Friday, September 16, 2011

downtown ramallah

Last weekend, Michael and I strolled around town just learning our way around.  Michael was looking for a bookstore and I just wanted to shop and enjoy the walk.  Downtown Ramallah is a busy place with people walking in all directions and taxis driving around.  There are tons of food vendors, cafes, and shops along the sidewalk.  The buildings are a dull tan color, but the noises, smells and sights are anything but dull.  I know I'll definitely miss the smell of freshly baked bread!  Mmm!

Ramallah is actually very pedestrian friendly because the traffic gets so congested that the cars can't really drive very fast.  Sometimes I even walk in the street when the sidewalks are too crowded.  I actually get to walk through the city every morning on my way to work.  At first, I was really stressed out about it (not knowing my way around), but now I try to enjoy it. 

Also, people are super friendly here.  When we walk downtown, people approach us all the time.  They like to talk to Michael about soccer and ask us where we're from.  Most people respond with "I love America!"  We've given out our email to a few people and they've actually kept in touch with us. 

One night, we went to the grocery store and a guy helped us find some stuff we were confused about since it's all in Arabic.  He was so nice, and he didn't work there.  He was shopping too.  We had too many groceries to carry home, so we tried to hail a cab, but there were no cabs in sight.  This guy saw us in the parking lot as he was about to leave and actually offered us a ride home.  That's just not normal back home, but here, it's not weird.  People are kind to strangers.  He drove us home and helped us carry our bags.  It never ceases to amaze me how generous people here are.  And I really don't know how we would've made it home without his help.

Another thing I like here is that I haven't experienced any disrespectful men trying to hit on me or anything like that.  As a woman, you hear a lot of negative stereotypes about the way men act toward women, but Ramallah is considered a much more modern city within the Middle East.  I'm not excpeted to cover my hair, and I see many women who don't cover their heads either.  Women generally dress much more conservatively here (myself included), but still - I haven't had anyone yelling at me, cat calling me, or hitting on me.  And I love that.  I feel totally safe walking around by myself.  I can't say the same for Atlanta where I've felt legitimately threatened by men. 

So... here are a few pictures of Ramallah:

 This is the main circle and center of downtown.

 This is the famous Stars + Bucks Cafe.
 Not to be confused with Starbucks ;-)

If you remember from my post about my birthday, Nael and his family treated me to some yummy food from the bakery downtown.  I was craving some sweets, so we made a pit stop there.  It all looked so good, but there were these things like Chocolate Eclairs that Nael bought us for my birthday - and I wanted them again!

 THESE are sooooo good!

 The filling isn't that heavy pudding stuff. 
It's fluffy, sweet and delicious!

1 comment:

  1. Another YUM! Oh, the eclair looking pastries look delicious. Eat one for me and one for dad. The cakes are delicious looking as well.

    Thank you again to the kind strangers in Ramallah for taking care of my children while they are so far from home. It is truly appreciated. <3