Friday, May 16, 2008

Bits and pieces

I walked today down Bab El Qalk, and in towards Bab Zuweilah. This is the area where the Tentmakers work.

I was taking my time. Every walk at the moment has the weight and importance of a 'last time'.

An elderly man shuffled past, moving fast. His tracksuit drooped about his spindly thighs and hips, slung low enough to be dangerous. It was threadbare in places, with patches of beige showing through - which I hope was his underwear. The legs were too long and had frayed to a long and daggy fringe.

Across his bottom was one word.



There is a white horse on the same walk. He (undoubtedly) is always parked in the same place, beside a man with a big fruit stand. He is a beautiful horse - in good condition, firmly muscled and rounded, and pulls a cart that is a patchwork of pattern and paint - bright triangled in red and white and black and green and yellow. Every day as I pass he is turned in his traces, untethered, and his fodder is piled high and bright green on the surface of the cart he pulls. He is always eating, and he never seems to try to wander away.


We went out last night to a coffee shop with a singer. I love this place - and there will soon be a whole blog on it. Last night though, I was fascinated by the singer. The sound system must have been set to maximum echo - so the blasting words rang into the room long after he lowered the microphone from his mouth. "Habiby" - which roughly translates as 'my darling' and is the mainstay of all Arabic songs as far I I can see - became 'Hab b b biby y y by by by".

I realised how useful this was as he saw that we were there and rushed over to greet Ibrahim.
He was in the middle of a series of 'habibys' and one long note was sung straight into Ibrahim's ear as the singer wrapped the microphone around Ibrahim's neck to make sure the audience missed nothing. He lowered it with time to greet us with a few words before the last throbbing notes died away, and then took it up again. It is obviously useful to have echoes long enough to have twenty second conversations between them!


Blogger Lora Martin said...

I feel like I am on my last visit as I read along with you! Thanks for this blog, I haven't posted often, but have read frequently.

I took a three day class with Liz Berg in Cambria, California last week, Jenny, and your name came up. I'm told I must study with you if you are anywhere near and it will be too much fun!

10:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny, I have been reading your post for probably over 2yrs. now. Lately, I have missed the regularity of your posts. I have this sense of dread that you are leaving and may stop posting all together. I so hope this isn't true! I live in Kansas and I don't know a thing about Australia, but you could be living next door to me and I would still love reading your posts! Take care! Becky

7:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled in to your blog. How wonderfully different this is for me.A quilter ? in Cairo ?
Have you ever been to a place , I think it is a bazaar where they sell hundreds of spices in powder form, and exotic fabrics and other goods? Id love to see those pics if you have any, and to hear your stories.I found you through Quilting Twin.I find the embroideries quite like the arpilleras of Chile, how interesting how each country has their way of expressing through fabric.Cheers, Isabel

4:39 pm  
Blogger Mary Ann Littlejohn said...

Jenny, having lived in Saudi Arabia for 23 years, I get very nostalgic reading your posts and know how hard it was to say goodbye.

The "juicy" story was even more ironic if you know that the "juicy" brand name is fairly expensive designer clothing for the teen to 20's age group. Think "Barbie". This would have made a wonderful photo.

I have enjoyed your sharing the dozens or hundreds of photos you have taken in the countryside.

Best wishes on your next adventure.

1:15 am  
Anonymous vishav bhraman said...

Nice article..

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11:09 pm  

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