Damascus, Dimashq, Syria
March 27, 2006
I have already mused somewhere else in the journal about dusty pink-and-green iced cakes. I’ve seen cakes like that in the Middle East and India as well, but I’ve never actually eaten one or knowingly met anyone who has. I think it’s the dusty colour that’s the problem; it just doesn’t look appetising to me. Anyway, in case you’re a fan, there was a good selection of dusty pastries. I opted for a croissant and realised that looks can indeed be deceptive. I’m sure they must have been tastier earlier in the day.
The interior of the café, despite the tall ceiling and large windows, was gloomy. It was another example of the "you can never have too much Formica" school of interior decor popular in the more urban areas of Mali. This particular Formica was the ever-popular dark brown wood effect version, which had also been used for the tabletops and the counter area. It was a very brown café.
The exterior facilities of the café do extend to the use of a communal toilet. You know how it is when you find out there’s a loo and your body then relaxes because relief is round the corner so to speak? Well, try not to let that happen at the Pâtisserie le Dogon, okay? On acquiring the key, I was led out the front of the café and up an alleyway into what looked like a car wrecker's yard—and shown to a mildewed concrete cubicle. The rusty iron door was locked with an enormous padlock. That’s as far as I’m going, so don’t worry, but just so you get the picture, this concrete cabin was the only such facility for all the workers and their families who lived in and around the yard. I’ve seen a few toilets in my time, I can tell you, but... To be fair, there were no street traders in the cafe. Neither were there any other customers.
From journal Mopti: My Kind of Town