A day of successful tourism

These are some of my favorite pictures from yesterday. A friend took me down into the dark depths of the Old City and out the other side, through a people-less village of makeshift houses, and up a hill. It was quiet up there. No hollering. No one trying to be our tour guide or pull us into their shop to buy merchandise. And the scenery was lovely: the city, the sky, the ruins.

On our way back, we even visited a tannery (one that I had missed the other week) where we happened upon our very own tour guide.

After our smelly visit to the tannery, our guide took us to a friend’s shop to buy something. We weren’t very good tourists. After tolerantly sniffing the bottles of spices and perfumes that were thrust in our faces, we smiled and said, “Thank you! Good bye!”

Then we were off to the guide’s friend’s café where we were directed up a ladder-like staircase to the upper room: the room where women were allowed to sip their tea and coffee. “Watch your head.” My head almost brushed the ceiling. The owner followed us up the stairs and wiped off the dusty table and chairs. Our guide plucked some trash off the floor and tossed it into a nearby bucket. The owner crept back down the ladder to start our tea. “Half sugar, please.” Our guide parked himself at our table. Conversation was lethargic until the delicious, syrupy tea arrived. It was then that our guide gave a parting handshake and left us alone.

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