Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Bazaar

We are lost. We're looking for the bazaar from our guidebook when a small man appears. He asks if we want the tourist bazaar or the real bazaar. Without hesitation we both say, the real one. "Then follow me," he says.

Just steps from the busy street, we're pushing aside oriental rugs and rolls of fabric, heading down dark alleys. Soon we arrive at a spice market out of Arabian Nights. Our new friend Medi introduces the owner of one of the most famous shops who lets us smell and taste all he has to offer. We enjoy the aromas and color and buy some dried hibiscus for tea. Then we continue through the labyrinth past juice bars, a fez factory and the oldest coffee shop in Cairo. We soon find ourselves in a pickling factory where four jovial Cairenes are pickling all types of vegetables in large wooden barrels.

Back outside, we head for our guide's workshop. Turns out he makes beautiful wooden inlaid boxes. He shows us all the different qualities and prices and we watch his fellow artists working. The top of the line boxes are amazingly detailed and expensive. We buy a budget travellers' priced one. But the tour doesn't end there.

He walks us back to the market, stopping in on shoemakers and a papyrus art gallery. After pausing to get us a sugar cane juice, our guide pushes open a large wooden door to an abandoned looking room. He looks back at us with a sly grin and we follow. Soon, we are standing next to a boiling bath tub where men are creating dyes for Egyptian cotton. They are working very intensely on a brown dye after finishing the blazing blues and blinding whites that now hang to dry in the midday sun. We stand there in awe of the color and craftsmanship.

Moments later, we find ourselves where we had been lost just an hour before. "This is where I leave you." And with that, our guide disappears back into the bazaar.


foster said...

A triumph! raves TSS
Magical and mindblowing! say I

Addie said...

Yall are getting worldwide inside information....AMAZING!!! I love the colors!

Hadley said...

After a week or so of sadness over Haiti, then a day or so of visual gorge of the golden globe awards, how refreshing to see what you are up to! You guys have become the stress relief of my day. Thanks and stay safe!

biddy said...

Are you both equal photagraphers?
I have gotten my Paints out after 2 years
This good subject matter