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Archive for September, 2011

The Original Chatters of Batha

The Original Chatters.

Eid 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was the first day of a

week long holiday in Saudi Arabia when I went to Batha (City

Center of Riyadh). My mission is to buy my long dreamed

flash (sb-700) for my camera so that I could use it on this

holiday, and to buy a black cloth for my planned room

studio. I dropped by at indian community just next to

filipino community. It’s because stores at Filipino

community area are mostly electronics and gadgets. There was

still daylight when I got there. As I am searching for the

cloth on every textile stores, I’ve noticed that the crowd

in every corner gets thicker and thicker. When Sallah

(prayer time) was shouted on loud speakers of minarets, I

stood at the sidewalk just behind the vendors. The area at

this moment were already filled with indians, pakistans and

Bangaladesh. You could distinguish them by their attires.

Pakistanis wore ther traditional dress (similar to pajamas,

except it’s only plain color.) though Bangladesh and indians are

identical, some Bangladesh wore clothes with embroidery.

When sallah was finished, I walked deeper into the crowds.

It is now like divisoria during christmas season. But in

Divisoria, most of the people were shoppers while these

indians and pakistanis are only standing and chatting with

each others. Even on ordinary weekends, they just go there

to meet and chat with their countrymen. There were 2 to 5

persons averagely on every group who were talking to each

other. The place were filled with voices which you cannot

even pick up a single word. But the smells were

recognizable. Common smells were body odors and “nganga”.

Since I need to squeeze myself in between them, I could

smell myself like them too. It was attached to my shirt.

Finally, I’ve found what I’m looking for, for 15 riyals per

meter I took two meters. Going back to my previous path was

harder than going thru the other end of the block. After

fiften years since saw this community (Batha), almost

nothing has changed except some new bldgs. But the crowds of

chatters had not changed.

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