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Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Evening at Khan el-Khalili

We took a trip over to Khan el-Khalili last night. The Khan is a center of action for both tourists and locals who want to buy merchandise ranging from "cheap price" bracelets to gold. We entered from the tourist side and stopped at one of the restaurants in the square by the al-Hussein mosque.

This particular group of restaurants has a carnival-like atmosphere. Each has a "tout" or barker out front to try and convince every passerby to "come, have a sit!"

We chose "Eid Sons." It was a nice place to watch the people. Naturally, we had our shoes shined but declined offers to sell us cheap Rolex watches, jewelry, wallets and scarves.

A tour group was meeting up at the cafe next to us. Probably following some instructions like, "Take an hour to shop and then find your way back here."

Those aren't easy instructions for someone not familiar with the area. The narrow streets and many corners are very disorienting. After dinner, we plunged into the Khan at this entrance.

There are shops here for whatever you might think you need.



Just plain stuff.

And, of course, Alabaster.

Linda was interested in a particular style of Alabaster bowl to use for decoration. Soon the shop owner had a variety of bowls out for us to view. And an alabaster shop salesman always has the light switch handy so he can drop a candle into the item and show you the subtle colors.

When we left the Khan, we passed by a restaurant specializing in fateer (or fiteer or fatir or fattir. As usual, the choice is yours. The original spelling is in Arabic letters.) These folks don't want to scare the tourists away by calling their place the International House of Fateer. So they use the name many tourists give this treat.

Last night, it was pretty much a local crowd.