I often see Hannin stand in front of her shop on Rainbow Street. Actually it’s her brother’s shop, but she manages it most days. She could almost pass as an American tourist: she wears her shoulder-length, chestnut colored hair down, and sports jeans and jersey. Still unmarried (ya Allah, ya rabbi) although being well past her “prime” marrying age (I’d guess she’s about 35), she said she will work here until she found a husband – and then she let out a big, warming laugh, as if to say: like that’s ever gonna happen.
Sure, she says, there are benefits with the Rainbow Street make-over. But also drawbacks, mostly personal. Since she lives just below the JARA café, she claims that the shabaab (youths) many times keeps her up until 1 at night, with their constant chattering about girls and proverbial measuring of their tiny dicks.
Before the remodeling, they boasted more designer things. Now, they have expanded the goods sold to include aromatic soaps and scented candles (for some reason, always very popular amongst a certain kind of tourists) in all the colors of the rainbow. It’s a cute shop. And yes, there are more tourists now – especially during the summer when Souq JARA is open. She sides with the million and one taxi drivers I’ve heard complain about the bizarrely uncomfortable cobbled stones on the street. Huge mistake; my knees always hurt walking to work, she tells me, even though I only live 200 meters away.
I can only nod my head in agreement.