Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Empire State

I arose early to catch a morning tripper bus to New York.  I waited and chatted with an elderly Palestinian fellow from Jordan named Shawki.  We had a good rapport and sat together on the sparsely populated bus. He was a water engineer with the World Bank.  We chatted about life, religion and politics in the Middle East, and our respective disfavor with the bearded ones.  He had live a long life of travel in Jordan, Syria, India and the Gulf, doing water projects at each stop.

Shawki told me about early days in the Hashemite Kingdom, and what life was like when the West Bank was intact with the East Bank.  He spoke of where he was when the diminutive King Abdullah was gunned down at Al-Aksa, and how the Jordanian army ransacked the Palestinian shops in the old city in the wake of the assassination.

He also spoke of his friends in America, and how they were mostly Jews and Israelis.  And how he and the Israelis seemed to understand each other better in America than the Americans did.

And we despaired for a Middle East that presently left us both devoid of hope.

After a fine ride to the Big Apple, I bade farewell to my new friend.  I grabbed two slices of New York's finest at Famous Amadeus Pizza.  As always, New York never fails to disappoint in its pies.  Thin crisp crust with just enough tomato sauce and a bright glistening grease gravy savoring in the folded triangle slices.

I hopped the subway to Brooklyn. At the Penn Station subway, a shirtless grey dread beat out a calypso version of Frankie's "My Way" and I knew I had found the right locale.

And I rode the subway until I found my humble abode.  A nice size one bedroom that I am subletting for the month from Sarah.  I was introduced to Sarah by my friend Daron, who was my co-counselor at Seeds of Peace.  He and Sarah had worked together in Cape Verde in the Peace Corps.

Sarah and I had immediately hit it off, and felt like old friends when we first chatted.  Her grandfather started the Jerusalem Post, which once played home to my writings.

Sarah was off to Uganda for a month, and as there is no such thing as coincidence in this world, she happens to be in the field of water engineering.

"Irony is God's sense of humor"
-the poor Rabbi Rockower

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