R ight next door to this medium sized neighborhood supermarket that we frequent sits a roomy open lot with 8 foot high lofty walls all the way around it, except for a sizable opening in the front where the massive gate is. From the top of the steps of the supermarket, I could peer over the sturdy wall and see dozens of carpets in different colors, styles and shapes hanging over long rods and baking in the toasty sun.
My husband told me that the place was actually a carpet cleaner, and I was intrigued. So one day after our shopping was done at the little supermarket, my son and I walked over so I could hopefully take some photos.
Now I must admit I have never before been inside a carpet cleaners in the states to observe the actual operation of such an establishment, so I am not at all familiar with the process. But I thought it would be interesting to see how it was done here in Arabia.
We walked in looking for someone I could ask about taking some pictures. Amidst all the carpets was a little shack of an office toward the back of lot. A man tumbled out and approached us, speaking in Arabic. I asked if it was okay if I took a few photos. He didn't speak English, so I held up my camera and acted out like I was taking pictures as I made little clucking sounds with my tongue, and then I said, "Okay?" He was miffed because I'm sure he's never had a crazy person like me come in to take photos of the place, but he skeptically gestured that it would be all right.
Adam and I ambled through the lot as I snapped away. We saw a guy spraying with a water hose who was scrubbing and rinsing the carpets. In another area, there were dripping carpets that he had just finished cleaning.
We turned around to head back to the entrance and noticed that about six other men had come out of the tiny office to watch what we were doing. One of them stepped forward and said something in Arabic that we didn't understand. I guessed that he was in charge. So I went through the same spiel with this guy, doing my clucking noises and acting out the picture taking again. I smiled and said "Thank you" in Arabic.
And then Adam and I just resumed our stroll toward the gate as I snapped a few more photos, and the stunned carpet men just stood there with their mouths open.
I wished I could have asked about how much it costs to have a carpet cleaned in this manner, how long it takes to dry, what type of shampoo or cleansers they use, or whether they treat all carpets the same regardless of the materials they are made of like wool, or synthetic, or whatever, but I couldn't. I felt I should just hurry up and get out of there before the guy in charge thought he better throw his weight around!
At least I got my photos.