Monday, July 13, 2009

Eating Ramen Noodles in Gaza

Besieged residents of Gaza have developed a new appetite, their choice is Ramen Noodle with curry or vegetable flavoring.

Made in Saudi Arabia, and licensed by an Indonesian company, each Ramen Noodle pack costs one Israeli shekel (25 cents) each.

I know it as an inferior food product. College kids consume the most of it and come up with creative ways to tolerate this diet.

The Ramen Noodle’s brand name is Ando Mi and can be purchased in all grocery stores throughout the strip.

Other new changes that Gazans have developed is a taste for cheap tobacco, smuggled via tunnels, a pack of L&M and others brand names runs for 5 shekels, roughly a dollar and 25 cents. So you get the idea
everybody smokes in Gaza and I mean even non smokers smoke—a good deal is a good deal.

Pollution is everywhere, since the quality gas is not allowed into the Strip, the tunnel people smuggle crappy low grade Egyptian fuel that pollutes the air. Visibility in Gaza is a lot worse than years before, sort of like Egypt. I spoke to so many cab drivers who run their cars on cooking gas.

Recycle everything, new business are emerging in Gaza to recycle anything that Israeli bans from entering the narrow strip. They recycle metal, leather, plastic, glasses and even electronic equipments. The Gaza strip has a vintage feel to it, sot of like Cuba where even cars look more like junk and less like things that move.

Finding a nice pair of shoes, jeans ain’t exactly a joy ride, only the shittiest Egyptians goods make it to the Strip and the rest is banned.

Thanks to the tunnels, the Egyptian economy in border towns and beyond is booming.

Everybody in Gaza now works in one of five professions: they run a grocery store, own an internet café, teach, work for an NGO or drive a cab.

Driving a cab is right of passage for every Gazan. When you ask people what they do, they say, “I drive a mattress” meaning that I either sleep or do nothing.

Residents of Gaza now have a trendy new profession, cooking for the public. You can order trays of rice and chicken for anywhere between 30 to 50 shekels from people’s kitchens. People use those for special or social occasions. Those create jobs for few thousands of individuals. I must say they make good food.

My brothers run electronic stores, they sell fans, ovens, blenders, microwaves, TVs and vacuums… they never sold anything but Chinese goods, now the Egyptians are sending their goods and there are no
other options.

If you are shopping for good kitchen China, you are out of luck. Apparently Egyptians do not use them. Also, for the first time in my memory, Gazans buy Egyptians shirts — in the past my Egyptians relatives used to ask me to pick them few good shirts from Gaza.

No one is building or rebuilding anything in Gaza. Ruins from Israel’s assault and UN issued tents are all over the Strip. People simply cannot find cement to rebuild, even via the tunnels.

It’s really bad here.

The price of 50 KGs bag of cement used to be 20 Shekels, now people are willing to spend 220 Shekels and still cannot find sellers. I am being told that tunnels are only used to smuggle light weight things with high profit margin. Other causalities include car batteries and machinery.

There is food in Gaza, plenty of food, but not much beyond that.

People eat and not work. You end up with a population of frustrated, overweight, underemployed, otherwise capable, individuals.


Mary on July 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM said...

That is very very sad about Gaza specially all Palestine it breaks our heart to hear about the people in such bad situation, we pray to GOD, to give them streght and patient and resolve their situation.



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