Students of My Classes at the University were Attentive
By Simon Tarhag
Let us start with some of the fun stuff. Classes have begun, by that I mean that I am now running the three workshops that will continue being held for the rest of my stay. And they’re fantastic. Especially German and Parkour are an absolute blast, and I like to think the students are having just as much fun as I am. Now, I would be teaching hour long classes. But yeah, they’re great.
The students are attentive, very eager to participate, and fearless to tackle some of the absurd pronunciations of the German language. Contrary to the serious stare and serious students, there was lots of laughing that lesson.
The same can be said for parkour. Though the second lesson has left everyone, including myself, nearly immobile the day after due to muscle sores, there have been few Parkour classes I’ve enjoyed as much as I’ve enjoyed the first two here. The number of students for both the German class and Parkour rose drastically the second time around, so I may be so bold as to conclude that they are having fun too. Furthermore, the new campus (which really is very new, and very large) has entire sections that consist only of concrete walls at various angles and heights. It’s a traceur’s dream. Right now, we’re doing introductions to some of the moves, how to land a precision, intro vaults, learning some of the terminology. Its nature is all about getting around structure, so it can be a little odd trying to assign rules and bounds to a discipline that’s meant to circumvent them, but hey, we’re doing our best. And our best is looking pretty fine, I’d say. Complete with conditioning at the end, The evening saw everyone exhausted, sweaty, but happy, I can’t wait to continue on with these lessons in future.
Where much of the old city, though still beautiful in its own way, is a bustle of people, the courtyards and passages here are largely empty, save a few children playing outside. Outside, in the bustle of the markets, and the people traveling every which way, there are hundreds of smells (not all pleasant) and things all around you, and a side effect of all this commotion is a lot of waste that is often strewn over the floor. Also, much of the old city has not been properly renovated since various parts of it were destroyed, both from past earthquakes, and the intifadahs. Not so here in these living quarters. The funding for the renovation of this quarter, for instance, came from other wealthy Arab sponsors, and the result is, as seen above and below, beautiful. Instead of the makeshift bare concrete walls that top off many houses in the old city (sometimes nothing more than a few cinderblocks stacked on top of another, just so the people have a roof over their head again), attention has been paid here to keep in style with the light but solid stone, neat and sturdy angles, and the general look that has nothing ‘makeshift’ about it at all. It’s very clean, very light, and colourful.
Next, we made our way back to the spice Bazaar, easily the place my mum was most excited about. The old city has, so I learned, eight different sections, and over 50 such small neighbourhood areas as the one pictured above. Just puts into perspective how little of it I had seen so far. The head of the program here himself gave us the tour, and it’s a great pleasure listening to the vast amount of knowledge he possesses. According to him, even if one dedicates all day to the old city, the most one can truly see in detail is two of the eight sections. By the evening, I totally believed him. I mean, I guess it makes sense, with a city that’s between 2,000 to 3,000 years old. The obvious question that came to mind, then, was “why the hell isn’t this a UNESCO world heritage site?” Turns out only the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, the Old City of Jerusalem (and East Jerusalem), and the Palestinian village of Battir are Palestinian heritage sites. In Germany, even 19th century ironworks have a world heritage site sticker slapped onto them, but one of the oldest cities in the world is not worthy? But fear not dear reader, at least the Bauhaus/modern architecture section of Tel Aviv is UNESCO protected. Priorities, the world has them. So why aren’t these places in Palestine protected?