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Pedlars

Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 23.01.2007:

Long familiar to the area is the roaming of pedlars in commercial streets and inhabited areas. For example, there are: cake sellers who cry, “Hot cakes, Oh cakes, cakes and eggs.” The cake dough resembles the bread dough. They are made in the form of a circle sprinkled with sesame seeds and are tasty when grilled with thyme and eggs. There are also newsvendors crying, “Falastin” and “Ad-Difa”‘ newspapers. These newspapers have changed and are now, “Al-Quds”, “Al-Fajr”, “Ash-Sha’b”, and “An-Nahar”. Women vendors sell fruits and vegetables, carrying on their heads baskets of grapes, figs, cactus fruits, and others. Once there were vendors of pure bee honey, molasses, dairy products and liquorice drinks.

Negroes’ pistachios are usually sold by a negro vendor. He sells the pealed pistachios on wood fire. He may stand in front of the cinema or wander in the city streets crying, “Hot pistachios, Oh pistachios!” Equally there are vendors of lupines and sweetmeats such as “sha’r il-banat” (girls’ hair) (machine pounded sugar producing a soft, easily – soluble stuff), and “harisah” (a paste made of pounded wheat). A person passes in the city streets carrying a bag of roasted chick-peas which he exchanges for old pieces of brass and lead saying, “brass and lead for roasted chick-peas!” There also passes the water seller who carries the water in water-skins on his back or in four tins on his donkey. Also passing in the streets are a shoe-mender, a kerosene-cooker repairer, a wetter of knives and scissors, and a bleacher of brass utensils. The kerosene seller with a barrel on a horse – drawn carriage used to pass by selling to the people who illuminated their houses and cooked on kerosene-cookers.

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