...Sometimes one of my all-time favourite 90ies song title comes to mind while discovering Palestine. It is these small things that make the place so unique and lovable, although the contents of this post are not all positive!
The smileys below have been stuck on most of Ramallah's traffic lights (there are surprisingly few) as a way to bring a smile to people's faces. This initiative was first developed in another town, Nablus, but the municipality rejected it and took the stickers down... Ramallah is a more liberal town and the municipality agreed to it.
In fact Ramallah goes through great lengths to make the traffic experience a pleasant one for its people... This traffic warden is famous for his speed and efficiency, while at the same time making everyone feel like he has the best job in the world. I just love this guy and am obsessed with how great his uniform looks - he (or his wife) must be very good at ironing.
Discovering this man and his friendly style put a huge smile on my face and I can't wait to document him in more detail. He seems to have developed his own whistling language that can be heard from a long way away.
Maybe the emphasis on making the on-the-ground experience so positive can be in part explained because the area above is not controllable... Here a picture of my first un-manned Israeli drone encounter, used to surveil for "security reasons". When I first saw it, I thought someone was taking advantage of the weather and going for a glide! I said "cool" just a little too loudly and was quickly corrected by my companions.
These two posters are for sale all over Jerusalem and a sad reminder of the current situation.
I'm in two minds about the graffiti on the wall. It seems that too often people (including me) are excited to see the wall and hope to see some of the famous Banksy street art, distracting from the fact that it is very tragic.
Speaking of Banksy, I saw one of his pieces in Bethlehem by chance... lucky someone pointed it out as someone has built a structure around it and is asking for a fee to take photos. We didn't pay and made a swift exit.
My personal take on this on this approach to advertising is that it is bad taste and not suitable as something to be displayed on Ramallah's main Al-Manara square.
The product being advertised is an energy drink called Dum Dum. The name derives from a type of bullet, that expands on impact. Israel has been accused of using these bullets, despite them being prohibited for use in war by the Hague convention.
And to finish on a more positive note... here a spice tower made of "Zaatar", a spice consumed with bread and olive oil.