“If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, tonight, ‘I have secured to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude or respect, of no human creature; I have won myself a tender place in no regard; I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!’ your seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would they not?” A Tale of Two Cities
Well, there have been some adventures lately! Very unexpectedly, we got an invite to spend the night on the beach in Tel Aviv Thursday night, which of course sounded like so much fun. So we got to the beach around 2am on Friday morning. Thank goodness we had a car and someone to drive us – though we did have trouble getting through Qalandia checkpoint on our way. The soldiers picked two people out of our car and made them go walk through the checkpoint, though they were changing shifts and it would have meant waiting another at least half hour. So we turned around and went through the Hizme checkpoint, a little bit out of the way, but not too shabby. When we finalllllly made it there, it was so much fun! It was so crazy, the beach is just open for everyone to sit, drink, sleep, play in the ocean, all night long! So we swam – it was kind of cold… – and sat and had fun, and even though it felt like it was a bazillion hours that we were there probably because we didn’t sleep at all, we actually left Tel Aviv around 7am to drive to Ashqelon, a city just north of Gaza, where our friend’s brothers live.
Ashqelon was beautiful – the beach was wonderful, really calm, beautifully clear water. And crazily enough, it was so surreal, you look down the shoreline, maybe a mile – it seemed really close – you can see the buildings of Gaza City. Not unclearly, not just the outline, not hazy, you can actually see the buildings of Gaza City. It’s so unbelievable that we’re hanging out in the ocean and you look to your left and you see the blockaded water stuff, you see military aircraft overhead almost continuously, and you hear the sirens going off every now and then.
We only stayed at the beach for two hours or so, and then went back to our friend’s brothers’ house and they cooked us the most delicious meal, and perfect food for not-having-slept-for-36-hours! Local fish, rice, homemade sauces, olives, bread… absolutely mouth-watering.
We finally got back to Ramallah around 4pm on Friday, after which I had about an hour to get ready for my friend’s going away party, but our cold water was not working! So I couldn’t take a shower without scalding burning water… which meant I took my first ever bucket shower. My roommate was very amused. It’s a very difficult thing to do! Plus, you all know I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, so it was a struggle. But our water is back on now, so hopefully that’ll be the first and last time!