Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Day in Salt

Today the kids and I accompanied Owen to the Salt Museum where some of his Safut material is on display.  The museum is very impressively kept up, unlike most of the museums we've seen in country, and is housed in an old, beautiful family home built in the Ottoman period (I believe).  Owen met with the director, and she showed us around.  Everyone was very friendly and accommodating...perhaps it was a bonus that he brought the children along for the first meeting, as it seemed to endear everyone to him.
Salt Museum

model of how sugar is processed

pithos (storage jar) from Tall Safut
The souk (market) was nearby, so we decided to take a gander before leaving.  Typical Arab-style, we saw an upper-floor balcony in full use with no railing whatsoever!  Yikes.
notice the middle balcony, in full use with clothesline and items stored as far out as the edge, with no railings or barriers

There were some super-cute baby chicks for sale in boxes.

Nearby, we passed a heavy older lady who stopped us aggressively, grabbing at Safita and saying, "Abusa!  Abusa!"  I had no idea what she meant--it didn't match any of the usual words I know, like "Boy or girl?" or "What's her name?" or "How old is she?" or "She's beautiful!" or "God bless her."  The lady seemed frustrated and repeated the word a few times in a tone of voice that seemed to say, "Are you stupid??  Abusa!"  We eventually figured out what she meant, when she forcefully grabbed me and started unbuckling the baby carrier to get Safita out.  I laughed in surprise, told her please no, and she displeased but mostly good-naturedly gave me a hearty slap on the leg.  If Safita is out, I let them hold her, but she was tucked snugly in the pack and it was just too much hassle. 

shoe smith

As usual, the open burlap sacks of spices smelled tantalizingly spicy.  The old-style shoe smith sent us back to eras did the music stores selling only cassette tapes.  Talk about living in the dark ages!  It was a nice morning outing. 


  1. You're so good-natured! That lady would have un-nerved me!

    I love those big bags of spices in the markets. They made me drool in Turkey. I would love to go back someday.

  2. Yeah, it was kind of surprising...I've gotten used to people mobbing us, but I've never been intentionally hit before :).
    The spices are amazing--would love to hear more about your trip to Turkey! Send me a message sometime!