September 1999, East Jerusalem. Summer is parting as the autumn breeze sets in. The Palmira Hostel, a backpackers inn just outside Damascus Gate, next to a busy bus-taxi transport hub. From the windows of the hostel drifts in the familiar call by bus touts looking for customers "Tel Aviiiv, Tel Aviiiv!"
Musa: live-in hostel manager. Arab, but speaks Hebrew and easily misunderstood English. Outwardly friendly, has a wealth of stories, but also boisterous and easily upset. Runs a policy at his hostel of four hours work for free accomodation, thereby attracting a stream of shoe-string characters. Musa lives with his girlfriend, 'Fifi', and has a small white poodle he calls 'Lady'.
The Palmira Staff
Helen: New York, born and raised. Not her first time living/working in Israel. Works two jobs cleaning at hostels and gets free accomodation at the Palmira. Seems educated, articulate and responsible but defintely eccentric. She wears a bright yellow stuffed-animal tweety-bird money pouch around her waist. She is the scape-goat at the hostel when little things go wrong.
Eddie: Skinny American-Israeli Jew in his mid-20's, residing in New York. Speaks English with a 'tough-guy' accent. Not too bright but thinks people have a lot to learn from him. Holds dual-citizenship and is currently trying to get out of his Israeli military service. Working at the Palmira for his keep.
Marcos: Brazilian Jew who speaks fluent Hebrew and some Arabic. Been in Jerusalem for three months and will stay as long as his father with a big heart back in Brazil continues to house the poor in Marcos' flat. Working at the Palmira to save money with plans to go to Italy or America one day. Jimmy, a horny male black-grey-white husky mix, is Marcos' dog.
Mauri: Born-again Christian from New Zealand. Once took violently to the bottle and heavily into hard drugs. Failed attempt at suicide renewed his life. Mission was to go to Jerusalem and propagate the message of the Lord for one year. He speaks poorly of no one and misses his children back home dearly.
'Fifi': Musa's girlfriend, also lives at the Palmira and helps with daily chores of all kinds. Kind, confident demeanor. Does not speak English. Often sitting and chatting with many of her Arab friends who come by to visit, or smoking nargileh - Arab water pipes.
Other characters are hostel guests and will be introduced throughout the play.