Another quiet week; complaints about Ramadan prices are heard not just in the mahal but everywhere.
Much discussion is given to the current crop of soap operas; beit ij-jidde and baab al-harra are watched by most; nabi Yusuf not by anyone. Many complain about the portrayal of Yusuf by an actor. Imm S. adamantly sticks by her Turkish soaps. When I joke with her that on the Turkish soap operas everyone is always crying, she replies, “ay, bass kwayyess ktiir”.
The difference between Turkish and Syrian soap operas comes down to food. There is no food in Turkish soap operas; whereas no matter what is going on in a Syrian soap opera--siege of the town by the French; fights in the street; death, mayhem, amshakal--there is always food being bought, sold, prepared, cooked, or eaten. Always. The theory in the mahal is this is the real reason everyone in Turkey is crying; they’ve given up their alphabet as well as their food culture.
The French who work and live in the neighborhood refuse to learn any Arabic; a vocabulary of translated fruit and vegetable terms hangs on the wall in order to accomodate them.
The French in their purchases have no problem with the concept of “by the kilo”. The British on the other hand tend to want fixed quantities--two apples; six tomatoes.
Mangoes are currently from Queensland, Australia. They ship green and hard; they are not very tasty.
The Khudarji Report, by Zayd, reflects conditions unique to a neighborhood in central Beirut; the status at your local mahal al-khudra will most likely vary.