Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"I Saw Ramallah" - with IMDT.

Just to borrow a phrase from Mourid Barghouti's fabulous memoir, "I Saw Ramallah" - I saw Ramallah too - and here is some of what I saw!

First of all, the mobile phone alert, once safely in Ramallah: “Marhaba. Smell the jasmine and taste the olives. JAWWAL welcomes you to Palestine”.

In terms of Ramallah Dance Festival (which is why I was there), I saw Al Kasabah Theatre with IMDT - look at them outside the theatre the minute we found it. Look at how disoriented we were when we got there, on a Friday, and it was like a ghost town because their Friday is like our Sunday. Where is everyone? we wondered. We soon found out on our next foray into town, which bustles like nobody's business! I saw First Ramallah Dance rehearsal space, where IMDT rehearsed and gave a workshop. That's Riham Isaac, Palestinian actress with them on the steps outside. I saw Khaled Elayaan, and his wife; and Raja, another festival board member (all in these photographs). I saw "Stars & Bucks" (!) cafe, and went in - it has the best view in Ramallah city centre. And, unlike Starbuck's, it has Argulas, or Sheesha - bubble smoke pipes. Coffee shops, grocery shops, and - Arafat's tomb - a really peaceful and pristine place. They refer to him as "Abu Amar". There's a Mahmoud Darwish poem there in Arabic - can anyone translate it? I saw random street scenes, and Baladna ice-cream shop. The ice-cream here is famous. Something about bubble-gum. Also - here are a few views from my hotel room when I was in the Grand Park Hotel. So - now you too have a window into Ramallah. I'll add some more here when I get another chance. But in the meantime - have a goo.

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