Every Thursday, everyone who lives anywhere near Douz swarms in from the surrounding villages to join the weekly market. There’s a square underneath the palm trees where animals are bought and sold; lining the sandy streets there are stalls selling second-hand socks, shoes, belts, clothing of every kind, radios, cellphones, kitchen accessories and whitegoods, furniture, generators, satellite dishes, hoses, tools, wool and bundles of all kinds of fabric, great vats of herbs and spices, and cassette tapes of very, very odd sounding music.
We ventured out, and headed to the livestock area. Wow! It was another world. The air rang with the bleats and yells of sheep, goats, and the shriller trills of baby animals of various species — some insanely cute goat kids. The place was packed, so we edged through the crowd, squeezing past animals and people alike. Not a woman in sight, I might add, aside from Katherine and another tourist we saw.
We passed some youngsters pushing a goat in a wheelbarrow; a man wresting an errant goat, a wheelbarrow full of chickens (and a man picking one up by its wing, which we weren’t too happy with), and a very bewildered-looking newborn goat — what a place to be born!
I recorded the sounds of the animal market, but was disappointed to find later that something had gone wrong with the recorder application, and the recording was gone. Oh, well.
We wandered onto the streets of Douz, thronging with people and lined with stalls. Katherine found a belt, and we met up with Birgit and Dieter, and their friends Manfred and his wife, who’s name currently eludes me, in the market square and had some very good sweet tea with them.
We also met a local souvenir vendor who we’d met the other day (Katherine bought some sunglasses from him) — he was actually an English teacher, but couldn’t find work, so he was getting by running a stall here! He had told us the other day that business was slowing down: The financial crisis was causing the number of visitors to dwindle, so he was wondering what he’d do next.
We wandered on, through the market square (we had a chuckle at the child’s jumper pictured below, for sale in one of the stalls. Right.), and on through the streets in search of water and bread, then back home.