A Store with No Door

On a warm April morning in the center of the metropolis along the southwestern wall of Bab Zuwayla in the middle of a long row of shops, stands a little fiteer shop in the district of Taht el-Rab’a. Its facade, not ten feet wide, is easily missed. Small pots of pink geraniums arranged geometrically along the curb draw attention to the plastic chairs pushed against two window panes. Large white bowls filled with raisins, boiled eggs, bright red tomatoes, black olives and ghee glisten in the morning sun; neatly stacked canned tuna occupy the window sill. Just below the ceiling, a sign reads: ‘Blessings from Allah’ and ‘Let  my business go well, let my tongue be fluent’. There is no door.

Salaam Alakum, Kull sina entum tiybeen: Peace be upon you. May your new year be pleasant”, the old man’s voice greets us like a gentle breeze on this first day of spring – Shamm el-Nassim. Hardly have these words been spoken when Hagg Mahmoud pulls from beneath a pyramid of dough-shaped balls, one pastry roll. With quick wrist motions, he begins to flatten and flip it—twirl, stretch, fold—until the dough is paper-thin and translucent. A gentle spring breeze drifts through the doorway mixing with the heat of the roaring oven. “We are open twenty-four hours a day, everyday of the year. Why should I have a door? I gave it away years ago,” states Hagg, drizzling ghee over the thin dough.   To read more, click here.

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