Some Gazans don’t forget the simple things in life

I certainly didn’t see this in Gaza, but it’s oddly comforting that so-called normality can continue in the face of chaos:

High above the pot-holed streets, donkey carts and militant graffiti that have come to define the besieged Gaza Strip sits Rosy, the territory’s only spa and a refuge for its unlikely upper crust.

The spa’s luxurious setting and its upscale clientele stand in stark contrast to the poverty gripping the war-battered Palestinian territory of 1.5 million people, the vast majority of whom rely on foreign aid.

“We have the highest quality services in the region,” says Mohammed Faris, who launched the spa with his British wife in 1999.

“We had one customer, a woman who worked as an EU (European Union) advisor. She went to New York and called me from there and said she missed Rosy,” he says as he smokes in casual defiance of the daytime abstinence practised by the observant during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The spa is a sign of how, despite a two-year blockade maintained by Israel and Egypt, a reasonably well-off minority has found a way to endure amid Gaza’s bleak landscape of toxic politics and economic paralysis.