asked them, and he said everybody went home.  I don’t understand.  They promised me that they would HAPPILY WAIT for me, and it is not even the closing hour!  I am doing this for THEM.  If I know more about the terrible Palestinian reality, I would be more willing to help them, and I can share those videos with my friends at McCormick.  Frankly speaking, I think they should bring those videos to me!  Siraj centre pissed me off once with the videos, and then the AI centre pissed me off again.  I don’t understand.  Do I have to kneel down and beg for those videos?  Well, I DON’T THINK SO.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Seventh Day – To Eilat and People of Megiddo

I’ve got my hosting family arranged through the Siraj centre, and I also applied for some activities.  And the centre emailed me that the activities were cancelled due to lack of people, and also to come to the centre on Friday to get the refund.  I went to the Siraj centre because today is the Friday.  They sent the email a week ago, and when I went to the centre, they said that the money is not ready.

So I just wasted an hour.  From the centre, I took a taxi to the bus stop in Bethlehem.  The bus goes to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.  There I took the light railway to the central bus station.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

When I went to the ticket office in the central bus station, a guy approached to me asking where I am going.

He: Hey my friend, where are you going?
Je: To Eilat.
He: All the tickets to Eilat are sold out.
Je: What? The whole day ticket?
He: Yes.  How about private transportation?
Je: How much?
He: 200.
Je: In Shekel or Dollar?  Wait, let me ask the ticket office first.

When a stranger call you a friend, that means you need to watch out and be careful.  I asked the ticket office, and it was true that the ticket was sold out, but there were lots of seats left for the following bus at 2pm.  I was more than OK to wait 2 hours rather than paying stupid amount of money.

So I went to Eilat again and stayed at the same Hostel.

I did not have a chance to write about my excavation team at Megiddo.  The Lachish excavation did not have much people because most volunteers left Israel right after the war began due to the proximity of the location to Gaza.  And finally the site was shut down.  Actually most sites in southern Israel were closed.  And more than half of them left Israel, but some people like me joined the northern sites such as Megiddo.  The UCLA students were digging at Jaffa, but they also joined Megiddo.

My team, digging the same square were mostly from UCLA.  There was a girl named Sarah, Iranian American, and 18 years old.  She is the youngest in the whole Megiddo excavation people.  She will study in George Washington University for Archaeology, and she began her expedition since 10 years old.

Another girl who I would not reveal her name was quite lazy, but extremely talkative.  Other team members told me that she works only two days a week, and that was true.  She actually worked two days a week, and she reported herself sick for the other days while she looked healthier than any other people.  She told me that recently she came out as LGBT, but is not seeing anyone yet.

Two girls from UCLA, named Vanessa and Jennah told me that they are a team and their name is Va-Jennah whose pronunciation is very similar to the lady’s sexual organ.  So I asked them if that implies that, and they said yes.  They are the very best workers at my team.

Canadians mostly left Israel or cancelled their trip to Israel, but quite many American students remained.  I guess Americans are more brave or they are used to the gun violence.

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