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Today, after a week spent in close-to-Paradise relaxing, Théo and I went to the Palestinian shuk for some great deals on vegetables and other food. As such, I figured it would be a great time to follow up my previous post about the Israeli shuk as a bit of comparative photography and writing.

First and foremost, it is important to mention that the layout of the two markets cannot be more different. The Israeli one is nestled into the space of a few city blocks, while the Palestinian one is partially within the Old City, and then partially a row of open-air and storefront shops outside the Damascus Gate.

Similarly, the general feel of the two markets are also very different. While in the Israeli market, one feels very crowded but in a polite way; people don’t push you around, people are somewhat reasonable with the volume of their voices while hawking their wares, and there is a large space between shops (the main streets, at least, are far apart and allow for easy flow of traffic while the side corridors are quite crowded and small). The Palestinian shuk offers two experiences; within the Gate, one feels extremely crowded, in a loud and lively environment, and it is always a different experience. Outside the gate, and for reasons I don’t understand, a person can come at the same time on the same day two consecutive weeks in a row, and find either a stampede of shoppers and people, or a ghost-market of only shopkeeps.

That general introduction to situation aside, let me assure of one thing which amazes me every time I go, not matter how often I shop in the Palestinian shuk. Today, I had a 6 shekel falafel pita for breakfast, which is a really great deal. Shortly afterwards, I purchased three (3) large and fresh tomatoes as well as six (6) small and fresh cucumbers for 3 shekels (that would be something like USD $0.75). That is ridiculous. I almost feel bad about the price I am paying, but then I remember two things: a) the costs of living and production are cheaper in the West Bank (for a variety of reasons) and so the costs of (probably illegally-smuggled) fruits and vegetables in the Palestinian shuk will reflect that; and b) the prices are so crazy that cognitive dissonance must have set in for the vegetable sellers, thus allowing them to have RIDICULOUSLY consistently, all day every day.

Enjoy the photographs; I will continue to enjoy prices that cannot be legal anywhere on thus Earth. I also still plan on going to the hole-in-the-wall falafel place outside the Damascus Gate and play cards with some of old Palestinian gentlemen I have see doing the same. Photographs will follow such an endeavor, of course.

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