Night in the souq

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I am drawn to the souq, night after night.  Pulled into its dark, winding alleys.  Strawberry-shisha smoke curls round every corner, nauseating sweet.  Pregnant bulges, of sequinned fabrics, push out of doorways.

Deep in, on the narrowest alley, you find the giant’s hardware store, where a man in a turban, sells metal vats, the size of Victorian tin-baths, for cooking camel.  

At the intersection with the hardware store, you can eat sticky sweets, cooked in the traditional manner on a huge griddle, by a man who slaps the pancake mix onto the searing metal, wearing plastic gloves.  

I met a Kuwaiti poet in the souk art gallery, who quoted poetry from the Koran, as we moved step-by-step from one Haditha to the next. Golden lettering, glittery behind small squares of glass on the whitewashed wall. 

I wandered through the smoky courtyards, stray cats scattering and young boys chasing footballs.  The curly-whirly mosque, a golden dream shimmering above the souk, in the night sky. 

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