Random rambling reflections from a sometimes-running rev.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Pilgrimage 2009 - The souk by day
My last post was about the souk during the evening hours. This set of pictures shows some of the daytime activities. You can click on any picture to see a larger version. These ladies sell mint, parsley, vine leaves, olives, fruit and vegetables from the pavement. Nuts can be bought from a 'shop'. Note the creative way of dealing with a sloping floor. This street vendor is working from a barrow. These don't have brakes on the wheels, and occasionally one will 'run away' down the slopes and steps, accompanied by much shouting. There is a tyre on the back of this one, attached by a chain to the barrow, and it trails behind the barrow when it is in motion. The method of braking is to jump on the tyre. It looks quite dangerous, but we decided early on in our journeys that UK Health and Safety rules did not apply in Jerusalem. As well as food it is also possible to buy scarves, clothes, tourist trinkets and souvenirs, spices, and almost anything you can imagine. These shops specialise in mother of pearl and silverware as jewellery, tableware and religious artifacts.
This market may look as if it hasn't changed for many years, but modernity is visible in the signs for internet shops. I only saw one meat shop, on the Via Dolorosa; it appears in the night-time photos as well, but the meat is hung outside during the day. I think, but am not sure, that most of the meat was sheep or goat. We saw a number of herds of both during our travels. This is a wider part of the street. Goods spill out into the alleyways and in many places reduce the space for pedestrians down to single file. Of course that makes it easier to call to each potential buyer and make a pitch about the goods, whether it's a belly dancing outfit, a plastic bucket or a pound of saffron. The range of items on sale present a riot of colour and texture, sometimes quite artistically displayed, but not many of them stand close inspection. Abundance seems to be shown by mixing everything up. My previous post referred to the smells of washed pavements, musty vegetables, drains - all smells that I associate with foreign markets. During the daytime though the smells are different. The mint, parsley and vine leaves from the pavement, and the smell of these mixes with the spice stalls and coffee, and the smoke from the hubby bubbly cafe (I just didn't have the nerve to photograph all the men sitting with their coffee and pipes, but really wish I had!) The sales pitch doesn't stop within the walls. The market continues out through the gate and along the street. This turns into a market that stretches past the bus garage and up to the front door of our hotel. Even on the other side of the street the vendors stretch for some distance.
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"She did what folks wanted, then what folks didn't, then married a magician and became a priest" Well, deacon first in 2008 then on 4th July 2009, a priest in the Church of England.
"It's just a phase, she'll grow out of it". Tee hee. I've had lots of phases. Been there, done that, still here with a collection of t-shirts to show for it, although some have been recycled as cleaning cloths, and my knees don't work as well as they once did.
Have been stuffing my head with book-learning for years and years, and now have more books on the shelves that I haven't read, than that I have read. Most have been opened and extracts used in essays though :-)
I removed myself from the corporate world of proposals and projects, margin, government, governance and compliance, bits, bytes and nibbles (some of them more nippy than preferred) in 2007 after 21 years - it seemed the right time for a Right-of-Passage ;-).