Wonderful tomatoes, big, red, juicy, fruity and fresh. The dark skinned black curled vendor dressed in a brownish-grey kaftan is shouting with all his might “tamaatiim kwuissa bi talaata gineh!” Flies bustle about, sit on the flawed and overripe fruit and vegetable. Here and there incense sticks are burning in order to chase away the flies. The ground is bumpy and slippery from the juices, the remains of the vegetables and fruits, squeezed tomatoes, guavas, grapes and the kernel from the pomegranates. The hustle in the fruit and vegetable market is big, the shouting loud.
In the midst of this oriental confusion, oblivious of all around me, I chose tomatoes without being unsettled by the hustle and the shouting. One kilo? No, I better take one and a half; they are eaten away so quickly. One kilo doesn’t last until the next shopping in a week’s time.
Something softly touches my arm. The nasty poking of the beggar women that begs day after day in the market to make her living? No, that’s different. In amazement, I look into the direction from where this touch comes from and smile: it’s a Swiss lady who lives here, who comes across my way frequently! What a surprise, we met some days ago at a completely different occasion. We laugh and talk naturally about tomatoes and salads. Over there, the salad is only three pounds, she claims, and bargains a better price for me. Then, each of us goes our way that is so different from what our common language might let speculate.
In a foreign land… but not foreign. More and more frequently, I occasionally meet acquaintances in the street, in a café, in a shop or in the bus – it gives me the comforting feeling of not being foreign anymore.