A conversation in Jabaliya souk
Yesterday, Yousuf and I, along with my mother and her friend, went to the Jabaliya refugee camp's market to do some shopping and search for old Palestinian tobes (embroidered dresses) which I collect. Given the economic strangulation of Gaza, the souk was less lively than usual, but as colorful as ever. Here is an excerpt:
Mom's friend: How much for the Mulukhiya?
Vendor: 3 shekels a kilo
Mom's friend: 3 shekels!! The man next to you sells il arba3a bmiyya..four kilos for ten shekels!
Vendor: Life is expensive these days lady
Me: wil bani adam rkhees...and human beings are cheap.
Vendor: Besides, his Molokhiya tastes like grass. I know what I grow-none of those crap chemicals go into it. And its first of the season. I challenge you to find any Mulukhiya as tasty as this in all of Gaza!
[shelling in the distance]
sh*t! there they go again
[everyone briefly ducks for cover]
Mom's friend: fine fine, bag it.
Me: Do you have any askadinya baladiya?
Another Vendor: forget the baladiya...try the Israeli ones, they are the best! But I'm all out today, Karni closed again
Me: The Israeli ones taste like water. And they are unnaturally large. That's not how askadinya should look or taste. I'll stick to the baladiya thank you.
Vendor: Well the baladiya is still sour. You might as well go buy lemons. Here-want some lemons?
Yousuf: Khiyar! Khiyar!
Vendor: No khiyar, but we have fa2oos, come over here sunglasses lady...
[a young boy shoves a bunch of mint in my face]..."na3na3 baladi...want some?"
[more shelling, getting closer]
Me: I'll pass thanks [Yousuf helps himself to a fa2oosa as entire pile plummets to the ground...]
Note: Seven Palestinians were injured in the shelling. Two of them were children.
molokhia soup with rabbits (the man was right, it was fabulous) eaten Gaza-style, with dagga salad and hot chilies.