Monday, September 17, 2007

Life in Shaalaan

That is where we live, it is basically an upscale clothes shopping district. To the left is the street we actually live on (not so upscale), tucked quietly away from all the noise. We stopped at a baby store the other day and the outfit Vanessa picked out cost $160. Needless to say we looked elsewhere. The good thing is that everything you could want or need is available within a one-block radius, the bad thing is that it is mostly imported stuff from Europe or the U.S. and therefore ridiculously expensive (a small container of haagen daaz is $12). So we have to go farther afield to find reasonable prices. For some reason, leopard print is all the rage in Damascus right now, and you see women in full leopard print veils and robes and even matching nails. Vanessa thinks it's hilarious and always points out the leopard print people, in addition to clothes with lots of buttons, zippers, bright colored things hanging off them, in general it's like people are dressed for mardi gras all the time - just covered in it from head to foot (very few women dress they way the models do in the stores). There are some great deals though, like the fresh juice and vegetables, I guess if you ate simple and healthy it would be really cheap to live here, but if you want to eat a ton of fatty food American style it gets expensive - the opposite of the food system in the US.

Ramadan is going on for the next month and it's great, every evening when people are ending thier fast and eating the whole city becomes a ghost town and I take Alexa out on a walk in her stroller in the city and just walk right down the center of usually busy streets or circles that are empty and quiet. The only bad thing is that all the shops in the whole city close at four or five and it's hard to find food, but otherwise the lack of traffic, cars, noise, and exhaust make the whole atmosphere pleasant.

I went to KFC the other day, most people here think it is an American-Israeli conspiracy sent here to damage Syria in some way, although no-one can explain exactly how. One person told me KFC stood for "Kenesset Fried Chicken" and Colonel Sanders was a settler. The funny thing about it is that the KFC kiddie meal actually comes with a plastic machine gun - no kidding, KFC is actually giving out plastic machine guns to kids with their kiddie meals in Syria. It was so clean and bright inside it surprised me, I remembered what a clean and efficient fast-food place is like, with nobody squeeging the floor as I was trying to get in, it wasn't filled with smoke, the same person took my order, gave it to me, and took my money (as opposed to 3 different people), nobody tried to throw pickles in everything I ordered, etc. It's the little things you start to notice.

Below is a recent picture of Alexa. She's doing well besides staying up every night until 1 or 2 for no good reason. She just likes the night life I guess. She also likes being the center of attention wherever we go. People stop to take her picture, ask us if they can hold her, or just randomly grab her and kiss her, pet her, pinch her cheek, etc.

1 comment:

Grasshopper said...

I am in shock by how much beautiful Alexa has grown. Gorgeous.