A Travellerspoint blog

Muslim Kids

Growing up ain't easy

Child labour laws are a probably a funny joke here. The cities are full of little kids running around selling all kinds of wares, from bread to chewing gum, and the nargileh cafes are garrisoned by armies of shoe shine boys running around avoiding getting hit by the waiters. Today we talked to one of these boys, Riyaz, who was very happy to actually have a conversation, probably a rarity for him as the local just ignore them unless they actually want their shoes shined. He was terrified of the waiters and ducked under the table whenever they were nearby, as they dislike the boys loitering and smack them if they get in the way. We got him a coke, but had to insist it was for us as the waiter asked just to make sure wasn't for the little rascal. He drank it under the table, and was eternally grateful, coming to our table in between rounds of shining shoes and even gave us some popcorn.

When we were in Kayseri in Turkey, after being guided skillfully into a carpet shop, and having realized this leaving, we were given a boy to help us out and follow us around as it would help his English. This turned out to be a massive boon, as we were very tired having done a 1000+km hitch in the past 20 hours and hadn't slept much. He showed us where to go, brought us to tea houses and kebab shops, and generally helped out. The strange thing was, that this didn't surprise anyone, and the other people we ran into sort of expected him to do all this.

Posted by Nomadics 06:51 Archived in Syria Tagged tips_and_tricks

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