Chapter 11 – Snatch
The Chan el-Chalili in Cairo’s historic city is regarded as Africa’s largest bazaar. It was founded in the 14th century and was known for a long time as the „Turkish bazaar“. Countless little lanes are connecting its squares, lined with shops and coffee houses.
Andram was straying through the narrow lanes, in search of the next color. He held his own compass in his hand. The compass he had stolen from Ben and Kara was stored in his backpack. He hated this place. So many people, mainly tourists, everywhere. Overpriced goods, many of them cheap imitations that had nothing to do with craftmanship and tradition. Souvenirs for the wrist and for the mantelpiece, as fake as their admirers. Andram huffed scornfully.
The smell of dozens of nargiles wafted through the air when Andram stopped to examine the compass again. Coffee and Kaffee und curcuma, myrrh and cinnamon, and sweat, the sweat of the tourists, all over the place. Disgusting. Andram wanted to disappear as quickly as possible from here. This way! He continued to rush through the masses of people – not so far any longer! Cardamon, curry. This way, and now here. He pushed a woman aside, why was she standing in the middle of his way! That way, to the left, and now here, along this street, and further on. Cloths were wafting at a pole: emerald green, cinnabar red, umbra grey. Bracelets and necklesses to the right, made of gold and silver. He stopped abruptly. There: according to her physique it was a woman, wrapped from head to toe in a vest that was blooming in the colors of beige, mint and gold.
At the same time the woman looked over to him – and ran away into the opposite direction. Andram stuck to her heels. He must not loose sight of her, he needed her colors. The people standing around, who had already annoyed him before, were now completely abhorrent to him. He pushed them away heedlessly, as if they were dummies. Where was she, that woman? There, in the narrow entrance – and then she was gone again. Follow her! Andram elbowed his way through the knot of people that had formed at the entrance of the lane. But these people seemed to be annoyed about his rough behaviour and now started to push Andram on their part, having fun to hamper his attempts to pass by. There was much tearing and dragging, and he needed an entire minute to enter the lane. The woman had long since disappeared; he looked at the compass in his hand – the colors were gone. Andram cursed, „Fuck, fuck!‟, but the men laughed and went their own ways.
Something fell down. Andram looked behind – the drinking bottle had fallen out of his backpack. He pulled down the backpack and rummaged in it – the second compass had disappeared. Instead, a long slash adorned the bottom of his backpack. „Criminals! Mean thiefs!‟, he shouted – but nobody took notice of it.
„Mister, Mister!‟, the boy said to Ben, holding the compass out towards him.
„Thank you, young man!‟, Ben answered, gave the boy a few coins and repossessed his color compass again. The boy ran away.
„I love it when a plan works‟, the woman in the beige-mint-golden vest said. She removed the veil from her face, and Kara’s red hair fell on her shoulders.
„It’s not over yet ‟, said Ben and took Kara’s hand. „Come!‟
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