Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

A Different Kind of Place: My Trip to Gaza

I've heard about it, but never been. Rumors spilled out at the mosque- visit Gaza, a land of wonders! Today, I got that opportunity.

There is a place in Orange County, a few blocks, all along one road, called Little Gaza. You drive North on Brookhurst St., until you come to the 900 block in Anaheim, and suddenly, everything changes. You feel like you are home again.

This is especially wonderous because when I last lived in the Southland, there was no Arab area. Sure, Little Tehran in LA, but that's not the same thing. There is now an area of the Southland where you can baptize yourself within Arab culture again.

I stopped in a bookstore, and spoke only Arabic. They told me of Al Anwar Islamic Fashion, which sells clothing. I drove North, and one shop after another was in Arabic transliteration or actual Arabic script. Even the billboards were no longer in the dominant language (Spanish), but had switched to Arabic.

Al Anwar has tons of clothing, and I picked up two jallabiyas, priced at $130. They were 35% off, but I talked in Moroccan dareeja for a long time with the saleswoman, who was from Fes. She insisted that the price come down to 40% off, and I bargained further based on available financing and my dad in the hospital (which are standard techniques in Morocco), getting a light blue thin jallabiya and a thicker summer grey-green jallibiya (both that go well with my eyes), for $70. Yes, I'm that good. Best of all, it was all in Arabic.

Then the Moroccan woman took me next door to point out the Lebanese food. I don't know the name of the place, but next to Al Anwar is a place with excellent zatar, that reminds me immediately of the cheeseless Arabic pizzas I used to buy all the time in Dearborn, Michigan. These are meat breads with herbs and spices, and only $1.75. Add a little for Vimto, the Arabic soda that's so hard to find in America and tastes like bubble gum.

I left to go see my dad, who's hospital is only five blocks away, in my new jallabiya and cranking up the iTunes Arabic music with the windows down, except when I came to a stop light, so everyone could hear me yell out, "Allahu akbar!"

1 comment:

Omar said...

I at first thought you had visited THE Gaza. Still, the Orange County Gaza seems interesting, especially the part of billboards switching to Arabic.

This is what makes America Great: allowing different cultures and races to be and thrive.