Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Strawberry Juice

We are back from Tripoli. While Bob worked right through each day of Easter, I had a wonderful time. While there was a little official ‘stuff’, I managed to see his credential presentation ceremony, go to the old Roman cities of Leptis Magna – twice, Sabratha once. I walked the Medina over three days, and had so many adventures I am afraid I will never ever be able to write them all up.

I ducked out to the shops late tonight to pick up a few basics. They are open till midnight all over the city. I bought a tray of strawberries on impulse because they were there, and they were so cheap, and they looked delicious. You have to really commit when you buy strawberries here, as they come in kilo packs, and a kilo is a lot of berries. They cost about ten Egyptian pounds – about two Australian dollars for the kilo. I bought eggs, which also come in a much larger tray than Australia, and potatoes, and because the bag was getting heavy I decided to leave it at that.

Outside the shop was a small boy, with a makeshift trolley with old pram wheels. He looked about seven in the light outside Saudi’s Market. Then I walked into the dark and he fell into step beside me.

“Faroula?” (Strawberries).
Now I could write the Arabic and the translation, but I think it will be easier to read if you know that he spoke in Arabic, and I will write it in English.
“No thank you.”
“Very Cheap – only twenty pounds a kilo?”
“No thank you.”
“OK. Ten pounds a kilo?”
“No thank you.” However, I was now kicking myself for not buying from him as his were much fresher than the supermarkets, and he was down to the same price. He had only two packs left on his little trolley, though there had obviously been more.
In some desperation now he picked up both packs and offered them to me. “Two for ten pounds?”

This was really cheap – two kilos for about two dollars, and really big and perfect berries. Only the “What on earth would I do with three kilos of berries?” question was stopping me from buying them. I go to Kuwait and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in three days and I am BUSY! No time for jam making. No jars either – you never have them when you have just moved.

Then he moved into a patch of moonlight and looked straight up at me. His face looked small and thin, and I thought that though he was working at ten at night, he was younger than my youngest grandchild, who would, at this time, be tucked up and sound asleep.

“I’m tired”.

I bought the berries. I would have bought ten packs. I also gave him five pounds for himself. Tucked into those two words was the fact that he couldn’t go home until they were sold, that he was little and underdressed for a night that was rapidly cooling, and that he had probably been walking all day with wealthy Egyptians and foreigners like me brushing him off as a nuisance.

I gave Bob fresh strawberry juice, and the rest will be blended and frozen. I buzzed them with the juice of a lemon, a little sugar, a good shot of Cointreau and the juice of one of the really luscious navel oranges around at the moment. I half filled a glass with this and an ice cube or two then topped it up with soda. It was absolutely delicious.

Just because I can’t resist, I am sending a few photos from the old Medina in Tripoli, in Libya. I still can’t believe I have been there. If you think I am peppering you with too many pictures you are wrong. I am showing unbelievable restraint. I took three hundred pictures in five days. Trying to decide what to send is so difficult.

I love getting comments on this blog – so thank you to my regulars who leave a comment. I can’t answer them directly – it bounces – but it is always lovely to know that I am sending this to real people who actually read it. And – for my good friend who told me to ‘ease up on the foodie stuff as I keep dribbling on the computer keyboard’ – well – enjoy the strawberry juice. I have saved you from the hotel breakfast buffet.

From the sublime...
From the sublime ...
Wedding carts are used to take the bride to the ceremony - or even just to take a tourist along the waterfront. They are bright with plastic flowers, and some are really elegant, fit for Cinderella. the ridiculous
To the ridiculous

A more sombre cart, with lovely silver pieces
A more sombre cart, with lovely silver pieces

From the copper souq
From the copper souq
These are intended to be seen from below - they are tops for Minarets made in copper. I have always thought of them as a crescent, and it is interesting to see that in Libya at least, they are a circle, much narrower at the top.
Copper displayed against an old wall
I liked the way the green in the wall echoed the verdigris on the copper. I think this is one of my favourite photographs.

Broken tiles on an old building
Broken tiles on an old building


Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog since discovering it through the AQList. I very much enjoy looking at the photos and reading of your journey through life. Thanks for sharing. Your quilts are beautiful and inspiring also.

1:45 pm  
Anonymous Izabela from Melbourne said...

Oh, Jenni, you brought back memories I have from Libya. What did you think about Leptis Magna? When I was there, there was no ticket-booth, guidebooks, or anybody around and we travelled the ruins for hours just by ourselves, discovering ancient toilets and pools. I spotted some structures underwater (strips of pale blue in the ocean) and still remember them as one of the romantic mysteries of the place.

1:59 pm  
Blogger Dy said...

