Thursday, March 05, 2015

Love is in the Air: Springtime in Algiers

a sunny afternoon at Ben Aknoun 
After what felt like an eternity of cold rainy days, the warm sun returned to us in Algiers this week. As school was still on break, this meant Evelyn and I got to take some outdoors excursions with friends.  The people-watching aspect of this was highly enjoyable.

Young love is definitely in the air here in Algiers.  With socially acceptable dating activities being limited to well-lit public spaces, the parks and cafes are full of couples with that special look in their eyes. The sprawling Ben Aknoun Zoo (which is much more open parkland than zoo) was like Lover's Lane--or should I say Noah's Ark?--, with couples lining up at the entrance and quickly dispersing off the paths.

Even as I was perched inside the hamster-cage-like playset on the rooftop of our neighborhood Ben Burger (Evelyn is too short to climb up to the slide level without help), I had to hold in my giggles as I observed the interactions of numerous youth sharing fries and infatuation.  In one secluded corner an Algerian young man wooed with his guitar.  I found myself floating through a personal time warp as I listened to him serenade the object of his love with Hotel California followed by some Clapton and, yes, Stairway to Heaven. Next he transitioned into a Nirvana medley, complete with Teen Spirit. The set was finished with a jump back to mid-'60s love songs. The two departed having clearly connected in a profound way. Meanwhile, my friend Magda and I and the kids shared a moment of beautiful love with a Ben Burger chocolate cream layer cake. I think I may have liked it better than the strawberry tart we shared there the previous day.

Because Ben Burger isn't just burgers & fries (photo from their FB page)

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