Gaza 1 – The road to Gaza

»Jalla Jalla buddy, let’s go get our clearences« were one of the first Erik’s words, after he hung up his cellphone with a smile on his face in one of the rooms in Vienna hotel, Cairo. Few seconds ago, he was on a line with slovenian ambassador in Egpyt. Mr. Robert Kokalj. We met with him in some of those »high class« hotels. Ambient resembled to one of the action thriller movie scenes. Hotel with one of the best viewing points to the Nile river, terrace full of plants, smoke coming from shisha at one of the tables next to us, almost phony staff of the hotel who are serving the goods. We sat at the table, while Mr. Robert gave us, after some conversation, the documents which allow us with Erik, to pass the Egyptian border with Gaza. First glance at Mr. Robert reminded me of Wolf – fictional character from Pulp Fiction movie. Classy, in a bright shirt, blue tie, calm words and effective actions. One of his latest achievements is transportation of medicine to the Libya. After a meeting, me and Erik cheered up with a cigarette and glass of water. In this case, water was better. Cleopatra cigarettes really suck. Me made a decision to run through Tahrir square and get us shishtawook and return to our room. Like Egyptians, Erik’s computer also started to resist from us taking control of it. Windows just broke down, so this resulted in a search of installation DVD of Windows 7, apart for searching for some toothpaste. Unbeliveable how many computer engeneers appear, when you need them. Offering a service for about 50 egyptian pounds. After some screwing around with computer, i managed to set up Ubuntu system. Last resort solution.

Night covered the city and we made a decision to get moving to El-Arish as soon as possible. But to fell asleep, regarding the situation, it was impossible and a decision too optimistic. Army of the mosquitoes, Erik’s snoring and my thougts of Gaza, which filled in other way-empty head, were thievs of my chance to sleep. In the morning, we caught a bus just by the tail, but why hurry –  we had 6 hour ride ahead of us. From Cairo to Arish. With only one stop, where me and Erik smoked a cig, and i also went to buy some juice, what in a best way, looked like few years old semen of the sickest camel you could find in a middle east. Somehow i felt compassion to the ants, which attacket half empty bottle i threw away.

(on a way from Cairo to El-Arish)

From El-Arish, we took a taxi driver to take us to Rafah, one of the many who offered the ride.How come that we would not? They alike the journalists run for dead bodies,drama and action, just run into travellers. We’re all just a bunch of fucking vultures. We entered the car, and to finish the ride of the few last kilometers in our way to Gaza. Egyptian army established some checkpoints on a road, and there were more of them, than last time of my visit. Checkpoints look like this; some concrete blocks on a road, APC with some soldiers chillin’ around, and .50 cal machine gun in a ready state. At some points, they let us pass without complications, at other, they took our passports, and at the first one, they wanted to check all our luggage. Finally we made our way to Rafah border crossing. Experiment to pass through without a problems, failed. One of the officers told us to sit down and wait. Andy, Erik and me sat at some near teahouse which was only shade around. After about one hour of waiting, we thought we’re going through. Some officer approached us, but he invited only »Irlanda Andrew« to go. We smoke some cigarettes again, hour has passed, some more cigs, tea, another hour, and then some waiter came to us, and said »no transit«. At the border office, they didn’t recieve the message saying that we’re clear to go. Erik dialed the number of mr. Robert and after some nervous glances, the officer came to take us in. Arrogance of some workers there, suddenly turned into a plan how to get rid of us quickly as possible and send us to Gaza.

We crossed the Egyptian side an reunited with Andy, who was in some relaxed debate with one of the high ranking employees at the border. Wherever you go, definetly you need someone in your crew, that knows talks about football. It’s connects people as much as a politics divide them.Sun became to grow bigger and more orange. On Palestinian side everything was totally smooth. Abu Hassan, one of the officers at Hamas’s side of a border came to us with a smile and some form we had to complete about our trip and our data. Well, actually i don’t know the answer to question that involves »Who am I?«, but Hamas is nothing to joke around and resolve existencial questions. But maybe i don’t know them enough yet. Abu Hassan remembered my last visit, so that maybe helped even more to make things smooth. We were in a good care. He also arranged taxi, to take us directly from the border to Beit Hanoun.