Jenny, I am so enjoying your blog - I pop in every few days to read your evocative recounts and to admire your fantastic photography. You tell a good story!
Best wishes
Dy in Perth

3:03 pm  
Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

Hi Jenny'
I got into no end of strife trying to post a comment this morning so I'm about to give it another try. The strawberry juice sounded so good I could almost taste it. I am so glad that you bought the berries from the little boy. Keep sending those photos they are just great but I would love to have seen you sitting in one of those wedding carts. I have come to the conclusion that I lead a very boring life when I read about your adventures. It's another glorious autumn dayin Canberra today.


3:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I surf the web, I start by checking to see if there is anything new on your blog. The stories and the pictures are great. I can see I will have to add Libya to my list of countries I must visit
Kate I.

3:45 pm  
Anonymous Emma B said...

I love your blog, thank you for taking me to worlds beyond my door in my sewing chair! This morning's strawberry juice sounded delicious - if they weren't so expensive here I'd consider buzzing up a batch myself.
I sent a link to my non quilty mum, the pictures of your quilt hangings (particularly the precarious ladder over the stairwell) she loved them and now visits the blog too (her question was "how did you find that site?", SCQ are great aren't they).

5:24 pm  
Anonymous Tracey said...

Hi Jenny
Absolutely love catching up with all your experiences. Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate the effort you make with your blog!
It's gonna be 34deg here the next 2 days in South Australia - summer again.
Only 5 days until my big trip to the USA to visit & share (teach) my skills in machine quilting at a conference.
Will check back again when we return at the end of April!!

5:39 pm  
Anonymous Beverley said...

HI Jenny I found your blog through squilters. Thank you, I love reading about your adventures. I too am glad you bought the strawberries from the little boy. Beverley Armadale western australia.

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Cecily Mowle - said...


I have placed a shortcut to your blog on the desktop here - so that I can Pop in on a regular basis, and so that DH who spent time with the MFO can do the same. He has been having a wonderful time re-living days at EL Arish etc, and is thoroughly loving your adventures and the pictures. I won't comment on the strawberry juice - but wouldn't you love to bring the little boy home with you and spoil him?!!

6:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny

I'm even more envious as I think about the weather there! It is stormy here in Wellington, NZ, and definitely not strawberry weather! I love strawberries on toast and strawberry sandwiches. I too would have bought the little chaps strawberries! I love hearing about your travels and seeing your photos (loved the one of the minaret tops), so please, don't stop. I check your site every day to see if there is anything new.

Cheers, Ros in Wellington, NZ

7:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoying your blog Jenny... thank you! I check most days to see if you have added more! The strawberries sound great. Your photos are great.
Dorothy in Stratford, NZ.

8:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny, Still enjoying your fabulous photographs and descriptions of your life and travels. So glad you bought the strawberries! Our family enjoyed a wonderful Easter with the birth of a beautiful baby girl who will never have to sell strawberries late into the night!
Regards, Sandy Gray, Barcaldine, central western Qld where it is still very dry.

10:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can I say Jenny - everyone has already said it! Wonderful stuff - love seeing the photos, and I loved your green wall too. Your postcards from Jerusalem were fabulous to read, but this is even better!! I can just imagine the quilts that will come from this.

Cori in Perth

10:38 pm  
Blogger Lisa, Procrastinator Extraordinaire said...

I love reading your blog and am so grateful to whomever told me about it. It brings back many fond memories of our 2 years in Bahrain. Love your pictures, too. I didn't take many at all as we were told not to take pictures with people in them without their permission (the US military is overly paranoid and had many many extra rules for us) and I was just too shy to ask. Thanks!

12:43 am  
Blogger Maryellen said...

I love all the photo's put on more. it's great to read your blog and see all the places and wonderful things. bring it on I don't mind if you dribble on the computer key board.

1:24 am  
Blogger JulieZS said...

Jenny, I would have bought the strawberries from the boy also. Glad you are finding good ways to enjoy them. I very much enjoy reading your blog and the pictures are totally inspiring! Thanks for making the time to share them.

4:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny dear:

Keep it up. Keith & John & I are enjoying your blog tremendously. The photos are fantastic so keep them coming.

We love you both lots


11:19 am  
Anonymous Virginia Leacy said...

I have the Cointreau, the lemon, the sugar, the orange and guess what I am going to buy tomorrow???
Love it all,
Virginia in Rye

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Kali from Brisbane said...

Jenny I wouldn't miss reading your blogs for anything...ever thought about becoming a travel writer as well as a quilter? Your photographs are fabulous, and you paint the most amazing pictures with your words too. Keep the food descriptions coming...we can wear bibs while we read.

10:03 am  
Anonymous Glenda from Wagga Wagga said...

Hi Jenny,
I don't often get to read your blog as other things intrude but I love to read the descriptions of your life o/s. It really makes me feel how lucky we are in Australia to feel safe although there are lots of beautiful things to see if we travel overseas.

8:02 pm  

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