Saturday, April 6, 2013

The sound of coming home

I can't remember the exact moment when I stopped acknowledging the call to prayer. I have come to realize that many of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that once seemed so new and exotic have one by one been slowly accepted into my daily routine, devoid of any of the wonder and novelty that they once had.

When I am able to get out of work on time, I enjoy returning home on foot. It is a great way to stretch out my legs after a day of sitting behind a desk, unravel my thoughts, and take in some fresh air. I know I am almost home when I reach the old kinisa (church) and pass through the neighborhood souq (outdoor market) filled with produce sellers, runaway chickens, fishermen selling their daily catch, and glowing shops filled with towering cones of spices and country-fresh bottles of olive oil and honey being sold in recycled soda bottles. As the sun sets, the souq is set alight with incandescent bulbs strung on wire above street carts and white candles nestled between mounds of citrus.

The "Kinisa" - the local landmark of the neighborhood

As I was walking through this scene one night, headphones plugged in, I started thinking about what friends and family back home think my life is like. What sort of reaction would they have if they were here with me? Would they find this ordinary too?

In an attempt to share a piece of my everyday life through a different medium, I (stealthily) recorded my walk home through the souq a few weeks ago.

The clip starts out with the sound of motorbikes revving, punctuated by a car horn.

At 0:58 you can hear the first vendor shouting out the price of his product.

1:16 - "Limoun miya! Limoun miya!" A vendor selling oranges for 100 rials/kilo. As I mentioned in an earlier post, rial is an old form of currency and I don't know the exact conversion into dirhams, let alone dollars. What I can tell you is his products are as cheap as they are fresh and local - very.

1:24 - "Ashra dirham fraise, fraisa! Fraisa!" Strawberry vendor. Ten dirhams (a little over $1 USD) for a kilo.

The area where the souq is located is packed on either side with various carts and vendors. Some sell their products out of carts, others out of the back of their pick-up truck, or simply splayed out on a tarp on the concrete. There is a single corridor open between them for shoppers to mill through. However, as you can hear, motorbikes and cars often push their way through as well, creating additional chaos and congestion.

2:04 - the chirping and clucking of chickens kept in pens out in front of the butcher shops.

2:18 - radio from one of the shopkeepers