Friday, June 22, 2007

Souk drama

So we went to the Souk with my sister-in-law on Tuesday. The Souk in Ksar Hellal is one of the biggest in the area and begins Monday night, though the official day is Tuesday. We arrived in Ksar Hellal on Monday evening, and Tuesday morning we set off into the Souk. Essia said we were only going for a few minutes, but I knew better. We wended our way through the crowded stalls- basically plastic square tents set up for the day- some merchants just spread their wares on plastic on the ground with no roof. We bought some things and were looking at some more, when suddenly I felt someone push into me- H was standing right behind me, and when I turned around, he was running off in hot pursuit of a thief that had picked his pocket. H was carrying his money in the knee pocket of his cargo shorts and the thieft must have noticed this when he'd bought something quite while before. When he caught the man, about 30 feet away, he started hitting him (I think on his back.) Some other people came up and started beating on him, too. (This sounds more violent than it was- I think it was all the adrenaline in H coming out.) A policeman came over and demanded to know why they were hitting the man. They said he was a thief, and the thief began to complain that he was sick and didn't feel well. The policeman knocked him down and then asked him- "how do you feel now?" They took him off to the police station with H, who handed me the shopping bags, including one with Essia's new drinking glasses that somehow hadn't been broken in the fracas. Essia kept shopping and the souk soon returned to normal. After a while we went looking for H and found him just outside the police station. He said the guy had said it was his first time, but since he already had a police record, this obviously wasn't true. H got most of his money back, but some must have fallen out on the ground. The police were going to give him the 20 they found in the thief's wallet, but of course he couldn't take that. H felt bad for the woman who had lost 300 dinar to a thief that day in the souk.
We finally got home hot and tired. Essia is an indefatigable shopper.

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