Smell of occupation, to the western – chaotic streets and roads, sun which sets different every time same above Gaza sky. Everything was like it was before. Like  i was here yesterday not 5 months ago. Only yellow flags, after signing a peace treaty between Hamas and Fatah, yellow flags of Fatah reminded me, that Gaza never sleeps. We arrived at the house where we stay, and again became part of a family that we live at for next days.. Below the balcony, some wedding ceremony and celebration was held on a street.
While i’m finishing this post at 3AM, i’m back from a cigarette break on a rooftop of the house. Cigarette, which i put away quite soon. Ambient was set just right for me to return to the room. Wild dogs running, and barking around at the border with Israel, chickens making their sounds through the empty streets, stray donkeys wandering around like they’re high on some drugs. Cocking of the weapon somewhere in the distance. But all this is more acceptable than Erik’s and Andy’s synhronised snooring. About a visit at the dentist, Haniyah and refugee camps, later in a next post from Gaza.

»Jalla Jalla,stari, greva po dovoljenja« so bile prve Erikove besede, ko je z nasmeškom odložil telefon v sobi hotela Vienna, v Kairu. Nekaj sekund pred tem, se je dogovarjal s slovenskim ambasadorjem v Egiptu. Robert Kokalj. Z njim sva se sestala v enem izmed »high class« hotelov. Ambient spominjal na prizor iz kakšnih akcijskih trilerjev –  hotel, z enim izmed boljših pogledov na Nil, terasa polna zelenja, dim iz šiše prihaja iz ene od bližnjih miz, uslužbenci skoraj že osladno strežejo dobrine z, za Cairo totalno zasoljenimi cenami… Sedeli smo za mizo, ko nama je gospod Robert, po pogovoru izročil dokumente, ki omogočajo prehod Egipčanske meje z Gazo. Gospod Robert me je spominjal na lik Wolfa, iz filma Pulp Fiction. Uglajen, v svetli srajci, modri kravati, z umirjenimi besedami in efektivnimi dejanji. En izmed njegovih pred kratkim uspelih projektov, je transport zdravil v Libijo. Po sestanku, sva z Erikom nazdravila s cigareto in kozarcem vode. V tem primeru je bila voda boljša, Cleopatra cigarete res »smrdijo«. Odločila sva se, da skočiva še po shishtawook, čez trg Tahrir in nazaj v sobo, saj se je kot Egipčani, tudi Erikov računalnik upiral nadvladi nad njim. Sesuli so se mu Windowsi, in poleg zobne paste, sva prejšni dan po ulicah iskala še DVD za inštalacijo Windowsev 7. Neverjetno, koliko računalniških inženirjev se pojavi kar iznenada. Aja, fora je, da vsi zahtevajo okrog 50 funtov za popravilo računalnika in vsi garantirajo da bo delal. Po nekaj urah jebanja z računalnikom, sem uspešno naložil Ubuntu. Rešitev v skrajni sili.

Padla je noč, in z odločitvijo, da zarana spičimo proti El-Arishu smo se vrgli v postelje. A spanje je bilo glede na razmere, preveč optimistična opcija. Armada komarjev, Erikovo smrčanje, in moje misli na Gazo, ki so mi polnile sicer prazno glavo, so bili tatovi spanca.

Zjutraj smo za las ujeli avtobus, ampak itak zakaj hiteti-čakala nas je dobrih 6 ur dolga vožnja iz Kaira do El-Arisha. Z enim postankom, kjer sva z Erikom prižgala čik, jaz pa sem na postaji nabavil še en »sok«, ki je v najboljšem primeru, spominjal na par let staro, spermo najbolj bolne kamele, ki si jo lahko predstavljaš na bližnjem vzhodu. Nekako sem čutil sočutje do mravelj, ki so po par sekundah najbrž napadle odvrženo flaško, s še polovico vsebine.

