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  • Writer's pictureFederica

Falafel and the city

Jordan, July 2023

There are streets so endless and deserted that you cannot imagine them until you see them. Along these roads then have the good fortune to cross paths with equally unimaginable lives and realities. Driving along the Desert Highway between Aqaba and Wadi Mujib in July, we drove many kilometers and around lunchtime we came across one of the few villages that stands and lives right on the edge of this road. I wouldn't even know the name, we didn't look it up and it really didn't matter. There was a bakery, a cafe, and no tourists. Hunger and a craving for falafel led us to a place with a yellow sign, a restaurant that was also a supermarket and bakery, in short a little bit of everything. It was the only eatery with the sign in English, but upon entering we realize that they know very little English. Everyone turns to look at us: a table of teenage girls, with their veils and notebooks, look at us amused and curious. They all do their best to seat us, show us a message on their cell phones in which the menu is translated into English, bring us tea and placemat while the girls stare in curiosity at my shorts and our strange fashion. I decide to greet them and they all happily answer me, amid smiles and giggles: I imagine what they are thinking about these two strange, perhaps scantily clad boys eating their beloved hummus with cutlery. Finished with their shawarma and small talk, they pick up their notebooks and say goodbye to us, probably headed for school. For the rest of the time I imagined how distant and different our worlds, our daily lives, our customs can be but also how, between friends and chatter, we are then all just 'girls'.


The roads

Hunger and good food

The girls

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