Monday, December 26, 2011

One small step for Erbil, one giant step for cultural progress: Coffee Shops!

Dearest reader,
Once again writing from Erbil, Kurdistan. Am katatan bash!!!
Two days ago I took you on my journey to mrishk shopping. Today was a totally different experience. While mrishk is not one of my favourite things, what I saw today is top ranking in that list-- with no doubt.

Family Mall still remains to be the biggest and the best there is in Erbil (though I still prefer the old bazaar over any modern building in this city). This is the place where you can buy a piece of jewelry at a price of a house and have the real designer of clothes, shoes and bags. It is also the place where you can be so "modern" and "catch up over a coffee".
Empire Cinemas in Erbil, Family Mall. One of the best 2012 things in Erbil to look out for
Basically a very modern shopping experience, running a little bit ahead of Majidi Mall at the moment, with Empire Cinemas waiting for its grand opening and Carrefour to open soon as well (expected to open tomorrow… but from what I saw today at least a week’s worth of work still remains).
Soon these doors will slide up and Carrefour will be open in Erbil- Family Mall
 My old love continues bigger and greater than before. That is, a love for antiques and folklore. Near the appliances and technology-related shops in Family Nall there is treasure to be discovered. Beautifully decorated and designed is the Daric shop. I won’t write much because some of the pictures I took will explain everything itself, but I truly felt like I was in wonder land.
Daric shop for persian carpets and home decoration - worth a visit
Massive in beauty—and in $$$ too—but the feeling you get being in these shops is superb and this is the first time I see this in Erbil’s Family Mall, probably opened after I left.
beautifully decorated shop....
they do house furniture as well
The owner was very helpful and explained to the magnificent Miss S.I. and I all about some of the pieces. Carpets were handmade, so were the wall display carpets –STUNNING— even the designs on the vases and little jewelry box (I think I tend to appreciate handmade goods so much because I feel they are made with so much love and passion. Or maybe it’s because my fingers can’t seem to be able to do anything more than holding a pen or typing on a keyboard. ). No let’s be serious. Whenever I see handmade pieces of anything I feel the person who spent hours/days or months putting it together.
A shop owner who really does believe in what he sells
S.I. learns about a beautifully handmade carpet, she's pleased!

handmade! S.I. fell in love with this one

S.M. (me!!) loved this one. Notice it is of a samawar - also handmade!!!!!
Today we walked past Robert’s Coffee, opening bam-zuwana (soon) in Family Mall my good old friend, Miss S.I. commentated on what she was seeing: “Can’t believe all the coffee shops in Erbil these days!” this really struck me, because I remember six years back there was not a single coffee shop where girls or woman could go to in entire Erbil.
Robert's Coffee at Family Mall Erbil bam-zuwana -coming soon!
Tut-tut-tut train ride around the mall J
Well let’s not exaggerate there was always the chay khana [tea shop] but believe me this is never a good idea for a female.
still had my chay in a pyala why do I suddenly enjoy tea when I'm back home is still a mystery
What is great about this place is that there are all sorts of people sitting in the coffee shops, I lost count of the ones there is in Family Mall, but they attract old men with their tasbeeh, younger boys with their iXXX (be that iPhone, iPod, and i-don’t-know-what), women with kids, families, groups of girls and boys, and it is very normal to see a two or more girls or women sitting together in one of these shops.


Notice the men, seems like a coffee-shop meeting
One step for Erbil, one giant step for cultural progress! These coffee shops inside the malls means more girls can leave the house without the family acting as a boundary. At the end of the day these malls are safe and it is socially accepted for girls to be there alone. While places like the bazaar can be very intimidating and uncomfortable for a group of girls to be seen there alone.

I also enjoy the fact that Christmas trees are up everywhere, and even the streets are decorated for both Christmas and New Year. As our Christian friends celebrated Christmas, we could also feel the festivity, which was great!

The Christmas Tree in Family Mall
The highlight of the day... when S.I. insisted to take a European but Made in Kurdistan baby from his father for a little "ooooysh Kubani she's so cute" session
Till I write again... Shaw bash from the greatest place in the world.