The Spruiker in the Khan and other snippets
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".