June 25, 2010

So, one thing I realized soon after moving over here to Ramallah is that Palestinian guys LOVE cars and they love to drive them fast. Most of my close friends are or were at some point racing in the rallies, so every few months we all go to watch the rally in one of the West Bank cities.

This time, the rally was right outside of Ramallah, in Betounya district in a parking lot right next to Ofer Checkpoint. The wall –or fence since its unfinished right now– is right beside the rally, complete with razor wire and watch towers. It provides a certain type of atmosphere I guess, ha.

The whole rally, there were three Israeli army and police jeeps with about a dozen people watching from the other side of the fence.  I dont know whether they were there –for security reasons– or there to watch, but Im pretty sure they were enjoying it.

The rally drivers come from all over the West Bank and some Palestinians who live in Israel. The most impressive cars have doors that open vertically, make the most noise, or have the most stickers on them–and they get surrounded by teenage boys taking pictures and videos with their phones.

A friend of mine was driving in the race so my roommate and I went to find him. He had already done his first turn and would go again in half an hour so we watched the other cars race.

In the background, dabke music was blasting.

The drivers have to follow the course marked with cones–they drift, do donuts, and try not to hit any of the cones because they would get a 3 second penalty. There was a group of girls racing called Speed Sisters. They beat a lot of the guys who were racing and got most of the western media attention.

On the way out after it finished, the winners sat on the tops of their cars with their trophies, blasting music, and getting photographed by the media and teenage boys.


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