Funny. In a bout of extreme homesickness last night, I called a dear friend of mine, only to find him driving on the road, somewhere in Oklaholma on a business trip of sorts. He was a million miles away from me and apparently driving out to a casino to do some gambling. I hadn't eaten all day, and he put me on hold while he ordered a #5 at Arby's. I specifically told him to get curly fries, just so that I could feel my stomach wince. Meanwhile, it was midnight in Palestine. I was standing in a zip up hoodie and yoga pants near a fence outside of the camp--the only place that I can find clear reception for the junky cell phone from the early 1990's that I bought from a so-called 'peace' worker from New York. I was across the street from the "Paradise Hotel". From the steps of the hotel, a wedding party let out, and a self-proclaimed security guy kept watching me. I tried to explain to my friend that I seem to have 'watchers' everywhere. It's difficult to explain this out of context. But there really are eyes and ears everywhere. The sight of the white girl from the camp talking on her cell phone in the middle of the night inevitably drew a small crowd.
The funny thing is that I'm not a gambler. I have spent several long weekends in Las Vegas in my life, and I have never once touched a gambling table. I equate gambling to cocaine use. I just know it's not for me. I'd rather lay by the pool and have good looking young men bring me drinks while I pretend to be a rich girl from Malibu and get hit on by old men. At the same time, I have nothing against gambling. Taking risks is what people do. It keeps life interesting.
As I went to bed with a smile on my face, it occurred to me that some people seek out gambling casinos in Oklaholma in their spare time. Some people head straight to militarized, undeveloped countries to get on rickety Arab buses and head to Hebron out of a burning to desire to witness human rights violations, get followed around the city by watchers, and pretend not to notice that one's uncovered hair causes quite a stir. I guess we all seek our own gambles in life.
Hebron, for the record, was devastating to witness and overwhelmingly disturbing. At the moment, I'm without words to give the experience a voice. Next weekend will be my last in the West Bank before I take off for a 6 day trip to Jordan by way of the Red Sea. After this, I'll be relocating to Jerusalem and only coming into the West Bank for research and friendly visits. As if I can't get enough of Palestine, I'm heading to Nablus and Jenin for my last weekend. At the moment, an air conditioned casino sounds like paradise.