The spice of life is not in tradition any more

Bahrain’s Spice Market may not hold charm for the local population any more but, tucked away in the lanes of the Old Suq in the capital, Manama, it is a must visit for tourists and visitors.
The conventional ways of shopping have, in any case, taken a beating in the last few years with the advent of supermarkets and suq’s (traditional markets) have been among the first to fall victim.
However, as I have often discovered, the real charm of shopping in the “good old days” was when one picked up a jute (or cane) basket and went to the neighbourhood bazaar to pick up the day’s groceries.
As expected, Bahrain’s Spice Market was deserted when I went there for a walk last weekend. Hardly any customers, but for a few very ‘touristy’ people, were seen actually shopping while most who were there preferred to busy themselves with devouring the food on offer at the several eating joints.
The pungent smell of spices and the very friendly, mostly Asian, traders were welcoming and eager to sell their wares but were equally at ease with me preferring to take pictures instead. Yes, one of them said, most visitors are more interested in taking pictures but they didn’t mind. He admitted many of them end up purchasing some as well.
The same is the story of the rest of the suq – be it clothes, electronics, toys, utensils and the like. People – most people – just don’t go there any more, thanks to the ease and the air conditioned comfort of shopping in the supermarket.
Clearly, the spice of life in tradition does not exist any more!
A pity, really!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Littlesundog says:

    I last purchased spices at an open market in the French West Indies. I have never seen spice shops like you photographed, here in the US. I am sure they may exist perhaps at farmer’s markets, but not in the Midwest US where we live. It’s sad that they have fallen by the wayside, as many specialty markets have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s such a pity they have all but disappeared! In Bahrain, however, a lot of the tradition still exists and some efforts are being made to make sure it does for a while 🙂

      Like

      1. Littlesundog says:

        Awesome! I think those of us who enjoy using fresh spices and herbs in culinary delights greatly appreciate the existence of spice markets.

        Liked by 1 person

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