The Bus Trip 60 Minute Challenge

The Bus Trip:

Her hotel concierge had recommended that, as an independent traveller, she might like to take one of their organised bus trips rather than venture out on her own.  The bus driver had dropped them at the corner of the Bazaar with a hand drawn diagram of the principal areas of interest for most travellers: jewellery, spices, perfume, and beaten brass souvenirs.  The street buzzed with hawkers, traffic and small groups of shoppers.  In the heat of the afternoon and having narrowly escaped a collision with a motorbike she ducked into the nearest shop.  Her head reeled with the warmth of cinnamon, cloves, anise, and sandalwood.  There were probably a dozen more deep notes beneath that and she would have to deliberately exclude the ingredients already identified to catch the rest.  She took short shallow breaths through her mouth and tried to clear her senses. She allowed herself a long deep breath through her nose and was suddenly hit with the musky depth of cypress, the jangle of bergamot and the seductive lover’s whisper of vanilla.  Opening her eyes she saw the twinkle of candlelight bouncing off jewel coloured glass and shining from gilded lamps.  On the walls beaten copper plates gleamed and glowed while on the floor thick rugs deadened the sound of the busy street outside.  The small shop was an assault on every sense, but an assault that you wanted to continue until every detail had been noticed, identified, and mentally catalogued for later examination. 

Suddenly a shout of Jasmine made its presence felt and with it, a shop assistant appeared and offered a small decorated glass of mint tea and a seat in the silk curtained recess behind the counter.  Once seated way from the collections of ingredients her head cleared.  She sipped on the restorative tea and her vision grew accustomed to the darkness.  There were dozens of narrow shelves from floor to ceiling, most displaying tiny boxes and a thousand exquisite glass bottles.  An occasional shelf held larger flasks of coloured oils, each labelled with characters she recognised as Arabic but had no means of deciphering. 

A tall upright man entered the shop and approached the counter.  The assistant spoke with him briefly and while he declined her kind offer of tea he accepted a seat while she carefully took some of the bottles of oil down from the shelves.  Plac...

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Katherine Horejsi
Jun 12 2021

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