Trip Start May 22, 2009
197Trip End Feb 16, 2010
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Such a very busy and community, shopping can be a challenge at the best of times. Streets and shops are crowded to the point where you don’t even want to bother. Yet, the people here thrive on it, surrounding themselves with those they love. Buses are full to the overflowing; restaurant tables regularly seat 8-10; swings at the playground seat brothers and sisters, mothers and grandfathers all at the same time; and grocery isles are barely navigable.
When traveling, I really like doing everyday tasks like grocery shopping, and getting off the main paths into the daily life of the city. One day we took a little walk down some tiny market streets where white feet rarely tread. More bustling streets filled with food stands to push yourself through, and smaller alleyways yielding even more products - and people!
We went into one tiny shop to look for some traditional Galabayas and I was met with a black ghost. A woman wearing a burca floated around the store. Gloves, long sleeves, draped shawl, face mask and veil over it all, and everything in black, black, black. It was the strangest thing to hear a voice coming from the mound of fabric. I didn’t realize how much I
On the tram through town, I noticed something in my peripheral. It was a man waving to us for some seats that had some available. I thought this was great as the tram hardly moves faster than a walking pace, with frequent shops and it would be really nice to sit down for part of it.
My friend seemed hesitant to take this offer, and I soon found out why. Upon sitting, he tried to engage us in some conversation. Apparently, this is a big no-no and culturally wrong for a man to speak to a woman he doesn’t know. Silly Sharilyn said hello back. I should have learned my lesson back in Syria when it comes to men. I should have eyes down and not respond to any gesture or words, no matter how kind. Calling Brian close so that the man would know that we were married, and turning away to ignore him for the rest of the ride to avoid any escalation.
To end this exhausting day we sought out some relaxation in a local coffee shop to have a cuppa and smoke a sheesha. However, finding one that will take women is a little bit of a challenge. But we succeeded, and had an enjoyable evening in a man’s world.