Shawarmas and Cultural Relativism
So I've been searching for the best shawarma around town and I think I found it today. It's a place called maT3am Sah7i, or the "healthy restaurant." anyway, the shawarma(s) I had today were mind blowing. I ordered 2, but could've eaten 2 more no problem. A fifth would've been dessert. Best part about them? They cost 90 cents. I know where I"m going to be breaking my fast this ramadan. Just for reference if you're ever in town:
1. al-Sahi 2. a shawarma place outside the student dorms 3. maraaya
apparently "al-Rayan" is better than maraaya, but I'll have to wait and see.
School is still intense, but I seem to be organizing my time better.
On a completely unrelated note, I have a quick story to share with you guys. The owner of my apartment was showing me around parts of the old city and we walked into this market place (souq). It's around 9 or 10 at night and this place is packed. I'm talking fruit sellers shouting, juice guys sitting around smoking, and just droves of people hankering for some night time shopping. This wasn't one of those touristy old city souqs, this was an old school Damascan souq with no foreigners in sight. It was actually a pretty conservative part of town and the majority of women were covered.
Anyway, we're walking and talking looking for prayer mats, when all of a sudden this woman walks in front of us and her pants are riding a bit low. This woman had a mental disability and was just walking alone, minding her own business. Anyway, as she passes, old men mutter "la hawla wa la quwata illa billa" it literally means "there is no power or glory except for God" and is used in numerous contexts, typically when you hear bad news. Anyway, one old man sees this woman and begins shouting at her. Loud. Scary loud. This woman takes off down the street screaming and this old man is screaming after her. I was quite affected by this turn of events and felt a wide range of emotions. First, I was shocked that this old man was yelling at this mentally retarded person. Then I felt anger that people allowed him to shout at her like that. At this point I wanted to go and have a little chit chat with him, but ultimately decided against it. This wasn't my city, it wasn't my culture. It wasn't my neighborhood.
I played out my conversation with him in my head.
Me: What the hell do you think you're doing, she's obviously sick. Let her be.
Him: You don't know anything. If you want to see shameless women who are sinning against god, then go back to america. idiot.
What it came down to was the fact that I wasn't from there. I had no base from which I could argue with him. And in all honesty, I knew all this without thinking about it, but had to break it down when I got home.
Anyway, halftime is just about over between the U.S. and Ghana, and I'm going to need to focus all my energy on Lando to spark a U.S. comeback. I'll catch you guys on the flipside.