Palestine 0.0

A. tells me that he is travelling to Palestine in a few weeks. He was there a few months ago, and on that occasion I asked him to tell me with a bit more notice the next time he decided to go. And here he is, telling me with enough notice that he is going again for a few months.

So I think I should take this chance to go not entirely on my own.

I suggest that we travel together but he quickly dismisses the idea. He first explains that the Israeli occupation means that it is Israel border authorities we have to deal with before entering Palestine. The Israeli state considers all Palestinians a terrorism threat, and by extension, any one who supports the Palestinian cause. Therefore the Israeli authorities will not allow entry to the country to any one who is suspected of supporting the Palestinian cause. So if we want to make sure we are allowed in the country once we have arrived at the airport, the Israeli authorities will need to be satisfied that we are not a threat. If we arrive together, they will put us in separate rooms and interrogate us looking for contradictions between his story and mine, so it is a lot safer if we just arrive on different days.

Queen

The camera was focused on the centre of the room, where the girls were. The adults were looking at the scene, enchanted. The older girl with her little pink dress, doing her pranks. The small just one little baby, she looked at her sister with admiration and probably with envy, because in a moment when the older one prepared to jump on to the stool, there jumped the small one, stealing the limelight without trying.

The older one did not seem to mind, and she stood there looking at her like the rest of the audience.

By then only the small princess existed for the camera . And the camera man, in a moment of panic, remembered that his job was to focus on the two of them.

He rewound, and saw, relieved, that, although the human eye had only recorded the small girl being a small girl, the camera had recorded everything.

He wanted to explain his panic and let the girls see the recorded images. The small one could not listen, she remained in the stool being the centre of attention.

I am going to tell you what has happened with brutal honesty, girl, you deserve it and it is better that I explain it to you than you should realise in a worse way. There you are monkeing around, being a girl, and you are the queen. But then comes your little sister and she takes the stool from you. And from that moment, you may be the queen, and you are, you are the queen of the place, but your sister is the princess. And in this society, my dear, the grown-up people prefer princesses.

Freecycle

I have got a new bed, thanks to freecycle (http://freecycle.org). It is brilliant. It is a mailing list where people basically announce what they want, or want to give out, and whoever who might be interested, writes an e-mail to get it. Depending on what they offer, the announcer will receive a lot of emails. The one who is offering decides to whom he gives. The one receiving has to provide the transport.

Thanks to this I have a decent bed instead of a futon taken from the skip on two pallets also taken from the skip. What a luxury.

Keys

I have needed to make a copy of the most important key of my house, the one we only lock when there is no one left. The first problem comes when no one knows exactly who has the original key. And it goes on when you get to the key cut shop. The one making the copies tells you that the model she’s going to use is the last one she has of it – so you are very lucky indeed today – because it is a very old model that is no longer manufactured.

Route 73, Route 38. [end of the open buses]

At the beginning of my stay in London, I mostly used bus number 73. Bikes were not allowed in the place where I lived, and I didn’t have enough money to use the tube, so walking and taking buses for very long distances were the available options.

Anticipation

I am going to Palestine soon. Plans are taking shape faster and faster, although to be truthful, what is taking the most defined shape is this kind of goodbye, more than anticipation. It is estrange, it is like imagining the functioning of many things in your absence, and preparing everything to make sure that this machinery will go on like this, functioning.

Da Vinci Code

At last I read this famous book. I have used the chance to guess why it is a best seller… and I have mentally compared it with other books that I have liked a lot. “Un largo silencio”, (a long silence), or “La hija del canibal”, (The cannibal’s daughter) (I don’t think these two have been translated into English but I do think they deserve it – I could do it if it paid!) or “The name of the rose”. I’ll speak about those books on a later date.

Critical Mass

A “critical mass” has been happening every month in London for more than eleven years. A critical mass is a demonstration/march on bicycles, along the streets in central London, all together as a mass, in such a way that the traffic needs to accommodate to the bikes’ speed.

The police has never known too well how to stop them from happening, and for various years they chose to tolerate them while policing them. In the last years, various officers would accompany the mass on bikes too.

Sulphuric acid

I have no idea of what made my flat mates throw sulphuric acid down the toilet – funny word that the English had to borrow from the French because they didn’t find a word to name such thing.

Mobile

I finally have a mobile! At last I am contactable, and I know what time I am living on without having to ask, and I also have an alarm clock. All in one.

The downside has been not to be able to get a mobile that “Ethical Consumer” considers the best, because the monthly charge was prohibitive. So, mea culpa, I go on with a company that has the call centre in South East Asia, where I am sure people are exploited or nearly… I know it because every time I call them it sounds as if they are far, far away, it gets cut often (although only for a few seconds) and they all have the same accent. When I first started with this company all had Northern English accents – so I presume they had the premises there -, it didn’t get cut and the sound was good. I would have changed but I had to continue with them if I wanted to keep the same number as before and a cheap rate. When I am richer, I will be able to be more ethical. Yes, it sounds horrible but that is how things are. And the same applies to fair trade and organic food, unfortunately.