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The Spruiker in the Khan and other snippets

We have just returned from a walk to a nearby supermarket - about six blocks away - but they are long blocks here. We bought groceries at the supermarket. There is no great story there, except that there is one young man who did my first delivery who has adopted me, and appears beside the till every time I am checking out my shopping, to organise my delivery.

The first time was interesting. He wanted my address. I remembered the street, but was unsure about the number. We settled on 21. He asked for my phone number. I didn't know it. I had spent the night before putting numbers into my mobile, everyone's except my own. He asked for my mobile number. I didn't know that either.

He found me anyway - despite the fact that the house number I had given him was wrong.

Coming home the other day I mistimed my arrival and managed to reach the beginning of my hedge as the school opposite poured an onslaught of young boys out into the roadway. I will never do that again. I must have shaken hands with forty boys before I reached my gate. All were either grimy, or sticky, and many were both. I had a vague flicker of concern about their personal hygeine, then decided I was better off not thinking about it. Each asked my my name but didn't listen to my answer and went straight on to "How old are you?", shaking their heads in amazement at the answer. I realised when I escaped indoors that I had said I was seventy-seven.

Bob (my husband) told me he had watched a flower seller arranging his buckets of flowers on the pavement. He then reached for a jug of water, took a mouthful, and sprayed it evenly through his teeth over the flowers.

It poured as we came home today. Really good rain, not the odd sprinkle I have seen from time to time. The only thing wrong with that was that we were still two blocks from home and not dressed for rain.

We were in the tiny vegetable shop in my street. After our purchases (strawberries, parsley, mint, and beautiful broccoli) and the initial comments about the goodness of rain for Cairo were covered, silence fell. Water streamed off the canvas awning in a stready waterfall before our faces. An older gentleman sitting under the eaves against the rolladoor next door pulled his mat back and put his foot on the fold to keep it dry.

There was a flurry of quick Arabic, and the shopowner swept a box of onions off a small stand in which was out in the rain, then turned it up to show that it could double as a small bench. It was a heavy weight wooden fruitbox on legs. He dried it thoroughly, put a cloth on it, and offered me a seat. Bob got a cracked plastic stool.

This might appear again - forgive me if it does, but I sent the following bit to the site yesterday - about thirty hours ago, and I have not seen it appear yet so I am trying again.

Yesterday was spent - delightfully - with a friend from the Embassy in exploring the Tentmakers' souq, and the local area beyond it, and briefly, Khan El Khalili.

I have sent, below, lots of wonderful faces from the local area beyond the tentmakers' souq. I am still learning ways to send photos to my blog. Text tends to duplicate under every single photo and that is frustrating and boring. So - I send them now without text, and though the heading will still duplicate, I hope the photos are worth the irritation. I have 117 photographs from a three hour walk and it is so hard to decide what to send.

The tentmakers souq is worth a piece all by itself, and I have marvelous photographs from this too, but I just wanted to tell one quick story.

We briefly dipped into the Khan before leaving the area with the intention of finding a clean toilet. Like in Damascus, local knowledge on such things is very worth while.

As we walked the gamut of urgers and calls of "come and see my shop", "what are you looking for?", "look, for only twenty five piastres you can buy something here", there was a lone voice saying something really different.

One man stood before a shop full of belly dancer costumes. He was twirling (very expertly and I bet he could belly dance too!) a coin covered scarf over his head. He called to us "Give me just two minutes and I will make you into an Arab woman".

Reader Comments (8)

Hi Jenny, Please keep writing,I didn't know you could actually leave comments. If you can't get there yourself this is the next best thing. Love the photos too.
best wishes Julianne

February 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Your word pictures are a delight.I love them.

February 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hello Jenny,
I love reading of your daily experiences...I am so glad you are writing them to us, as I know I will never experience your life as it is, so living it through you is the closest to being there myself. I love the photos...they are so colorful..thank you for sharing.
Rockingham Western Australia

February 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hello Jenny,
Thank you so much for your descriptions and photo's of life in Cairo. I am enjoying reading them all. Life is certainly alot different over there. Best Wishes Wendy

February 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

HI Jenny,
Met you a couple of years ago in Perth. Have since retired to U.K. but reading your lovely log is making my feet itch again! Keep writing and posting the marvelous pictures, best wishes Margaret

February 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Dear Jenny,
Just love your stories on Cairo - please tell us all the little details - they are delightful and take us right there! I really do appreciate your time and effort to bring your life in Cairo to the rest of us elsewhere around the world.


February 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hi Jenny, I met you in Mittagong 2 years ago and have followed you through squilters ever since. I just love your stories, you reduced me to tears when showing your quilts and these stories and pictures are a fabulous continuation. Thank you for all your efforts, this is the best travelog I have had the privilege to follow, best wishes, Chris

February 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hello Jenny, Your descriptions of life in Cairo are just about as good as your pictures (which, BTW are just stunning). I may never get to Egypt, but gosh, is this the next best thing!
Take care, Daphne

February 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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