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Even the faintest whiff of Arabie sends me to places I haven’t visited since I was a little girl of 3 or 4 years old, back to the Muslim quarter in ancient Jerusalem. My parents used to take me there almost every Saturday. Arabie smells just like the Muslim market over 26 years ago - spices such as saffron, coriander, cardamon, cinnamon... Sweet confections (Rahat Loukum) and the famous refreshing scents of Tamarhindi drink that were sold by merchants
carrying a copper barrel on their back (with little taps, the glasses they had were actually made of glass, so they will wait for you to finish the drink before continuing their merchant-trail). Scents of straw mats, Persian carpets, handmade mattresses, copper lamps, ropes... All somewhat dusty and desert smelling, enclosed between tall ancient stone wall, and cool underneath the arches, protected from the heat of sun and human temprament alike... The abundant tactile and sensual distractions will confuse the warrior and soothe the poliltician… Tangy green almonds with salt sold at the exit by young boys sitting on rolls of rubber tubes…As well as the famous long oval sesame-drizzled fluffy bagels with Za’atar (a herb mixture based on wild hyssop and thyme). Those bagels and the cliché olive-tree camels and a few blue glassblown vessels at the Jaffa Gate only scrape the surface of these memories...
25 July, 2006