Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arabic Lessons...continued

Sanaa collected me in a hiyab (taxi) to go shopping in Bahri
As promised yesterday (please scroll down to read it, if you wish), I'm posting about my practical exercise in Arabic lessons. Tonight we're off to a very special dinner at a beautiful venue (post to follow) with the company General Manager, Issam. Of course, as I need a special outfit for this occassion, my tutor Sanaa promised to take me shopping. On Monday, instead of having classes at home, Sanaa collected me in a hiyab (taxi) to take me to the Bahri market, or as it's known locally: Souq Saad Gishra.

The entrances to the souq is filled with stalls selling cosmetics, toiletries and other personal items
Souq Saad Gishra is very similar to the Souq Arabi I posted about in February. Only one big difference: it was primarily a lady's clothing market. In the photo above a few baby items are visible
Sanaa inspects an outfit which we both liked

Each shop is a partitioned off from its neighbour. The clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellry hang on grids against the walls

Sanaa drove a hard bargain for my outfit.

Once I'd decided what I wanted, Sanaa told me to ask for the price in Arabic. The original price was SDG120/US$48. Then she began to bargain with the shopkeeper. She managed to get the price down to SDG100/US$40.
The hues and numbers of shoes boggles the mind
Buying the shoes was an experience all on its own! Hundreds of shoes in every style and colour are displayed on the walls. I made my choice very quickly (I always do) and sat down to try them on. Meanwhile, two young women were also trying on shoes there. The one asked me in English where I was from. I told her in Arabic that I come from South Africa. She insisted on speaking English because she said she wanted to practice the language. Sanaa told her that I would be replying in Arabic as I needed to practice as well. Everyone was happy with this arrangement! Oh, and the shopkeeper would not budge with his price no matter how much or long Sanaa haggled with him. The price was SDG30/US$12 and that was his final price...
Aren't my new shoes just tooo stunning?
The proprietor at the evening bag/purse stall, was very helpful and friendly

As we left the shoe shop, we turned into a shop which sells evening bags, purses, gold jewellry and cosmetics. Once again I made my choice very quickly and the shopkeeper kindly dropped the priced from SDG30/US$12 to SDG25/US$10. He was very friendly (as all Sudanese in the city are) and agreed to pose for a photo.

I had my complete outfit for the dinner tonight so we meandered through the souq "just looking" as women do.
Passing a shop with daywear, my eye fell on a beautiful dress and pant outfit. The shopkeeper emerged from the back of his shop and told Sanaa the price: SDG120. She haggled with him until he agreed on SDG60/US$24! As we were waiting for our taxi to return and collect us, the shopkeeper invited us inside where he offered us two plastic stools to sit on. His shop was airconditioned and when the soft drink vendors came by, he bought us each a soda. While we sat there, Sanaa encouraged me to ask him in Arabic the price of the items around us. Which I did.
Souq Saad Gishra was the most amazing "shopping mall" I have ever been to. Every type of womens' garments is available. Sudanese abayas, abisses and hijabs; traditional dresses and pants, evening wear, wedding outfits, t-shirts, camisoles, sleepwear and lingerie. I merely glanced at the latter and realised that you could buy any type of underwear there. Only thing is, the shopkeepers are all men ...
The hiyab brought me back to the apartment a little after midday. Final cost of the whole excursion (including travel) SDG275/US$119.60!
The shopping experience: priceless!


  1. Wow! That sounds like quite the shopping experience. How nice you had the right assistance with it. I can't wait until you show us your entire outfit. It sounds divine.

  2. Thanks Joyful. It was GREAT fun! Have a blessed day.

  3. Shopping! Everything looks so lovely, I really like the purple dress 6th photo down and 2 from the right. lovely!

  4. Have a nice training,I beleive that you can learn Arabic language rapidly and speak perfectly as soon as possible time.Best wishes.

  5. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ilhami! I hope to master this language! Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Grant;) the colours and varieties are stunning. Thanks for visiting.

  6. Hi Jo,
    I want to go shopping with you! Look at ALL those shoes! Ha-ha! What wonderful clothes and fabrics.
    I'm looking forward to seeing your ensemble, I know you will look stunning.
    Sunny :)

  7. Absolutely Sunny;) those shoes are any girl's dream. I'm looking forward to our outing tonight.

  8. 'n Fees vir 'n vrou! Dis wonderlik om uit so 'n groot verskeidenheid te kan kies!! ENJOY your evening!!!

  9. What a great shopping day! Your photos are all so colorful. I like your new profile shot also.

  10. Dit is waarlik die mooiste goed, Ida. Die kwaliteit net soos ons in goeie winkels in SA kry. Lekker dag verder.

    Hi Carol, good to see you again. Thanks for your lovely comments.

  11. Jo, the shops remind me of some of the shops here. I can't wait to see you in your new outfit either. :o)

  12. Thanks for popping in Jackleen . Post on outing coming soon...

  13. What a wonderful way to practice speaking Arabic, by going shopping! I love the outfit you picked out; enjoy your dinner. :)

  14. Hi Diane;) good to see you. Yes, it was a fun and practical way...

  15. Jo, it sounds like not only do you have an excellent teacher, but also an excellent buisness manager as well!
    I wish that us men would learn the joy of shoping... We just kind of go on a mission, you know, run in like we are storming the gates and "capture" what we want and get out... I think your way is better.

    You are going to be the "Bell of the Ball" with your new outfit!

    God Bless!

  16. Hi Jo, Wow---what a neat way to learn a language --and have a shopping spree at the same time. You did GREAT!!!! I'm proud of you!

    I've never seen so many shoes in my life!!!!! ha

    We've had a wonderful day today at the beach... Beautiful weather after the rain yesterday (clear, sunny, breezy, warm---PERFECT)...


  17. Hi Mike, yes women do have the better idea of shopping... Thanks for your kind comments!

    Hi Betsy:) It was great fun. Those shoe displays boggle my mind every time! Glad you're having a great time at the beach. Bless you.

  18. A fun day of shopping and lessons too. Loved you pant suit. What about the other outfit, do we get to see that too?

  19. Hi Jo, I have been visiting your interesting blog since I arrived Khartoum last 2 months. Wonder if you could share with me about the arabic lesson. How can I contact Sanaa for the class. Thanks Jo!


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo