Festival and wedding fun

Dear, dear readers, I would like to give my parents a quick summary of official events I have attended for fun since I got to the West Bank just over six weeks ago: two beer festivals, a music festival and a wedding.

SHEPHERD’S BEER FESTIVAL, BIRZEIT

At the end of August I was taken by some gorgeous Palestinians to a historical and hipster university town near Ramallah. If hearsay is to be believed, the Republic of Falafel serves the best food in the old town.

Palestinian beer logo
Brewed by Brothers, for Bros

Headline act were Palestinian alternative folk-rock band Apo & The Apostles. More on indie music in my music post.

The lead singer whizzed us briefly through some of the local geography. Arab villages here have names to recall my native Somerset’s Mudford Sock, Nempnett Thrubwell and Queen Camel. Legend has it a fling between a man from MusMus (lit:SuckSuck) and a woman from Abu Snan (lit:Father of Teeth) was shortlived.

Birzeit University PAS programme hosts many Arabic students, including those on their year abroad from Cambridge. Birzeit municipal building hoists a Palestinian flag next to an EU one, poignantly juxtaposed for my post-Brexit visit.

Favourite factoid of the evening: registration plates with a final “99” used to belong to secret police or Palestinian Authority high-ups. And maybe they still do!

palestinian-authority-license-registration-number-plate-99.

PALESTINE ALTERNATIVE MUSIC FESTIVAL, BEIT SAHOUR

Palestinian Alternative Music Festival 2016
I had no idea what the big surprise was, and nor did any audience members I spoke to.

Punters and performers mingled at this well-lit little fest. Shisha at the very least was consumed by many attendees, and in the liberal crowd same-sex couples could be seen dancing openly. I’m a fan of Dam and their live performance was croud-rousing. pamdam

A single measure of spirits here is ~120ml, I say merely as information.

Stop-off for breakfast next day was at Zuwadeh deli in Beit Jala, where I stocked up on sushi-making supplies and drank several cappuccinos.

I had a lift from a NGO worker from Ramallah to Bethlehem. On the way there we had to stick to Area C but returning we had no Palestinians in the car so took the faster, settler route, remembering only as we hit the checkpoint to nix Dam Rap’s blaring Who’s the terrorist?

On the way back a young man took exception to the following outfit and with wild gesticulations demanded to know what this was. His opinion was that it was b*******.

********!
I took this selfie in honour of the handmade hat and my heart is full for them as gave it to me

The skirt may have clashed with the cityscape-patterned tights I paired it with. Red espadrille wedges could have been a touch much.

This is the only street harassment I have received in the West Bank, and I dress with more ‘modesty’ than many of the local Nabulsi and Ramallan girls.

OKTOBERFEST, TAYBEH

the largest gathering of foreigners in the West Bank’.

taybehdam

Oktoberfest is hosted by Taybeh brewery, who provide visitors with family-friendly fun in the sunlit hours and raucous dancing after nightfall. Pork sausages, local cabernet sauvignon and merlot and three types of ale are on sale.

Traditional and alternative music is played. There’s a climbing wall. The brewery is open to the public.

I went with a shabb who told me that he hopes to be a comedian, several Project Hope volunteers, and a journalist and fellow Brit who writes for the Palestine Monitor.

MY PROFESSOR’S BROTHER’S WEDDING PARTY HENNA NIGHT, TULKARM

Wedding guests here sometimes comingle and sometimes are segregated by sex. At this party, the night before the wedding itself, the groom’s female relations and neighbours, as well as all his sister’s foreign students, gathered under the vines and lemon trees of his yard to dance and eat. On the other side of the garden wall a stage with professional disco lighting and sound system was set up to host a traditional wedding singer and then a band.

mens side palestinian wedding
Women creeping onto the roof could sneak a peek at the men’s side of the party

Perhaps you have seen fancy baby boy suits and outfits at a Middle Eastern souq and wondered when they are worn. They are worn at this wedding. Outrageously frilly pink little girls enjoy dancing with us foreigners very much. Our teacher’s aunt kindly but not unusually accommodated the eight of us who stayed for the second night of wedding celebrations.

Food was ouzi (like the gun); a national dish of Iraq made from rice and minced lamb and cashews. It was served with a hunk of flank and vegetable and yoghurt sauces. As is traditional, soda (off-brand coca-cola) and sweets are handed to guests. Arabic coffee is served just before guests leave.

wikipedia ouzi
Ouzi

Tulkarm looks v pleasant, with many old houses. The main square (below) was hosting a very amateur Evil Knieval impersonator as I left. I was glad my glimpse did not last long enough to witness his eventual downfall.

tulkarm.jpg

By the way I am happy and well and you don’t need to worry about me.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mother says:

    Darling, thank you so much for this 😁. We have had some glorious late summer days here, the Conservative Conference just ended with May grabbing centre left and right whilst Labour Party are still squabbling talking about nothing but “The Party” and Nigel Farage back as Interim leader of UKIP! Granny brighter of eye and bushier of tail. Naomi is leaving the Cafe 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ambassadresstopantsfeels says:

      This is most motherish. Very reassuring thank you.

      Like

  2. Mother says:

    “Ambassadress, where were you when last accused of a style crime?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ambassadresstopantsfeels says:

      This is ********.

      Like

  3. Granny says:

    This account is riveting – Cant wait to hear more dear Ambassadress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ambassadresstopantsfeels says:

      Thanks Granny! The Season is drawing to a close. I’ll try to keep up wedding invites but it’s graft here on out xxx

      Like

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