it’s travel time with mr. khairul yet again. this time, it’s algeria – the second country to experience the pang of middle east unrest after tunisia, and before egypt. it has since recovered well, and business seems to run as usual, alhamdulillah.
sigh, that tie again
in between handling exhibition, business meetings and market visits at a foreign country, it’s only natural to take advantage of what the country has to offer a curious, adventurous tourist as mr. khairul.
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algiers (pronounced al-jeerz; arabic: الجزائر al-jazā’ir; is the capital and largest city of algeria. the country has a strong french influence, which can be seen in its architecture. (yup and khairul came back as a french <---- ayat ni dia yang tambah hihi)
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this is the grand post office, built in 1910, by voinot and tondoire. this construction of the neo-moorish type is in full centre town of algiers.
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stopping at the many, many italian restaurants all around algiers, mr. khairul tried lasagna at one local italian restaurant @ woody woodpecker. i LOVE lasagna, but this one doesn’t look that appealing. however, mr. khairul said it’s probably THE best lasagna he’s ever tasted!
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satay in algiers? yeap! the way they fan the charcoal to burn faster and constant, the meat on sticks – the method used is the same as ours in malaysia. however, they served them without the spicy peanut sauce, and can be eaten on its own.
also one difference – while our malaysian satay is sweet and juicy, the algiers satay is salty.
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this is by far, how petrol station in algiers look like. small, minimal and plain. there are no huge petrol stations complete with a drive-through kfc, or a well-stocked mini-mart. just plain and simple stop-over for petrol and any basic vehicle maintenance.
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saving the best for last. now THIS is a MUST-GO when you’re in algiers.
a kasbah (arabic: "القصبة") or qassabah is a type of medina, islamic city, or fortress (citadel).
it was a place for the local leader to live and as a defense when the city was under attack. a kasbah has high walls which usually have no windows. sometimes, they were built on the top of hill to make them easier to defend.
UNESCO declared the ‘casbah of algiers’ as one of the world’s heritage site in 1992. so naturally, mr. khairul had his eye on this place to visit. it’s basically an old neighbourhood in algiers, populated as early as the 17th century and still is inhabited. it consists of houses built very close together, joined by very sempit walkways.
the walkways are so many, so narrow and winding that it’s almost like a maze. why was it made like that? like the quote above, this casbah was originally used as a ‘defense against foreign attacks’.
the casbah (of al qasbah , “the citadel”), is founded on the ruins of old Icosium. it is a small city which, built on a hill, goes down towards the sea, divided in two: the high city and the low city. there are masonries and mosques of the 17th century; like the ketchaoua mosque (built in 1794). in the kasbah, there are also labyrinths of lanes and houses that are very picturesque; and if one gets lost there, it is enough to go down again towards the sea to reposition oneself. ~wikipedia
one of the maze-like winding walkways inside the casbah. (image from google)
this ‘casbah’ is so infamous for its mysterious winding narrow paths, that a 1938 movie was made with casbah as its main setting, aptly titled, ‘algiers’.
pepe le moko, a thief who escaped from france with a fortune in jewels, has for two years lived in, and virtually ruled, the mazelike, impenetrable ‘casbah’, "native quarter" of algiers.
click here for more awesome pictures of the maze-like casbah of algiers.
mr. khairul himself had a very interesting and unforgettable experience when he went there, but he asked me not to divulge any information or stories in my blog. that’s how classified the story is! wanna know, ask him personally and he’ll tell you the story himself!
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isn’t it nice to meet a fellow malaysian in a foreign country? a stranger turned new-found friend bonded by nationality? a wonderful host, engaging story-teller and informative tourist guide!
mr. khairul thanks abang zakaria and family for their warm welcome and delicious home-cooked meals of good ‘ol malay food. terima kasih la sebab jaga makan minum suami tercinta hihi. kalau datang dubai, singgah la ke rumah kami pulak!
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as usual, thanks for the chocolates, honey! (bukan nak pesan suruh beli pinggan mangkuk kristal ke, kain ke atau household item – mintak belikan chocolate from airport je! hihi)
well, where to next, sir?