Saturday, October 1

When there is some smoke, there sometimes is a big fire

Smoke in Jaffa is not a rare event. Nor is fire.

I used to live in the center of Jaffa, at the Dante / Victor Hugo cross roads, next to a huge garbage dumpster, known as "Zfardea" (frog in Hebrew). The "'hood boyz" used to set it a fire. At least once a week.
Chairs would be dragged to the corner opposite, water pipes lit, tea (or something alcoholic) prepared and then they would call the fire brigade and watch them do their job.
An i would watch them watching.
This was an almost weekly event, for that particular dumpster.
The smell would be horrible, and afterwards the street would be filled with black stinking sooty water.

So while making my walk on the rubbish mount this afternoon (seeing it the way it is now, after all, next year we'll have a park there, no more no less), i was not surpised at seeing a little smoke. There usually is some smoke from somewhere.
Yet a little smoke soon became a lot of smoke, then a hell of a lot of smoke. This was no frog going up in the air.
Coming closer to the source of the smoke, it was obvious from the amount of fire trucks arriving and roadblocks closing of the streets something bigger was going on in the area of the Fleamarket, to Rabbi Nahman Street.

Jaffa's fleamarket is famous throughout the the country. A place to find antiques of varying qualities, old books, kitchenware, 2nd hand furniture, paintings, statues and what not, made-in-India and China clothes, anciet russian cameras, coins, sets of ill matched glasses, fake lalique lamp shades, you name it, they'll sell it.
Some stores are beautiful (and not at all that cheap), others just show a big mountain of things, for the clients to dig in and come up with finds. A collectors' heaven. Some stores are really just tables out in the street.
The market is open 6 days a week, during the daylight hours more or less. The salesmen (there are very few women) are Jewish as well as Arabs.

Once upon a time it used to be Jaffa's meat market. The butchers would have their stalls one next to the other. Early mornings, when the meat would be fresh, prices were high. Later during the dya the prices went down, there was no way to keep the meat fresh in that prior to refrigerator age. At the very end of the day, it was party time for the local cats and dogs.
But those days are history. the meat market became the flea market and its buyers are mostly Tel Aviv's Jewish inhabitants. For them comiong to Jaffa implies a visit to the fleamarket, eating some humous at one of the many houmous restaurants or bourekas (stuffed ) pastry or mamoul (date and nut filled cookies) at "Leon's".
Perhaps a tamarhindo somewhere. going fuerther south into the realm Jaffa, where we live, is out of the question for most of them. In any case they are barely aware our neighborhoods exist.

The fire broke out in a small aluminum workshop in the fleamarket. A two story building, constructed, judged by its building style, during the British mandate years. At the bottom floor a workshop, appartments at the top floor. By the remainder of the laundry hanging from one of the balconies, people lived there. The workshop burned for hours. Gaz bottles exploding, the fire brigade mostly dousing the buildings next door, to keep the fire from spreading.
The place was filled to the ceiling with old and very volatile materials.

According to the police, the fire started as a result from a fire outside, a pile of rubbish close to the building had been set afire.

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