You can’t get there from here; better to take a taxi.” A young woman with dark curly hair and her mother were trying to dissuade me from walking one kilometer in the 35° heat. It was sweating weather, with the sun beating down, and maps are hard to come by for Ramallah, despite its being the second-most popular destination for visitors to the Palestinian Authority. But I was intent on finding the city’s latest attraction, a SpongeBob-themed restaurant modeled on the Krusty Krab restaurant on the iconic and much-adored children’s show on Nickelodeon.
Al Ra’eesy Street, also known as Main Street, begins at Manarah Square, the site of the famous Stars and Bucks café that borrows liberally from the famous American brand. According to the Facebook page of Krusty Krab, the restaurant is located at 35 Al-Ma’ahed Street.
People had suggested that I ask for the Maslahat al meyaah, or the water company, because people were apparently more familiar with that building than with the SpongeBob restaurant. The mapping feature on the iphone or Google maps is no help in finding the address, either. So, after getting lost at the Latin (Catholic) monastery’s graveyard, I was directed to the Arab Bank and a pharmacy nearby. A young man was arguing with the pharmacy owner over whether the shampoo was from Israel before buying it, reminding him that there has been a widespread Palestinian boycott of Israeli products since the war in Gaza.