Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eid al Adah

I went to the souq four days ago and was very disappointed to discover that it was the start of an eid (holiday). Eid al Adah or the Feast of Sacrifice was beginning and 3/4 of the shops were closed. I made lemonade though by taking advantage of the smaller crowds to take pictures of the souqs.

When we first moved here in 1997 I went through an indoctrination. It was very interesting and I learned many things. A few that I still recall: it is considered rude here to eat with your left hand (good thing I'm right handed!) and to sit with the bottom of you foot showing (unfortunately I have to keep remembering that since that is very comfortable). They also suggested that we should ask permission before taking pictures of anyone. Consequently I didn't take many pictures when we were here before.

At the shops that were open on Monday I managed to find a few pieces of polyester to buy that struck my eye, but cotton is hard to come by. There are many many fabric stores in the fabric section of the souq (none of which is listed in the yellow pages, LOL), but 90% of the fabric is polyester. Beautiful, beautiful pieces of polyester, but not appropriate for piecing. One of the pieces I selected is a silvered sheer and will work well over another fabric and the other is a magenta shot purple that I couldn't resist. It would make a great background to machine applique over.

Eids last 3 days here (this one had something to do with sacrificing a goat according to one of the shops that was open on Monday) and is finally over so I'm planning on going back today to shop some more, but it's Thursday which is like Saturday and I'm afraid it will be very crowded. I'm going with Pierre on Saturday, but I want to get back to all the nooks and crannies. It's amazing how when you ask for something and they don't have it they call someone else over to watch their shop and you're immediately plunging into the back alleyways trying to keep them in sight as they lead you to someone who has it. Inshallah.

Inshallah means God willing and is definitely the byword here. The repairman will come today, inshallah. More likely he'll show up next Tuesday. You get the idea?

Shopping in the souqs requires a good sense of direction, a good sense of humor and a good sense of adventure. There are no road signs. You're constantly leaping into the street (which is just wide enough for a car) to avoid crowds, then leaping out again when a car honks at you. You never know what will be around the next bend. Today I hope to find the spice souq. I used to know where it was, but things are very fluid here. My favorite silk dupioni shop is gone and I haven't figured out what they call it yet to ask for it. I've been shown all sorts of other things and I've tried describing it as raw silk, rough silk, lined silk, but no luck. If I ever come again I'll bring a small sample with me.

I'm off on another adventure! Remind me to tell you about driving next time ;-)


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