Monday, June 30, 2008

Tunisia… the country of Doors… opens doors…

Since my critical political knowledge is still naïve… I will keep on ignoring the big mess taking place in my beloved country……. And I will keep blogging about the people, ideas, words, places and things I fall in love with… at least it's one of things I know how to talk about… falling in love has been always something I know how to master well…..

Tunis… an Arab state with a French ambiance… an old souk next to French style street cafes…. "Ey3ayshak" followed by a series of French terms I personally fail to understand… a city where time took a central position between its streets, making out of each second grace…
I got back with a camera filled with 67 doors pictures… a sign of a beginning of mild obsession…. Or severe… I wonder… Hammamat experience was great, I was inspired there!

The town of Sidi Bou Saïd is famous for its bright blue doors - matching the color of the intensely blue sky. The Andalusian style doors are too artistic to resist taking a picture of. Going to Sidi Bou Said like a tourist ,without a Tunisian friend made me miss tasting the Bambaloni! And you cannot reach that place and miss the best sweet on this universe! Thanks to Malek, I tried the Bambaloni in the evening…. And OMG! I now fail to accept the idea that our sweet is actually knafeh or Tamrieh!! My official national sweet is now Bambaloni whether it's nationally accepted or not!
Nisrene and Hala been just amazing in helping me get the best deals for my ceramic doors collection…and find the doors and take good pictures... the time we spent at the souk is just unforgettable… ... Balkees with her beautiful smile, Mohammad Ali, Malek and Omar… having the pine tea with all of you by the sea was just wonderful….

My life been crazy since I came back, and it's been hard to get myself to write anything about Tunisia… and yesterday I wrote a poem on the old stairways of Amman… and I thought I won't post anything before I post for Tunisia… Tunisia deserves a good post…..

My favorite word is certainly "e3ayshak" after it comes "barsha"
You cannot reach Hammamat and not do a "Harkos" (Tunisian Tatoo): mine is starting to fade now…
The best scent : "Mashmoom elful" (Jasmine), sold in every street..
The best object: doors, all doors opened doors and stairs that lead to doors…
The best tea: Tunisian tea with pine! Yes pine, and they don’t call it "snobar" they call it "bondok" like we call the hazelnut! But it's really good!! Good enough to drag my jasmine tea down the list of my favorite drinks.

I came back with a clear idea of how I will decorate my Art studio… bright blue will certainly be the main theme… and all the great art work I bought will hang carelessly on my walls… next to the pictures of doors I took…. It will be a Tunisian inspiration…

I was blessed in my trip, something about the obsession of the doors and starting to find them and observe them between the allies made me find doors within my own universe… opened doors that I didn’t notice earlier… and doors I knew it was time to close…… a woman who does handmade carpets for living in the old souk, tied three threads of wool from her carpet around my wrist when I spoke Arabic and said "Baraka"! that was my favorite moment in the whole trip, and the three threads are still around my wrist, ironically the colors are very similar to the colors of the Jordanian flag , only if the dark blue was black.
Some of my favorite taken pictures ( Many pictures I took had one bird in the picture, which i found intersting)


Malek said...

Doors are still open and they will be forever open for you Mais..
So welcome any time in Tunisia :)

Deena said...

when you sent me the pictures of the doors last week i loved them. i thought they were artistic, and aethetically beautiful. i never noticed wether they wer open or not.

fate opens eyes in mysterious ways. i just came back from a conference on the experiences of diaspora communities in the UK, and how art as a medium is being used (and should be used further) to represent their struggles; socially, linguistically, culturally, politicaly... and the productions were full of doors - all closed. closed doors with bright african prints; closed doors staring back at veiled muslim women. just closed doors.

you on the other hand, you didn't just see the doors, you 'understood' what they meant from the very beginning. you loved that they were open - not 'pretty'. if that isn't politics, i don't know what is! :)

ps. any chance you got any of that pine tea back with you? loool

Mais said...

Deena, 6ab3an jebet pine tea:) When you come here, change of plans... pine tea in the garden instead of Jasmine tea..My mom is going crazy with my tea imports & exports! Whenever I travel I take my tea with me, and come back with different tea also!
The difference between us, is that you market politics as if its the sexiest thing on earth! I fail to view it from this window! but since i fail to not agree with you as well... zay ma beddek!!! politics politics... LOOL!
The most beautiful pictures for me, are not only opened doors, but also stairs that lead to doors...
It's a waste that some mysteriously beautiful doors are closed :)
I got beautiful paintings of doors as well... Opened doors :)

Deena said...

it isn't me loooool (although i am flattered by the compliment hehe) there is actually this whole theory within academia, known as the constructionist theory or the feminist theory of the public sphere, that argues that classic divisions between what is 'public' (ie. politics and economics) and what is 'private' (ie. the home, the everyday and the self) actually maintain the status quo of inequality in society, because they don't consider how inequality is understood and experienced on a daily basis, rather than whether or not there are laws to counter it. they therefore argue that the personal is political, that ways of being and living and seeing are the most important - and effective - sites of social change, more so than traditional 'politics'! hehehe
so as you see academia does have its sexy moments. looool :)
make sure you keep some of the tea for me ... i will be there sooooon! hehehe :)