Friday, June 5, 2009

From one settler colony to another

I arrived safely last night. The border guard asked me all the standard questions and then, after seeing my passport photo, started talking to me about my incredible weight loss. Seriously, she seemed more interested in how I pulled it off than if I was any kind of security threat. Ridiculous.

Driving in from the airport made me realize two things that I probably knew already:

1. Canada and Israel have just so much in common. Besides the differential treatment that I was given at the airport (Israeli security grabbed all the brown people before we even got to the passport checks), the way the highways were cut out of and destroying the landscape felt so eerily familiar. The rocks were different, but otherwise, it was hard to tell if I was in Palestine or on the 401 heading east. All the signs had the Hebrew name for places in Hebrew and phonetically in Arabic and then the real, Arabic name in brackets. That kind of erasure made me think of how Tyendenaga didn't have a sign on the highway until very recently. I guess when you fly half way around the world to another settler colony you're never really all that far from home.

2. Israelis are spectacularly rude and impatient. We got stuck in traffic and everyone in the sherut was freaking out. Somehow they all managed to blame the situation on 'the Arabs', it was lovely. The irony of Israelis being stuck in some sort of inexplicable delay while travelling a short distance amused me so much that I didn't care that it took 2.5 hours to get to my hotel. Plus, the orthodox guys in the sherut kept talking about me in Hebrew and then seemed totally freaked out when I told them where I was heading after I overheard them arguing about who should ask me where my stop was. Fun times. All I can say is that I was relieved to get to my Palestinian run hotel and get away from Israeli culture for the night.

I'm off to go explore the Old City. Will post again soon.

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