22 October 2006

Eid Eve

Today was the first time I went to the market by myself. Don't ask me why I chose today. Pretty sure it is the equivalent of the Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping in the U.S. See, tomorrow is the Muslim Holiday Eid. It is the celebration of the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting during daylight hours). And they celebrate this holiday by visiting all their friends and family, and eating like horses! It's the biggest holiday of the year. Everyone is wanting to look their best, have their home in tip-top condition, and serve the nicest refreshments this week to their visitors. Everyone is making special preparations.

So anyway, the market was madness! It's a good thing Mike didn't come... he would be HATED every moment. There are at least twice as many people selling things as usual, and I think every citizen of Khartoum is out there buying from them. It was full on pushing and shoving, rummaging and bartering.

And I had a GREAT time.

Of course, I got much more attention than I would have liked... (got a marriage proposal today, because Mikey wasn't by my side to scare off the fellas). But I ignored all the stares and bargained with the best of 'em. Sometimes I think I actually got the local price, and not the foreigner price!

They were selling anything you could imagine... especially if you were in the market for some gaudy-middle-easternish decorations, cheap clothing, plastic shoes, fake-brand cosmetic products, and mobile phone accessories. You know... the typical third world local market kinda stuff.

The place was bustling... with loud music playing at some shops, and other areas had all their workers saying some sort of a chant to tell everyone the price and try to sell more stuff. People arguing over prices, buying fancy sweets, greeting each other... all the while walking on more garbage in the streets than you have ever seen.

The sun was beating down and I was exhausted by the time I reached back home with my purchases. But I had a wonderful time, and somehow... I feel a bit more at home here having experienced this day out there with all the rest.

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