Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The great souq of Damascus

I'm about to be offline for a few days, sending my laptop out to get a new hard drive. My passion for digital photography has overrun this computer's storage space. So it seems only right to leave the blog with some pretty pictures during my absence.

In the late afternoon of a workday, the Damascus market is bustling, so crowded that simply walking through demands navigational energy. You can get anything you want here and many things you never thought of wanting. In such a citadel of consumerism, it is hard to think of Syria as an official enemy of the United States. (For some perceptive comments on Syria's enemy status, see here.)

You want it, you can get it -- in vibrant colors.

Syrians (and Lebanese and Jordanians, from my observations) prize their nargilehs, offered to tourists as "hubbly-bubblies." Yes, they use them for scented tobaccos, in case you had any ideas.

Yes, some flowers are plastic.

While these nuts couldn't be more real.

Need a fez in the Ottoman style?

Though modest dress is pervasive on women in the market, shops with displays like this (and much more risqué) are everywhere. What do mere tourists know about how Syrians really live?

Perhaps you are looking for plastic grapes and a baby doll?

Or even a vegetable sculpture?

You can indeed get anything you want at Damascus' restaurant!


Civic Center said...

I just stole a photo and put up a link to your blog over at "Civic Center." The Mideast photos and articles were really, really good and I just wanted to say thank you.

janinsanfran said...

Blogger currently won't let me post. More blogging as soon as those dimwits take a look and realize this isn't a "spam blog." Am I guilty of marketing plastic grapes?