Things in the whole Palestine/Israel area are interesting. People are skeptical of one another, scared to do anything or go anywhere. However, it is a place, just like any other. There are good parts, bad parts.. it's just the bad ones are extra bad. However, it is nothing to be afraid of. I met a handful of people who had been living in Jerusalem before I crossed the border. One of which gave me this interesting and insightful guide to Jerusalem. It is a guide of the city from two perspectives, showing both sides. Naturally, controversial, but fascinating from the outside point of view. As I planned the trip further, another friend showed me this Lonely Planet guide to West Bank tourism. An interesting article I recommend anybody reading, whether you ever plan on visiting the area or not. It encourages simply talking to people, getting to know an area and not just listening to the media. I took this advice and went to Hebron. An area known for large military forces and parts of the city that are forbidden by the other side.
Naturally, the Jewish family I was staying with, strongly encouraged me not to go to this Arabic community. And so I went. More comfortable by the Arab culture that I had been surrounded in for over a month, I felt at home in this war torn city. I was welcomed by smiling faces and treated like a guest as I crept in between buildings to see large gardens and olive groves in the back of all the buildings. Just as the Lonely Planet guide had said. One of my favorite people who I met was this man: Joseph. A banana seller. He spent nearly 30 minutes talking to me on the street, feeding me bananas as he asked about my life and told me about his. I must have eaten six bananas because he would not stop giving them to me. When I asked to photograph him, he asked why. I simply told him because I will eat these bananas and possibly forget this city and our conversations, but this photography will be my souvenir of Hebron and help me to remember you. And so he obliged.
[image of a parking lot in Hebron]