Monday, September 29, 2008

From the cloisters

So last night the Best Western Zinon. When I arrived that part of the city was consumed by something like a Sunday market, and it was pretty intense, thronged with people from different parts of the world. I got a room up on the 8th floor with a big balcony but no furniture on it, and across the way there was an old dude who had a bed set up out on his covered porch area, sitting on the side of the bed reading, partially obscured by his laundry hanging there. It was pretty good living, though this morning I saw his son and realized the al fresco sleeping may have been motivated by space constraints too.

After the crowds died back, the neighborhood was pretty cool, with a variety of restaurants and bars (including Kurdish, though they were out of everything good). Sick of grilled meat and tourist menus, I had Chinese, then I watched Inter play Milan through the window of a bar with 6 seats. There were cheap, old school internet cafes everywhere, where people from Africa and the Middle East were busy keeping in touch with home.

By now I have been transported to the five star Hotel Pentelikon in the leafy (but still chaotic) suburb of Kifasia, where I prepare for tomorrow's meeting while trying to ignore the chaos in the markets and the freakish escalation of histrionics from various representatives of the enraged masses, eager for the head of Henry Paulson and anyone else who would take their hard-earned dollars. I.e. the blogosphere and message boards which I shouldn't read, but which are nonetheless so interesting as a window into the abyss of the long-pampered American soul.

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