Blogs from Nablus, West Bank, Israel, Middle East


Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus February 18th 2018

Today was a moving day - that is moving from one hotel to another. On those days we pack up our suitcases, put them out in the hall on our way to breakfast, identify our luggage before we board the bus to make sure it gets loaded. This was a long day of travel from one part of Israel to another, so we spent a lot of time on the bus. We started the day at nearby Yardenit, a baptismal site on the upper Jordan River. Several people wanted to reaffirm their baptism, some by immersion and others by pouring. It was a bit cold in the water but it was a wonderful way to start the day and to celebrate the reaffirmation of baptism. We then took a long bus ride to Jacob's Well in ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus March 12th 2016

We woke up way earlier than anyone should on Spring Break today. About 5:30, to be precise. We hopped on a bus with about 40 other people at 6:30 for a hike with an alternative travel company. An hour and a half later, we were deep in the West Bank, the semi-desert hills. Most of the other hikers were ex-pats living in Israel, although a couple were also just visiting the area. Some were American, some Canadian, one or two British, Belgian, or French, and a few more from around the world. All of them were very nice people and wonderful to talk to, and made for a wonderful hike! All in all, we did about 16 km, or about 10 miles, while climbing about 2000 feet in elevation. There was approximately 0 vegetation apart from ... read more
So much desert and beauty
Interesting rock formation
Hills and ravines

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus June 2nd 2014

Travelling and staying overnight in Nablus in the West Bank gave me a completely different vibe between the two days. I had never felt those ends of the specturm before as much as I did there. I arrived on a Friday, the Muslim weekly holiday and not many things were open. Venturing out of a messy hostel into the increasingly desolate old city, more and more posters of martyrs started appearing on the walls, among the closed livestock market with its lingering odours of slaughter. There were one or two people around, and not wanting to draw too much attention - this was, afterall, clearly intifada territory - I quickly took my opportunity to snap a photo of one such wall. There were other signs of the sort of vibe I am describing here that one ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus May 26th 2012

Day off of class in Jerusalem!'s the Sabbath, which means that almost everything this closed until nightfall. The first day we were in the country, one of our professors Dr. Dallaire introduced us to Aroma. Aroma is this absurdly good coffee shop just outside the Jaffa gate, and its small chain of stores around Israel is the reason why Starbucks is nowhere to be found. (Though...I should note that there's a "Stars and Bucks" in Bethlehem near the Church of the Nativity, whose logo looks suspiciously familar...) So, I'm having to be content with finishing up my blog posts in the comfort of the hotel room until our test this afternoon. Yesterday, we explored the area of Samaria which is largely in the modern-day Palestinian West Bank. We saw many examples of vines, olive and ... read more
Me at the MB II gates of Shechem
Excavations at Shiloh
Nablus and Balatah from Mt Gerazim

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus June 28th 2010

This is it once again. Spent more than 3 weeks travelling through the middle east and enjoyed it too much. This report is just a summary of my trip. My first night in Jordan I met up with John and Joelle, my lebanese friends who were in Amman at that time. It was really lovely to catch up with them. On saturday i started my travels towards lebanon by service taxi. The syrian controls have been hilarious as usual, met some very kind people on the way, monks and nuns who spontaneously offered me to show me their monastery near Saida and offered me a bed for the night. We spent the evening watching charlies angels, drinking lebanese Almaza beer (delicious i must say)... I didn't imagine these deeply religious people to spend their evenings in ... read more
Entrance "Al Bass" refugee camp
Al Bass
Shop owner in al Bass (Tyre)

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus July 23rd 2009

I’m looking back on my past two months here in Nablus, and I am simply stunned by how quickly time passed. I look back on former doubts- I almost stayed in Canada, and then I almost got sent Back to Canada when I arrived- I have a hard time believing that I almost threw it all out the window. The minute I arrived in Nablus, I was completely embraced by the locals. The minute I arrived at the center, I was completely embraced by the staff. How to phrase this without going cliché or cheesy? I’m taking with me at least basic knowledge on how to research and prepare grant and project proposals. A much more in-depth understanding of the conflict here. Of conditions of life here. Some personal insights. A MUCH improved understanding of ... read more
Parade Day

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus July 21st 2009

Yesterday was MADNESS. Literally, the most dangerous event that has occurred to me thus far in Palestine. And it had nothing to do with anything political, economic… not about human rights or civil society. It had to do with Dessert. Nablus is famous for its Kunafa, a ridiculously rich dish that, as my roommate and I have determined, is both sweet and savoury; insanely delicious but also kind of disgusting. It is vermicelli, with goat cheese, with sugar sauce; and I wouldn’t doubt if they slip some crack into these addictive bad boys. In any case, I have heard faint buzzing over the past couple weeks that Nablus, in its Shopping Festival, was vying to make the Guinness record-breaking kunafa in the city. And I’m thinking: who tried to break this record before? All of us ... read more
The Eye of the Storm
Photo 3
And the Table Falls

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus July 21st 2009

So I woke up this morning, and took a service to work, as per the norm. The routine kind of subconsciously sinks in, making you feel incredibly settled and content. However, one should realize: Routine can be boring. Nablus, and the CSC for that matter, is far from boring. Thus, routine cannot exist in Nablus. To elaborate: I get into the center, and I’m met by the director’s daughter Fayrouz, who asks me if I ‘am coming, or not.’ Uh, I’m sorry, what? Well, I have learned that being completely unaware of what is happening sometimes leads to the best days. We show up, I get jazzed up in a CSC vest (very utilitarian chic, I might say), and I am left to my own devices while everyone is running around. I see: a bunch of ... read more
Mohammed and Afnan
Mini Clock Tower

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus July 9th 2009

These are scant entries, but I'm mad busy with work here. Water Issues Among other things, the Israeli consumption of water is four to five times the Palestinian consumption rate. The settlements are seven to eight times the Palestinian consumption About 25% of the local communities go completely without water. I read a statistic the other day, saying that the average consumption among the Palestinians is 10-15 liters a day. That, I think was the average 5 years ago- I am realistic enough, and know enough about the situation now, to assume that it’s worse. In any case, 10-15? I originally thought: not so bad. (basita) I mean, I try and finish 2 litres of water a day, and that leaves me sloshing around back home (and still dehydrated here. People weren’t meant to live at ... read more
Fara'a Interrogation Center
Water Problems
Wadi Kana

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus July 5th 2009

I don’t know exactly how much everyone out there knows about the history of what are now the occupied Palestinian territories. Whew… let me think about this. The Palestinian issue is so freaking complex, how to summarize it? …it’s kind of like, well, you know how every Christmas (and this is a universal thing, ha), you excitedly unpack your decorations; only to find your string of lights is now a giant undecipherable ball of tangled mess? Poor analogy, but that’s kind of you can perceive this conflict. All of us who just finished the workshop are all on this high, but then we realize that we are all going to run into a brick wall. Really, really quickly. But back on topic. The Israeli-Palestinian issue has a lot of different facets which frustratingly complicate the issue. ... read more
Old City
Wadi Kana
Refugee Camp

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