Donnerstag, 24. April 2014

Palestine in California

Californian diary, part 2 (part 1)

As soon as we enter the shop, it smells like Palestine. It must be some of the spices, zaatar perhaps? it's been some time, crazy how odours can take you back to a place thousands of miles away. It smells like zaatar, the butcher behind the meat corner in the back of the shop speaks with an Arab accent and in the background some young Arab woman sings a catchy pop tune on the radio. A little bit of Palestine in California. It's hot outside on the street, April in LA is like August in London, but cool inside the shop, thank God for ACs.

Fresh oranges (60 cent the kilogram ... this is California, baby!), bananas, apples, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, bundles of cilandro, basil and dill are piled up to your right. Deep-frozen meat and sausages, all halal, in the huge freezers to your left. Colourful hijabs and abayahs in one corner; the exact same kind of biscuits my friend from Gaza would have for breakfast in Ramallah in another. Two oversized Easter bunnies look down on us customers from the top of one of the huge shelves. There is one aisle with South Asian spices and specialities and one with Turkish delicatessen, to cater to all those who are kind of from that same corner of the world.

Living in the Southwest of the US of A, in an air-conditioned beige house with a car and a garage in the front and the small garden in the back that no-one ever uses anyway. Living in the Southwest of the US of A, buying a little bit of home. Or what used to be home. Or what used to be my parents' home. Because I have only ever been to Palestine once and when I walked over al-Manara in my baggy jeans they called me al-Amreeki.

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