My Neighbourhood

Even though I don’t have anything particular to blog about I think I should put up something more interesting then a batch of broken bolt cutters.  So here are a few views of my neighbourhood, although not from my window.  These photos are from the roof top restaurant in the Adam hotel.  I was there just to meet Harry Fear’s delegation.

Ramadan started yesterday, so there is no food or water consumed, nor any smoking, during the daytime by the Muslim people here, and other folks are expected, out of respect, to not eat, drink or smoke in public.  This will carry on for 30 days.  Needless to say, doing heavy labour in a firetruck repair shop makes not drinking water quite difficult.  I’ve been told that I can drink, but just not in view of my fellow workers and I was even offered fresh figs from the tree in the yard.  Our work day is shortened to just 6 hours, so it’s not a big sacrifice for me, at least so far. Interestingly we were even offered drinks at a meeting, so it’s not a hard and solid rule.  

Last night a few of us were invited to the evening, end of the fast meal (iftar?), with the Samouni family in Zatoun near Gaza City.   We had a wonderful evening of eating and drinking and rough housing with the kids.  Happily, for a while I forgot about the gruesome history of where I was and who I was with.

From all reports there is a lot of violence happening in Egypt and especially around Rafah, so I will likely reschedule my flight home to a later date, which is just fine with me, as I am having a good trip so far.

Good night from Gaza City.

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Gaza Port looking to the Southwest.  The Mavi Marmara memorial is to the left.  Only a few of the boats go out fishing, as the Israeli attacks have been particularly bad recently.

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And the view to the West.

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And to the Northwest.  You can see a beach cafe to the right which is usually full of local folks (men and women) smoking shesha from water pipes and drinking huge amounts of tea and coffee and chatting.  But during Ramadan, this all now happens after about 8:00 PM, and carries on all night and into the morning, until the early meal happens around 3:30 AM, and then the daytime fasting starts once again.  One interesting tradition I discovered early yesterday morning, is that four fellows walk through the neighbourhood, singing beautifully about Ramadan, while drumming.  It’s quite magical to awake to it, and then hear the roosters crowing, birds singing and the clip clop of donkeys and horses on the paving stones.

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And finally looking more or less North.  My apartment building is tucked in amongst the tall ones on the right.  As you can see it is a very well off neighbourhood, being full of tourist hotels, diplomatic offices and various international NGOs, and all the trappings that go with them.

Goodnight from Gaza.

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