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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Travelling: incongruities #1

One of travel's delights for me is discovering wonderful incongruities. Like this coffee-seller in Aleppo Souq. While there's nothing unusual about finding coffee-sellers in Syrian souqs, they're usually armed with a traditional coffeepot or thermos, tiny ceramic or plastic cups, and a container of fresh water to wash them in. What's so incongruous about this image is that this young entrepreneur is operating a shiny Italian espresso machine. It's somehow misplaced in a souq that's almost medieval. But why should it seem out of context? It's 2007 after all. And maybe it's not so incongruous to you? Perhaps it's only me. Because while I've been to souqs and bazaars all across the Middle East, I can't recall seeing one with an espresso stand. (I'm discounting Istanbul's Grand Bazaar where there are several contemporary cafés under its vaulted ceilings and other modernities all around.) So while this scene makes me smile, perhaps it's not of any interest to you. The guy's coffee is great, by the way.

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