I'M IN. THANK YOU, TDP

I was preparing myself for another day of waiting in Jerusalem when I heard excited voices in the garden: in quick sucession, Jackie, Jan & Henriette (another member of the Theatre Day Productions' lovely bunch) gave me the good news: My Number (it was already acquiring mythical proportions in my mind) had been approved. So yesterday at mid-day a taxi took me to the Erez crossing.

I would lie if I said I wasn't nervous. The fact that the taxi driver, a lovely man in his seventies who could only speak a few words in English, seemed to be falling asleep (probably exhausted because of the Ramadan fast) didn't help. But we arrived safe and sound to the border, and my entry into Gaza was blissfully uneventful, even though, for a moment, the Israeli girl checking the bags made me sweat when she looked at my hard-drive like it was a meteroite and said she thought it wasn't allowed in! But her colleague said it was no problem at all as soon as he was sure that "the artifact" belonged to me, and not to the Arab lady that was by my side in the queue...

Two turnstiles, a long caged corridor and another two checkpoints later (below you can see the funny and very helpful maps Oli drew for me) I was in a taxi bound for Gaza City, chatting with Abu Ihab, the driver, who taught me some basic Arabic sentences. Outside the TDP's offices, Olinka was waiting for me. Shukran-شكرا

After a brief but wonderfully warm introduction to the people that were still rehearsing in the theatre when I arrived, Oli and I took another taxi (an omnipresent feature of our lifes here in Gaza) to the hotel to leave the bags and chill out a bit without having to worry about inappropriate physical contact in public. Believe it or not, we are being a perfect example of modesty whenever we aren't alone... ;) When in Rome, do as the Romans do...

Steve, Oli and I finished our day with a little walk around the hotel surroundings (accompanied by lots of welcoming greetings from people in the street) in search of something sweet to have as a dessert. We found some delicious baklava (and another sweet called "kanafeh") and ate it on Steve's balcony along with a fruit salad he prepared with the intoxicatingly fragrant mangoes from one of the nearby vegetable shops. I tried to do some admin back in our room, but fell asleep very quickly, dreaming of the beginning of my work here the next morning.

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