July 13th 2014

Filmwise: Draft nine of the little girl in Baghdad continues to evolve.

“Does he work here?”

This weekend, I was in the company of two friends, in the Arab Quarter of the West End. It’s the Breaking of Fast meal that we have together every Ramadan.

With sunset being at such a late hour, we thought we’d meet early to catch up and decide on the venue for the meal – there are so many new restaurants opening in the area, we felt we should expand the range of our taste buds.

Deep in conversation, and keen to learn more about my friends’ respective families back in Iraq and how they are at the moment, I suggested we throw caution to the wind and sample the very first new establishment we wandered past.

The Eastern-style tiles were gleaming, the bread oven and the selection of fresh herbs and salad, and the food on the menu were all too enticing.

The one issue that crept on us quite unceremoniously was our sudden inability to hear one another.

Looking around us, we found ourselves surrounded by rowdy children, a whole classroom’s worth of decibels.

With the only waitress being too busy with the said kids and their parents to take our order, we politely replaced the seats back into their neat order under the table, and we slipped out.

Right across the street, another Middle Eastern restaurant was all too happy to have our custom.

Half-way through the meal, a gentleman approached us and said hello to one of my friends.

“Hello Sami, how are you?”, said my friend.

Sami left, and we ate to sounds of Arabic music, the gurgle of Nargilah smoking pipes, and the commentary on the ensuing World Cup match between Brazil and the Netherlands.

As we were walking out, my friend asked the owner, “does Sami work with you? You know the guy who said hello to me.”

“No, he runs the new restaurant across the street!”

Peace and love,

Ja’far

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