Iz El-Arisha, smo vzeli taksi, enega izmed mnogih ki so se ponujali. Kakopak ne, saj tako kot novinarji letijo v akcijo kjer so žrtve, prav tako taksisti obkolijo tujce, z upanjem da lahko potegnejo nekaj funtov več. Vsi smo ene jebene ujede. Z Erikom in Andrewom smo se vkrcali v avto, in odšli naproti še zadnjim kilometrom, ki so nas ločili od Gaze. Na poti iz Arisha do Gaze, je Egipčanska vojska postavila svoje kontrolne točke, tokrat jih je bilo precej več kot ob mojem prejšnjem obisku. Postojanke izgledajo nekako tako; nekaj blokov betona na enem izmed pasov in vozilo na gosenicah za transport vojakov  (armored personel carirer) z nekaj vojaki, in .50 cal strojnico. Na nekaterih točkah so nas spustili mimo brez ustavljanja, na nekaterih so zahtevali potne liste, na prvi pa so preiskali vso našo pritljago in postavljali vprašanja. Končno smo se prebili do Rafe-mejnega prehoda, z Gazo. Poskus da pridemo čez brez problemov ni uspel. En izmed uradnikov nam je ukazal naj se butnemo dol in čakamo. Andy, Erik in jaz smo se usedli v bližnjo čajarno, ki je bila edina senca naokrog. Po približno uri čakanja, so se nam že zasvetile oči, »pejmo čez.« Do nas je pristopil oficir, a s seboj je vzel le »Irlanda Andrewa«, z Erikom sva obsedela na še parih cigaretih… minila je ura, en čaj, še par cigaret, še pol ure, nato pa je prišel kelnar, in izjavil »no transit«. Na meji namreč niso prejeli sporočila iz strani Egipčanskih oblasti, da lahko prečkava prehod.

Erik je zavrtel številko, ok, vtipkal jo je. Številko gospoda Roberta. Minilo je nekaj naslednjih deset minut, nešteto živčnih pogledov, ko so naju kot zadnja povabili noter. Prej aroganca obmejnih oficirjev, se je spremenila v načrt, da se naju čimprej že znebijo in pošljejo čez.

Gladko sva prešla Egipčansko stran, se srečala z Andrewom, ki naju je čakal ob sproščeni debati z vodjo mejnega prehoda. Kamorkoli greš, vedno v družbi potrebuješ nekoga, ki obvlada pogovore o nogometu. To namreč povezuje ljudi ravno toliko, kot jih politika razmejuje. Sonce je postajalo vedno večje in bolj oranžno. Na Palestinski strani je vse potekalo gladko, Abu Hassan, en izmed glavnih na Hamasovi meji je pristopil do nas z nasmehom in obrazcem, v katerega smo izpolnili podatke o potovanju in o nas. Sicer na vprašanje »Kdo sem?« še vedno ne poznam odgovora, ampak s Hamasovci se ni lih za zajebavat o eksistencialnih vprašanjih. No, nisem jih še dovolj spoznal najbrž. Abu Hassan se me je spomnil še od prejšnjega obiska, kar je tudi sicer njegova služba, ampak vseeno, to je nekako pripomoglo, da je poskrbel za nas. Bili smo v dobrih rokah. Poskrbel je za taksi, ki nas je popeljal direktno iz meje do severa gaze Beit Hanouna. Vonj po okupaciji, zahodnjaku kaotične ceste in ulice, sonce, ki je nad Gazo vedno drugačno. Vse je ostalo isto, zdelo se mi je, ne kot da je minilo 5 mesecev, ampak, kot da sem bil tu še včeraj. Le rumene zastave obešene na hiše-zastave Fataha so oznanjale, da tudi po podpisu premirja med Hamasom in Fatahom, Gaza vseeno nikoli ne spi. Prispeli smo do hiše v kateri prebivamo, spet smo postali člani družine s katero bomo živeli naslednje dni… Pod balkonom je bilo proslavljanje poroke.

Ko zaključujem tale zapis ob 3h ponoči, sem se ravno vrnil iz strehe kamor sem šel na cigareto. A sem jo dokaj hitro ugasnil-ambient je bil ravno pravšnji,da se vrnem nazaj v sobo. Divji psi lajajo ob meji z Izraleom, kokoši se sliši čez prazne ulice, zbezljani osli se brezciljno sprehajajo po cesti. Zvok repetiranja orožja v daljavi. Vseeno bolj sprejemljivo, kot Erikovo in Andrewovo simultano smrčanje. O obisku zobarja, Haniyi, in begunskih taboriščih pa v naslednjem zapisu.

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