I’m flexible on Israel and Palestine
A bright yellow bus rumbles along a tired road. Flanked by vast meadows yellow licked with flowers scattered amongst the green. The bus heaves towards the Lake District of Khuvsgal, with passengers either returning home or visiting loved ones over the sun kissed month of July. A few eager tourists make up the rest of these passengers. Four of them seemingly young Israeli’s released from the shackle of three years military duty and a couple of years of study. One, a female with a dove white smile that you dare not return. Full bodied in a womanly shape, her hair almost as dark as the locals. The other foreigners are two Australians, brothers in fact. Myself being the oldest of the two.
I’m in the predicament of longing for a nameless woman most likely out of reach from even a chance encounter of conversation. “How about this ride aye?” I’m not even getting the saying right, but it might just fly with someone who hopefully speaks English as a second language. If she doesn’t, then I have a small window of opportunity to learn Israeli or even just the phrase “How about this ride aye”. It wouldn’t be a bad ice breaker would it? I mean, come on. We’re on a 12 hour bus ride towards the northern part of Mongolia. There’s plenty to wax lyrical on. I could climb over my brother, hop just two rows back and BREAK THE ICE. We could talk about everything that allowed the result of our chance collision in the world. I could say,
“I’m glad for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, otherwise you wouldn’t have finished up in the military and released yourself from the demands of protecting the homeland to travel the world.”
Maybe that wouldn’t fly.
The enduring conflict has probably killed a loved one or two of hers. But hey, what can you do? Suddenly my sheltered upbringing in a Sydney boys boarding school leaves me yet again feeling highly inadequate at relating truthfully to the harsh realities of most human existence and also incredibly useless as a person, my survival skills are embarrassingly low. I can read a Lonely Planet though… And I’m learning to listen to Jazz. Coltrane muffles out the roar of the bus engine and the occasional squeal of the baby in the seat in front of me. I technically know nothing about jazz, but it’s growing on me as I stray further and further from more contemporary alternative song writing and structure. “Do you like Jazz?” I pierce the silence emitted from the selfish, boneheaded socio political remark. I assume a straight ‘No’ would be the answer from the Israelite goddess.
I lurch from a half hour nap, as the bus grinds to a halt, with a sudden realisation, one of the other Israeli’s is most likely her partner. A fairly large stumbling block, as large as the stubborn bull blocking both ends of the traffic on this ludicrously thin road.
Guess I won’t have to worry about Israel and Palestine…for now.
10 hours to go.
[apologies if you expected some kind of insight into the actual Israeli Palestinian conflict]