Follow that Truck!
Would you still read my blog if I told you I chased down a truck carrying a load of oranges, halfway to Jabaliya, all so Yousuf could have his OJ? Well, I did.
I had an accomplice, though: my father. He came to pick me up from my tai bo class (yes, yes, there are such things in Gaza, the subject of another blog entry I hope), and mentioned that he thought he saw a truck carrying oranges pass by. Why the sudden interest in oranges, you might ask? It all goes back to Yousuf. He loves orange juice. And unlike the United States, we don't have the luxury here of drinking OJ out of season. Its either freshly squeezed or not at all.
Orange season here usually ends around the beginning of June. This year the oranges were available longer than usual, a high note given the amount of trees that were raised in Beit Hanun and Jabaliya in last year's Israeli incursions. But we haven't been able to find any in the souks for well over a few weeks now. So when my father thought he spotted a truck carrying oranges, that could mean only one thing: there is a secret orange cartel in Gaza! Or there were some oranges left that we didn't know about.
So we did the only sane thing any parent-who-wants-the best for their child would do: we chased the truck down! When we finally spotted it, and got close enough to smell the sweet citrusy fragance, we knew what we had to do. We had him "pull over" in the middle of the road, and I ran out to accost him as my father manned the car. "You MUST sell us these oranges! Its my son, he has to have his orange juice!" (I can only imagine how this must seem to the outside observer, but I assure I'm completely sane).
The truck driver said the oranges were already sold (my guess is they were being driven to Karni, where they would sell in Israel for double the price). "Take one or two, free of charge".
"NOOO you don't understand...I can't have one or two...I ..." but the driver took of. It wouldn't end there. We continued to chase him, much to the bafflement (and disturbance) of my friend, who was riding with us. He finally pulled over again, this time my father had a "word" with him. I wonder if he thought we'd call in our kaleshnikov toting hired agents (cheap these days in Gaza).
"Duktor, we are acting like a bunch of gangs in a chase scene in a bad Egyptian movie!" he said. He finally agreed to sell us two large bagfulls of the oranges for 10 shekels, and swore they were the last oranges of the season, picked from a bayara (grove) in the Breij refugee camp in Central Gaza.
So Yousuf finally got his orange juice, we got our satisfaction with a chase well worth it, my friend is a little bit more worried about my mental health, and two truck drivers in Gaza are a little more scared. All is well.