Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time to learn Arabic

I've been procrastinating on arranging arabic lessons. I have been happily getting by on my very limited taxi-cab arabic (al-atool, shemel, yamine, hina kwais -- straight ahead, left, right, here is fine), my ability to buy simple items (wahad chocolate croissant, min fadlek) and acting like I can speak arabic when approached by vendors on the street (la, mish dilwati, shookrun). Until last week when we stopped for a mid-afternoon snack just across from the Khan-al-Khalili market.

"Lao samaht - feen al hammam?" I asked: where is the bathroom?

The waiter pointed me towards a set of wooden, swinging-saloon-type doors. I pushed open the doors to find a sink in the middle and two signs pointing left and right, indicating the mens and arabic. I was at a crossroads in more ways than one.

So, I took my chances, chose a door and resolved to call an arabic tutor as soon as I got home.

"The Khan" can be overwhelming in its clutter, noise, stray cats and ceaseless hawkers vying for your attention. But every time I visit, beauty flashes around a corner or is caught as you look up for a moment. Here are some of the lanterns that caught my eye on our last trip to Khan-al-Khalili.

1 comment:

Nightghost said...

The lanterns are really beautiful.