Oct 7, 2013

A Monday Like No Other

I am happy. It was the bird's chirp that got me that boost of energy to get up and go out. I've been sick for the last 2 days, the flu has taken its toll on me to the point I was literally powerless, all until that bird came up to the window next to me. In fact I didn't see it yet. What's so special about that chirp is that it's been seriously forever that I heard birds chirping in Tripoli.

My first stop, the book seller.

My bike was already waiting for me downstairs, ready for our usual tour around tripoli, but not this time though. Everything was so slow, well at least slower that usual. I'm known to be using my bike whenever I'm in Tripoli, very few are the times I "walked" over there, yet today was this very few. I had never realized how much I'm missing out on.

I was happy, even with the littering all around, I was happy. I had the chance to walk around tripoli, in its old rotten alleyways. I was able to slowly grasp my surrounding, whether that be in the town center, at the gold market, or even at the oldest pharmacy whose owner's sight is so terrible he cannot see unless there was pure sunlight.

Little activity in the old souks, used to be much more than just this.
It was as if it's been so long since I've been there, even though I visit the town every weekend. I did my best to pass by every street there was, and made sure I don't hit the same street twice. The kind guy selling books right on the edge of Tall square was my first stop. I took my time to look around reaching out for photography books. Upon my insisting there were no good photography books, he, with his cultured temper, asked me to feel free to find the books myself.

It wasn't until I had finished with the book guy, I found myself standing on that same corner admiring the entourage, the people, the cars, the faces, the noise, the anger, the frowning. Yes indeed, everybody was scared, they were terrified for no particular reason. I guess it was the fear of the unknown, the future to come.

Kept going all the way to the old Sultan pharmacy, owned by the two brothers, among which is Dr. Nabeel, a 60ish year old man that I really admire. The amount of people in there was unbelievable, filling that tiny space inside the old dusty pharmacy leaving no room for the employees to move around.

Next was when I decided to buy some socks, socks in tripoli always have that one and only image in my head: the Sharamand shop inside the old market, right by the intersection of the gold market and the vegetable souk. Was a funny moment there when the new employee had to deal with a woman from shekka, whose accent was pretty foreign for the guy, but at the same time she was the friend of the owner. She kept pushing this little guy's buttons with her unfamiliar vocab until the guy lost it, that's when I and the old owner, who were both watching the scene, burst in laughter and giggles, all while noticing her evil look she had.

The simple act of climbing the old staircase right by the shop to somewhere below the castle, was enough to make my day. I never was able to climb a stair when riding my bike, such a shame because of all the small details I kept memorizing. It was all until I spotted that tomb behind a hidden mosque. The grave belonged to one of the many old islamic researchers in Tripoli, back in the days where it was "city of scientists". It took me back to the time where I had made this deal with myself to visit every single mosque in Tripoli, one by one. It was then when I had stumbled on this "jewel of the souk". Something to add on the dose of happiness all in all.

Eid Preparations, as cheap as they may seem
Tripoli has honestly become the city of several things. One who lives there could easily tell it's the city of "old mercedes taxis", or as for what I tend to call it lately, "city of gutter and meatless motorcycles". It's kind of unfortunate yet miserable to see the escalating amount of poverty around. There was not a single sign of development and prosperity. Everyone is either smoking or simply grumpy, tossing a word here and there, complaining, cursing or better yet, doing nothing, nothing at all, which is a lot worse.

It was the Monday I had the chance to walk in my old Tripoli, and it's getting old indeed. One more reason to reminisce on the mondays to come.

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