Another gorgeous day in paradise...weather is perfect here. Slight breeze, sunny skies, slightly warm.
Anyway...I have to share an unnerving experience from last night. I was walking home from the gym at 6pm. It was dark by then and the streets were deserted since everyone was home eating Iftar (the breaking of the fast for Ramadan at about 5:30.) I heard someone walking behind me the entire time but I just kept walking and didn't turn around. The man finally caught up to me but was walking on the other side of the street. When we came to a part of the road without any street lights, he walked over to me, very close, and said "How are you, what's going on," in Arabic in this low, slightly menacing voice. I yelled, "Go away" in Arabic, but he just came closer. So, I sprinted off as fast as I possibly could and ran all the way home.
I went straight to my neighbor's apartment and told them what happened. They all yelled at me for walking by myself after dark and said they had warned me against it a million times. (True, I said sheepishly.)
My neighbor said next time I go to the gym, he's going to round up a dozen of his friends, and wait for me in the bushes. If that guy follows me again and tries to talk to me, they're going to grab him, put a bag over his head, take him to a deserted olive tree grove, and beat the living crap out of him. Then, they're going to take him to the police station and tell him that the man tried to intimidate a foreign woman and that this reflects poorly on all Palestinians. Then, my neighbor assured me, the police will do the exact same thing to the guy a second time.
It is so nice having such great neighbors who keep a tight watch over the apartment building as things are not so safe these days. There have been several robberies lately, no surprise because the situation is getting increasingly desperate since no one is getting paid!