Friday, February 26, 2010

Ça gère la fougère!

Wow, how quickly a month goes by when you're not writing a blog. Amazing.

Went again to Oran, this time on the train. I do love to take the train to Oran, the countryside is beautifully green and varied here, with that iron-rich red dirt that we all love from Hawaii. At least I think it all comes from Hawaii. The visit was pretty standard: discos, cabarets, seafood, beer, with the addition this time of a nice program put on by an Algerian dance troupe in collaboration with the US Embassy. It was a blend of classical ballet-ish and hip-hop dancing, and was really cool. I met the two Americans, from a ballet (I think) troupe in New York called Battery. They were nice, and it was a great event. No pictures of it, though, but picture an old, small theater complete with deep red curtains and carved friezes and box seats. We sat in box seats. Here is a nice picture of the exterior:

And this is "Calentica:"

Calentica is essentially mashed chickpeas mixed with something else sticky and baked. Around 7:30am, when you're tired from a night of Cabaret-ing, you go to the working-class section of town and eat calentica in sandwich form, steaming hot and dripping all over. Oranis say it soaks up all the booze and lets you sleep when you would normally be getting up. It works, too. It is sold by an old man from a cart like this:

About five hours after eating the calentica, after a night at the cabaret listening to the best that the underground Rai world has to offer, we were on the train back to Algiers. Second class. First class is all of two dollars more expensive, but you're treated like a king. For essentially the same price, second class sucks. I slept all over the poor bastard who got crammed on the bench next to me.

Algiers has been more of the same. Some fun things: it was so windy the other day that a gust tore the vent/moon roof off of the bus I was on. You know that thing in the ceiling that is partially opened to allow some air through the bus. Right off, flew back into the street. Thankfully no one was behind us. We stopped and the money man jumped off, grabbed the thing, and just tossed it into the back. Ma lesh!

Also, I eat pizza or "covered pizza" from this little shop across the street from the Bibliotheque nearly every day, and have become pretty friendly with the dudes there. A slice of pizza or a square of the pastry/pizza/pie thing will run you about 30 cents, but you need to eat two or three, still the best deal in town and delicious. They put mayo on the pizza. I won't explain any further. The other day I was eating a bit late and there was no one in there, so I was chatting to the guy, and because I'm lazy I'll sum up by saying he was very disappointed that I won't be joining him in heaven, but remains open to helping me with the conversion process whenever I finally come to my senses.


Jessica said...

That calentica looks like yummmmmmm... slurp.

Barb said...

So - where was your duct tape when the bus vent flew off? And what a great food calentica must be - beautiful, tasty, and useful, too! Has to beat pizza with mayo!

Err Bloc Tuck said...

I don't know, I'm getting pretty fond of my pizza with mayo. I can't believe I just wrote that.