First book for the 2018 Travel Reads List! This one I couldn’t wait to read and it didn’t disappoint.
Fast Times in Palestine is about the authors experience living in Ramallah (where the government of Palestine is). She moves there to work for the Palestinian Monitor (a newspaper) and also works as a campaign manager during the 2005 Palestinian Authority Election.
Since Pamela lives in Ramallah during this book she needs to cross checkpoints in order to cross into different areas or to go to Jerusalem. She details her often troublesome and sometimes traumatic experiences when crossing the checkpoints and gives you a glimpse as to what Palestinians have to endure everyday if they want to buy food, seek medical attention, work, harvest crops or visit family.
When reading this book I was reminded of my own experiences when I went to this area in 2014. There were moments when the details were too familiar that I had to pause and read something else as it was affecting my dreams. However I still think it is an important book to read, especially if you want a real life perspective from an outsider on what really happens to people in this part of the world.
In the book she doesn’t just tell a story and make up facts or fill up pages with her opinions. Like all who travel to Israel and Palestine looking to learn something about this conflict and area, she writes about what she has witnessed, her emotions associated with the events she sees and reads about and also provides footnotes that link to articles and books. These provide external resources for you to fact check, read various reportings of an event and give yourself some extra background knowledge.
I wanted to include this as the first book this year because I think many people are afraid to travel here and I want to spread the message that it is not rockets flying and soldiers shooting 24 hours a day at anyone who moves. It is home to so many people: Jews, Muslims, Christians, and many other groups of people, most of whom just want to be able to live in peace on the land they have lived on since they were born. It is a place where you can learn so much about other cultures and religions and where hospitality is at the forefront of their way of life.
Reading through Pamela’s account gives you a glimpse on everyday life in Palestine and it inspires you not only to educate yourself but to also seek out those monuments and historical places that have been there since before Jesus himself. It makes you want to jump on the next plane so you can walk through those olive tree groves and then head to the market to inhale the pita, the knafeh, the hummus, the grape leaves, the tea and the shawarma.
Please let me know if you have read this book! What are your thoughts? Have you been to this area of the world?