Thursday, January 18

What went wrong. Pt 2

After successfully arriving in Petra, we ended up at a restaurant that happened to know the phone number for the hostel at which we had reservations. He called the hostel and our host came to pick us up in his car. It was great because they didn't try to charge us or hustle us for anything else that we would have had to pay for.

The Arctic Hostel:
The hostel was a great place except for one fact. It was cold. I don't mean wear-a-long-sleeve-shirt-and-pull-up-the-covers cold. I mean two-pairs-of-socks-four-shirts-long-underwear-hat-and-gloves cold. Oh yeah, we had 3 blankets each. I do not think that I am exaggerating when I say that it was less than 40 degrees in our room when I went to bed the first night. The first time I went upstairs to try to go to bed, I erupted into a coughing fit because the cold air hit my lungs so harshly. I had to go back downstairs and warm up by the one furnace they had on in the building.

Eventually, the room warmed up slightly (maybe 50 degrees) enough that I was able to sleep, although Hannah and Sarah did not sleep very well that night. Apparently, that's what you get for 7jd per night. The thing is, if I go to Petra again, I'll stay there, just not in winter.

Lunch in Jerusalem:
Ok, so we had a few more capers in Amman, including paying at least 5 times what we should have to get from Petra to Amman (not really an interesting story, as by that time our spirits were broken and didn't really even put up a fight), and a cab driver who tried to tell us his meter was broken. The only other interesting problem actually occurred after we returned to Palestine.

Sarah, Hannah, and I decided to spend the day in the Old City. We wanted to see the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb. For lunch, we decided to stop and sit down for some falafel sandwiches and hummus. We ordered our sandwiches and hummus, and the proprietor of the restaurant brought out a bowl of falafel balls, a basket of bread, and 6 or 7 bowls of various salads to put on our sandwiches (we presumed). As we were eating, we were joking about how if we were in Jordan, they would charge us for each individual sandwich topping and then act offended by our surprise. Then the bill came out.

If we go out for falafels in Bethlehem, they usually cost 3 shekels each. If we go in Jerusalem they are 5 or 6. We expected to pay 8-10 each because the place was kind of nice and we got to sit down. The bill was 135 shekels (about $30). I was surprised by the high total, and so I asked the manager to explain the bill (it was written in Arabic). The dirty dog had charged us for each sandwich topping (including two we didn't even want) and basically just wanted to rip us off because we were foreigners. He feigned offense as I told him exactly what I thought about his method of doing business. Because my Arabic is still fairly rudimentary, the only insult I could muster was that he was "a very bad man, and not clever." I debated whether to use the few Arabic curse words that I do know, but I decided that wouldn't help. Then I put the money on the table and stormed out. (I spit on his doorstep for good measure).

The thing was, I was in Palestine. I didn't expect a Palestinian to try to take advantage of me that way. It really was the first time that it had happened here. I suppose that I have learned some valuable lessons from all this, but for now, I think I'm just going to sulk.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Ugh. I find it very difficult to fight stereotyping when these things occur. Several friends and my parents have been pick-pocketed by the gypsies, and several of them beg me for money every single day. They carry fake babies and tell me that they're starving. I even had one of the men pull the cigarette out of his mouth, put it in the hand holding his sandwich, and use the other to ask for money for food. It's ridiculous. The Bangladeshi are really friendly people, but they never shower! But I'm not stereotyping...